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Sirleaf may clinch 2017 Mo Ibrahim Prize


Outcome of ongoing polls could be clincher


By Nsikan Ikpe


Outgoing President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is in a pole position to clinch the 2017 Mo Ibrahim Prize for Leadership in Africa, The Difference checks have revealed.

Since coming into office 12 years ago, Sirleaf has piloted the affairs of the West African nation through a series of challenges. These have included post-war reconstruction and the Ebola virus outbreak.
But Sirleaf does not have the prize in the bag yet as she still has to complete the ongoing transition cycle as well as contend with several other potential contenders such as immediate past Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama and his counterpart from Benin Republic, Yayi Boni.
Then she has to get past the inscrutable awards committee which is led by the former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity, OAU, Salim Ahmed Salim.
Indeed, since being launched in 2006, the Ibrahim Prize has been awarded only four times with the judging panel consistently affirming that they could not find worthy candidates in the years where the prize was not awarded.
The previous Laureates are 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). The iconic Nelson Mandela got a Honorary award in 2007.
The Ibrahim Prize celebrates excellence in African leadership. It is awarded to a former Executive Head of State or Government by an independent Prize Committee composed of eminent figures, including two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

In the vision of the founder, the prize has the potential to change perceptions of African leadership by showcasing exceptional role models from the continent. The significance of the Prize lies not only with its winners but also with the conversation around leadership that it generates.

Putting the issue in deeper context, the foundation defines leadership as the ability to make choices, assess and take risks, define and order priorities.

Accordingly then, 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 also highlights exceptional role models for the continent and 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 in other public roles on the continent.’

Overall, it has now come to be established as ‘an award and a standard for excellence in leadership in Africa.’

To be considered, a nominee must be a former African executive head of state or government who was democratically elected and left office in the last three years after serving his/her constitutionally mandated term, and in the process demonstrated exceptional leadership.

?The awardee gets to receive $5million USD spread over ten years and a further $200,000 USD per year for life thereafter.

Going by previous conventions, the 2017 winner is likely to be announced in February, 2018.

Should Sirleaf clinch the award, she would also be the first female President from any African nation to be so honoured.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

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1 Comment

  1. Shame on Mo Ibrahim committee. They have undermined the integrity of the foundation. A woman who administration was marked by corruption, and more corruption. A woman who was thrown out of her own political party by supporting the opposition and undermining her party candidate. A woman who hired her sons and relatives and friends. Also, she has not been out of office for three years as is the criteria. They were too anxious to give it to a woman. Shame on them. As a Liberian I am shocked by this travesty. I have lost all trust in this foundation.

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