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The Foundation’s report on the state of governance on the continent is disturbing but not surprising.  In the particular case of Nigeria, it noted that after 56 years of independence and 17 years of uninterrupted democratic rule, Nigeria is yet to register impressive growth.  
Almost two-thirds of African peoples live in countries in which safety and rule of law have deteriorated in the past ten years, while bad governance is stalling the continent’s progress. The IIAG has since 2007 provided annual assessments of the quality of governance in Africa.  It computes this assessment by combining more than 100 variables from more than 30 African countries and data from global institutions. It is, perhaps, the most comprehensive index on African governance.  It is of little use arguing with the data in what seems to be a rigorous appraisal of the state of governance in Nigeria and the continent.
The Foundation should be encouraged as a system of self-criticism and as a peer review mechanism.  Nigeria’s economic failures are well known, and its history strewn with lost opportunities. The evidence of this can be seen in the living condition of the average Nigerian that has worsened over the years.  Economic inequality has become intolerable.  Information from IIAG should, therefore, serve as a reminder that we must double our efforts to improve our performance on the index.
The signs of our failures are staring us in the face. We are importing petroleum products that we should be exporting; we are not adding value to our primary produce like cocoa, cassava, plantain and solid minerals. We cannot feed ourselves or administer our country without rancour. Our economy is tottering because it is largely built around a single product, crude oil, the price of which has crashed in the international market. Our human rights records are becoming appalling.
This situation is evidence of our leadership weakness.  Nigeria’s ability to improve it should be considered a primary national task.  The Federal Government should set up a committee to monitor our performance on this index and map out ways to improve it.

The four pillars of governance which the IIAG monitors are: Safety and Rule of Law; Political Participation and Human Rights; Sustainable Economic Opportunity; Human Development. If we take Rule of Law, for example, it includes five indicators measuring the judicial process, judicial independence, the application of sanctions, transfer of power and property rights.  It is so glaring that, given our recent history, it would be impossible to score a pass mark in this category at this time that our judiciary is under suspicion and some of our judges are having their integrity questioned over corruption allegations and for running a ponderous judicial process that sometimes keeps cases in court for upwards of ten years.
Even if we take another sub-category such as Human Rights, where we have seven indicators measuring core international human rights, conventions, fundamental human rights, political rights, workers’ rights and freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly, and civil liberties, it is tempting to think we should score well under this heading.
But, Amnesty International reports on Police Special Armed Robbery Squad detention centres, and the alleged massacre of hundreds of unarmed Shi’ites by the Nigerian Army in Kaduna, are impossible to ignore. The alleged extra-judicial killings of suspected terrorists and the occasional disobedience of court orders, all add up to sully our national records. It needs hard work to create and maintain a just and fair society.  It requires effort to curb corruption.  Commitment is needed to create jobs and an economic environment that propels prosperity, especially of the ordinary citizen.
Nigeria’s leaders must confront rich and powerful lawbreakers, and be able to protect the weak from the strong.  Thus, the IIAG is a challenge to our leadership class to pick up the gauntlet and work for the improvement of the living conditions of Nigerians. It is only then that our ranking on the Ibrahim Index of Good Governance can hold out something to cheer.
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