The recent Mo Ibrahim Index has put a lie to statistics being bandied by government. In fact, governance is deteriorating
The 2012 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) recently released by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation is a confirmation of the downward slope that has characterised governance in our country. In the latest index, Nigeria was ranked 43rd, nine slots away from Somalia - a practically ungoverned state - which was ranked 52nd. Not only that, Nigeria had an overall score of 42.0, a mark below the West African regional average of 51.9.
The IIAG, which is a composite index, constructed by combining underlying indicators in a standardised way to provide a statistical measure of governance performance in African countries, defines governance from the viewpoint of the citizen, and also summarises it using four overarching indicators. These four categories are further divided into 14 sub-categories namely: rule of law, accountability, personal safety, national security, participation, rights, gender,public management, business environment, infrastructure, rural sector, welfare, education, and health.
Sadly, on each of these categories and sub-categories, Nigeria scored below the regional average, except in the area of public management.
For example, on personal safety, Nigeria scored 11.3, a far-cry from the regional average of 46.8. Also, in the area of accountability, the nation scored 35.3, which is also below the regional average of 44.0. Even on the issue of participation, which is a defining attribute of democracy, Nigeria scored 28.8, while the regional average is 57.9. In fact, one of the key findings of the 2012 IIAG is that Nigeria, along with three other countries, has deteriorated the most in the participation sub-category.
Even countries like Sierra-Leone and Liberia, which were ravaged by wars during the past two decades, were ranked higher and had better scores on the various categories and sub-categories.
With data sourced from reputable and reliable sources like AfDB, IFAD, IMF, OHCHR, UNESCO, UNCHR, USDS, World Bank, WHO, and UNAIDS among others, this report has put a lie to the various statistics frequently bandied by some government officials about the new face of governance in our country. Interestingly, unlike in the past when such assessments by similar independent bodies were greeted with strong criticisms, in this particular case, government has maintained a loud silence.
The reasons for this may however not be far-fetched: A plethora of scandals which dominate media headlines daily show that public funds are now looted in billions without corresponding convictions secured for culprits; scores of people are killed on a daily basis in different parts of the country either by armed gangs or security agencies; the parlous state of infrastructure has become alarming; and most rural areas are yet to experience any meaningful form of development in spite of the annual budgetary allocations for that purpose.
Also, rule of law reigns substantially in rhetoric; healthcare delivery is still poor and educational standard continues to slide; and even though the price of oil at the international market has been above $100 for months while the daily oil production has increased significantly, a large chunk of the population still live below poverty line.
At practically all levels, there seems to be a misconception about what governance is all about. The tragedy of that misconception could be seen in the score-cards of some state and local governments' helmsmen who celebrate the building of perimeter walls around government structures, distribution of foodstuff during festivities, and donation of vehicles to traditional rulers as dividends of democracy and landmark achievements. Yet good governance is that which is focused on the people, their safety and welfare; the optimal allocation of scarce resources and the effective implementation of policies for service delivery.
All said, the 2012 IIAG should be seen as a wake up call for a nation blessed with enormous natural and human resources, but which has consistently been held down by poor governance at virtually all levels.