- The federal government say they are opening up the civic space to ensure the yearly Nigerian government is participatory
- This was revealed by the minister of state, budget, and national planning, Prince Clem Agba at a recent event in Abuja
- The event was the celebration of BudgIT's 10-year anniversary on Tuesday, September 14 in the Nigerian capital
FCT, Abuja - The minister of state, budget, and national planning, Prince Clem Agba has revealed that the federal government has developed a citizens guide for Nigerians to be able to monitor the budget on their own.
Agba made the comment at an event to mark the 10th Anniversary Lecture of BudgIT on Tuesday, September 14 in Abuja.
The event was organised to celebrate BudgIT’s impact within the democratic space in the last ten years in Nigeria.
The minister who doubles as the co-chair for the Open Government Partnership in Nigeria noted that transparency and accountability are important in the work that they do.
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“You'll agree with me that even with COVID, there is now more engagement in the budget process. In the past, we would bring people to a room like this and make presentations. But with COVID came an opportunity to reach Nigerians virtually.
“Now, we are now able to reach out to Nigerians not just in Nigeria, but also Nigerians in the diaspora. In 2020, we had more participation than we have always had in the past.”
He thanked BudgIT for the work they have done over the years, adding that the civic organisation has kept public officials on their toes.
On his part, Frank Nweke II who was the keynote speaker at the event stated that the long years of military dictatorship affected the democratic culture of accountability which current public service officials are struggling to come to terms with.
He also noted the absence of public data over the years in the country.
“As recent as when I was invited to be part of the federal cabinet in 2003, the federal office of statistics was by all intent and purposes was existing alone in name and there was nothing in terms of data.”
He, however, noted that such excuses in the past are no longer tenable because democracy has been practiced in Nigeria since 1999.
While speaking, BudgIT’s lead director and co-founder, Oluseun Onigbinde, appraised the organisation’s journey over the last 10 years.
He noted that resilience amid challenges has made the organisation continue to drive fiscal transparency in the public sector.
Onigbinde said in an earlier statement:
“Despite the challenges, BudgIT has recorded significant achievements while facilitating improved fiscal transparency and accountability through social advocacy, civic innovation, institutional engagements, partnerships, and active citizen mobilization.
“We have played a major role in defining the landscape of Nigeria’s civic-tech space and we are currently engraving our footprints within Africa’s civic-tech space.”
There were also goodwill messages and speeches from a former minister of education and first individual donor to BudgIT; Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Ekiti state governor; Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the representatives of World Bank and Mac Arthur Foundation among others.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to individuals, partners, supporters, and organisations who have worked with BudgIT in the last decade.
Among the awardees was Dr. Yemi Kale, the immediate past Statistician-General of the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria.
Onigbinde also used the opportunity to formally launch a book he wrote while he was on a fellowship programme with the Obama Foundation.