Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has called on the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, to take urgent steps to ensure Nigeria’s membership of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international multi-stakeholder initiative launched in 2011 to improve government transparency, accountability and responsiveness to citizens in participating countries.
Mr. Ojo made the call on August 4, 2015 while tweeting as Guest at a “Tweetmeet” organized by BudgIT. He argued that Nigeria’s membership of the OGP would bring immense benefits to the Government, the country and help to consolidate the OGP in Africa, which he described as the region of the world where the initiative is most needed.
Mr. Ojo, said “Given the message of ‘change’ that President Buhari campaigned on, it seemed natural that his Government would embrace the OGP,” adding “If there is any multinational platform on transparency and good governance that Nigeria needs to belong to right now, it is OGP.”
Enumerating the benefits of Nigeria’s membership of the initiative, Ojo said Nigeria’s membership of OGP and the openness it will bring will create a more conducive environment for media freedom and development; create more conducive environment for media freedom and development.
Additionally, he said Nigeria can benefit from peer learning and technical assistance opportunities created by OGP Working Groups, meetings and summits; Nigeria’s membership of the OGP will help to promote and entrench dialogue between the Government and civil society; it will facilitate the joint solving of identified problems by the government and civil society; and help to move the government towards a more open and inclusive approach to policy-making.
Ojo noted that many of President Buhari’s campaign promises to reform governance align with the open government agenda that the OGP represents and joining the OGP, with its open government agenda, would help the Buhari Administration itself win the trust of most Nigerians.
Nigeria is currently eligible to join OGP, having scored 12 points out of the maximum 16 points possible and therefore needs to take these decisive steps now to join the OGP and lead Africa’s membership of the multi-stakeholder initiative.
Ojo noted that “It is disappointing that Nigeria is lagging behind countries like Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Malawi which are already OGP members.”
Other African countries which are members of the OGP are South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania Tunisia and Cape Verde.
By joining the OGP, Ojo said, Nigeria would also be helping to consolidate OGP in Africa, a continent which really needs the initiative. In addition, Nigeria will plug into a global network of policy experts, advocates and technologists that work on similar issues.
The OGP was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. It has grown from eight to 66 participating countries where government and civil society are working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms.