The Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens, in November 2014 announced that due to recent changes in its eligibility criteria, Nigeria has finally met the criteria to join the global body.
In order to ensure that Nigeria joins the OGP and accordingly enjoys these benefits, BudgIT has announced the formation of Open Alliance Nigeria.
Open Alliance Nigeria is a coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) driving openness and transparency in Nigeria. The members of the Alliance include: EiE Nigeria, Public Private Development Center (PPDC), Connected Development (CODE), CLEEN Foundation, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, PIN and supported by Partners for Democratic Development Washington (P4DC). These organizations have been working individually to promote open government and will now join forces in a coalition to engage government on issues of openness and transparency.
“We believe that open data should focus on useful data that has potential to drive public sector efficiency and provide opportunity for private enterprises to leverage open data for their businesses. Open data should focus on useful data that has potential to improve interaction between government and citizens. The discussion on open data should be seen not as an attempt to humiliate government but instead to create incentives for citizens’ use” says Oluseun Onigbinde Lead Partner/ Co-Founder at BudgIT.
“As civil society representatives on the Open Data Nigeria working group set up by the Ministry of Communication Technology, PPDC would work towards ensuring that citizen’s perspectives on the usage of open data are reflected in the implementation of Open Data mechanisms public service wide. The Open Alliance is critical to identifying and collating such feedback from wider groups of citizens ” says Seember Nyager, the Chief Executive Officer of Public Private Development Center PPDC and a member of the Open Data Nigeria Working Group set up by the Minister of ICT.
“We have spent a few weeks planning for the launch of this Alliance, I am glad that we are making this announcement now. We will hold an inaugural meeting this week and I believe that more organisations will join us. Nigeria, having met eligibility criteria to join Open Government Partnership, must take the next step of developing a National Action Plan with civil society organisations like members of this alliance. We want to speak with one powerful and effective voice as soon as the process of developing this action plan starts.’ says Stanley Achonu, Operations Lead at BudgIT who is coordinating the alliance.
In the first instance, the Alliance will focus on Open Budget, Open Contracting, Open Parliament, Open Access, Open Data Evidence and Open Data for business; these are the areas where members of the Alliance have worked individually and this coalition will undoubtedly create a greater opportunity to do more.
For more updates on the alliance, its activities and Nigeria’s involvement in the OGP, visit openalliance.ng