Obasanjo: Western-style Democracy Not Working in Africa

Obasanjo: Western-style Democracy Not Working in Africa

• Advocates afro-democracy

James Sowole in Abeokuta

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, warned that Western liberal democracy could never work as a system of government in Africa. Obasanjo, therefore, advocated what he described as “Afro-Democracy.”

The former president said Western democracy would not work because it was “forced” on the continent and did not take into account the views of the majority of the people.

Obasanjo spoke while delivering his keynote address at a high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa” in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

He described Western liberal democracy as “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, majority of the people are wittingly or unwittingly kept out”.

Obasanjo recommended replacement of the current Western democracy with “Afro democracy”.

According to him, Africa countries have no business operating a system of government they had no hand in its “definition and design”, adding, “The weakness and failure of liberal democracy as it is practised stem from its history, content and context and its practice.

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

“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 performance of democracy in the West, where 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 service our purpose better and deliver.”

Obasanjo also said, “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 experiences of others.

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

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