By Michael Peter,The Sight News
Abuja:The African Center for Leadership Strategy and Development, Center LSD has said that Nigerians must continue to push government to be more open in all aspects of governance, as vigilance is needed to achieve liberty.
While commending government for its efforts towards openness in governance, the Director General of Center LSD, Otive Igbuzor acknowledged that more however, is needed to be done in attaining full implementation of the OGP project in Nigeria.
“There are challenges but in many ways government has opened a lot of things. For instance, government has set up a citizens portal for the budget. So the budget which in the past used to be seen as a secret document can be accessed now through the citizens portal”.
He said, “As a citizen you can look at an item in the budget and go and find out whether it is being implemented. If it is badly implemented, you take the picture and you report back to that same portal and the minister and the DG of budget, will see what you are doing. So openness is increasing”.
“In procurement, in fact Nigeria has just won an award for developing an open system of procurement.
“In terms of freedom of information, the Ministry of Justice is pushing forward for more agencies to implement freedom of information. In Nigeria today, the Bureau of Public Service Reform, is the leading agency for providing information for citizens. So, yes, there are still challenges but government is making deliberate efforts to be more open”, he said.
The OGP project which started in 2011 by eight countries was designed to to promote openness, transparency and accountability in the use of resources in countries of the world.
Recall that Nigeria joined the partnership in 2016, becoming the 70th country to join.
He said “it is a commendable move that government has signed up to the open Government Partnership. The challenge is that citizens of Nigeria, government and indeed everyone need to have a Change of mindset and a change of orientation to implement the 14 transformatory commitment, that government has made, So that resources of the country will deliver services to citizens”.
Otive was speaking with journalists at a training workshop for Open Alliance Members, on the Open Government Partnership, OGP, in Nigeria,
He also stated that if Nigeria’s 14 commitments are implemented well, the nation will “come out of recession, and transparency and accountability will increase, the resources of the country will deliver services to the citizens”.
At the two day workshop, are representatives of civil society organizations who are members of the Alliance, the representatives of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, Ministry of Justice, and that of the Donor partner, the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.