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“Excellence means excellence it is a prize for excellence it is not an entitlement or a pension so we really seek excellence,” said Mo Ibrahim, billionaire and chairman of the Mo Ibrahim foundation in an interview with Newsday where he highlighted the reasons why no African leader was deemed worthy enough to win the Mo Ibrahim prize in 2016.

When 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?” he said. “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.”

During the interview, he took questions asked on social media. One question inquired as to 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. To that he responded “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 Nigerian 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 nations recent presidential election but, perhaps, the former head of state’s administrations’ notoriety for rampant corruption eliminated him from the running.

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