Nigeria has a national anti-corruption strategy which is currently being implemented, and states like Kano have already keyed into it. Nigeria is implementing its 3rd national action plan as part of the open government partnership process and many states in Nigeria are implementing various reforms under the OGP initiative. We are aware that some specific reforms are already being implemented by the Edo state government, and we will discuss how to promote such initiatives, increase inclusion and civil society participation in the process.
In this discussion, we will provide update on these issues, galvanize stakeholders interest, identify stakeholders ready to drive specific initiatives and agree on actions needed to push for the approval and implementation of some that require government attention. This discourse will also be used to mobilize public support for government reforms that are progressive, people-oriented and other significant opportunity for public participation.
We have worked with several partners to advance some of these initiatives that promote transparency, accountability and public participation in governance in Edo state. The effort saw us working with ROLAC, Westminster foundation for democracy, the OGP National secretariat, the Edo state government and several civil society groups. Through the collaboration, Edo state government joined the open government partnership in 2018. Stakeholders have been duly sensitized on the concept of the OGP and their role in the implementation initiative. Training has been held for state and non-state actors, where the draft state action plan SAP, was developed. We even organized retreat foe state and non-state actors to generate the OGP state action plan. The steering committee for the OGP in Edo state has been constituted and inaugurated by the Edo state governor himself. Unfortunately, the momentum dropped when the first tenure of the administration ended, and up till now the SAP is yet to be formally approved by the governor for implementation.
About the same time, the edo state integrity and accountability strategy was also developed with the implementation framework designed to facilitate full operation realization. The mission was to reduce corruption through strengthened institutional frameworks, fiscal transparency, accountability, and the rule of law. We worked with civil society organisations, prepared a monitoring framework to monitor and report on its implementation. Such an important document is still pending and awaiting the governor’s approval.
That is not all. A draft freedom of information law has equally evolved from stakeholder engagement and advocacy.; this draft bill was put together by the legal drafting team of the Edo state ministry of justice. This has also not been taken forward despite our push. There is now need to reactivate discussion and advocacy on all these issues, and many more, to ensure that the time and effort put into generating and preparing these important draft documents is not wasted.
Our organisation has thus conceived a civil society led initiative to revamp stakeholder interest on these issues, to promote transparency, accountability and public participation in the governance of our dear state. We hope that this discussion has provided another opportunity to make a case for full operationalization of the EDSIAS, OGP, FOI and other transparency initiatives in Edo state.