The Open Alliance, a coalition of Nigerian civil society groups that seeks transparency in governance and public finance has commended Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, for publicly committing to make the West African nation a member of the global Open Government Partnership.
Open Alliance said it welcomed the people and government of Nigeria to the distinguished cohort of 69 of its peers across the world already committed to accountability in their dealings. Nigeria will become the 12th African nation to join the voluntary partnership.
At the Anti-corruption Summit hosted by UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, President Buhari committed the Nigerian Government to the Open Government Partnership with definite steps that if properly followed are potent tools to address corruption and increase citizen participation in governance.
“The news of Nigeria joining the OGP is quite gratifying for us as it represents a commitment by the Buhari Administration to Nigerians and the international community to run an open and participatory government in a country in desperate need of good governance, after decades of denial. We in civil society stand ready to play our part in this process, firstly to hold the government accountable to this commitment but more importantly to work with the government and its agencies to achieve the promise that Nigeria’s membership of the OGP holds for the people of this country” said Edetaen Ojo, the Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda
Mr. Buhari committed to Open Contracting, an approach whereby transparency frameworks are applied to procurement systems in obligated countries.
“We believe the use of Open Contracting Standards along with citizens’ access data on the beneficial owners of such contracts has a strong potential to end systemic corrupt practices of contract inflation, mismanagement and non-implementation.
“The global Open Government movement is worth joining, as it formally seeks to broaden access to data and information, ensure transparency and accountability, and strengthen citizen engagement in the activities of government and in the democratic process,” Seember Nyager of non-profit Public Private Development Center said.
“Even better is that, whilst the OGP enables multilateral collaboration in the sharing of best practices for the implementation of Open Data principles, the initiative simultaneously allows each country align her commitments to its national priority, as identified by government and the public,” Ms Nyager added.
The Open Alliance noted that President Buhari’s announcement was crucial to the advancement of Nigeria’s democracy, boosting the efficiency of its institutions and encouraging citizen participation in governance.
“We respectfully advise the Nigerian government to take further steps as needed, to ensure that there is an inclusive framework with extensive input from civil society, to achieve the development, and subsequent implementation of a bold action plan for the Open Government Partnership. This will validate the Buhari government’s interest in doing things differently and making a break with the past,” Oluseun Onigbinde, Lead Partner, BudgIT said.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multilateral initiative and a global open government movement with a cohort of 69 participating countries, 11 of which are African countries.
This initiative, which allows for government, civil society and public to work as equal partners, is hinged on the formalization of citizen engagement and participation to drive institutional and social reforms.
Some of the grand challenges that the OGP tackles include improving public services, increasing public integrity, more effectively managing public resources, creating safer communities and increasing corporate accountability.
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