Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said Western liberal democracy has not worked for Africa.
Obasanjo said liberal democracy does not consider the continent’s history, culture and tradition.
Obasanjo explained that the Western style of democracy failed in Africa because it did not consider the views of the majority of the people.
The former President stated this while delivering his keynote address at a high-level consultation on ‘Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa’ in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.
Obasanjo, the convener of the gathering, 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, most people are wittingly or unwittingly kept out.”
He advocated for what he termed ‘Afro democracy’ instead of Western liberal democracy.
According to him, African countries have no business operating a system of government in which they have no hands in its “definition and design.”
Obasanjo said, “The weakness and failure of liberal democracy as it is practised stem from its history, content and context and practice.
“Once you move from all the people to a representative of the people, you start to encounter troubles and problems. For those who define it as a rule of the 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 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 our colonial powers leave with us.
“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 government system that will serve our purpose better and deliver?
“We have to think out of the box and act with our new thinking. You are invited here to examine the practice of liberal democracy clinically, 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 the academia and leaders of thought with some experience in politics.”