Former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that democracy is not working in most African countries while noting that “we have to think out of the box and, after, act with our new thinking.”

Obasanjo, who said this on Monday in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital in his address at a high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa”, said that the Western style of democracy failed to work in Africa because the system does not consider the majority of the people.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Obasanjo as saying that Western Liberal Democracy is 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.”

Speaking further, he said that African countries have no business operating a system of government which they have no hands in its definition and design.


He noted that “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.”

The former President explained that the essence of any system of government should be the welfare and well-being of the people, stressing that Africans must examine the performance of democracy in the West, its origin.

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?

“(Something) that we can 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.”

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