Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Monday, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said democracy has not been working as a system of government in Africa because it was “forced” on the continent.
Obasanjo stated this in his address at a high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa”.
The former president said the Western style of democracy failed in Africa because it did not take into consideration the views of the majority of the people.
Obasanjo described Western Liberal Democracy as a “government of a few people over all the people or population”.
”These few people are representatives of only some of the people and not full representatives of all the people.
“Invariably, the majority of the people were wittingly or unwittingly kept out. This is why we should have ‘Afro Democracy’ in place of Western Liberal Democracy.”
Obasanjo said African countries have no business operating a system of government in which they have no hands in its definition and design.
“The weakness and failure of liberal democracy as it is practised stem from its history, content, context and its practice.
“Once you move from all the people to representatives of the people, you start to encounter troubles and problems.
“For those who define it as the rule of the majority, should the minority be ignored, neglected and excluded?
“In short, we have a system of government in which we have no hands to define and design and we continue with it, even when we know that it is not working for us.
“Those who brought it to us are now questioning the rightness of their invention, its deliverability and its relevance today without reform,” he said.
Obasanjo explained that the essence of any system of government should be the welfare and well-being of 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.
“We are here to stop being foolish and stupid. Can we look inward and outward to see what in our country, culture, tradition, practice and living over the years that we can learn from?
“Something) that we can adopt and adapt with practices everywhere for a changed system of government that will service our purpose better and deliver.
“We have to think out of the box and, after, act with our new thinking.
“You are invited here to examine clinically the practice of liberal democracy, identify its shortcomings for our society and bring forth ideas and recommendations that can serve our purpose better,” he said.
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In his remarks, a former governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, noted that liberal democracy in Africa was confronted with many challenges.
Fayemi said the improvement of the welfare of the people remained important, saying that democracy faced challenges of delivery in Africa.
“Non-delivery of development outcomes for the people must be adequately addressed so that democracy can deliver,” he said. (NAN)
Nigerian Lady Strangled To Death In UK
The family of a former ophthalmic nurse at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Taiwo Owoeye, who was found dead in her home in Suffolk, United Kingdom, has expressed sadness over her death.
The PUNCH learnt that Taiwo was allegedly strangled to death by her husband, David Abodunde on Tuesday, November 28.
It was gathered that the mother of three who was also a nurse in the UK had reported a case of an assault by her husband to the police on Monday, November 27.
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The police, upon visiting their apartment the following day, found Taiwo lying on the floor of the living room motionless. Efforts to revive her, however, proved abortive as she was declared dead by the paramedics who arrived at the scene.
Taiwo’s husband who also was said to be inside the apartment with her was thereafter arrested on suspicion of her murder.
The couple got married in 2016. However, the late Taiwo relocated to the UK in 2022 and was later joined by her husband earlier this year.
The deceased’s brother, Alex Owoeye, who mourned her passing in a Facebook post claimed that David was declared the sole murderer after an investigation carried out by the police.
He wrote, “This is to officially announce the painful exit of my dear sister, Nurse Owoeye Taiwo Morenikeji, married to Abodunde David Olubunmi of Ipoti Ekiti. According to the Suffolk Police in the UK and the available documents and records sent to us via mail and direct conversations from the UK Police, after thoroughly conducted investigations, despite being caught in the act, he (the husband) was declared the sole murderer of his wife (my sister).”
Owoeye noted that the three children of the couple were currently being taken care of by the UK social services.
He also urged his family members to keep calm while assuring them that justice would be served in due course.
Another relative, Opeyemi Owoeye, also wrote on her Facebook page, “She was killed by her own very husband (Abodunde Bunmi David), no peace for the wicked. Justice for Owoeye Taiwo.”
Reacting to the news of her death, another Facebook user, Olabanji Fabiyi, described it as heart-wrenching.
He wrote, “The recent tragic news of Taiwo Owoeye Abodunde murdered by her husband in Suffolk, United Kingdom, is profoundly heart-wrenching. Although myself and Taiwo were not that so close, her late dad and my late dad were childhood friends and her mum and mine are also good friends, all from Igogo Ekiti. Considering her upbringing, it seems improbable that any provocation from Taiwo warranted such a brutal act as strangulation. Also, the audio clip of what transpired between them prior to the untimely death is a pointer to the animalistic, barbaric and untrained husband she had.”
British Poet Benjamin Zephaniah Is Dead
British poet Benjamin Zephaniah, who famously rejected an honour from over Britain’s empire and links to slavery has died.
Zephaniah died at the age of 65.
His family announced his demise on Thursday, in a statement on social media.
According to the statement, the poet was diagnosed with a brain tumour eight weeks ago.
“It is with great sadness and regret that we announce the death of our beloved Husband, Son, and Brother in the early hours of this morning the 7th of December 2023,” the statement said.
“Benjamin’s wife was by his side throughout and was with him when he passed. We shared him with the world and we know many will be shocked and saddened by this news.
“Benjamin was a true pioneer and innovator, he gave the world so much. Through an amazing career including a huge body of poems, literature, music, television, and radio, Benjamin leaves us with a joyful and fantastic legacy.
“Thank you for the love you have shown Professor Benjamin Zephaniah.”
Nigeria, Ghana, Six Others Receive $1.96m To Tackle Fistula
Eight member countries of the Economic Community of West African States received $1.96 million from the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre on Wednesday to tackle fistula disorder.
Fistula disorder is an abnormal connection between organs. Fistulas are usually the result of an injury or surgery.
According to the United States Agency for International Development in 2021, Nigeria accounted for 40 per cent of fistula cases worldwide.
USAID also stated that Nigeria reports 13,000 new cases of fistula per year, and as many as 400,000 women languish on waiting lists for corrective surgery.
The countries that got $245,000 each were Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia and Liberia.
The presentation of cheques to the beneficiaries was one of the highlights at the 91st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers held in Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Chairman, ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Yusuf Tuggar, stated that the Council would deliberate on the community’s budget for the 2024 fiscal year as the current economic challenges are affecting the region’s Gross Domestic Product and revenue generation.
Tuggar noted, “We must be mindful of the prevailing economic and financial challenges confronting our sub-region, such as inflation, high food prices, and currency devaluation, which have adversely affected our economies.
“These challenges have impacted our gross domestic product, revenue generation, and in particular our mobilisation of the community levy, due to the devaluation of some of our major currencies, particularly Cedi and Naira against the US Dollar.”
Urging the Council Ministers, the minister said, “Therefore, we must support the recommendations of the Administration and Finance Committee on enhancing prudence, as well as the efforts of the President of the Commission and other Heads of the Institutions on blocking leakages to ensure judicious use of our meagre resources.”
Also, the President, ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, lamented that member states under sanctions have stopped remitting levies, adding that ECOWAS needs enough financial resources to tackle the challenges bedeviling the region.
“For some time now, the levy collection has been a challenge. The amount of 0.5 per cent ECOWAS levy on imports from outside the Community has been collected by member states on behalf of ECOWAS.
“However, the deposit of these funds into the ECOWAS bank accounts at the country level and access to the funds have been a challenge. This has led to low resource mobilization.
“The situation is more critical now that our member states under sanctions have stopped remitting the levy. As the financial situation gets more difficult, the tasks for ECOWAS are growing,” Touray stated.
The president urged the councils of ministers to “mobilise the levy fully to be able to implement our community work programme and keep up with the successes of ECOWAS.”
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