Obasanjo: The Coup Maker Democratized

Published on 7th September 2010

Obasanjo inspects a guard                Photo courtesy
You don’t have to be a political scientist to acknowledge that democracy is rising in Africa. But you get the sense better when former military junta members reconcile Africa’s development challenges with democracy, and condemn military juntas that have asphyxiated Africa’s progress.

It is exciting to hear democratized military junta leaders like Nigeria’s Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo talk of democracy as Africa’s hope for progress and dissuade Africa’s military from coups.

Obasanjo’s exhortation in front of Ghanaian military officers, at the Ghana Military Academy in Accra was instructive. Some military institutions in Africa have messed up Africa.While military juntas in South Korea, Brazil, Chile and Taiwan have helped lay the foundation of their countries progress, in Africa it is the opposite.

Africa’s military politicians devoid of the understanding about Africa have helped worsen the African situation. Where in the world for example, could Gen. Idi Amin or Gen. Samuel Doe be Heads of State? You don’t have to think too hard to understand why they destroyed their respective countries.

Obasanjo is a mixed bag of Africa’s political evolution, moreso coming from Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. The old General is highly refined, having seen it all, and has come to the agonizing conclusion that military coups are bad for Africa.

Obasanjo, a democratized military officer, took democracy to the military school and hatched some sort of “deliberative democracy” with it to demonstrate that democracy isn’t grown by civilians alone, but the military too.

Given the political troubles Africa has gone through in the past 50 years, a reasonable amount committed by its military, Obasanjo’s deliberative democratic exercise with the African military is a productive moment for Africa.


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