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Forum tasks govt, CSOs on open governance

The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) has tasked the federal and state governments as well as the civil society organisations (CSOs) to leverage on the benefits of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) for good governance.

The acting Executive Director of the centre, Mr. Monday Osasah, who was represented by the Programmes Coordinator, Mr. Uchenna Arisukwu made the call on Thursday at a two-day Media Training on Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Lokoja, Kogi state.

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He said the OGP is an international multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving transparency, accountability, citizen participation and also engenders responsiveness to citizens through technology innovation.

According to Arisukwu, Nigeria in July 2016 joined the OGP as the 70th country and that by this, the country is committed to making its government open, transparent and accountable to its citizens.

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“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 is needed by government, civil society organisations and the media,” he said.

Arisukwu said the training was aimed at familiarising journalists with the process and structure of the OGP and to drive its advocacy in government activities in the interest of national development.

A former National Coordinator of the Open Alliance, Mr. Abayomi Akinbo, while speaking on the “History of the OGP” said the OGP contained four  thematic areas and 14 commitments across the thematic areas.

According to Akinbo, the OGP 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 principles of the OGP.

An OGP facilitator from Freedom FM Kaduna, Mr. Joshua James, said that co-creation, an economic strategy used in management was necessary in implementing the OGP.

He said this would serve as an instrument in achieving reforms and that the OGP was a solution to solving Nigeria’s problems using local approach.

“To achieve this, the media and civil society organisations ought to be kept informed so as to hold the government responsible,” James said.

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