Civil Society Organisations, the media and community-based development groups in the Niger Delta have resolved to build alliance to collectively advocate the signing of the Open Government Partnership, OGP, by States in the region.
The stakeholders under the aegis of Niger Delta Open Government Observatory (NOGO) Cluster at a-one day day alliance building and strategy session for non-state actors, in Uyo on Thursday 15th December, called on States yet to sign Open Government Partnership to do so.
The alliance building organised by Policy Alert with support from USAID SCALE project sponsored by PALLADIUM sought to build the capacity of non-state actors to continue the advocacy of OGP.
The Executive Director of Policy Alert, Mr. Tijah Akpan, said OGP is not a mantra thrown at people by development partners but a matter of life and death.
”We need to build alliance across Niger Delta in order to put us on the same page in terms of understanding what should be done. Also we need to create clusters of alliances depending on interest with all the organisations coming for the meeting.
“Open Government Partnership is not just a necessity but an existential prerequisite because our lives depend on how open Government is. Niger Delta region has the lowest human development indicators in the country. This is a clear case of paradox of poverty amidst plenty.
“The more citizens engage in government activities the easier their priorities become achievable.
“The issue of Open Government Partnership is not a reform mantra that development partners have thrown at us but a matter of life and death for the people of Niger Delta. When we have more effective delivery of social services to citizens, it is only then we can say that OGP has achieved its mandate. We need to strengthen our partnership, come up with clear strategies in order to get to that destination we are going.”
In his presentation on “OGP implementation in Nigeria – Key concepts, issues and state of play”, Uchenna Arisukwu, said OGP should be treated as a serious issues such that states without OGP and action plan should be tried for crime against humanity.
The alliance building workshop received presentation on “Mapping progress and gaps on OGP implementation in the Niger Delta” by Koko Udo.
The session featured experience sharing and alliance building by all clusters and group work where participants developed a draft guidance note/framework for OGP implementation in the Niger Delta.
NOGO which comprises civil society organisations, media organisations, leading labour unions and community-based across the Niger Delta, pledged their commitment to ensuring that different critical stakeholders in different states are engaged to see the need to sign the OGP.