Western democracy not working for Africa – Obasanjo


Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo has insisted
that Western liberal democracy has not worked for Africa.


Obasanjo said liberal democracy does not take into account
the continent’s history, culture and tradition.


The former President explained that the Western style of
democracy failed in Africa because it does not consider the views of the
majority of the people.


He stated this while delivering his keynote address at a
high-level consultation on ‘Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa’ in
Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.


Obasanjo, the convener of the gathering, described Western
liberal democracy as “a government of a few people over all the people or
population and these few people are representatives of only some of the people
and not full representatives of all the people.


”Invariably, the majority of the people are wittingly or
unwittingly kept out, he said.”


He advocated for what he termed, ‘Afro democracy’ in place
of Western liberal democracy.


According to him, African countries have no business in
operating a system of government in which they have no hand in its “definition
and design”


Obasanjo said, “The weakness and failure of liberal
democracy as it is practised stem from its history, content and context and its


“Once you move from all the people to a representative of
the people, you start to encounter troubles and problems. For those who define
it as the rule of the majority, should the minority be ignored, neglected and


“In short, we have a system of government in which we have
no hands to define and design and we continue with it, even when we know that
it is not working for us.


“Those who brought it to us are now questioning the
rightness of their invention, its deliverability and its relevance today
without reform.


“The essence of any system of government is the welfare and
well-being of the people: all the people.


“Here, we must interrogate the performance of democracy in
the West when it originated from and with us the inheritors of what we are left
with by our colonial powers.


“We are here to stop being foolish and stupid. Can we look
inward and outward to see what in our country, culture, tradition, practice and
living over the years that we can learn from, adopt and adapt with practices
everywhere for a changed system of government that will serve our purpose
better and deliver?


“We have to think out of the box and after, act with our new
thinking. You are invited here to examine clinically the practice of liberal
democracy, identify its shortcomings for our society and bring forth ideas and
recommendations that can serve our purpose better, knowing human beings for
what we are and going by our experiences and the experiences of others.


“We are here to think as leaders of thought in academia and
leaders of thought with some experience in politics.”


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