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“It is Not Because We are Africans That We Have to Be Substandard” Billionaire Mo Ibrahim on Why Goodluck Jonathan and Other African Leaders Did not Win the $5 Million Prize this Year



NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27: Entrepreneur Dr. Mo Ibrahim attends the Social Good Summit at the 92nd Street Y on September 27, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for Global Goals)

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 27: Entrepreneur Dr. Mo Ibrahim attends the Social Good Summit at the 92nd Street Y on September 27, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for Global Goals)

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


  1. Sigh

    June 20, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Jonathan would have been set for life had he won that award – $5 million is no joke. However that would seriously have undermined the integrity of this award. They made the right decision.

    BN, if you are going to copy and paste, at least do it correctly. This thread below Is a more informative thread

    • Chu

      June 20, 2016 at 11:08 am

      If he won the award, it would have been about the honour and not the amount cos I’m sure he personally ate more than that while in govt.

  2. The girl who flies planes

    June 20, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Its a lie jor. Last time i checked his daughter who lives in NYC said they have no money to give away.
    Long hiss* abeg talk true.!

  3. Sisi

    June 20, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Whether the money is there or not – it remains, there was no eligible candidate end of! Jonathan ko, John ni

  4. kekendeh

    June 20, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    The price will be there for along time without a winner,as these poor power /material hungry presidents will simply not meet the abc of the criteria.

  5. S

    June 20, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Well good, I agree. I sincerely hope it will not be given to Buhari either! That will be terribly sub-standard.

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