By: ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
As part of plans to improve transparency, accountability, citizen participation and use of technology and innovation at the local level in Kaduna State, local government areas in the state have indicated interest in joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP).
Recall that the Kaduna state government made history by becoming the first state in the country to fully join the OGP, after meeting all criteria, is about to break another ground by becoming the first subnational to take the OGP into the LGAs.
Speaking on the successes so far on the OGP LGAs, in Zaria, at the weekend, 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, Yusuf Ishaku Goje, Convener, Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment& Development (CALPED), and Member, Technical Working Group, commitment one OGP Kaduna, said, domestication of the co-creation principles of the OGP has commenced in Lere Zangon Kataf and Kaduna north LGA.
According to him, some of the LGAs, has already commenced the process to forming it Technical Working Groups (TWGs), and the establishment of Civil Society (CS), liaison desk office.
“Lere and Zangon Kataf local government councils have opened official social media handles (Facebook and Twitter), Lere and Zangon Kataf local governments have agreed that the TWGs will organize the 2019 budget town hall meetings.
“More local governments have indicated interest (Kudan, Sabon Gari, Kaduna North, Kachia, Jemaá, Kagarko. Buy-in of non-state actors at the in Lere, Zangon Kataf and Kaduna North, buy-in of the Lere and Zangon Kataf local government councils.” He added.
Goje, identified, low awareness and weak citizens engagement of the OGP commitments, Fiscal Responsibility Law leading to lack of ownership of governance at the local level; especially rural communities, are some of the major problems facing OGP at the local level.
He said due to the heightening of political activities, there is misperception of the localization of the OGP Kaduna and that the people are seeing it as a propagation of the ruling party in the state. And that due to the mass sack of workers recently by the state government, the people no longer trust the government.
He noted that after, much awareness creation, among various stakeholders such as, local government council, traditional and religious leaders, tribal associations, networks of CSOs and active citizens. Community Development Associations Political parties, Youths and women groups, Persons with Disabilities and Professional Bodies, they saw the need the to become active participants.
“Our objectives were to; increase citizens awareness, participation and ownership of the OGP/governance with focus on commitment one and two the rural local government areas.
“Get the buy-in of stakeholders and domestication of the co-creation principles of the OGP’ generate strategies and activities for mainstreaming citizens voice at the local level into the #OGPKaduna, all these we have achieved.”
Some of the strategies, implored according to Goje, were, “stakeholders mapping, engagement & involvement, civic-tech (most community members are active on social media). Identification and partnership with networks & active citizens, participatory learning approach, tailored communication and feedback mechanism.”
He enumerated the following as part of the activities carried out during the LGAs awareness campaign; “promoting the concept of civic-tech (Facebook and Twitter) to create awareness using the hashtag #OGPKaduna, appearance on Hausa radio programs (Freedom and KSMC) to increase awareness on #OGP with focus on commitment one and two.
“Capacity building training/sensitization for over 40 representatives of CDAs/CSOs in Kaduna city, Lere & Zangon Kataf on #OGPKaduna with focus on strategies to engage commitment one, dialogue and strategy session for government & CSOs on domesticating the co-creation principles of the OGP in Lere.”