By Olu Fasan
Take any cross-country global ranking, Nigeria is at,or near, the bottom of it. The latest is the inaugural Chandler Good Government Index, CGGI, published last week. The index ranked countries according to government capabilities and effectiveness. So, how did Nigeria perform? Well,woefully! Out of the 104 countries surveyed, Nigeria ranked 102nd, beating only Zimbabwe and Venezuela. In other words, Nigeria is the third worst nation in the world!
But why should Nigeria be in such a deplorable position? Well, consider the seven indicators measured in the index. They are leadership and foresight; robust laws and policies; strong institutions; financial stewardship; attractive marketplace; global influence and reputation; and helping people rise.
Now, would you say, with hand on heart, that Nigeria has shown even modest capability or competence in any of the above?For instance: does this country have a visionary leader? Is Nigeria a rule-of-law country? Are Nigerian institutions working? Is Nigeria financially prudent? Is the environment for private investment attractive? Is the Nigerian brand reputable globally? And does Nigeria look after its citizens? Many questions, but I’m sure your answer to each of them is: No!
I have written ad infinitum in this column, as I did last week, about President Muhammadu Buhari’s lack of leadership and strategic vision. Two weeks ago, I wrote about the appalling mediocrity of the Nigerian civil service and wider public service. I have written about the absence of the rule of law in Nigeria, about the dysfunctionality of this country’s institutions and about its unattractiveness as a marketplace. Furthermore, I have argued that this is a country where the people, the citizens, are not the fulcrum of public governance.
So, I am not surprised about the findings of the Chandler Good Government Index. Rather, without gloating, I’m gratified that another independent international study, using robust metrics, has come to the same conclusion that I have long reached, namely: that Nigeria is too poorly run and too poorly performing, it is fast becoming a failed state. As the CGGI rightly points out: “Good government is a deciding factor in whether nations succeed.” And truth is, Nigeria cannot succeed, it cannot be a flourishing, prosperous nation, when it’s one of the worst countries in the world in terms of government capabilities and efficacy.
Paradoxically, Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and, according to the World Bank, the 30th largest in the world. Nigeria is clutching at those straws. But gross domestic product, GDP, can be a function of sheer population rather than productivity. Thus, as the saying goes: “GDP is not destiny.”
For instance, with 206 million people, Nigeria is the world’s 7th most populous country and, with a GDP of $375.7bn, it’s the world’s 30th largest economy. Yet, judged by GDP per capita, the measure of how well-off people are, Nigeria, with a paltry per capita income of $2,230, is 136th in the world. What’s more, Nigeria languishes at the bottom of virtually all world league tables of government performance across virtually all key indicators.
Thus, Nigeria’s population size and the size of its economy have had no positive bearing on its progress. Indeed, one can say, rather colloquially, that Nigeria is a big-for-nothing country, thanks to its in-built structural weaknesses and its utter failure to produce visionary and competent leaders that could tackle those weaknesses and harness the country’s enormous human and natural resources to transform it into a successful nation.
The result of that monumental failure of governance is that, to the utter shame of its leaders and the embarrassment of its citizens, Nigeria is stuck at the bottom of international rankings, wallowing in underdevelopment with Fourth World countries like Afghanistan and Haiti, with abysmally low socio-economic and human development indicators. I mean, the Chandler Good Government Index is just the latest to expose this horrible reality. Others before it have pointed to the same evidence. Let’s briefly consider just a few of them.
Take the well-known United Nations Human Development Index, HDI. The 2020 HDI puts Nigeria at 161st position out of 189 countries. The World Bank ranked Nigeria the 7th worst country in its 2020 Human Capital Index. Nigeria was 136th out of 163 countries in the 2020 Social Progress Index, and 144th out of 167 countries in the 2020 Legatum Prosperity Index. Of course, Nigeria is the “poverty capital of the world”, according to the Brookings Institution’s Global Poverty report, and the third country most impacted by terrorism, according to the 2020 Global Terrorism Index. The list goes on; so does the infamy of Nigeria’s abysmal rankings.
Now, is itsurprising, given the above,that Nigeria is the world’s 14th most fragile nation, according to the 2020 Fragile States Index? Or is it any surprise that Nigeria has a poor reputation internationally? According to the 2019 Future Brand Country Index, which assessed the global perceptions of the world’s 75 largest economies (by GDP), Nigeria ranked 68th out of the 75, only marginally beating countries like Angola, Iran and Iraq!
So,why does all this matter? Of course, it matters because with bad government, with inept leaders and dysfunctional institutions, Nigeria can never succeed as a country. And when you add insecurity and political instability to bad government, you have a nation that is teetering at the brink of state failure, and that could disintegrate.
Surely, the failed state scenario should keep Nigeria’s leaders awake all night. But, alas, it costs them no sleepless night at all!The fact that Nigeria’s abysmal international rankings expose its utter.