Obasanjo Supports Transition to Home-Grown System, Criticizes Western Democracy

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo backs a group of House of Representatives members advocating for a shift to a parliamentary system
Obasanjo critiques the current presidential system inherited from the British, urging a governance model rooted in African cultures and values

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has endorsed a group of 60 members of the House of Representatives who advocate for a shift from the current presidential system to a home-grown parliamentary system of government.
Obasanjo voiced his endorsement during an interactive session held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja. He engaged with the group to provide guidance and insights into their pursuit of a more suitable governance framework for Nigeria.
Chaired by Kingsley Chinda, the Minority Leader of the House, the meeting was attended by 17 other lawmakers, including Abdussamad Dasuki, Olawale Raji, and Abdullahi El-Rasheed, among others.
The lawmakers, led by Chinda, have sponsored a bill seeking amendments to the 1999 Constitution to transition to a parliamentary system from the current presidential one.
Obasanjo commended the lawmakers for their initiative but criticized the Western liberal democracy inherited from the British, asserting its failure to serve Nigeria effectively. He emphasized the need for a governance model rooted in African cultures, values, and traditions.
“Let me go back to the beginning where we got it wrong: the western liberal democracy, and when you look at their Western liberal democracy, it is a product of their history—a product of their culture and way of life.
“There is nothing in the liberal democracy that is African, nothing. How did we use to rule ourselves before the colonial powers? We had empires and thriving kingdoms, but we didn’t rule ourselves with opposition. We rule ourselves with consensus.
“Our problem started from what we inherited from our colonial masters, but we cannot blame them because they gave us what they had. They couldn’t have given us what they did not have. And it is up to us to do what you are now trying to do. For a long time, we ought to have sat down to internalise things because even the owners of liberal democracy are failing them.
“How will we get a system that will be what you will give and not what you will get? It can be done, and it should be done, and that is what you are now saying because, if you get it well, you will get a critical mass that will understand what you are trying to do, and you need to get that critical mass.

“Let us put our heads together and look for something African. You can call it Afrodemocracy or anything, but democracy must be there. If we can get that, we will get it right. Let’s talk more about it; let’s debate, and let’s dialogue”, he said.
The interactive session reflects a growing momentum towards exploring alternative governance structures in Nigeria, guided by inclusivity, accountability, and cultural relevance principles.