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Bad Governance responsible for coups in Africa – Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has stated that the recent spate of coup d’états in some African nations is fundamentally linked to the issue of bad governance. 

According to Obasanjo, the proliferation of military coups in Africa can be attributed to the lack of integrity in democratic practices, alongside problems like bad governance, nepotism, favouritism, and leaders clinging to power.  

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Within the last two months, military forces have taken over the governments of Gabon and the Niger Republic, attributing their actions to the alleged poor leadership and mismanagement of these nations’ resources by elected officials. 

Speaking on the recent development in these countries, the elder statesman observed that the poor governance of African leaders was pushing citizens to seek new liberators, thereby fueling a surge in military coups, noting that though he hated coups, many African leaders were giving legitimacy to coup due to their poor leadership.  

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The 86-year-old former President disclosed this at an interactive session on public service and governance held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library with members of Africa for Africa Youth Initiative who came from Botswana, Benin, Ghana, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. 

He said, 

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  • “If some of the things coming out from these former French colonial countries are true like the Malians saying they don’t want to have anything to do with France again, one might really be asking if France has ever granted these countries full independence. 
  • “Secondly, we are told that democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people, but you may ask which people? And what does this democracy deliver? 
  • “On one occasion, I got about a dozen or two boys and girls who have attempted to go across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean.
  • “When they told me their story, I wept. When you see and hear that kind of thing, what do you do? Yes, I love democracy, having suffered in the hands of Abacha, I will never love military rule; but if it has to come, what can we do? 
  • “However, we should ask ourselves this question: Do we have conditions that are encouraging these coups on our continent? 
  • “Because if we don’t have the conditions that encourage them, it will not happen, though this does not mean that we must encourage them.” 

Backstory 

Within the last two months, Gabon and the Niger Republic have witnessed a takeover of their governments by military forces, who have stated that their actions were prompted by the elected officials’ alleged inadequate leadership and mismanagement of national resources. 

Even though such developments have been heavily condemned by both intercontinental and international communities such as the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS, the citizens of the countries appear to welcome the coup with open arms, citing a breath of fresh air from the poor leadership and mismanagement from their democratically elected leaders.  

There have been various protests on the streets in both Gabon and Niger, with many young people showing solidarity with the coup plotters.

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In addition, other countries with similar situations such as Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea have shown solidarity with the two countries, declaring their support for the coups in its entirety. 

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