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Bauchi State Initiates Ambitious Action Plan for Open Government Partnership (OGP)

The Bauchi State Government, under the leadership of Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, has taken a stride towards enhancing governance transparency, accountability, and citizens’ active participation with the launch of its State Action Plan for 2023-2025 to implement the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative.

The launch event, which took place at the State Executive Council Chamber on Thursday, 10/07/2023, signifies the state’s commitment to fostering a more open and collaborative relationship between the government and its citizens. This initiative aims to remove the longstanding suspicion and mistrust caused by bureaucratic challenges, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and accountable governance system.

The action plan is centered around four pivotal commitment areas: Open Access to Information, Citizens’ Engagement, Fiscal Transparency, and Inclusiveness. These areas have been broken down into specific activities and targets to ensure effective implementation across various state ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs).

Governor Bala highlighted the state’s proactive efforts, even before joining the OGP in July 2022, to integrate OGP principles into governmental processes. Notably, the state has worked on improving budget processes, streamlining budget preparation, participation, and the timely publication of budget documents.

Gratitude was extended to the USAID-funded State2State activity for their unwavering support throughout the journey to join the OGP. The collaborative efforts of government officials, civil society organizations (CSOs), development partners, communities, religious leaders, and the Global OGP were also acknowledged for their significant contributions to the development of the Action Plan.

Bauchi State has made substantial strides in promoting inclusiveness within its governance framework. The state government’s initiatives include the approval of a State Social Protection Policy and the domestication of the National Gender Policy. These steps aim to ensure that marginalized groups have a meaningful role in shaping the governance process.

The Governor expressed optimism that the collaborative approach in creating and implementing the plan, involving both government and civil society actors, will strengthen the bond between citizens and the government. This partnership seeks to establish a foundation of trust and confidence in the governance process, ultimately leading to a more accountable and participatory government.

Barrister Ibrahim Mohammed Kashim, the OGP Co-chair and Secretary to the State Government, emphasized the main goal of the plan: to bridge the gap between citizens and the government, encouraging active engagement and cooperation in governance matters.

The development of the State Action Plan was a result of extensive stakeholder engagement, including both state and non-state actors, following comprehensive training. This approach ensures that the plan encapsulates a wide range of perspectives and interests, contributing to its robustness and relevance.

While briefing members of the press shortly after the launch, Mujahid Ibrahim, representing the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), a member organization in the State OGP Steering Committee, underscored the commitment to supporting the OGP’s objectives. CITAD intends to provide technical support using ICT tools to fulfill commitments related to Access to Information and Citizens’ Engagement. The “Office of the Citizens” Android Application, developed by CITAD, is set to play a pivotal role in facilitating direct interaction between citizens and the state.

The launch of Bauchi State’s OGP Action Plan marks a pivotal moment in the state’s journey towards a more transparent, accountable, and inclusive governance system. By fostering collaboration, communication, and active participation, the state aims to pave the way for a brighter future built on mutual trust and cooperation between citizens and their government.

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