FG calls for more citizens participation in governance 

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Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria President

By Joseph Chibueze, Abuja

The federal government has called on Nigerians to get more involved in the governance of the nation through active participation.

Minister of State, Budget and National Planning,  Prince Clem Agba made this call at a media briefing to mark the 2022 global Open Government Partnership (OGP) week held in Abuja.

He said Nigerians should stop complaining that government is not meeting their expectations but get involved in deciding how the government is run.

He also informed that as part of the present administration’s commitment to transparency in governance and in accordance with the OGP principles, the federal government has developed an application – eyemark.ng – to encourage feedback from the citizens.

According to him, “Nigerians should download this app on their phones. There are government projects that have been pre-loaded for the people to see and make comments on what they like or dislike about the project.

“If government claims it has completed a project but has not or the job was not done properly, you can take photographs of the project using the app and send feedback to us.

“The essence of this app is to warn all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that they are being closely monitored by the citizens. “

The minister who is also the public sector co-chair of OGP Nigeria, said the OGP remains a viable platform for civil  society organisations  (CSOs) to constructively engage government on operational basis, therefore ensuring a more responsive governance.

Agba said President Muhammadu Buhari signed Nigeria into the Open Government Partnership in 2016 in keeping with his campaign promise of fighting corruption in the country.

So far according to the minister, through the implimentation of the OGP programme, the budgetary process in Nigeria is now more inclusive,  participatory and accessible than it had ever been.

“In addition to that, procurement processes are now open and transparent, courtesy of the OGP. The Bureau for Public Procurement during the implimentation of our National Action Plan 1 (NAP 1) developed the NOCOPO portal where all government procurement processes are available and accessible at the click of a button. This is in line with global Open contracting data standards,” he said.

The minister noted that so far the government has developed two National Action Plans – NAP I and NAP II. “NAP I elapsed in June 2019, while NAP II which succeeded it will come to an end in August this year. We are already working on NAP III. I want to use this opportunity to encourage all citizens to make their input and their voices heard in the development of NAP III which is at the public consultation stage,” Agba said.

He expressed gratitude to partners both local and international partners that have supported Nigeria in the implementation of the open government programmes especially Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a programme funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Officer (FCDO); the United States Agency for International Development  (USAID); MacArthur Foundation; Open Society Initiative for West Africa  (OSIWA), now Open Society Initiative; the Ford Foundation as well as Trust Africa among others.

Earlier in his remarks,  the Non-state Actors (NSA) co-chair OGP Nigeria, Dr. Taylor Aduloju, said the whole essence of the OGP is to get the people involved in governance.

In his words, “Since the commencement of the OGP, there has been more open essential in the budgeting process. We are glad that is happening, we may not have reached where we want to be in terms of holding government accountable, but we have made progress.

“We are also promoting accountability reporting, this is a process that is crucial for good governance, it creates opportunity for citizens to ask questions about what is going on in the governance of the nation.”

He commended the federal government for its commitment to the full implementation of the OGP principles in Nigeria.

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