By Angela Atabo
The African Centre for Leadership,Strategy and Development Centre has urged the Federal and State Governments and the civil society to leverage on the Open Government Partnership(OGP) for good governance.
The Programmes Co-odinator of the Centre, Mr Uchenna Arisukwu, made the call at the opening of a two-day Media Training on Open Government Partnership(OGP) in Lokoja, Kogi.
According to Arisukwu, OGP is an international multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving transparency ,accountability, citizen participation and also engendered responsiveness to citizens through technology innovation.
He said that Nigeria had in July 2016 joined the OGP as the 70th country, adding that by this, it became committed to making its government open ,transparent and accountable to its citizens.
He said that the idea behind the OGP was about making the people to hold the government accountable and enable them to have the capacity to ask questions.
“In order to ensure active compliance to the OGP commitments, the federal government and non-state actors developed the National Action Plan(NAP).
“Nigeria stands to benefit a great deal when the OGP initiative is fully implemented and adopted by all stakeholders.
“This is because for the OGP to succeed in Nigeria, a deliberate collective effort by government,civil society organisations and the media is needed,” Arisukwu said.
He said that the OGP required a high level commitment by all stakeholders to succeed and deliver its dividends to the citizens.
He said that the media training was aimed at familiarising journalists with the process and structure of the OGP and to drive the advocacy of the OGP in government activities.
Mr Abayomi Akinbo, former Coordinator,Open Alliance, in his presentation titled: “History of the OGP”,said that the OGP contained four thematic areas and 14 commitments across the thematic areas.
Akinbo said it also had 60 milestone activities and that the criteria for eligibility included fiscal transparency ,access to information, public disclosure of assets and citizen engagement .
He said that though the partnership was voluntary, a state or country could lose greatly in terms of foreign investment and development if it failed to commit to the OGP.
He said that with a good political will to the OGP by making the government open and transparent, Nigeria’s economy would be boosted.
Mr Joshua James ,a facilitator from Freedom FM Kaduna, said that co-creation of an economic strategy used in management was necessary in implementing the OGP.
This,James said, would serve as an instrument in achieving reforms.
” OGP is a community of people who identify local problems,proffer local solutions ,collaboratively implement the solution to meet international standards and then evaluate progress made,” he said.
He said to achieve this ,the media and civil society organisations ought to be more informed so as to hold the government accountable.