We should all congratulate the outgoing President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou who has been awarded the 2020 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, which recognises and celebrates excellence in African leadership.
Indeed, President Issoufou deserves the prize and in their citation, the Prize Committee praised his “exceptional leadership after inheriting one of the world’s poorest economies, facing seemingly insurmountable challenges. Throughout his time in office, he has fostered economic growth, shown unwavering commitment to regional stability and to the constitution, and championed African democracy.”
According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation website, President Issoufou joins President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia (2017), President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014), President Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde (2011), President Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008) and President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007) as an Ibrahim Prize Laureate. President Nelson Mandela was made the inaugural Honorary Laureate in 2007.
“The Ibrahim Prize is a US$5 million award paid over ten years. It ensures that the African continent continues to benefit from the experience and wisdom of exceptional leaders once they have left national office, by enabling them to continue their invaluable work in other civic roles on the continent. The candidates for the Ibrahim Prize are all former African Executive Heads of State or Government who have left office during the last three calendar years, having been democratically elected and served their constitutionally mandated term,” The Mo Ibrahim Foundation website states.
It is quite likely that if President Adama Barrow had respected the agreement he signed with his Coalition 2016 partners and stepped down at the end of the three year-mandate that he had promised to serve, he would have stood a good chance of winning the Prize, as he would have met most of the criteria. He would not have only been assured of at least $5 million for the next 10 years but he would have enjoyed a lot of respect and admiration in Africa and the international community.
However, now that he had not only reneged on that promise, but the fact that he had been insisting on even going beyond two-terms, shows that he is more concerned about clinging on to power than nurturing democracy in this country.