Former President Olusegun Obasanjo voiced his concerns about the efficacy of democracy in Africa during a high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa” in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Obasanjo argued that democracy, as currently implemented in Africa, has not been successful because it was essentially “forced” onto the continent without considering the perspectives of the majority of its people.
Obasanjo characterized Western Liberal Democracy as a system where a few individuals govern over the entire population, emphasizing that these representatives do not truly represent the entirety of the people. He proposed the concept of “Afro Democracy” as an alternative to Western Liberal Democracy, advocating for a governance system that better aligns with the unique needs and perspectives of African nations.
The former president contended that African countries should actively participate in defining and designing their governance systems, asserting that operating under a framework in which the majority of the population is excluded is detrimental. He questioned the exclusion of minorities in a system that claims to be based on the rule of the majority.
Highlighting the weaknesses and failures of the current democratic model, Obasanjo urged a reevaluation of the system’s history, content, context, and practice. Despite acknowledging the challenges, he emphasized the need for a governance structure tailored to Africa’s specific circumstances.
Obasanjo urged a reconsideration of the existing democratic framework, emphasizing the importance of actively shaping governance systems to better serve the diverse needs of African nations.