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UPDATE: Western Democracy Not Working For Africa – Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria, has maintained that Western liberal democracy has failed to benefit Africa.

Liberal democracy, according to Obasanjo, ignores the history, culture, and customs of the continent.

The former president clarified that the failure of Western-style democracy in Africa may be attributed to its disregard for the opinions of the vast majority of people.

At a high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa” in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun state, he made this statement during his keynote speech.

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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,” according to Obasanjo, the gathering’s organiser.

He stated that most people are either purposefully or inadvertently excluded.

Instead of Western liberal democracy, he promoted what he called “Afro democracy.”

He contends that it is improper for African nations to run a political structure over which they have no influence over the “definition and design.”

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

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“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 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.

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“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 serve 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 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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