Greater Use of ICT in Governance Intensifies Governmental Transparency - VC
The Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor AAA. Atayero, has stated that the greater use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in governance could intensify governmental transparency. He made this assertion at the just concluded 6th Covenant University Conference on e-Governance in Nigeria (CUCEN).
The conference with the theme, ‘Open Government Adoption: Prospects and Challenges for Accountability and Transparency in Public Services Delivery,’ had in attendance, professionals from both the public and private sectors.
The Vice-Chancellor, represented by the Dean, College of Science and Technology, Professor Ajanaku, stated that greater use of information and communications technology in governance could intensify governmental transparency, citizen participation, and consolidation of democratic processes to foster national transformation, characterized by improved efficiency in the delivery of public services to Nigerians, convenient and faster access to government services, as well as responsive governance.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman, Conference Planning Committee, Dr. Samuel Oni, appreciated the Management of the University for the immense support provided towards the success of the conference. He enjoined all participants to maximise the opportunity to be part of the search for applicable solutions to Nigeria’s collective challenges.
During his address, titled ‘Prospects and Challenges for Accountability and Transparency in Public Service Delivery’, the Keynote Speaker, Mr. Gabriel Okeowo, defined Open Government Partnership (OGP) as an international initiative aimed at enlisting support and ensuring partnership between the government and the governed in a way that forged trust and promoted integrity, transparency, efficiency and accountability in public administration.
He cited the overriding objectives of OGP to include empowering citizens to participate in governance, combating corruption, harnessing new technologies to increase access to information towards better service delivery in public administration.
According to Mr. Okeowo, the National Action Plan was made up of 14 commitments across 4 thematic areas namely: Fiscal Transparency, Anti-Corruption, Access to Information and Citizen’s Engagement.
He explained that several things made OGP unique. According to him, “The first is the fact that it involves everyone in the system, ranging from the government at the top to the citizens at the grassroots. The second reason is that it allows for equal participation and partnership between civil society and government such that the partners own and collaborate to track, identify and tackle challenges on their road to progress.
Mrs. Chioma Okee-Aguguo, who represented the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, thanked the University for such a great opportunity to be part of this year’s event and commended the efforts of the institution at fostering the national development goals of the nation to collaborative forums and research.
She stated that the collective efforts of both the academia and the industry would eventually lead to finding lasting solutions to the challenges of the nation. She added that NITDA would always be willing to work with the University in this capacity in synergy for national transformation and progress.
While presenting his Keynote Speech, titled ‘National Infrastructural Management and the Question of e-governance’, the Dean, College of Engineering, Covenant University, Professor David Omole, described governance as the action or manner of governing a state and an organization among others. He said that e-governance was the application of information and communication technology (ICT) for the delivery of government services, exchange of information, communication transactions, integration of various stand alone systems and services between government and the citizens.
Omole asserted that Nigeria was very good at making plans, but slow on implementation. According to him, in 2013, the NIIMP was unveiled with the vision of using $2.9trillion to bridge the nation’s infrastructural gap over a period of 30 years. “We spend more than we earn. That is recipe for poverty. We spend approximately 30% of our revenue on debt servicing (not loan repayment). That is recipe for sustainable slavery. Our allocation to capital expenditure means it will take us 230 years to achieve the NIIMP goal, if fully financed by the Federal Government,” he said.
The Director, Covenant University Centre for E-government and e-Business Research, Professor Charles Ayo, represented by Dr. Aderonke Oni, appreciated the Covenant Management for supporting the conference and thanked all participants for being a huge part of the success of the event.