Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has today said democracy has failed in Africa as a system of government solely because the concept was “forced” on the continent. Obasanjo stated this today in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun state while addressing a high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa”. The former Nigerian leader said the Western style of democracy has become a shadow of itself in Africa because it did not take into consideration the views of the majority of the African people.
Obasanjo described Western Liberal Democracy as a “government of a few people over all the people or population”.
According to Obasanjo, ”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 were wittingly or unwittingly kept out. This is why we should have ‘Afro Democracy’ in place of Western Liberal Democracy.”
Obasanjo said African countries have no business operating a system of government in which they have no hands in its definition and design.
“The weakness and failure of liberal democracy as it is practised stem from its history, content, context and its practice.
“Once you move from all the people to representatives of the people, you start to encounter troubles and problems.
The former leader queried, “For those who define it as the rule of the majority, should the minority be ignored, neglected and excluded?
He added, “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.
He revealed that even, “Those who brought it to us are now questioning the rightness of their invention, its deliverability and its relevance today without reform,”
He explained that the essence of any government is the security and welfare of the populace.
“Here, we must interrogate the 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?
Obasanjo advocated that “(Something) that we can 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.
He said, “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”.
In his contribution at the occasion, a former governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, noted that liberal democracy in Africa has marred with lots of challenges.
However, Fayemi suggested that improvement of the welfare of the people remained sacrosanct, saying the African version of democracy instead has endangered the very populace it was meant to protect.
“Non-delivery of development outcomes for the people must be adequately addressed so that democracy can deliver,” Fayemi added. (NAN)