By Philip Yatai
Kaduna – Stakeholders working for Open Government Partnership (OGP) have began sensitisation campaign to enable residents demand for transparency and accountability in the running of government affairs in Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) reports that the state signed into the Open Governance Partnership platform in 2017.
One of the stakeholders, Mr Saied Tafida of Follow Taxes, explained on Monday at a sensitisation forum in Kaduna that the main aim was to enable the people engage government and demand for improvement in service delivery.
Tafida, who is also the Secretary, OGP Kaduna, said the partnership was to encourage openness in budgeting and contract awards, ensure ease of doing business, enhance access to information and citizens engagement.
According to him, the essence is to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency and accountability and empower citizens to fight corruption in governance.
“We can’t hold government accountable If we do not play our roles well as citizens. As citizens, Nigeria belong to us and the government is supposed to be working for the people.
“As such, we are supposed to be responsible in setting government agenda through dialogue and advocacy.
“We have a role to play in policy formulation, decision making, policy implementation and policy evaluation toward ensuring improved quality of services and prudent use of public funds,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Yusuf Goje of Coalition of Association for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development, said that citizens have a stake in governance and have a right to demand for quality service delivery.
According to him, governance in the country had not made impact because citizens are not asking those in position of authority questions and demanding for services due to them.
Goje explained that the forum was organised to equip individuals and groups with knowledge on ways to tap into the advantages of the OGP platform in the state.
“The goal is to equip citizens with the knowledge about Kaduna State fiscal responsibly law, public procurement, tax codification law and freedom of information.
“It provides a platform for us to brainstorm on approaches in strengthening the enforcement of relevant laws in demanding for transparency, accountability and responsiveness.
“This will enable citizens know how to utilize the available legal instruments to hold government accountable in ensuring that those in authority work for the people,” he said.
Mr Solomon Apenji, a legal practitioner, during a plenary on Fiscal Responsibly Law, urged people to take ownership of governance, stressing that Nigeria belongs to the people.
Similarly, Mr Joshua James, Executive Producer, Open Kaduna, said that OGP was a tool for better governance and sought for support to ensure success.