The Presidency has come down heavily on former President Olusegun Obasanjo following his recent comment.
Bayo Onanuga, President Tinubu’s Special Advisor on Information and Strategy, spoke to reporters on Monday, placing the blame on Obasanjo for the present state of Nigeria’s democracy. Onanuga emphasized that Obasanjo’s impact on the nation’s democratic practices extended across his two terms as president, both as a civilian leader from 1999 to 2007 and 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 commented in response to Obasanjo’s post-presidential stance.
The Presidency’s comments were prompted by the former President’s recent remarks at a high-level consultation on rethinking Western liberal democracy in Africa at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library’s Green Resort Legacy in Abeokuta. Obasanjo criticized Western democracy, asserting its lack of contribution to African development and good administration. He advocated for a reexamination and modification of democracy to better suit African countries, proposing an “Afro democracy” tailored to the continent’s needs.
Obasanjo stated that, among other things, the drawback of liberal democracy was its lack of indigeneity and failure to consider the nuances of multiculturalism and African history. He identified weaknesses in Western liberal democracy, characterizing 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 that the bulk of people are always excluded, whether intentionally or accidentally.