World
2:40 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Former Nigerian President Visits UWM to Build Educational Partnership

Lake Effect's Mitch Teich interviews Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria.

Former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was in Milwaukee this week, his second visit in an effort to forge a collaborative educational effort with UW-Milwaukee.

Former Nigerian President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was in Milwaukee this week (pictured here at the WUWM studios) to discuss educational collaborations with UWM.
Credit Bonnie North

Obasanjo hopes to bring educational interests in Nigeria and UWM officials together to strengthen his country's higher ed opportunities.

The issue of education is critical in Nigeria, one of the youngest countries in the world. Forty-three percent of its nearly 175 million people are under age 14.

These young people, Obasanjo says, are the most affected by the shortcomings in education and healthcare.

Obasanjo came to Milwaukee on behalf of his UK-based foundation, that works toward “advancing human security in Africa." The foundation focuses on building stability and sustainability in Nigeria, which continues to struggle with corruption and graft in public institutions and ethnic and religious tensions.

"There's no nation in the world that is absolutely free of corruption, but there are many nations in the world where corruption is not a way of life and what we most strive for is to make sure that corruption is not a way of life in Nigeria," Obasanjo says. "That will happen."

Nigeria has had a troubled relationship with democracy since it gained independence in 1960. After years of military rule, civilian government was restored in 1999, under the presidency of Obasanjo. 

Chief Obasanjo led the country until 2007, when, for the first time since independence, power was transferred by election from one civilian regime to the next.