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Western Liberal Democracy Was Forced on Africa – Obasanjo 



Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria, on Monday, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said democracy has not been working as a system of government in Africa because it was “forced” on the continent.

This was said by Obasanjo during his speech at a high-level meeting titled “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa.”

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According to the former president, Western-style democracy in Africa failed because it ignored the opinions of the vast majority of people.

Obasanjo described Western Liberal Democracy as a “government of a few people over all the people or population”.

”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.”

According to Obasanjo, African nations have no business running a political system in which they had no say over its creation or definition.

“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.

“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,” he said.

Obasanjo clarified that the welfare and well-being of the populace should be the central focus of any form of administration.

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?

“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.

“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,” he said.


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