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Nigeria

Technology-Based Citizens' Feedback (NG0014)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Nigeria National Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)

Support Institution(s): Federal Ministry of Communication, National Orientation Agency, , Galaxy Backbone, Other relevant ministries. Open Alliance, BUDGit WANGONET, CODE, CITAD, Enough is Enough, FOIC

Policy Areas

E-Government, Marginalized Communities, Public Participation, Regulatory Governance

IRM Review

IRM Report: Nigeria Implementation Report 2017-2019, Nigeria Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

This commitment seeks the introduction of technology-driven applications, portals and platform that will enhance citizen’s access to government policy process for regular input and monitoring

IRM Midterm Status Summary

14: Adopt a technology-based citizens’ feedback on projects and programs across transparency and accountability

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“This commitment seeks the introduction of technology-driven applications, portals and platforms that will enhance citizens’ access to government policy processes for regular input and monitoring.”

Milestones:

14.1: Mapping of MDAs already having a technology-based platform for transparency and accountability

14.2: Creation of the citizens’ interactive platform for government institutions

Start Date: January 2017 End Date: June 2018

Action plan is available here:

Context and Objectives

This commitment aims to increase citizen access, particularly from rural areas, to decision-making processes in government. At the start of the commitment, a limited number of MDAs had a technology-based platform for transparency and openness. [174] According to Dr. Usman Abdullahi of the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency, one of the challenges of governance in Nigeria is that the government takes major decisions on behalf of people in the rural areas without consulting them first. [175] Nigeria’s rank in the United Nation’s E-Participation Index has been deteriorating: from ranking 75 out of 193 countries in 2012, to 97 in 2014 and 118 in 2016. [176] The upswing in mobile and internet users in Nigeria nevertheless presents opportunities to expand e-governance platforms, even in rural areas. [177]

Specifically, this commitment calls for a mapping exercise, to determine which MDAs already maintain a technology-based platform for transparency and accountability, and the creation of a “citizens’ interactive platform” in order for government institutions to receive citizen input from any location (urban or rural) on decisions that affect communities. The commitment relates to civic participation as creating a citizen engagement platform should create an avenue for better citizen engagement.

Although the creation of a citizen engagement platform could have been verified, the commitment generally lacked specific indicators to assess implementation, beyond the suggestion in the action plan of outcomes pertaining to “increased accountability in government service delivery” and “improved access to government processes”. In addition, while the creation of an interactive platform was verifiable, the lack of specific details made it unclear what this portal would look like or how it would be developed. Details pertaining to the mapping of MDAs were also largely unclear. This lack of specificity has a direct bearing on the assessment of potential impact, as it is unclear to what extent the outlined activities will enhance citizens’ access to government policy processes for regular input and monitoring.

In addition to the limited specificity, the commitment did not discuss how the government would use the platform to engage rural communities (which seemed to be a focal point of the commitment). Therefore, the potential impact was expected to be minor.

Next Steps

Technology can facilitate better open government practices. Future commitments in this area should include:

  • Consider how to enable rural communities to participate in government decision making and ensure that citizen feedback influences government decision making. This may increase the scope of results;
  • Strengthen mechanisms for ensuring citizens can receive feedback, e.g., innovations like mobile phone usage;
  • Consistently share the communication channels and set expectations about how government institutions will receive inputs from citizens and whether the platform or another mechanism will be used to inform citizens on how their input is used.
[174] Eight MDAs are listed on the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s site as having an e-governance presence, including the Corporate Affairs Commission, Tax, and the Nigeria Immigration Service. Federal Republic of Nigeria, “E-governance,” http://www.nigeria.gov.ng.
[175] Dr. Usman Abdullahi (Director, Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency), interview by IRM researcher, 8 Mar. 2019.
[177] By early 2017, the penetration rates for mobile subscribers and internet users in Nigeria were estimated at 81% (150 million) and 53% (97.2 million) respectively. Jessica Smith and Kevin Tran, “Smartphone adoption on the upswing in Nigeria” (Business Insider, 28 Apr. 2017), https://www.businessinsider.com/smartphone-adoption-on-the-upswing-in-nigeria-2017-4?IR=T.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

14. Adopt a technology-based citizens’ feedback on projects and programs across transparency and accountability

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“This commitment seeks the introduction of technology-driven applications, portals and platforms that will enhance citizens’ access to government policy processes for regular input and monitoring.”

Milestones:

14.1 Mapping of MDAs already having a technology-based platform for transparency and accountability

14.2 Creation of the citizens’ interactive platform for government institutions

IRM Design Report Assessment

IRM Implementation Report Assessment

●        Verifiable: Yes

●        Relevant: Yes

o   Civic Participation, Technology and Innovation for Participation and Accountability

●        Potential impact: Minor

●        Completion: Not started

●        Did it Open Government? Did not change

This commitment aimed to increase citizen access, particularly in rural areas, to decision-making processes in government.

The commitment has not yet been implemented. The milestone to map MDAs’ technology-based platforms for transparency and accountability was not completed. [137] Additionally, a centralised citizens’ interactive platform for government institutions was not created. In furtherance of other commitments, the Bureau for Public Procurement created NOCOPO and the Budget Office created i-Monitor and Citizens Budget App as civic tech platforms to increase access to information and participation. [138] However, these platforms have operational challenges and low levels of use.

This commitment did not change public participation and access to information through technology as it was not implemented. This commitment has been carried over into the next action plan. The second iteration focuses on creating an OGP specific portal to improve MDA and CSO feedback in national OGP processes. The IRM recommends focusing implementation efforts on creating an OGP website that is regularly updated with relevant documents and an OGP specific portal for public feedback and questions.

[137] Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Nigeria Design Report 2019–2021 (OGP, 2020), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/nigeria-design-report-2019-2021/.
[138] Bureau of Public Procurement, “Nigeria Open Contracting Portal” (accessed Jan. 2021), https://www.bpp.gov.ng/procurement-management-system/; Budget Office, “Nigeria Budget Info” (accessed Jan. 2021), http://www.budgetoffice.gov.ng/nbi.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership