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Western Democracy 'Not Working' in Africa, Ex-Nigerian President Says

© AP Photo / Sunday AlambaFormer Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo attends a function in Abeokuta, Nigeria, 2013
Former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo attends a function in Abeokuta, Nigeria, 2013 - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 22.11.2023
The 86-year-old Olusegun Obasanjo first served as a military head of state from 1976 to 1979 before becoming the president of the West African nation from 1999 to 2007.
Western liberal democracy has failed as a model for the functioning of African governments and must be questioned by the continent, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said at a conference, "Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa," held in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State.

"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," he noted. "Here, we must interrogate 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."

Obasanjo defined Western liberal democracy as a "government of a few people over all the people or population" that does not fully represent all the people.

"Once you move from all the people to representatives of the people, you start to encounter troubles and problems," he stressed, adding that "the essence of any system of government is the welfare and well-being of all the people."

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Obasanjo advocated what he termed "Afro-centred democracy" in place of Western liberal democracy. He added that the continent should look inward and outward to develop a modified, fruitful system of governance.

"We can 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," he remarked.

In July, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu claimed in his address to African leaders that democracy "is the best form of government for 21st century Africa." He noted that democracy "ensures good governance, inclusivity, transparency, and accountability."