As the 2019 elections draw near, Nigerians have been urged to use available technology to follow up on government and hold them accountable while in public service.
This call was made by the executive secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mr Waziri Adio, at a one-day ‘Lesson learning roundtable on the use of technology for tracking and improving government accountability’ organised by the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PEAL) and the Facility for the Oil Sector Transformation (FOSTER) in Abuja.
He stated that NEITI believes that technology can better enhance citizens’ role in this regard and ensure that Nigerians were part of decision making process.
According to him, “While government exists to serve the people, citizens must use available means to remind government of such responsibility.”
Earlier, the Head of Governance and Social Development, DFID Nigeria, Mr. Oliver Blake, said the roundtable was to showcase the achievements of UK’s funded programmes in the country and create the opportunity for participants to learn from such successes.
He expressed the hope that presentations at the event would improve accountability in government and ensure that resources work for the people rather than for few people in government.
Also speaking, another official of DFID, Mr Sterfan Dercon, admitted that Nigeria was not an easy place to get government accountable which necessitated the deployment of technology to disrupt accountability process in a positive way.
At the event, participants were exposed to several presentations on Citizens Budget Portal, Gas Flare Tracker, Recovery Intervention Tracking Tool, CASE Election Tool and Grievance Redress Mechanism.
Speaking on the Gas Flare Tracker, the Founder and Executive Director of Koyenum Immallah Foundation, a non-governmental organization based in the oil rich Niger Delta region, Faith Nwadishi, said the system will end government dependence on oil companies to provide data on the quantity of gas flared.
She said this will enable government agencies to impose appropriate gas flare penalties and ensure government met its obligation to end gas flare in the country.