As African countries particularly Nigeria joins other continents to celebrate world democracy day; the day that is set aside by United Nations to enlighten the global populace about the importance of democracy to the development of society. Hence, it is our sole responsibility as Africans to examine the success story so far and obstacles of our journey to liberal democratic system of government. Because at the moment most African’s countries practice western formed of liberal democracy.
Therefore, it is no longer news that Africa as a continent despite its absolute compliance and acceptability of anything West, we have still not yet reach or near the promise land. Many critics attributed the obstacles that hindered the African development to the blind reliance of western ideology.
Nonetheless, according to universal believe from the perspective of advocate of western type of democracy. The western formed of liberal democracy is the most effective and people oriented type of government care much to the desire need of the larger populace. But it is not a rocket science to simply understand that western type of democracy has achieved nothing in terms of good governance in developing countries.
Most advocate of western formed of liberal democracy like Abraham Lincoln argued that: ’’Democracy’’ is government of the people for the people and by the people, they believe that liberal democracy is more than just a mere universal suffrage it comprise all the ingredient of freedom, modernity, growth and development of a nation. They suggested that for countries to develop it must adopt the type of western liberal democracy.
But believers of western type of liberal democracy and modernity failed to explain the reason behind the underdevelopment of African countries that practice liberal democracy right from day one and never experience military intervention. For instances, countries like Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Cape- Verde, Malawi, Eritrea, and Mauritius have never experienced a military coup d’état; but do they have any difference with the rest of Africa? Do they really look like modern countries? With the exception of South Africa and Botswana all the rest are impoverish countries without hope.
At this end, let me make it clear, am not against democracy at all, in fact, I am a strong supporter of democracy. But in my own view, if democracy is really government of the people for the people and by the people then, let the Africans decide their own fate, let us adopt a model of democracy that will suit our culture, norms, value, believe and not the Kangaroo copied and paste formed of western liberal democracy that support corruption, insincerity, immorality and with doubtful characteristic.
Perhaps, if you ask the supporters of western type of liberal democracy to explain thus, ’’if the western formed of liberal democracy is the only solution to African development, why would the above mentioned African countries not prosper despite the fact that they copied hook line and sinkers of western type of democracy? Their answers will be like ’’it is our leaders’’.
If that is the case then, it is time for Africa particularly Nigeria to revisit the system and proffer a lasting solution to this mess that drew Africa back to the olden days. To be sincere, western form of liberal democracy is not the solution to our predicament, we should practice democracy in our own way and I mean democracy in African way. We should practice democracy in a manner that, will correlate with our culture; go hand in hand with our norms and values. We must eschew whatever contradicts our norms and values.
For example, respecting elders is part of African culture and homo-sexuality is un- African and abomination, therefore, our type of democracy should address those issues in a clear manner. Areas like tenure elongation, role of legislature, judiciary, traditional institution and religion should be properly discuss and explain their role.
In western world, their norms and values correlate with the principle of liberal democracy in which they practice, but in Africa the reverse is the case, despite the fact that we also have the existence of institutions like them, because it doesn’t suit our culture, that is why it remain weak and as a result the continent relied on strongmen to prosper. For instance, in pre-colonial Africa, stealing is abomination but today is a way of life, it exist in all most every house hold.
Abdullahi Isa is a Public Commentator, a Journalist based in Kano who can be reached on 08066048290 or email@example.com