Friday, 26 October 2007

Why Mo Ibrahim Prize can never consider Obasanjo

Commending African leadership

When Dr. Mo Ibrahim announced the Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, there were many including myself who scoffed at what looked like a man desperately trying to court publicity through seeming altruistic goals.

The question arose about why heads of government would strive to win a prize for governance and leadership when they have at their gluttonous command the treasury of state which many have looted to the extent that all that was left was the stench of thievery.

Putting aside unwarranted scepticism, the prize which is almost four times the Nobel prize seeks to honour aberrations to the African norm when it comes to governance; we are still at the fundamentals where people in power are yet to realise that they are supposed to exercise all means to deliver security, health, education and economic development to their constituents, and eventually democratically transfer power to their successor.

Ibrahim Index of African Governance

In any event the one-time President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano has taken the first award of the prize as he has also transitioned into a respected elder-statesman called upon as envoy or negotiator.

Beyond this, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation published last month, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance; an African-sponsored initiative of rating 48 Sub-Saharan African Countries on 58 data points in 5 broad categories of Safety and Security; Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption; Participation and Human Rights; Sustainable Economic Development and Human Development.

In the broad scheme of things with data profiles accumulated in 2000, 2002 and 2005, Mauritius comes first, South Africa comes fifth, Ghana comes eighth and Nigeria thirty-seventh which is below Zimbabwe at 31.

Mo Ibrahim Index of Governance Summary

A comparison between this 5 countries shows an interesting picture of poor governance.

Once again, we need to disabuse perception and deal with the facts as they are apart from the fact that this now a study sponsored by an African with the interest of Africa at heart – it should not be so easily dismissed as governments are wont to with Human Rights Watch reports, Failed States Index Surveys or any other purely Western sponsored analysis.

Obasanjo’s Legacy as Adedibu’s lackey

It is poignant to know that the data profile taken in 2005 was also the sixth year in office of President Olusegun Obasanjo and it is a great indictment that he has failed to deliver progress in any of the broad categories beyond which he is also failing to move into the position of a respectable elder statesman.

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo recently took out a full-page advertisement in a national newspaper on the occasion of Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu’s 80th Birthday and in it he praised the venerated but shameless political thug with words that read thus “Why for God’s sake must we seek to change a good product? Chief Adedibu has evolved overtime into a good political product. Humanity now has an opportunity to catch a veritable glimpse of the strongman and the generalissimo whose exploits had engendered a new passion for politics and nation building.”

This flies in the face of responsible conduct and honest commentary, now, there is every need to respect and honour our elders, but this should be borne out by conduct that becomes the maturity in age of the person, not just because the person is advanced in years.

In respect to dignity, honour and gentlemanliness, Alhaji Adedibu comes considerably shy of the mark, but an intractable carry-over of our tradition allows for a man of his ilk to be feted by all the great and the “good” even as the traditional ruler of Ibadan, the Olubadan openly blames both Obasanjo and Adedibu for formenting violence with impunity in his realm.

More interesting to note is that Obasanjo has exploited Adedibu’s kind of banditry to political ends on the former and pecuniary advantage on the latter and Obasanjo even went on to say that Adedibu cannot be reformed and should be accepted for the kind of man that he is.

Chief Adedibu has not paid customary homage to the Olubadan, - this is contrary to Yoruba customs and amounts to an abominable act of insubordination which has penalties yet to be invoked - rather he instigated attacks on representatives of the king and defied his authority along with frustrating the work of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and impunity allows for him to take tribute and homage when he should be shunned, disgraced and humiliated.

We can safely say that Obasanjo would never be in the running for the leadership prize, the carcases of his mismanagement of Nigeria still reek of rotten flesh to the high heavens, in retrospect, it is a shame that we ever had him as president because the promise of 1999 is no less a catastrophic disaster in 2007.

References

The Oscar for Best Leader in an Actor's Role?

OBJ Leads Praise Singers For Adedibu, Calls Him A Good Product

Nigeria: Afenifere Berates Obasanjo Over Comments On Adedibu

Obasanjo, Beasts, Jungles, and You

Olubadan blames Obasanjo, Adedibu for Ibadan violence

Tables from the Ibrahim Index of African Governance – The links below are PDF files

Safety and Security

Rule of Law, Transparency and Corruption

Participation and Human Rights

Sustainable Economic Development

Human Development

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