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Africa made mistake by adopting western democracy, says Obasanjo



Africa made mistake by adopting western democracy, says Obasanjo
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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says African countries adopted the Western liberal democracy introduced by the Europeans, which he noted is not synchronized with the continent’s value system.

The former president spoke in Abuja on Tuesday during a meeting with members of the House of Representatives seeking to reintroduce the parliamentary system of government through constitutional amendment.

The meeting, which took place in Abuja, was part of a series of consultations to solicit support for the bill, which passed the first reading at the House of Representatives in February.

Speaking at the meeting, Obasanjo said the lawmakers should have a long-term plan and be tactical in advancing their position.

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Obasanjo revealed that Africa made a huge mistake by adopting western form of democracy without considering the peculiarities of the cultures and value system.

Obasanjo said while he agrees that there is a need for a shift in the system of government, it must be one that will work well for the country.

“You are preaching to the converted, but as I have said, take the word parliamentary away,” he said.

“We need to get the critical masses. Parliamentary and all that — once you start that, you have gotten it wrong. Once you do that, you are putting yourself in a fix because there are those who would say: “We don’t want parliament.”

“Let me go back to the beginning, where we got it wrong — the Western liberal democracy, that is what the Europeans have,” he said.


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“When you look at Western liberal democracy, it is a product of their history. A product of their culture. A product of their way of life.

“I have looked into most African languages; Western democracy has what they call loyal opposition. What is opposition in African languages?

“Enemy. Western democracies called oppositions ‘loyal’ because the oppositions are loyal to the monarchy. That’s where their loyal democracy began. They used to have monarchies.

“There is nothing in liberal democracy that is African. We ruled ourselves before the advent of colonialism. We had empires and striving kingdoms. We did not rule ourselves as opposition.

“What is in it for us? I don’t know, but you can give it. For lack of an appropriate word, let us call it afro-democracy. That is where we have to begin.”

In his remarks, Kingsley Chinda, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives who led the lawmakers to the meeting, said the lawmakers used “parliamentary” due to a lack of an appropriate word.

The legislator said the system of government proposed by the lawmakers is “homegrown” and would suit the country.

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