For the implementation of the Kaduna Open Government Partnership (OGP) State Action Plan 2018-2020 to achieve its potentials, then, the role of the media is very germane, Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna Council, Comr. Adamu Yusuf has said.
The Council’s Chairman, who stated this during day 2 of a 2-day (December 6-7) Kaduna State OGP steering committee and other critical stakeholders retreat held at a hotel in Abuja was quick to add that, media practitioners should strive to be up to date in affairs of the state particularly, as it affects the lives of ruralists.
OGP is an international multi-stakeholders initiative focused on improving transparency, accountability, citizen participation and responsiveness to citizens through technology and innovation. It provide a permanent platform to connect, empower and support state actors committed to transforming governments and society through openness. (Kaduna OGP Action Plan: page 11).
Although there are identified challenges limiting the media to what they can do including that of interests and resource mobilisation, but Adamu believed that, with proper orientation vis-à-vis interest in good governance, the challenges are surmountable.
“We know that as media, we have a very important role to play when it comes to OGP in Kaduna State. Already, some of us are already doing what we now know as OGP.
“We also know there are limitations hindering our people to do this from time to time due to interest or resources required to carry out investigative journalism and their role as watchdog.
“But I know, these challenges are surmountable. We will play our role to make this a huge success because we believe in the success and prosperity of our dear state”, he added.
Handling one of the key sessions called ‘understanding monitoring and evaluations’, with particular reference to Kaduna state action plan, International Development Consultant, Baba Zakari Zakariya noted that, for the OGP Kaduna to be measurable and sustainable, issues of monitoring and evaluation should never be taken for granted by all partners.
“This is where success or failure of the programme rested. We need to be up and doing. Our set goal and objectives with regard to this course should be given attention. Proper attention. We should put in our best to be part of history.
“Monitoring and evaluation is very important and anyone, any group all partners can make this happen”, he urged.
The interest to subscribe to OGP initiative by Kaduna State was conceived since 2015.
The State find OGP platform as a tool to further strengthen its reform initiatives such as fiscal transparency, public procurement law, improving tax revenue generation, ease of doing business, access to information and citizens engagement which is currently weak.
It was however noted that, there is the need to come up with initiatives such as making the OGP campaign available in local language to get to those who don’t understand English language or pidgin in order to make it a household name in all nooks and crannies of Kaduna state which is the ultimate intention of the platform.
At the end of the retreat, each of the four thematic working groups identified their role and promised to work towards realisation of the overall objective of the OGP which centred on improved service delivery in Kaduna State.