The Presidency has stated that former president Olusegun Obasanjo is to be blamed for the current state of Nigeria’s democracy.
Obasanjo had criticised Western democracy, suggesting it has not delivered good governance and development in Africa.
The former leader stated this at the high-level consultation on Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa held at Green Resort Legacy, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.
He subsequently called for a reexamination and moderation of democracy to better suit African nations, citing the Western model’s disregard for African history and complexities.
However, reacting to Obasanjo’s submission during an interview with The Punch, the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga insisted that the democracy the country currently practises dates back to direct inputs by Obasanjo when he led the country’s first as military Head of State from 1976 – 1979 and as civilian President from 1999 – 2007.
The Presidency blamed the former leader for a poorly copied model during his tenure as Head of State and, later, President.
Onanuga said, “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.
“If he believes in what he is saying now, he ought to be an advocate of the need to go back to the parliamentary system.
“We were practicing the parliamentary democracy the British left for us. Then, the military struck in 1966. And when we were going to return to democracy, instead of going back to what we were practicing before, parliamentary democracy, which was not expensive, it was this same Obasanjo who accepted the recommendation of the constitutional assembly at that time that recommended this American-style democracy.
“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.”