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We should support Open Data initiative

Currently, the federal government is meeting with stakeholders on open data policy and e-government master plan which are veritable policies to curb corruption, open sectors to create opportunities for economic growth, investment, jobs, and information sharing.

Open Data has gained traction in the global space in view of the awareness of citizens of their rights and the emergence of the Open Government Partnership(OGP) and digital revolution as well as the recognition of the economic benefits of Open Data.

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It is common knowledge to everyone that, Ministries, Extra-Ministerial and Agencies (MDAs) website generates a lot of data in Nigeria and entrepreneurs can use the data to create new products and services as well as insight into the operation of government activities.

It is well known that Nigeria signed into Open Government Partnership(OGP) in 2016, which is a new initiative involving more than 70 countries in the world and aimed at securing concrete commitment from governments to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption and harness new technologies to make government more open, effective and accountable.

It is worthy to note that some states have now commenced their open data initiatives and portals, thereby allowing innovative Nigeria youths to deploy their knowledge in finding solutions to the mirage of problems confronting this nation.

They can now develop applications that would ease traffic jams in our cities, analyse data from government website to create applications that would ease business operation in public hospitals, create software that would enable students in the secondary and higher institutions to have less cumbersome registration and creation of applications that would monitor our environment as well as applications that would curb our security challenges.

Nigerians need not to sit on the fence now as the government has provided the necessary impetus to monitor their activities especially in the area of projects implementation in all ministries.

We have to be involved to monitor the budget preparation and execution as well as monitoring of contractors working on various projects in the country. This is an opportunity for our youths in the ICT sector to deploy their creativity and ingenuity to develop software that would enable citizens to monitor and report progress of government projects in the country.

In addition, Nigerians have to be aware that the federal government is committed to the following actions in concert with the international Open Data Charter and its principles such as publishing open data in a discoverable, machine-readable, useful formats, work with civil society organization to prioritize open data sets for release and support to innovators.

Bolaji Kazeem can be reached at:bolajikazeem3@gmail.com

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