Western democracy not working for Africa – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says Western Liberal Democracy has not been a system of government in Africa because it was “forced” on the continent by the colonialists.
He made the assertion in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, while delivering a keynote address at an high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa” held at the Olusegun Obasanjo presidential Library in the state capital.
The event attracted former Governors, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), and Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun); as well as former Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada, among other distinguished personalities.
The former President said the Western style of democracy failed in Africa because it does not take into cognisance the view of the majority of the people.He noted that Western Liberal Democracy is 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.”
Obasanjo advocated what he termed “Afro-centred democracy” in place of Western liberal democracy.According to him, African countries have no business operating a system of government which they did not have hands in its “definition and design”.“
The weakness and failure of liberal democracy as it is practised stem from its history, content and context and its practice,” he said“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.“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.”