Kaduna Gov’t to strengthen public participation in governance – El-Rufai

Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State on Wednesday said that his administration would strengthen civic space and public participation in governance.

El-Rufai said this in Kaduna, at the opening of a three-day event to commemorate the 2021 Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit holding in South Korea.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2021 summit has three thematic areas – strengthening civic space and public participation, tackling corruption; and promoting inclusive digital innovation.

The governor said that Kaduna state would focus on strengthening civic space and broaden citizens’ participation in governance through the implementation of the 2021 to 2023 State Action Plan.

El-Rufai described the civic space in state as one of the “most active” in the country, adding that the quality of engagement was improving fiscal transparency and accountability in the state.

The governor said the 2021 to 2023 action plan would focus on open budget, open contracting, citizens’ engagement, strengthening social protection systems and improving service delivery in health and education sectors.

El-Rufai also said that relevant ministries, departments and agencies have been mandated to prioritise the implementation of activities in the areas of commitment.

“We have given special priority to the health and education sectors. We are committed to improving the lives of the poor and vulnerable through strengthening of social protection systems in the state,” he said.

He said the state government in 2016 subscribed to the OGP based on its desire to promote fiscal responsibility, access to information and citizens’ engagement.

The governor said that the 2018 to 202 State Action Plan was developed through a consultative process between the government and civil society organisations.

El-Rufai said that through the OGP principles of co-creation, the government made a commitment to open budgeting, open contracting, ease of doing business, citizens’ engagement and access to information.

“Following the vigorous implementation of the action plan, Kaduna state in 2018 emerged number one in the country on ease of doing business.

“Other outstanding results were recorded like the Eyes and Ears citizens’ engagement tool and operationalisation of the Open Contracting Data Standards and open budgeting among others.

“The 2021 to 2023 State Action Plan has, therefore, provided a veritable platform to build on the successes recorded in the first action plan through strengthening reforms initiatives across sectors.

“We intend to finish our tenure as strong as we started within the principle of OGP and our mantra of putting people first,” he said.

Mr Muhammad Abdullahi, Commissioner, Planning and Budget Commission and the government Co-Chair, OGP, said there was a healthy and cordial relationship between government and civil society organisations in the state.

Abdullahi said that strengthening civic space and public participation was vital to achieving OGP goals of accelerating economic recovery, tackling systematic inequality and building resilient citizens-centred democracy. (NAN)