Obasanjo: Democracy has Failed in Africa

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for a new form of governance in Africa that he termed as “Afro-democracy”, which he said would be more suitable for the continent than the Western Liberal Democracy model. He made this remark on Monday at a high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa” held in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun state.

Obasanjo argued that the Western style of democracy was not working in Africa because it was imposed by the colonial powers without considering the views and values of the majority of the people. He said that Western Liberal Democracy was a system of government that favoured only a few representatives of some of the people, while excluding and neglecting the rest.

He further stated that the Western countries that introduced democracy to Africa were now questioning its effectiveness and relevance in the current world, and suggested that it needed reform. He said that the main purpose of any system of government should be the welfare and well-being of all the people, not just a few.

He urged the participants of the consultation, who were leaders of thought in the academia and politics, to critically examine the practice of liberal democracy and identify its shortcomings for the African society. He also challenged them to come up with ideas and recommendations that could serve the African purpose better, by drawing from the country’s culture, tradition, and history, as well as the experiences of other countries.

He said, “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.”