The Nigerian Presidency has criticized former President Olusegun Obasanjo over comments he made on Monday where he said African countries should do away with what he termed ‘Western liberal democracy’ which has not worked for the continent.
While giving a keynote address at a two-day forum in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the former head of state had said Africa should adopt its own kind of democracy which he called ‘Afro-Democracy’ as the ‘Western liberal democracy’ does not take into account the continent’s history, culture and tradition.
He added that the borrowed style of democracy had failed in Africa because it did not consider the views of the majority of the people.
“The weakness and failure of liberal democracy as it is practised, stem from its history, content and context and its practice,” Obasanjo had said.
“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 the 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”.
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But in a reaction to the comments, Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, attacked Obasanjo for daring to say that western type of democracy was not the way to go for African countries.
While speaking to journalists on Monday, Onanuga blamed Obasanjo for current woes Nigeria is going through, noting that the democracy the country currently practises was actually imported into the country by him and dates back to the period he was the military Head of State from 1976 – 1979 and as civilian President from 1999 – 2007.
“Obasanjo ought to know that he brought this thing into Nigeria. He was the one who made us adopt it in 1979,” the Presidential spokesman said.
“He must have seen it as expensive and unsuitable when he governed us for eight years and even wanted an extension for another four years.
“So, the way he is sounding, it is like the man is getting wiser after leaving office,” Onanuga opined.
“Obasanjo also knew that he copied this presidential system very wrongly. He copied the form and structure. But he didn’t copy the spirit of it.
“Something that should have been under him in 1999 to 2007, he even made attempts to modify the constitution,” Onanuga added.