Western Liberal Democracy Not Suitable For Africa- Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo asserted that Western liberal democracy is ill-suited for Africa, highlighting its ineffectiveness in Nigeria and other African nations.

He emphasized the need to reassess or adjust the current practice of Western democracy in these countries, citing its failure to yield good governance and substantial progress across the continent.

At a high-level consultation on Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa at the Green Resort Legacy in Abeokuta, Obasanjo stressed the necessity of confronting the truth about Western democracy’s shortcomings in meeting African needs. He advocated for modifying it to accommodate African peculiarities, acknowledging that the system’s failure stemmed from its lack of consideration for African history, multicultural intricacies, and the preferences of the majority.

He 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 advocated for what he termed “Afro democracy” in place of Western liberal democracy.

He expressed the viewpoint that African nations shouldn’t engage in a governmental system where they lack involvement in its “definition and design.”

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

“Once you move from all the people to representatives 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 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 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 service our purpose better and deliver?

“We have to think outside the box and then 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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