The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has announced that no former African leader had met the “very high bar” for one of the world’s richest prizes – $5 Million. Since its establishment, the Ibrahim Prize has been awarded just four times in the decade.
Billionaire and chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Mo Ibrahim made the announcement on Thursday saying “excellence it is not an entitlement or a pension so we really seek excellence”. This was done in an interview with Newsday where he highlighted the reasons why no African leader was deemed worthy enough to win the 2016 Mo Ibrahim prize.
During the interview, he was asked if that was the reason why he doesn’t give the award every year he responded,
“there’s an issue about excellence in leadership and that is not an African phenomena this is a global phenomena, look at Europe, look at Asia over the nine years could you have picked out five exceptional leaders in Europe or Asia? It is not because we are Africans that we have to accept substandard.”
“The criteria are simple we are looking for leaders who came to power democratically and transparently and then moved the country forward made important key decision which help people and bowed out gracefully at the end of his or her period without ifs or buts.”
He also took questions from social media. and he answered the reason why he has not relaxed the criteria allowing for members of government other than the president who have demonstrated exceptional leadership to be deemed eligible for this award. He said
“we cannot just keep shifting our focus here, there is no doubt that the president is really the focal point for decision making and responsibility for moving the country forward or backwards and not the ministers.”
In line with the qualities stipulated by the creator of the foundation, Former President Goodluck Jonathan bowed out gracefully after his period in office at a very tense period that could have easily descended to violence. He received national as well as international acclaim for the grace in which he handled defeat in the past presidential election.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Mark Sagliocco