By Shuaib Sadiq
Kaduna – Dr Otive Igbuzor, National facilitator of Open Government Partnership (OGP) has advised media professionals to sensitise Nigerians to be active participants in entrenching good governance at all levels in Kaduna state.
Igbuzor gave the advice at a one-day dialogue on OGP with media professionals in Kaduna on Friday, organised by Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) under its Engaged Citizens (EC) platform.
OGP seeks to secure concrete commitments from national and sub-national governments to promote open government, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kaduna state is the only Sub-National member of OGP, it joined shortly after Nigeria signed in to the global partnership in 2016.
Igbuzor also urged media professionals to go beyond reporting events and being fed with information, adding“ the media should be part of the process by fully participating in monitoring and holding government to account for each of its actions for the citizens. “
“As journalists, your key responsibility in OGP is to monitor government and citizens and ensure that everyone is doing the right thing.
Igbuzor enumerated the roles of media to include: educate, inform, entertain, create awareness, monitor, set agenda and hold government to account.
He, however, questioned the way these roles were being carried out by the media in view of the fact that they were grappling with various challenges.
“Government and citizens need to change their mindsets and approach to governance and development.
“Capacity building to implement the National Action Plan and State Action Plan is critical for them to ensure the citizens get what they deserve from government.”
According to him, citizens’ engagement with the OGP process is critical to effective and efficient implementation of its programme in Nigeria.
“Message from OGP summit in Georgia indicates that there is the need for shift in the areas of improving services, citizen participation and rebuilding trust in government.
“Nigeria has taken the commendable step of joining OGP and the Implementation of Nigeria National Action Plan (NAP), which is ongoing.
“Government should begin to align the governing processes with the principles of accountability, technology and innovation, citizen participation and transparency as outlined in the OGP,” he said.
Igbuzor commanded Kaduna state for taking the lead in the country as the first sub-national to join the global national OGP.
He noted that Kaduna was one of the leading states in the world with the eyes and ears of the programme in terms of transparency,contributing a lot to the global OGP process.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Committee on Information, the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Malam Nuhu Shadalafiya, commended media professionals for their objective reportage of events in the state.
“I am always proud anywhere I find myself, because I am from a state that is practising an open government, “he said.
On her part, the State Facilitator for PERL/EC, Hajara Muhammad, said the event was organised for media professionals fir them to understand their role in the OGP implementation.
She said it was also meant to review the progress attained in the implementation of the State OGP Action plan in the state.
“To build synergy among media organisations on how to mainstream OGP into media content for improved delivery of services.
She said it was also for the media to agree on strategies for inclusive OGP sensitisation across the 23 local government areas in the state.