Atiku said the hardworking spirit of Nigerian youths should be nurtured.
While speaking at the Commonwealth Business Forum in Westminster on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, President Buhari said the country's youthful population is reliant on the notion that Nigeria is an oil-rich nation, which leads to the demand for free things.
"More than 60 percent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven't been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria has been an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free," he said.
Taking to his official Facebook account on Thursday, April 19, Atiku said Nigerian youths are hardworking with great entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, and creative abilities that should be nurtured.
He wrote, "I will never refer to Nigeria's youth as people who sit and do nothing. They are hardworking. I should know, I have thousands of youths working for me all over the country who have been the backbone to our success.
"I've always said oil is not Nigeria's greatest asset. Our greatest asset is our youth who created Nollywood out of nothing and an entertainment industry that is second to none in Africa.
"Our youth are charting new frontiers; creating a huge tech industry on their own! Their entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, and creative abilities are things of pride and should be applauded, encouraged and nurtured."
Atiku is expected to be President Buhari's biggest challenger in the 2019 presidential election after he left the All Progressives' Congress (APC) and moved back to the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in 2017.