A survey based on 18 basic World Development Indicators has ranked Osun State top among the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory.
The result of the survey is contained in a book, titled; "Development Performance Ranking of Nigerian States and Monitoring of African Countries," launched on Tuesday in Abuja.
The book was written by the Vice-Chancellor of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Mohammed Ibrahim. Until his appointment to head the private university, Mr Ibrahim was a professor of Community Medicine and Public Health at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
According to the data ranking in the book, the overall best state, based on the average score of all the selected development indicators, was Osun. Anambra and Lagos tied for second position, while Ekiti came fourth. Others in the top 10 are the FCT, Abia, Imo, Kwara, Edo and Kogi states.
The author said he wrote the book to educate Nigerians and Africans on the need to demand transparency, accountability and good governance from their leaders towards achieving national development and wellbeing for the people.
Mr Ibrahim lamented that in spite of the resources available in Nigeria, data from the survey made it oblivious that corruption remains the bane of development in the country and Africa as a whole.
According to the author, the book employed descriptive, comparative, survey design based on secondary data extracted from the 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS 2013) to assess the intra-state and inter-state development performance status of all the 36 states and FCT.
He said 18 basic development performance indicators, in line with the World Development Indicators, were used in the survey which revealed that Nigeria as a whole performed woefully.
Some of these indicators are electricity, education, sanitation, youth literacy rate, health, unemployment, improved drinking water, population of skilled health professionals, maternal and infant mortality rates, and life expectancy rates.
"There is a problem with sanitation, education health and other sectors that are meant for measurement of development parameters in the country. The high rate of unemployment, poverty and Boko Haram insurrection in the northeast is as a result of the unavailability of work for the youth. Even if they want to work, the jobs are not there for people to do and the absence of job for people is as a result of bad leadership and good governance," he said.
"Who is supposed to be proud of Nigeria? Those looting the country? The few who are frustrated for their efforts to ensure good governance or deprived Nigerians? This was actually what inspired the book," he said.
Speaking at the launch of the book, the Emir of Shonga in Kwara State, Haliru Yahaya, said Nigerians must demand accountability, responsible leadership, good governance and motivation from their leaders if the country wants to achieve development.
At the launch of the book, which was organised by a non-governmental organisation, Nigeria and Africa Development Indicators Monitoring (NADIM) Foundation, were traditional leaders, academics, government officials and notable Nigerians.
Mr Yahaya, who is a trained medical doctor, said frustration is growing in Africa over the stagnation of the continent and suffering of the people.
He praised NADIM Foundation for sponsorig the publication, given the enormous developmental challenges confronting Africa. "The task of getting Africa out of the muddy waters of underdevelopment is a daunting one, therefore, all hands should be on deck," he said.
Mr Yahaya said the book will help put the searchlight on the "problems of development; encourage us as Nigerians and Africans to tackle these challenges as ordinary citizens, as public servants and as leaders in various states and countries."
The emir said: "It is indeed timely and auspicious that a homegrown foundation would use objective and global accepted parameters for monitoring the development of Africa from the grassroots."
The author of the book, Mr Ibrahim, said the book and the survey were not intended to point accusing fingers at any person, organisation or institution, but to educate citizens on the outcome of the efforts and work of leaders on whom they have invested their votes and trust.
Olanipekun Alausa, a former registrar of the National Postgraduate Medical College who reviewed the book, said the author could not have done better with the book.
Mr Alausa noted that Mr Ibrahim is a seasoned writer who has written important books of great relevance in his field.
"The present book is a book which will be used by many governments and research organisations as a yardstick for government performance in development. The summary was clear that government is expected to do for Nigerian and Africa at large.
"Though the government is right with its investment in infrastructural development, it cannot be done alone without looking at the welfare of the people.
"Infrastructure is also electricity to make Nigerians gainfully employed. All Nigerians are been affected because they do not have what to work with. The farmers cannot also get their farm produce to the market due to bad road network."
He said the development of the rail system would go a long way to assist a lot and also reduce the number of trailers on the road.
"The initiative is right but the government should also provide all other basic amenities to improve the lives of its citizens," he said.