The Presidency has blamed former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the current status of Nigeria’s democracy.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Bayo Onanuga, President Tinubu’s Special Advisor on Information and Strategy, pointed out that Obasanjo had a direct influence on the kind of democracy the nation practices today.
He said Obasanjo’s influence spanned his two terms as president, first as a civilian president from 1999 to 2007 and then as a military head of state from 1976 to 1979.
“Obasanjo ought to know that he brought this thing into Nigeria. He was the one who made us adopt it in 1979. 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 said, reacting to Obasanjo’s post-presidential stance.
The Presidency’s comments follow the former President’s remarks at the high-level consultation on rethinking Western liberal democracy in Africa, which was held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library’s Green Resort Legacy in Abeokuta.
Obasanjo had critiqued Western democracy, saying it had not contributed to African development and decent administration.
Citing the Western model’s contempt for the history and complexity of Africa, he advocated for a reexamination and modification of democracy to better suit African countries.
Obasanjo suggested an “Afro democracy” that would be specific to the needs of the continent.
The former president stated that among other things, the liberal democracy’s drawback was that it was not indigenous and failed to take into consideration the nuances of multiculturalism and African history.
Identifying weaknesses in Western liberal democracy, Obasanjo characterized it as 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 fully representatives of all the people”.
He claimed the bulk of people are always excluded, whether on purpose or accidentally.