By: ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
As part of measures to sustain the Kaduna State membership of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), Chairman Kaduna State House of Assembly, Committee on Information, Hon. Nuhu Goro Shadalafiya, has urged the state governor, Malam Nasir El-rufai, to institutionalize the initiative.
Shadalafiya, made the call in Zaria, on Friday during a review meeting on the implementation of the OGP, Action Plan in Kaduna state, organised by Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a UKAID, project.
According to the legislator, institutionalizing OGP, would be one of the best things that will happen to Kaduna state since it’s creation, and that if it is not institutionalized, it may die after this government.
“Institutionalizing OGP in Kaduna state would be one of the best thing that will happen to this state, because when you legalize it through the legislative means, it will be difficult for any government to come tomorrow and throw it away, unlike if you have it as an executive order.” He said.
The OGP is a body of international reformers initiated to uphold the characteristics of good governance that has expanded and deepened stakeholders’ engagement in about 96 national and local governments.
This has created the needed cordial environment for civil society organizations (representing the citizens) and the government to view each other as equal partners in progress. This is exemplified in the co-creation process adopted in the development of the National Development Plan (NAP) or State Action Plan (SAP) in the case of sub-nationals.
The OGP is targeted at making government: more transparent, proactive in fighting corruption, empower its citizenry, promote accountability, use new and emerging technologies to fight corruption, amongst others.
The Nigerian Government signed in to the OGP in July 2016. Within Nigeria’s OGP National Action Plan, with fourteen different commitment areas co-created with civil society along four thematic areas, which include fiscal transparency, anti-corruption, access to information and citizen engagement.
A sub-national pathway was defined which allows states and local governments to participate in the process by defining their own independent but related commitment areas. It became necessary for other tiers of government to become part of the initiative for the expected trickle-down effect to happen.
And out of the 36 states in Nigeria, Kaduna, became the first sub-national member to be fully signed in, and has since became a reference point for other Africa countries, where others now sort for knowledge of good governance, in terms of transparency in Open Budgeting, Open Contracting, Ease of Doing business, access to Information and Citizens Engagement.
Because of the above progress by the state and the fact that successive governments, come with their different plans, policies and agenda, Shadalafiya, added, “you know, government comes and government goes, government will come with good intention, and others might come and feel that is not what they are looking for.
“But when you give a stamp and authority to it, it makes it more enduring and long lasting, and people get to live to obey and to work with that law.”
He noted that if the OGP is transformed into a bill that will in turn become a law, repealing or amending it will now be a matter of legislative processes that might scale through or not scale through, saying, “so you see, either way, you are better of.
“Maybe the person who comes in might want to repeal or amend it, during the process, he might change his mind because of the reactions that would come from either the public hearing or from submissions or the Assembly’s report that would finally turn into a bill at the third reading, so I really encourage Malam Nasir Elrufai to look for a way to institutionalize the OGP in Kaduna State.”
Shadalafiya, said the anticipated bill can only be an executive bill, but if the executive don’t come up with the bill, the legislators will look into it up and come up with it as a private member bill.
In his response, Mallam Mustapha Jumare, a Co-Chair, Citizen and Representative, Kaduna OGP, commended the legislator for his stand and sustainability drive for the OGP.
Jumare, called on the Federal Government to also start a process of sustainability of the OGP at the National level.