Connected Development [CODE] was invited to an Open Government Partnership (OGP) event organized by Budgit. The event brought together Civil Society Organizations (CSO) such as Public and Private Development Centre, Institute of War and Peace Reporting, Network of Police Reforms in Nigeria, Dean Initiatives, Center for Democracy and Development amongst others to discuss the tools used by Budgit in 2016 towards advocating for OGP in Nigeria.
Stanley Achonu and Abayomi Akinbo of Budgit led the event, discussing the tools from FOIVault, PICC and Find a cop. FOI Vault is a repository of requested FOIs by credible and verifiable organizations to the Ministries, Agencies and Departments of the Nigerian Government.
Bearing in mind that a lot of my organizational work involves requesting for more information from the government through the use of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, I was able to see the potential of the tool as it allows for documentation of FOI requests and response from the government.
As such, I can visit the vault first before sending my next FOI to a ministry or other governmental institutions so as to be sure that someone else from another organization has not sent the same request and likely gotten an answer which may aid my work. Also, it saves the concerned governmental agency from having to spend valuable time in dealing with a request to which it has devoted time to in the past, albeit to another organization and at the end, we can all synergise and work much more effectively.
picc.com.ng was also one of the presented tools which were used to document verified corruption cases against any Nigerian that has a case with the court of law in the country. As the Ministry of Justice does not have such electronic record, I think this could be a good repository for a background check on anyone intending to run for public office in Nigeria.
Furthermore, the last tool that was showcased is findacop.ng which is a simple web application that can be used to locate the nearest Police station in Nigeria. “We are not able to get enough data around this as the Nigeria Police Force is not ready to make things easier for us,” says Abayomi. As such, at the moment, there is not much data on the platform.
The presentation was concise, interactive and engaging as it opened me up to new and innovative ways data can be made open and accessible to everyday users. The event eventually ended with a brainstorming session involving all the participants on how to improve the tools as well as how to make CSOs see value in these interventions towards achieving Open Governance Partnership in Nigeria.
Personally, I think collaboration and data sharing between civic organizations is key as this will enable us to build a formidable network of citizens who will have the much-needed information at their fingertips, making them well informed and able to engage the government at any level. This will, in turn, have a lasting impact on achieving good governance in Nigeria.
IMAGE CREDIT: CCHUB