Former President Goodluck Jonathan narrowly missed out on the prestigious $5 million Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership despite meeting a key criterion.
Although, Jonathan seems to have met the Prize criteria, which includes Former African Executive Head of State or Government, left office in the last three years, democratically elected, served his or her constitutionally mandated term, demonstrated exceptional leadership, it is unclear why he wasn’t given.
Some have suggested that he may have been denied the prize because of the ongoing investigation of his administration which he himself owned up to.
In the announcement on Thursday, following a meeting of the independent Prize Committee chaired by Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, no former African leader met the requirements for the 2015 version of the yearly award.
The prize, largest annually awarded prize in the world, which was instituted in 2006 by Sudanese telecoms entrepreneur, Mo Ibrahim, rewards former African leaders who demonstrated sterling qualities while in office, served their constitutionally mandated term, and demonstrated exceptional leadership.
“The Prize recognises and celebrates African executive leaders who, under challenging circumstances, have developed their countries and strengthened democracy and human rights for the shared benefit of their people, paving the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity,” it said.
The award is also “a standard for excellence in leadership in Africa, and not a ‘first prize’, there is not necessarily a Laureate every year,” the foundation said.
Usually, a winner enjoys $5million over 10 years and another $200,000 yearly for life and can also ask for another $200,000 for good causes he or she supports.
It would be recalled that only the former presidents of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, Botswana’s Festus Mogae, Namibia’s Hifikepunye Pohamba, and Pedro Piers of Cape Verde, have won the award. Former South African President, Nelson Mandela, who died in 2015, was awarded an honorary prize in 2007.

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