Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, while addressing a high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa” in Abeokuta, Ogun State, provided a critical perspective on the functioning of democracy in Africa. According to Obasanjo, the imposition of Western-style democracy on the continent has hindered its success. He argued that this model, characterized by representation by a few individuals, fails to incorporate the views of the majority of the people.
Obasanjo raised concerns about the exclusionary nature of Western Liberal Democracy, describing it as a system where a minority represents the entire population, leaving out the majority. He suggested the adoption of “Afro Democracy” as an alternative, emphasizing the importance of African countries actively participating in defining and designing their governance systems.
The former president emphasized the need for a shift in thinking and proposed a reevaluation of the democratic system to prioritize the welfare and well-being of the people. He urged attendees to critically examine the practice of liberal democracy, identify its shortcomings in the African context, and provide recommendations for a more inclusive and effective system.
In response to Obasanjo’s views, former Ekiti State governor Kayode Fayemi acknowledged the challenges faced by liberal democracy in Africa, particularly in delivering improved welfare for the people. Fayemi stressed the importance of addressing the non-delivery of development outcomes to ensure that democracy effectively serves its purpose on the continent.