Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Monday said West Africa and indeed Africa are currently going through a perilous storm following political instability in some parts of the continent.
He stated this at the opening session of a high-level dialogue, organised by the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA).
The two-day event, with the theme, ‘West Africa: Rising to the Challenges of Consolidating Democratic Governance’, was held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The event was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Goodluck Jonathan, a former vice president of Gambia, Fatoumata Tambajanb, a former president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma and Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun, among others.
He insisted that power-grabbing and governance through the gun will not help Africa nor procure democracy through the judiciary, stressing that the continent needs a “peaceful democracy that has respect for the will of the people and the future of our nations.”
He said the only way the African continent can develop is through peaceful democratic transition of governments.
He said, “In recent years, we have witnessed a return of coup d’etat, election fraud and political violence resulting in instability and threatening the developmental gains we have made in the last couple of decades.
“I feel very sad and it gives me great concern when I see the democratic system we have painfully built collapsing. And I believe there must be a solution because the problem is human and all human problems can be solved by human beings. That is why the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) under my chairmanship and the OOPL have brought all of us together today to discuss pertinent issues affecting governance in West Africa, including the challenges and then to seek the way forward.”
On his part, Osinbajo while delivering his address, bemoaned military incursion into democratic regimes of some African countries.
He called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and other African organisations to rise to the challenge and do more in ensuring political and economic stability of West Africa and Africa at large.
“The recent spate of military coups across our continent and attempts at military coups not only portends the risk of a damaging democratic recession, but it also takes us back to the circles of extra-constitutional disruptions that plagued us decades ago.
“Since 2017, there have been 12 military coups in Africa and half of them occurred since 2020,” he said.