In recent time, many nations have begun to recognise the significance of an open and transparent government in strengthening democracy, mitigating corruption and promoting national development. If citizens are not availed with information on government decision-making processes, budgeting and procurements or other government responsibilities, there is no way citizens can ensure governments are working for their benefit.
Active citizenship, transparency and accountability are the vital elements to ensure a government with integrity through efficient use of public resources and government policies designed in the masses’ best interest.
Many initiatives and Civil Society Organisations have arisen to promote openness, transparency, accountability in the Nigerian government. Despite these laudable efforts, a lot is still to be done to actualise the benefits of open and transparent governance to all citizens across the country.
One viable means to achieving an open, transparent and accountable government is through unhindered access to government information by the citizens, and the only weapon to this access is the Freedom of Information Act. While many CSOs have shown themselves to be a major force across the different facets of social accountability, The Future Project, through her Ymonitor accountability project, has been at the forefront of amplifying awareness and empowering the citizens on the applicability of the Freedom of Information Act.
The campaign started with an integrated media across different online platforms, then to a Training Workshop for 30 social innovators across the six geopolitical zones who were later inducted as FOI Ambassadors.
Ever since induction, our Ambassadors have been at the forefront of engaging the citizens across different sectors of the nation, as well as distributing a step-by-step guide on the FOI Act.
Here is a brief look into the different places our Ambassadors have been for FOI awareness and distribution of guides:
Across the nation’s six regions, our awareness campaign has reached several libraries, with a donation of FOI guides and engagement on the applicability. These include, but not limited to, Lagos State University Library, University of Lagos Library, Federal College of Technology Library, Isolo Public Library, Lagos State Polytechnic Library, Enugu State Library Board, National Library, Enugu, Usman Danfodio University Library, Yobe State University Library, Yobe State Library Board, Imo State University main library, National Library, Benue, Federal University of Agriculture Library Benue, Pleasant Library, Kastina, University of Ilorin etc.
Media outlets across the geopolitical zones weren’t spared also, as our Ambassadors have engaged media organisations such as Sunrise FM 96.1, Enugu, Garkuwa FM, Sokoto, Yobe Broadcasting Cooperation Damaturu, Sunshine FM Potiskum, NTA Damaturu, Ozisa 96.1fm Owerri, RCN media, Diamond FM 101.5, the Journalism, communication and Media Centre, Plateau, Rock FM, Plateau state, Radio Nigeria Companion FM Katsina, Vision FM Katsina, Sawaba Fm 104.9, Jigawa, among others.
Other sectors reached include the National Orientation Agencies, High institutions and different ministries across the six regions.
It is no doubt that our Ambassadors have been at the forefront of engaging the public, both lettered and unlettered, about the Freedom of Information Act, with a distribution of the step-by-step guides. To mention a few, as an extensive mention of all states’ engagement can exhaust an ocean of ink.