Mo Ibrahim Prize And Dearth of Leaders In Nigeria

Mo Ibrahim Prize And Dearth of Leaders In Nigeria

Nigeria News takes a look at the dearth of sincere leaders in Nigeria as former President of Liberia, Ellen Sirleaf wins the Mo Ibrahim leadership prize.


The Mo Ibrahim leadership prize of $5 million started with Nelson Mandela in 2007. Mandela, no doubt did not only show leadership, he taught the world how men should live in tolerance and forgiveness.


When he spent just one term and quit despite persuasion by the South Africans that he should lead for one more time.


To me, what else will Mandela offer, after serving 27 years in jail to free his people? He listened to the masses and divorced his wife whom he much loved. He forgave those who jailed him and ensured that the blacks and the whites live peacefully in South Africa.


Winning the Mo Ibrahim leadership prize was unquestionable. After Mandela, no fewer than four other African leaders had won until yesterday when the immediate past President of Liberia increased the number.


Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was announced as the winner of the 2017 Mo Ibrahim Leadership Prize of $5million. She joins Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014), Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde (2011), Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008) and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007) as an Ibrahim Prize Laureate.


Sirleaf became Liberia president in the middle of turmoil when the country was ravaged by guerilla war. She stabilized the polity and brought out the country from the devastated economy. She recently organized a peaceful, free and fair election that led to the emergence of a former footballer, George Weah as Liberian President.


For years, the MO Ibrahim Foundation could not find an exceptional leader across Africa. The continent is dominated by public funds looters who daily oppress the citizens. Except in a few countries, others run a militarized democracy.


Corruption, ethno-religious crisis, terrorism sponsored by the political elites pervade successive administrations from one country to another. There are leaders that regularly break the rule to perpetuate themselves in office.


As if Mandela was not from Africa, the former President of Zimbabwe Robert Gabriel Mugabe was forced to resign at 93 after spending almost four decades on the seat.


One of Mandela’s successors, Jacob Zuma of South Africa has myriads of cases in court enough for him to have resigned but he has kept on lobbying his way through the parliament to remain in office.


Africa has not been lucky with quality leaders. Nigeria is battling with a leadership problem. Since she returned to democracy in 1999, four presidents had been elected. Two of them are former military rulers, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari.


They have records of impunity, clannishness and corruption. Obasanjo actually schemed to change the constitution so that he could rule for three terms. At present, Buhari’s regime is laced with incompetency, nepotism, impunity and clannishness. In fact, the president spent most of his first year in office in hospital battling undisclosed ailment. He was on medical holiday abroad for over 100 days.


These are not leaders that can win Mo Ibrahim $5 million.


The other two presidents that never wore Khaki were Umoru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. Yar’adua, perhaps would have done well but he died during his first term. He was educated, cool, detribalized and focused but his health never allowed him to do well.


Jonathan allowed corruption to reign. Under his watch, public funds were stolen and stashed in foreign accounts. He was bent on winning the presidential election for the second term. This was a man that had early spent two years of Yar’Adua term.


He became Nigeria’s president on a platter of gold but messed up the seat after six years of his administration. Under him, the $20 billion NNPC funds were missing. Under him, $2.1 billion security fund was allegedly spent on a political campaign.


These leaders can never win Mo Ibrahim prize. Where are leaders in Nigeria that can enthrone the tenets of democracy; that can build a nation? Where are Nigerians that can win Mo Ibrahim prize?

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