26 States yet to Sign into Open Govt. Partnership – Group

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26 States yet to Sign into Open Govt. Partnership – Group

Open Alliance Nigeria on Monday said that 26 states in Nigeria have not signed into the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an initiative devised to enhance good governance by promoting openness.

Mr Edetaen Ojo, Chairman, Steering Committee, Open Alliance Co-Chair, OGP Nigeria National Steering Committee, said this at the General Open Alliance Meeting in Abuja.

Ojo said that the OGP was an international initiative committed to encourage government to open up its governance to curtail undue secrecy.

He said the OGP initiative was launched in 2011 to provide platform for governments to be accountable and responsive to citizens and to assist in achieving the desired governance goals.

He listed Kaduna, Kano, Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia, Enugu, Niger, Edo, Adamawa and Jigawa, as the 10 states out of 36 that had so far signed up and domesticated OGP in the country.

“We have been going round to sensitise states on the importance of domesticating the OGP; while we have recorded some successes, we have also suffered some setbacks since Nigeria adopted the OGP.

“Some of those setbacks are attributable to the nature of any learning process; one is bound to make mistakes while learning and it may even be argued that making mistakes helps the learning process.

“A major concern is that we have not been as engaged as we ought to be, as I strongly believe that we ought to be farther along in the governance reform process than we are.

“I do not believe that we in the civil society have taken adequate advantage of the opportunity presented to us by the OGP process, to engage with government officials for the reform of many aspects of governance for the benefit of the Nigerian people,’’ he said.

Ojo stressed the need for more states to join the partnership, so as to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.

He said that the OGP process in Nigeria would be going through significant transitional processes on several fronts during 2019 especially that of transiting from the first National Action Plan to the second.

He said that the second National Action Plan would be due in about two months’ time, adding that the development and delivery of a National Action Plan was not a small matter within the OGP process.

“A country’s failure to deliver its National Action Plan when it is due can result in the country being placed under review, as we have seen with the United States,’’ he said.

Ojo, therefore, stressed the need to snap out of the lethargy afflicting the development and delivery of the second National Action Plan in order to avoid the inevitable national embarrassment that we will suffer.

He urged the civil society organisations to engage with a principal partner, the Government, to create Government’s awareness on these challenges as well as their implications.

This, he said, would go a long way to strengthen the OGP initiative in Nigeria, adding that the Nigerian government needed to put its weight behind the OGP to succeed in the country.

Earlier, Ms Ayomide Faleye, National Coordinator, Open Alliance, said that the aim of the meeting was to look at the first National Action Plan (NAP) of the OGP to know how far the nation had faired.

Faleye said that the aim of the meeting was to also chart the way forward for the development of the second NAP.

She said that the meeting would also look at the major goals achieved in the first NAP and the level of implementation, in order to encourage accountability in governance.

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