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Former president Obasanjo

Obasanjo Counters ‘Govt Of The People’ Democracy Definition, Recommends ‘Afro Democracy’

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Although democracy is widely defined as the government of the people, by the people and for the people, global statesman and former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has disagreed with such notion by asserting that Western liberal democracy does not take into account the view of the majority of the people.

Delivering a keynote address at a high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa”, in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital, on Monday, he stated that the system of government has failed in Africa because it was forced on the people of the continent.

Obasanjo maintained that 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.”

He went on to advocate what he termed, “Afro democracy” in place of Western liberal democracy, stressing that African countries have no business in operating a system of government in which they have no hands in its “definition and design”.

According to the former President, “The weakness and failure of liberal democracy as it is practiced 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 a rule of the majority, should the minority be ignored, neglected, and be 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 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.

“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 service our purpose better and deliver.

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“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 the academia and leaders of thought with some experience in politics.”

Meanwhile, the event was attended by dignitaries such as former Governors, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Liyel Imoke (Cross River), former Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, among others.

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