Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki

Four of the five states in the South East geopolitical zone have signed up to the Open Governance Partnership (OGP) initiative aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in governance.

With the exception of Imo State, governors of Anambra, Enugu, Abia, and Ebonyi states have endorsed and commenced the implementation of OGP initiatives.

This was disclosed, on Friday, by Director General of South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF), Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya, at the opening ceremony of a 2-day sensitisation workshop on OGP held at Osborn La Palm Hotels, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.

The event was attended by top government officials and stakeholders drawn from the five states in the region.

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He said that although Imo is yet to join, modalities were believably being put in place by it to join its brother states. Regardless of the current status, Ortuanya said that the South East still prides itself as the leading light in the forefront of promoting inclusiveness and accountability in governance.

Ortuanya’s words, “The Open Government Partnership is a multi-stakeholders alliance that brings together governments and civil society leaders to create and implement action plans that make government more inclusive, responsive and accountable.

“It aims to secure commitments from national and sub-national governments to empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

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“Four states in the South East have already signed on to this initiative – making the region, a leading light in OGP across Nigeria.

“The promptness with which the South East embraced the initiative underscores the importance and value our governors attach to issues of transparent and accountable governance”, he said.

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The Ortuanya also said that Nigeria ranks 70th in the initiative which was launched in September 20, 2011 having joined in July 2016.

He continued, “In order to give life to this high-level political commitment to the OGP initiative, the South East Governors’ Forum is organising this two-day event to sensitise relevant government officials across the region on the principles and processes of the OGP initiative.

“This event will afford us the opportunity to deepen our understanding and to discuss how MDAs in our states can contribute to the fulfilment of the OGP objectives.

“We will also at this event, begin the process of setting out a roadmap that will enable us to fully implement our OGP commitments”, he added.

Also speaking, a consultant to the Department of International Development (DFID), Chief Chinweike Uba, urged other states of the federation to emulate the South East to promote good governance in their areas.