Nigeria’s President Muhamadu Buhari stated clearly on Monday, July 27, 2015 that the present administration cannot afford to neglect research; science and technology like past governments have done “because no country could make progress without serious commitment to the development of science and technology”.
The President said that his administration will also help and encourage Nigerian farmers to adopt modern, technology-driven methods that guarantee higher production and returns on investment.
While nation was going into 2016, when President Muhammadu Buhari was presenting the 2016 fiscal year’s budget to the National Assembly, he said: “There will be free education for science and technology students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.” “Indeed, this will mark a historic milestone for us as a nation” the president said then.
One of the major driving forces for the development blockade is lack of openness, transparency and accountability in governance. It is in the open that Nigeria has been faced with the challenge of effectively utilizing its resources to support equitable economic growth, effective service delivery and social cohesion.
It has also been identified that if Nigeria’s government and citizens embrace open government principles in a tailored stakeholder engagement, then the blockades of lack of openness, transparency and accountability in governance will be dealt with and reform will take place that will lead ultimately to effective policy, effective budget and effective implementation. This is why the Open Government Partnership signed by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in May, 2016 has been seen as a commendable move.
The Open Government Partnership was launched on 20th September, 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers to make their governments more open, accountable and responsive to citizens. The partnership is governed by four key principles.
The first principle is requiring that information on government activities and decisions is open, comprehensive, timely and freely available to the public, and meets basic open data standards.
The second principle is accountability to ensure that rules, regulations, and mechanisms are in place which calls upon government actors to justify their actions, act upon criticisms or requirements made of them and accept responsibility for failure to perform.
The third principle is requiring governments to seek to mobilize citizens to engage in public debate, provide input, and make contributions that lead to more responsive and effective governance.
The fourth principle is technology and innovation making it an obligation for governments to embrace the importance of new technologies in driving innovation, providing citizens with open access to technology, and increasing their capacity to use technology.
NIGERIA AND OPEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP
At the conference on tackling corruption organized at the Marlborough house in the UK on 11th May, 2016, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari announced that Nigeria is joining the OGP. Nigeria will be the 70th member and the 12th African nation to join the partnership. The government committed itself to open contracting, an approach whereby transparency frameworks are applied to procurement systems in obligated countries.
Technology has been deployed and being used in the present administration’s fight against corruption especially in the public service.
The Integrated Personnel Information and Payroll System (IPPIS), has been deployed to contain phenomenon of ghost workers in the public service whereby non-existent workers draw salaries and allowances from the public till.
Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), an IT based system for budget management and accounting has also been deployed to aid transparency of budgeting and accountability in the country’s public sector.
The International Public Sector Accounting Standards developed by International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board, an accrual-based standards used for the preparation of general purpose financial statements by governments and other public sector entities around the world has been adopted in Nigeria.
Through these standards, an enhanced quality, consistency, and transparency of public sector financial reporting has been achieved in the country. The Offices of the Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation in Nigeria also issue guidance and facilitates the exchange of information among accountants and others who work in the public sector. The effect is that these promote the acceptance of Nigeria’s public sector accounting.
More investment in Military and security technologies have been the hallmark of the present administration in Nigeria. Investment in CCTV to monitor and gathering intelligence in public places and public facilities is now familiar to our people whilst drones and other sophisticated technologies have been deployed to secure sensitive public and oil and gas installations.There has been improvement on the technical capacity of Nigerian Police Force. We now have a forensic lab and GSM tracking device. We now have a more IT integrated Police force as well as IT-integrated public service and judicial system.