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Nigeria made giant strides since joining OGP six years ago – Agba



Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba said on Monday that Nigeria had made remarkable achievements since joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2016.

According to him, the country had developed and implemented two National Action Plans organized around critical thematic areas like fiscal transparency, access to information, anti-corruption, citizen engagement, service delivery, inclusion and extractive transparency

The Minister made these remarks during the end-of-year media parley for journalists covering the Ministry in Abuja..

The OGP is a global partnership for reformers from both government and civil society who work together to make the governance process open, accountable and citizen-driven.

The Minister explained that at the core of the OGP was a commitment from participating countries to undertake meaningful new steps as part of concrete actions to deepen good governance and service delivery while empowering citizens.

He said Nigeria joined the OGP in 2016 as the 70th member as part of efforts to fight corruption and improve governance in the country.

The Minister said, “Since joining in 2016, the country has developed and implemented two National action plans organized around critical thematic areas like fiscal transparency, access to information, anti-corruption, citizen engagement, service delivery, inclusion and extractive transparency. The second NAP is almost rounding off and there are some modest achievements and success stories to show for it”.

Agba pointed out that other benefits the country had derived from being a member of the OGP included improved budgetary processes, improved procurement processes, boost in anti-corruption fight through the Introduction of Transparency in Company Ownership (Establishment of Beneficial Ownership Register.

According to him, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning was able to, with the 2020 federal budget, return the country to January to December budgetary cycle adding that, “We achieved the same feat in 2021 and 2022. 2023 Federal Budget will not be different.

“We hope that successive administrations will ensure that this continues. This, certainly, is not a mere annual ritual. It has assisted in early commencement of implementation of the Annual Budgets. It has also assisted the Private Sector and State Governments to Plan their Budgets to align with the Federal Government Budget. It has also led to full implementation of the Budgets especially the Capital Component.

“Significantly, it has also removed uncertainties associated with delayed budgets, which include delayed investment, thus making the implementation of government programmes and projects predictable. In fact, the early submission of the Federal Government’s annual budget enables the states to use the budget assumptions to prepare their annual budgets. Efforts are made to ensure prompt distribution of the federally collected revenues to the Federating units to enable them to implement their budgets.”

Agba added that the country’s budgetary processes were much more transparent and participatory; as all stakeholders, especially the citizens, are carried along and enabled to make input into the process.

“Nigeria recorded its best performance in the Open Budget Survey (OBS), scoring 45% in the latest 2021 survey for transparency, indicating an improvement by 24 points, a significant leap from the 21% achieved in the previous year.

“The procurement thematic area, we have established the Nigerian Procurement Portal (NOCOPO), where citizens can monitor all government procurement processes in a transparent manner, thereby making the procurement processes a lot more open, participatory, and transparent.

“Boost in Anti-Corruption Fight through the Introduction of Transparency in Company Ownership (Establishment of Beneficial Ownership Register): Nigeria has also attained giant strides in curbing illicit financial flows, terrorism financing and corruption through the beneficial ownership process.

“The Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2019 and Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021 have provided the legal backings for the full implementation of beneficial ownership regulatory framework in Nigeria, whose provisions give effect to national beneficial ownership portal in general and strengthen the application of beneficial ownership regulations in the Oil and Gas Sector.

“Consequently, our Beneficial Ownership portal, being developed by the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, is our flagship instrument to curtail illicit financial flows and terrorism funding while eliminating official corruption.”

The Minister disclosed that at the last OGP Global Summit in Seoul, South Korea, from December 15-17, 2021, Nigeria won the OGP Impact Award “for our commitment to Beneficial Ownership. This Global Award is in recognition of our resolve to press forward with OGP reforms”.

He also disclosed that 24 states out of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Nigeria have so far accepted the OGP and were making concrete commitments to develop the culture of transparency and accountability in the governance processes while empowering citizens to participate effectively in governance processes.

According to him, the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) has also keyed into the OGP, making it the first local government to do so, stresding that the OGP is gradually transforming the governance ecosystem in Nigeria.

“The third National Action Plan (NAP III) being developed is expected to take forward these gains earlier outlined and introduce new steps and efforts to sustain them. Indeed, Corruption is still a big issue in the country; it is therefore pertinent that successive governments in Nigeria would sustain the OGP and even show more political support and commitment to the process,” Agba added.

Courtesy: theconclaveng

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PDP Crisis: Ortom, Fayose, Anyim, Others Get Soft Landing



…..Party Rescinds Sanctions

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rescinded sanctions slammed on former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, and ex-Senate President, Pius Anyim, over alleged anti-party activities.

Benue Governor Samuel Ortom, Ibrahim Shema of Kastina state and other party Chieftains also sanctioned got soft landings after a crucial meeting of the national working committee of the party yesterday in Abuja

Recall that the party top shots were suspended by the embattled Iyorchia Ayu leadership over alleged anti party activities

But in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, yesterday Thursday, March 30, the party announced that its National Working Committee,NWC, has reversed the suspension of the party’s chieftains.

Ologunagba noted that the PDP NWC also reversed Governor Ortom’s referral to the party’s disciplinary committee.

He said: “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at its meeting today, Thursday, March 30, 2023, extensively discussed recent developments in the party.

“The NWC recognised the imperativeness of a total reconciliation among party leaders and critical stakeholders for a more cohesive Party in the overall interest of our teeming members and Nigerians in general.

“Consequent upon the above, the NWC reverses the referral of the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom to the National Disciplinary Committee.

“The NWC in the same vein reverses the suspension of the following members of our great party: H.E Ibrahim Shema (Katsina State); Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti State); Sen. Pius Anyim (Ebonyi State); Prof. Dennis Ityavyar (Benue State); Dr. Aslam Aliyu (Zamfara State).

“This decision is without prejudice to the powers of the NWC to take necessary disciplinary action against any member of the party at any time pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).

“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party across the country to be guided by the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) as well as the new spirit and necessity of reconciliation, unity, and harmony in our party at this critical time.

“The PDP must remain focused as we continue to take every necessary action to recover the stolen mandate freely given by Nigerians to our party and presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal,” the PDP spokesperson stated.

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DSS ING Alarm:Legal Means Can Be Deployed To Stop Tinubu’s Inauguration- HURIWA



Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), yesterday said there was nothing wrong in applying legal means to stop the inauguration of the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023 because the February 25, 2023 election that produced him is still being actively challenged in court by leading candidates in the poll.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the so-called alarm raised by the Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday that some politicians are plotting an interim government should not be used as an obstacle to stop the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) challenging Tinubu’s Victory

The DSS warning followed a petition by the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo that the DSS should invite Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, over their rejection of Tinubu as the President-Elect.

Similarly, Atiku had earlier in March led a protest to the Abuja office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject the result of the February 25 poll declared by the electoral umpire.

Both Atiku and Obi alleged electoral malpractices in the poll and are in court to challenge the declaration of Tinubu as President-Elect by INEC.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The Department of State Services should not rope in powerful opposition forces such as Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar with a view to finding some frivolous charges to hang on their necks to frustrate their formidable petitions against the outcome of the February 25 presidential poll.

“The DSS must work for all of Nigeria and not work as errand boys of Tinubu and his allies who only recently made claims that some persons want to stop his swearing in. By the way, there is nothing wrong in applying legal means to stop his inauguration because the election is being actively challenged. Nothing should be used as obstacles to obstruct Obi and Atiku’s petitions.

He advised that ,“The DSS should go after arm smugglers, kidnappers, bandits and terrorists and leave politicking for politicians.”

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Edo NUJ Felicitates Arase Over Appointment As Chairman PSC



The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council has felicitated with Solomon Arase, a retired Inspector General of Police on his appointment as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).

In a statement signed by the union Chairman, Comrade Festus Alenkhe, the union described the appointment as well deserved.

The union expressed optimism that Arase will bring his wealth of experience to bear in his new assignment to his father land.

The union prayed God Almighty to grant him the knowledge and wisdom to reposition the Police Service Commission for better service delivery.

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