CSO urges Ekiti govt to digitalise MDAs to allow citizens easy access to govt information

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A Civil Society Organization (CSO) located in Abuja with the name Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), has advised the Ekiti State government and administrations that would be coming after Governor Kayode Fayemi to digitalise the operations of Ministry, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to allow the people in the state have easy access to information regarding governance and also promote transparency.

The PPDC also advised the state government to improve on the implementation of the Freedom of Information(FoI) Law across the Ministry, Departments and Agencies(MDAs), to promote all-inclusive governance.

Mr. Samuel Offia, an official of PPDC, gave the pieces of advise in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday, during the launching of the 2022 FoI Compliance and Transparency Ranking for Ekiti State Government.

Offia said the concept of e-governance and FOI Law were being promoted by PPDC to facilitate participatory governance, where all citizens will be factored into the running of government by the leaders.

He said the concept will also help in improving Fiscal Transparency and Accountability in public procurement, to cut the cost of governance and checkmate the endemic corruption in the system.

He said: “The FOI ranking started by PPDC in 2013 subsequent to the enactment of the Freedom of Information Law in 2011 through the Act of Parliament.

“As the world is evolving and attaining a digital status, there must be free access to information, so that government can be held accountable by the citizens on how they expend their commonwealth.

“If truly we want to promote transparency, Nigerians need no letters to any government agency before accessing any information of interest. Information about allocations to states, contract awards, salaries of political appointees must be readily available.

“For this year’s ranking in Ekiti, 13 MDAs were tested to ascertain their dispositions to rapid and proactive responses to the release of information requested for by the public and we found out that Ekiti ranks below average.

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“The ranking is not to shame anybody or state, but we believe Ekiti can do better next year. But what we are doing is to increase citizens’ participation in governance”.

In his submission, the Director General and Special Adviser to the Governor on Public procurement, O’ Seun Odewale, described artificial intelligence, e- governance and FoI Law as promoters of transparency, efficiency and productivity as well as determinants of good governance in any country.

Odewale, who was represented by a staff of the Procurement Bureau, Mr. Samuel Ogundare, said transparency becomes imperative because cost of governance has a direct impact on the people, which he said makes it expedient for key stakeholders to have access to information.

“The procurement planning is done to ensure compliance to budgetary provisions and prosecution of contracts at fair, feasible, and cost-effective rate.

“The present government of Governor Fayemi has demonstrated political will to implement and enforce FOI Law for smooth flow of information between the government and the governed”.

However, the Chairman, Coalition of CSOs in Ekiti, Prof. Victor Oluwadamilare, lamented how administrative bottlenecks have made access to information difficult in the country, saying this was responsible for high rate of corruption and abuse of powers in the system.

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