Following the launch of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), that seeks to secure concrete commitments from national and subnational governments to promote open government, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance in Nigeria, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, a Federal Facilitator for Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), Engaged Citizens (EC) has noted that the role of the media must go beyond attending events and being fed with information.
Dr. Otive, said rather than wait to be invited to cover events, the media should be part of the process by fully participating by monitoring and holding government to accountable, this according to him is the opportunity the OGP presents.
He made the submission on Thursday in Kaduna during a presentation of OGP overview, at a “Step Down Media Dialogue” on OGP, with media executives in Kaduna state, organized by PERL.
“As journalists, one your key responsibility in OGP, is to monitor the government and the citizens and ensures that every one is doing the right thing. All over the world, there is declining of government and the media most play it’s role by holding government accountable. He added.
Otive, enumarated the role of media as to; to educate, inform, entertain, create awareness, monitor, set agenda and hold government to account, but questioned “how are these roles being played? what are the challenges? how can the role be played better? what can be done differently?
“Government and citizens need to change their mindset and approach to governance and development. Capacity building to implement the National Action Plan and State Action plan is critical.
Engagement of citizens in the OGP process is key to effective and efficient implementation of OGP 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.”
He explained that Nigeria has taken the commendable step of joining the OGP, and theImplementation of Nigeria National Action Plan (NAP), which is ongoing.
And that government should begin to align the governing processes to the principles of accountability, technology and innovation, citizen participation and transparency as outlined in the OGP.
Otive, commanded Kaduna State for taken the lead in the country as the first Sub-national to join the global National OGP, saying, Kaduna is one of the leading state in the world with the eyes and ears programme in terms of transparency, which is already contributing a lots to the global OGP process.
Earlier in his remarks, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Committee Chairman of Information, Hon. Nuhu Shadalafiya, commended the media for their responsive reportage of activities in Kaduna state.
“Am always proud anywhere i found myself, because am from a state that is practicing an open government.” He said.
The aim of the meeting, according to Hajara, was “to better understand the role of the media in the OGP implementation, to review the progress made on the implementation of the State OGP Action plan.
“To build synergy among media organizations on how to mainstreamed OGP into media content for improved delivery of services, to agree strategies for inclusive OGP sensitization across the 23 LGAs in the State by the Media”