Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said in Benin on Thursday that he launched his foundation in London so that the 54 African countries would have access to its programmes and activities.
Mr. Obasanjo made the remark when he visited the Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, adding that another reason was to enable the foundation “tap resources from outside Africa to be able to do good to Africa’’.
He commended Mr. Oshiomhole for being part of the launch of Obasanjo Foundation in London.
The ex-president used the opportunity to explain why he opted for a private sector driven economy during his tenure as president.
“When I was Head of State and I saw that there was no way to manage Nigerian economy except by indigenisation and we went for indigenisation.
“But the truth is that indigenisation did not succeed the way we wanted. I became an apostle of genuine private sector-driven market economy,” he said.
Mr. Obasanjo said that when God gave him a second chance to become president, he drew from his past experience.
“I hope the governor is learning the lessons I have learnt so that this state, I can see the signs, which was run down, is now being run up,” he said.
The former president said Mr. Oshiomhole had started facing reality and commended him for turning things around in Edo.
I learnt from Obasanjo
Responding, Mr. Oshiomhole said he learnt from Mr. Obasanjo’s style and courage when it came to taking major decisions, which every leadership needed, to change things for the better.
The governor said his administration was re-focusing and re-inventing governance to give the people confidence and show that democracy could work in the state.
“And indeed, it is working and we are able to deliver on some critical areas of infrastructure,’’ he said.
Mr. Oshiomhole said the launch of Obasanjo Foundation had demonstrated that as an elder statesman, “he (Mr. Obasanjo) can continue to contribute to national and international efforts in dealing with the basic needs of the under-privileged.’’
He said the foundation was a platform for sustaining constructive engagement on development options and strategies to lift the level of development in Africa.
Mr. Obasanjo was in Benin to deliver the first memorial lecture of a former National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Abel Guobadia.