By Angela Atabo
Abuja – The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) on Thursday said the lack of transparency and accountability in governance were hampering development in Nigeria.
Mr Uchenna Arisukwu, the Programmes Coordinator and Head of Northern Regional Office of Centre LSD, said this at a meeting on “Anti-corruption Commitments of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) organised by the centre in Abuja.
Arisukwu said Nigeria had been faced with the challenge of effectively utilising its resources to support equitable economic growth, effective service delivery and social cohesion because its system of governance was not open.
He added that for Nigeria to come out of this state, it had to embrace OGP.
He explained that OGP was a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving government transparency, accountability and responsiveness to citizens through technology and innovation.
He noted that the initiative, which was founded internationally in 2011 grew from eight countries to 75 countries, with Nigeria joining in 2016 as the 70th country to commit to the initiative.
The coordinator said “data on all government activities should be made accessible
to citizens who would in turn use the information to make demands on government.
“The responsiveness of government to the use of data by citizens was crucial to make open governance meaningful.
“The initiative should ensure that there were more processes and relationships focused endeavours that aim to transform governance and behaviours by opening them up to a wider range of participants.
“If government and citizens embrace open government principles in a tailored stakeholder engagement, the blockades would be dealt with.”
Arisukwu said that with this, reform would take place that would ultimately lead to effective policy, effective budget and effective implementation which would translate to development in Nigeria.
He stressed the need for government to build capacity of citizens on OGP,
as well as change peoples’ orientation, approach and mindset on governance.
He said government needed to begin to align the governing processes to the principles of accountability, technology and innovation, citizen participation and transparency as outlined in the OGP.
Mr Stanley Achonu, the Civil Society Adviser of OGP Nigeria Secretariat, said it was commendable that Nigeria had committed to OGP and drafted a National Action Plan on it.
Achonu said Nigeria needed to push forward the seventh commitment of the initiative
and establish a platform for sharing information among law enforcement agencies and financial sector regulators.
All these, he said, would go a long way to curb corruption and illicit wealth transfers and diversion.
“It will also give Nigeria the ability to correctly utilize its resources,” he added. (NAN)