9 February 2013

Nigeria: Obasanjo - Why I Set Up the London Foundation

London — Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said his latest foundation was established to "fill up gaps" left by the government and private sectors in various aspects of human development.

Speaking at a press conference in London as part of activities for the launch of Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation (OOF) yesterday, the former president said the foundation would focus on five key areas, namely: girl-child education, non-communicable diseases, food security, youth unemployment and discrimination against women, especially as it relates to land ownership.

He lamented that though women in Africa produce more than 50 per cent of food and do more work than men on agricultural business, they face utmost "cultural and religious hindrances to land, input and even credit."

He further lamented that girls and women are discriminated against in education, explaining that the foundation's focus on girl-child education is in line with the maxim that says "educating a woman is educating a family".

The former president, who said the foundation would provide capital, skills and training to deserving recipients among others, explained that sometimes only a little effort and guidance were needed to empower people to help themselves.

He solicited the support of the media towards the success of the foundation, saying the first thing the media should do is to "understand the foundation" and the aims for establishing it.

The Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation is the third of such organisations to be established by the former president, the other two are the Africa Leadership Foundation and Presidential Library Foundation.

Many dignitaries, including current and former leaders from Africa and elsewhere attended the launching of the Foundation at Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane, Central London.

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