Seun Onigbinde Visits the Global Goals Community Center.

The Global Goals Community Center yesterday welcomed the Executive Director of BudgIT and CivicHive, Oluseun Onigbinde on a congratulatory visit to DEAN Initiative for the work well done during the election period.

The Global Goals community center is a space of art facility center, where young people in marginalized communities can connect, learn and collaborate to create community-based solutions and other development ideas. Over the years we have had lots of people who have visited the center.

Seeing that DEAN Initiative consistently devise means of working with young people to enhance their skills as well as build them for global opportunities, we invited young persons from our community level youths and engage them in a conversation tagged: Young People and the Nigerian Election. The conversation availed the selected young persons the opportunity to share their experiences and observation from the just concluded election and also learn from Mr. Seun’s wealth of knowledge and life experience.

“I am delighted to be here today and I want to say thank you to my friend and brother Semiye Michael for the excellent work he is doing here at DEAN Initiative and to his amazing network of young people spread across the country” Seun Onigbinde.

(L-R Executive Director DEAN Initiative, Semiye Michael And The Executive Director BudgIT, Oluseun Onigbinde)

Each participant shared their experience on the election without mincing words, Mr. Usman from Dobi community who served as an ADHOC staff during the presidential election lamented about the defectiveness of INEC election materials at his Polling Unit, how the trained ADHOC staff were switched overnight for some untrained staff who did not understand the rudiment of the process and ended up causing problem at the Polling Unit. Mr. Usman further stated how he and other ADHOC staff were beaten at his Polling Unit and the election results were carted away. He also added that Commission’s budget should be reviewed and questioned as to why they make use of defective materials despite budgets raised for every election.

Olaleru Fisayo of DEAN Initiative who led and conducted several Pre and Post-Election Community Town Hall sessions shared feedback from the field. She raised a salient issue from the angle of People Living with Disability (PWDs) who could not exercise their franchise because they couldn’t reach the election boxes on their own without aid, INEC didn’t make adequate provisions for them to be aided. She leveraged this opportunity to urge Mr Seun and other CSOs in the civic space to continue to lend their voices towards this course on one hand, and the Commission to follow strictly the words of the Electoral Act as well as Guideline and Procedures for election on the other hand.

In his closing remark, Seun Onigbinde encouraged young people to not allow the outcome of this election to weigh them down but should be more committed to the process for the benefit of all, as this is what we must do to make the country great again.

(L-R Executive Director DEAN Initiative, Semiye Michael And The Executive Director BudgIT, Oluseun Onigbinde)

Before the goodbyes, Mr Seun was taken on a tour round the center from the Goal keepers’ hub which is a workstation for young people and techpreneurs to bridge the gap of work space

Next to the Hajia Amina Mohammed resorce library which is a mini library that collect and store development focus books to support research and academic works.

SDGs Community Studio which is an inhouse studio that document and amplify the SDGs action drive by young people in video and photo documentaries.

(L-R Executive Director BudgIT, Oluseun Onigbinde, Rebbeca Odugbose, GGCC Manager And The Executive Director DEAN Initiative, Semiye Michael)

Zero Hunger Kitchen which promotes zero hunger and responsible consumption.

Ideation room which provides opportunities for hub users to host business meetings strategy and design sessions for brighter innovation project.

We had a group picture at the SDGS Art Wall aimed for beautification of the center that uses art to describe and express the connectivity of the SDGs to our being.

The OGP Local is set to welcome all six Area Council Chairmen in FCT-Abuja as its members.

After several meetings with the ALGON FCT Chairman on partnering with his office as the ALGON chair to invite the other 5 chairman in FCT under his leadership to a one day OGP Onboarding session. The ALGON Chairman, Hon. Danladi Chiya finally conveyed the long awaited onboarding session with all the 5 Area Council chairman in FCT, letters from his office were dispatched to the other 5 Area Councils ahead of the event for proper documentation. DEAN Initiative in Collaboration with Center LSD hosted the Six FCT Area Councils on the 8th of May 2023 brings together all Area Council Chairman, their Council Secretary and speakers of their parliaments for the OGP Local Onboarding session. 

Cross photo session of the Chairmen(L-R Hon. Abu Giri Chairman Gwagwalada Area council, Hon. John Gabaya Chairman Bwari Area Council and Hon. Danladi Chiya Chairman Kwali Area council.)

The Executive Director Center LSD, Mr Monday Osasah applauded the political bigwigs and representatives in the 6 Area Council to join the OGPLocal. In his speech recognised that the Center has supported other states in the aspect of mentoring and training to enhance their understanding about Open Government Partnership. He hinted that 25 states have signed up for the Open Government Partnership and called on the remaining five local governments in the Federal Capital Territory to join the OGP as AMAC had joined in 2020, if they want to promote good governance. 

The Kwali Area Council Chairman Hon. Danladi Chiya who also doubles as the ALGON Chairman in his keynote speech acknowledge the impact of OGP in AMAC  as to this he  showed readiness towards joining OGP and  assured partners and citizens that he will use his position as the ALGON Chair to mobilize all other Area Councils to Sign up for the Open Government Partnership.

Hon. Danladi Chiya ALGON Chairman FCT/ Kwali Area Council Chairman.

During her Goodwill Message the National Coordinator, Dr Gloria Ahmed summarized the achievements of OGP at the National Level and how many states have joined. She reiterated the need to target the grassroot in the National development plan.  Dr. Gloria used the opportunity to invite the Chairmen to the Annual Global Summit in Estonia, where their ideas and experience can be shared and celebrated. 

Dr Naomi Ahmed, National Coordinator OGP .

The Executive Director DEAN Initiative, Semiye Michael notion that while the organization is aimed at increasing citizens participation in politics, OGP is bringing governance and civil society together to co-create good governance, through which it platform has coordinated the onboarding of the 6 Area Council Chairmen with their Council Secretary and the speakers of their parliament.

Semiye Michael, Executive Director DEAN Initiative.

Hon. Abubakar Umar Abdullahi of Abaji Local Government Area Council asserted his fear on how OGP works and what they stand to achieve? An expert on public governance, Abayomi Akinbo said OGP is a broad partnership that includes members at the national and local level and thousands of civil society organizations. There is a lot to gain from OGP only if they allow Co-creation in governance and citizen involvement in the budgetary system of the Area Council.

Hon. Umar Abdullahi, Chairman Kwali Area Council.

Action Aid country Representative ably represented by Hajiya Suwaiba Muhammad Dankabo in her goodwill message that Action Aid commits to support citizens’ participation and development, urging local Councils to collaborate with CSOs for partnership while employing other Area Councils to sign up for OGP globally. She suggested the setup of OGP desk at the local government.

Hajiya Suwaiba Muhammad Dankabo, Director of Programmes Action Aid.

Civil Societies in attendance promised support to Area Council who have citizen centric development initiatives  as it is the goal of many Civil Societies to develop initiatives that promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

Group picture of all participant

OGP-Local Gamechanging Public Procurement in AMAC

After a successful first cycle Action Plan that opened up citizens in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) to have the opportunity to co-create governance through citizens participation in budget making and through voting for citizens prioritized needs and projects, citizen’s participation in budget making has improved truth and trust in governance and also allows citizens, involvement in the electioneering process.

Through a public survey conducted by DEAN initiative, citizens were asked various questions among which was, “What should AMAC OGP-Local Action Plan II Focus on?”

Forms response chart. Question title: Choose only one option.
What should AMAC OGP-Local Action Plan II focus on?. Number of responses: 37 responses.

The above chart shows the response from citizens, Open Contracting Public Procurement and Anti Corruption and Integrity both had 21.6% but we went for Open Contracting and Public Procurement as AMAC had done Anti Corruption and Integrity in their first Action Plan Cycle. With this survey  citizens expressed their desire to actively participate in the procurement process of the Area Council as a way of engaging in the Government hidden system for projects, and calling for a strengthened and accountable procurement process and project implementation tracking mechanism.

The above survey birthed the Second Cycle of AMAC OGP Local Action Plan which aims to involve citizens in public procurement and making its Contracting System open to all for proper citizen inclusion. As AMAC’s OGP CSO partner, DEAN Initiative collaborated with AMAC to hold a two day workshop to develop its OGP Action Plan II. 

The Action Plan II is focused on Open Contracting which is aimed at encouraging accountability and transparency in procurement processes in the council and to further encourage citizens participation in the budgetary process. 

Andie Okon from Open Contracting cleared the air on what Open Contracting is. She further emphasized why it is important for Women and People Living with Disability (PWDS) to be actively  involved in this process as there should be gender balancing in the procurement system.

Andie okon, Program Officer Open Contracting.

The Executive Director of DEAN Initiative, Semiye Michael said the workshop is targeted at establishing the duty and presence of the citizen  into a people-centered budget and procurement at the local government level.

Semiye Michael further stated that “it is essential for projects and contracts to be free of malfeasance and open to  inclusion of women and people living with disability (PWDs) as well as all contracting processes.” There are roles in which the local government should smash-hit in development, such as primary education, primary health care, water and sanitation activities at community level. This and more is what DEAN Initiative aims at using the OGP to achieve at the governance level of the local government. 

The Council Chairman represented by his deputy and the Director of Administration AMAC, Mr. Attahiru Ibrahim, in their speeches stated that the Council was committed to promoting OGP with the people at the grassroot, that the council is also committed to achieving the OGP plans as they are committed to ensure an Open Procurement Process for everyone to participate.

Deputy Chairman, Hon. Nasiru Umar.
Mr. Attahiru Ibrahim, Director of Administration AMAC.

DEAN Initiative hopes to encourage citizens’ inclusion and active participation across all levels of government, as this will reshape our governance system and make leaders accountable to the people by providing them with relevant knowledge and tools to engage elected officials.

When completed, the Action Plan will be hosted on the AMAC page of the global OGP website for global tracking and referencing.