How Citizens’ Participation in Open Government Partnership will Make a Difference – OGP Coordinator

Mr Benjamin Okoro, the Nigeria Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Coordinator says that citizens’ participation in Government Partnership will make all the difference in the anti-corruption war by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Okoro said this at the OGP Stakeholders Validation Retreat on the second National Action Plan (NAP) on Friday in Abuja.

The Open Government Partnership is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from national and subnational governments to promote open government, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

Okoro who was represented by Mr Stanley Achonu, the Civil Society Adviser, in his welcome address said that there is the need to involve all stakeholders in the validation process.

He said that one of the reasons for the retreat is to provide a good opportunity for strengthening and broadening ownership of the NAP.

“This retreat is to ensure active involvement of citizens and civil society organisations during the implementation process.

“It will also ensure that there are more processes and relationships-focused endeavours that aim to transform governance systems and behaviours, thereby opening them up to a wider range of participants contesting and reconfiguring power dynamics.

“Therefore, the responsiveness of government depends to a large extent on the willingness and capacity of its citizens to believe in its policies.

He said it will afford participants the opportunity to look through the draft to be sure that views of stakeholders are reflected in the action plan.

“We are going to look at the full document and make sure that we agree on the content. It is critical to consider it line by line to look at who is responsible for what.

“I encourage us to look at the contents of the document and consider the activities in it to confirm that it’s something that is achievable within the next few years and once we are ok with them, the document will be validated’’.

Mr Abu Umaru of the OGP while presenting the overview of the NAP Development said the stakeholders would review the first four years of Buhari’s administration.

“All stakeholders will look at the key objectives of the NAP which will help to enhance security, fight corruption and improve the economy“.

He also said that the four key areas of open government namely transparency (open data); accountability (responsive government), citizen participation and the use of technology, will be upheld.

“Nigerian government and citizens need to do everything possible to ensure effective implementation of the Nigeria OGP National Action Plan,“ he added.

Another stakeholder Peter Egbule said that Nigeria has been faced with the challenge of effectively utilising its resources to support equitable economic growth, effective service delivery and social cohesion.

“One of the major driving forces for the development blockade is lack of openness, transparency and accountability in governance“, he said.

He applauded the Ministry for working tirelessly in ensuring that the action plan is validated ahead of its submission by the end of September to the OGP International Secretariat.

This will ensure that Nigeria maintains an uninterrupted membership of the global body. (NAN)

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