The Civil Society Groups of Nigeria, in collaboration with other stakeholders, have urged the Federal Government, to review some of the existing laws to strengthening governance between governments and the citizens.
They made the call at a roundtable on review of laws on “Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Nigeria,” in Abuja.
It was organised by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (ACLSD).
Dr Otive Igbuzor, the Executive Director of ACLSD, said that for decades now, Nigeria had continued to grapple with the challenges of effectively utilising its resources for equitable economic growth.
Igbuzor explained that the challenges had remained so, because majority of government activities were shrouded in secrecy and thus narrowed the space for citizens’ engagement.
According to him, in line with the National Action Plan and in the spirit of co-creation, ACLSD and other stakeholders are parts of the implementers of OGP in Nigeria.
“This entails that government and civil society groups should come together, review the laws that promote transparency and accountability and make suggestions to the National Assembly.
“OGP is a global movement for open government for promotion of transparency and accountability in governance aimed at involving other citizens in the process of governance,“ he said.
Igbuzor said that the Federal Government, in its efforts to deepen institutional and policy reforms, joined the OGP in July 2016 as the 70th member of the group of government and citizens across the world.
He said that OGP was formally launched in 2011 when the eight founding governments of Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States endorsed the OGP Declaration.
According to him, the member countries announced their country’s action plans at the OGP inauguration ceremony.
The ACLSD director highlighted the four key principles of OGP to include transparency, accountability, technology and innovation and citizens’ participation in governance.
“Every government that joins the partnership prepares a national action plan; the plan is co-created by the government and civil society group by identifying commitments that are most important to the country.
“It is in the spirit of co-creation of the OGP process that we are organising this roundtable to focus on the existing legislations on transparency and accountability issues and make recommendation to the National Assembly,” he said.
In his comments, Mr Edetaen Ojo, the Executive Director, Media Right Agenda, explained that the roundtable was one of the concrete steps being taken to advance an important commitment made by Nigeria in its National Action Plan (NAP)- Commitment 13.
“Wherein Nigeria made a commitment as follows: government-civil society to jointly review existing legislation on transparency and accountability issues and make recommendations to the National Assembly,’’ Ojo said.
Also, Mr Isa Ibrahim, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said that openness and transparency were fundamental to ensuring that Nigerians have trust in their government and in democracy.
He said that citizens were expecting their governments to be opened, transparent and accountable in the process of governance.