The Mo Ibrahim Foundation ranked Nigeria 40th in 2010, 35th in 2009, and 39th in 2008 (out of 48 ranked countries then).
The good governance report also noted that over the past five years (between 2006 and 2010), Nigeria’s overall governance quality deteriorated.
However, despite initial fears over the security situation in the country, Nigeria retained 13th position among the 16 nations in West Africa, the same ranking she obtained in 2010. She also obtained the highest score in national security at 81 per cent out of a possible 100 marks.
The new development indicators were contained in the 2011 Index, which was released simultaneously in Dakar (Senegal), Johannesburg (South Africa), London (UK), and Nairobi (Kenya).
The Index of African Governance was launched by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, an organisation that supports good governance and great leadership in Africa.
The Index provided full details of Nigeria’s performance across the four categories of governance as assessed by the Index: Safety & Rule of Law, Participation & Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.
However, Mauritius and Cape Verde continued their tug-of-war over the best ranked nation in Africa, in terms of good governance, with the former emerging first in the latest 2011 ranking, although Cape Verde came a close second.
Ghana was ranked first in West Africa and seventh in Africa. On the other hand, Somalia maintained its customary last (53rd) position in Africa, the same ranking the North African country has maintained for the past four years.
Established in 2007, the Ibrahim Index is the most comprehensive collection of quantitative data providing an annual assessment of governance performance in every African country.
A detailed analysis of Nigeria’s performance in the 2011 Ibrahim Index of African Governance showed that the country scored 41 (out of 100) for governance quality and was ranked 41st out of 53 countries.
Nigeria also scored lower than the regional average for West Africa, which was 51; and scored lower than the continental average which is 50. At sub-category level, Nigeria’s highest rank was in Rights and Education (26th) and lowest in Health (51st).
Commenting on the 2011 Index, Founder and Chair of the Foundation, Mo Ibrahim, said: “We have seen this year that Africa’s young majority are no longer willing to stand for the selective approach to governance adopted by many of our continent’s governments. Our young people are demanding a holistic, equitable and inclusive approach to the management of their countries.
“The Index findings echo these demands – achievements in economic management and human development, however striking, will not be realised if a democratic deficit persists. Africa’s success stories are delivering the whole range of the public goods and services that citizens have a right to expect and are forging a path that we hope more will follow.”
The most striking improvements, according to the report, have been achieved by Liberia and Sierra Leone, two countries emerging from lengthy civil wars: Liberia improved across all four categories and 13 out of 14 sub-categories, while Sierra Leone has also improved across all four categories.
Countries that had consistently ranked in the top five for overall governance performance (Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, Seychelles and South Africa) have, up to now, also performed highly in all four categories.
The 2011 Ibrahim Index includes new indicators assessing physical and telecommunications infrastructure; gender; health; welfare service provision; and economic management.
The foundation announced the award of its $5 million African Leadership Prize to Cape Verde’s former president, Pedro Verona Pires.
According to the foundation, Pires was awarded the prize because he had helped transform the tiny island country off the West African coast into a “model of democracy, stability and increased prosperity.”
Pires, 77, became the country’s prime minister in 1975 after playing a pivotal role in Cape Verdes’ struggle for independence from the Portuguese. In 2001, he was elected president, and went on to serve a two-term tenure which lasted a total of 10 years and ended in September. He stepped down voluntarily, despite suggestions from close associates to alter the constitution to enable him stand for re-election a third time.