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By NBF News
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Again, Nigeria has recorded another abysmal performance having been ranked 41st out of 53 countries in the 2011 Mo Ibrahim African Governance rating report released recently. The report shows that the country's overall governance quality has consistently deteriorated over the past five years, between 2006 and 2010.

For instance, out of the 48 ranked countries then, Nigeria was 40th in 2010, 35th in 2009, and 39th in 2008.

In terms of good governance, Mauritius clinched the first position, while Cape Verde came second. Among the 16 nations in the West African sub-region, Ghana was rated first in the sub-region and 7th in Africa, while Nigeria, the giant of Africa, maintained the 13th position in West Africa, the same ranking it got in 2010. In all, Somalia maintained its usual last position in Africa, the same ranking it has maintained for the past four years.

Nigeria was assessed by the Index on four categories of governance namely: Safety and Rule of Law, Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

However, the 2011 Index includes new indicators for assessment like physical and telecommunications infrastructure; gender; health; welfare service provision; and economic management.

Out of 100 marks, Nigeria scored 41 for governance quality and scored lower than the regional average for West Africa, which was 51 and lower than the continental average, 50. Its highest rank was in sub-categories of Rights and Education (26th) and lowest in Health (51st).

The report noted that the most striking improvement had been achieved by Liberia and Sierra Leone, two countries that have emerged from protracted civil wars. While Liberia improved across all four categories and 13 out of 14 sub-categories, Sierra Leone also improved across all the four categories.

Similarly, countries that had consistently ranked in the top five for overall performance, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Seychelles and South Africa, performed highly in all the four categories.

The report is, indeed, a damning verdict on the quality of leadership in the country, which keeps deteriorating despite assurances by our leaders that all shall be well. It is a true reflection of what is happening in Nigeria and should be of utmost concern to our political office holders.

It is regrettable that we are not even improving generally on our past performance. While we bemoan the below average performance in this year's Mo Ibrahim African Governance Index, we think that it is a wake-up call on President Goodluck Jonathan and other elected leaders to rise to the occasion and begin to govern well. It is a shame that Nigeria is taking the back seat in the continent's development index. Our leaders should show more governance commitment and ensure that they deliver on their promises.

The report has shown glaringly that Nigeria has not yet started on the path to good governance as we are virtually found wanting in practically all the indices of development. That we came 41st in Africa in a race we are supposed to be among the top five speaks volumes of the type of leadership we have.

We call on all Nigerian leaders to seize this opportunity of the report to ruminate on how to turn things around in the country in order to improve on our rating next year. If the current rating is anything to go by, there will be no country that would want to invest in our country. A country that does not make progress has no place for potential investors. Actually, most foreign investors hinge their investment decisions on this type of report, which is largely unbiased. This honest report on Nigeria is a big challenge to our leaders. They should wake up from slumber.