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Edo State Government is committed to OGP – Prof Yinka Omoregbe

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Edo State, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe has reiterated that the state government remains committed to the ideals of good and open governance. Speaking at the Edo State Open Government Partnership (OGP) Post- election stakeholders meeting held in Benin City, Prof Omorogbe said while the state government is yet to signing on formerly to the OGP, it has been implementing. “We have been doing open Governance by some of the works we are doing and the Freedom of Information, FOI bill now in the schedule is in the process of going into law. The state draft, yet to be drafted, but after this meeting which is a reminder, I will ensure that the governor sign the act so that it is counted as one of the achievements of the administration in the first tenure” she noted. According to the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, the government will continue OGP in the state because the state try to do whatever it does in the open. The Co- Chair, Non Actors Edo OGP, Mr Leo Atakpu in his opening remarks said the OGP is key to advancing our collective aspiration to make governance in Edo State open for effective public engagement. “You may recall that following a letter of intent to the OGP secretariat on the 27th of September 2018 by the Edo State Government and series of consultations with civil society organizations, Edo State membership of the partnership was sealed. “Edo State settled for five commitments across four thematic areas of : Fiscal Transparency, Anti-Corruption, Access to information and Citizens engagement. In order to ensure a smooth operationalisation of this voluntary initiative in Edo State, we deemed it necessary that stakeholders of the OGP process needed cognitive empowerment primarily focused on their roles in its implementation at the sub national level. “Accordingly, sensitization workshops were organized for both state and non state actors in June 2019. The workshops also provided a forum for generating ideas on the key areas that would be covered in the drafting of the state action plan (SAP). As a required next phase in the OGP process, that retreat was organized with the support of Westminster Foundation for Democracy with fund from the DFID now from the 8th to 10th of August, 2019 at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Benin city.” He said in the Edo SAP, concrete commitments were agreed for implementation across the agreed five thematic areas adding that since the development of the state action plan, it was expected that the state governor would have signed the draft SAP into law, but it was routed to the state Executive Council for approval before it gets to the governor for assent. “As we await progress on the endorsement of the SAP, it is only becessary for us to be pro-active and forward looking. This explains why part of our meeting today is for various MDAs currently upbeat on preparation for the 2021 budget to now make provisions for agreed SAP areas into the 2021 budget” he added. The Chief Judge of Edo State Justice Esohe Frances Ikponmwen who was represented by Justice J Acha commended the organizers of the meeting the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and ANEEJ because it is most timely. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Budget used the opportunity of the meeting to invite civil society organizations to a meeting on Monday.