Former Nigerian President Obasanjo Says Democracy is Not Working for Africa

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has argued that Western Liberal Democracy is not a viable political system in Africa since it was “forced” on the continent and does not meet the demands of the people.

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Obasanjo made the remarks during his keynote lecture at a high-level forum on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa” in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State.


According to the former military general, the Western style of democracy has failed in Africa because it does not take into account the majority of people’s views.

He also pointed out 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.”

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 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 and context and its practice.” he said


“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 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 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.”

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