Nigeria's poor governance credentials


Last weekend, coinciding with the season of Nigeria's 49th independence anniversary, the MO Ibrahim Foundation, publisher of the Ibrahim Index on African Governance, released its 2009 Index on African Governance which ranked 53 African countries on four critical governance areas: Safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development. Nigeria was ranked 35 out of 53 African countries that were monitored, with an average score of 46.5 out of 100.
By this ranking, Nigeria trails well behind countries like Mauritius, Cape Verde and Ghana which were scored/ranked 82.8(1), 78.0(2) and 66.0(7) respectively.

Remarkably, among the 16 ranked West African countries, Nigeria ranks 11th with Cape Verde and Ghana ranking 1st and 2nd respectively. It would be recalled that the 2008 Index on African Governance ranked Nigeria 39th out of 48 African countries, with a score of 48.5.

While it is true that the entire African continent has not been particularly lucky in recording remarkable strides in the area of good governance, the case of Nigeria is however critical and most worrisome. It is so because of the immense resources and potentials at the country's disposal which have been misused and unexploited in the last 49 years, thus making a country which should justifiably bestride the African continent and indeed the entire world like a colossus remain trapped in the quagmire of underdevelopment and oblivion.

Nigeria's increasingly poor rating when compared to the growing good reputation of Ghana, a country which can rightly be termed Nigeria's peer in the struggle for independence and Africa's liberation, signals a country that is gradually and steadily sliding into infamy and derision. While it is true that Nigerian condition has improved in certain areas in the last ten years, the improvement, when juxtaposed with the failures, waste, and lost opportunities, is indeed not significant.

This latest continental ranking should really give the country's leaders some food for thought. Why are we ranked as liliputs when we claim to be giants? Why are our neighbours who have consistently attracted our concern and even magnanimity steadily improving their lot while our conditions deteriorate?

It is our opinion that the low condition of Nigeria in terms of development indices is strongly linked to the failure of the country's leadership class, which has in the last 49 years exhibited insincerity, recklessness and brigandage in the management of resources and potentials.

Media reports continually indicate that Nigerians scamper with desperation for refuge in countries across the globe - countries lacking commensurate greatness, potentials and opportunities. The shoddy treatment Nigerians receive domestically at embassies and high commissions in the course of seeking for visa and residence permits and the way these Nigerians are easily thrown behind bars or sent to the gallows on flimsy excuses of certain minor infractions are salient indices that Nigeria is fast becoming a pariah, a fallen power. Does this unwholesome trend not bother our present leaders who now have the opportunity to redress the situation?

In this season of reflection and recollections, every Nigerian and particularly those holding leadership positions should carefully read the writings on the wall and decipher that we all are fast becoming moribund species. We owe ourselves the duty to preserve our nation and promote its reputation in the comity of nations through ensuring that we optimally manage our resources and potentials.