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We are ready for Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Ekiti - Abiodun Oyeleye

By Olawale Adewale, The Nigerian Voice, Osogbo 

The Executive Director of New Initiative for Social Development (NISD) in Ekiti state, Mr Abiodun Oyeleye today said Ekiti state is ready to sign to Open Government Partnership (OGP).

Speaking at OGP Review Forum in Abuja today, Oyeleye expressed optimism that the new administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi would be transparent, accountable and engage the citizens which OGP entails.

The OGP Review Forum which was organised by PERL, a programme of the Department for International Development (DFID) was attended by participants drawn from states across the country.

During the meeting, the OGP steering committee members from Kano, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Anambra, Niger, Enugu, Abia, Ekiti, Jigawa, Edo, Kogi and Bauchi states shared experiences, challenges and rendered progress reports.

While about ten states have signed in to OGP, none of the South West state joined and this has been a source of worry for concerned stakeholders.

Oyeleye charged Fayemi to sign in to Open Government Partnership without delay, saying that the people of Ekiti state would benefit immensely from the initiative.

According to him, "Ekiti State is yet to sign into OGP, and with new administration of Dr Kayode Fayemi, , Ekiti stands best chance to be the first state to sign in to OGP among South West States."

"In going forward, Civil Society Organisations/Non-State Actors (NSAs) needs to be educated about what is OGP, processes, principles and benefits to Ekiti State," Oyeleye said.

In her remarks, the National Team Leader of Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), Dr. Adiya Ode urged government functionaries at all levels in Nigeria to engage and carry the citizens along in their policy formulation, programmes and activities from the conception, planning to implementation stages.

She emphasized the need for the government to be open and work with the citizens in line with the principles of OGP which include transparency, accountability, citizens engagement as well as technology and innovation.

Adiya also charged the focal persons in the state that have signed in to OGP to intensity efforts in strengthening and concretizing the process so to ensure effective service delivery for the good of the citizenry.

The National Programme Manager, Accountability, Responsive and Capable Government, Mr Ifeanyi Peters expressed the need to mainstream OGP and promote its principles effectively to achieve the objectives of introducing the concept.

The Executive Director of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), Dr Otive Igbuzor who is also a DFID/PERL Partnership Facilitator while moderating the sessions at the meeting reiterated the need to stick to the principles of OGP as individual states internalise the concept of open government partnership.

The DFID/PERL Partnership Facilitator, Dr James Zasha said effective co-coordination is very important for success of OGP and urged participants to step up their commitment for the attainment of the goals of OGP in Nigeria.