Information and evaluation experts have called for more openness in the availability of data to ensure transparency and enhance development across Nigeria.
The professionals who made the call during the 2014 Open Data Day celebration organised by Connected Development (CODE) with support from The Indigo Trust in Abuja, blamed the thriving of corruption and other irregularities on the inability for citizens to access information on the issues in contention to inform vibrant public decision.
The event which assembled stakeholders from the civil society organisations (CSOs), media and government aimed at providing knowledge globally on how to write applications, liberating data, creating visualizations and publishing analyses using open public data to show support for and encourage the adoption of open data policies by the world’s local, regional and national governments.
Executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal stressed that Nigeria has a large community of innovators who use data to develop business ideas, social and economic changes but acknowledged that individual struggle for livelihood coupled with lack of systemic structures continue to bedevil the objective of open data in the country.
He urged the importance for the nation to move away from the present perception to be able to utilize the opportunities offered by open data for policy decisions that affects citizens and to enhance national growth sighting the 2011 Freedom of Information Act.
It’s quite interesting seeing some government organizations like the Ministry of Communications Technology, the Bureau of Statistics, and the Budget Office being engaged in open data activities. However, it is pertinent for us to start seeing more government data open. As we have seen in the UK, Brazil and Kenya, the Nigeria government open data initiatives should kick start a new era especially for transparency and accountability.
If more MDAs can open their data, especially by making them available on-line, it will be easier for CSOs and other stakeholders to monitor and evaluate the performance of these agencies. It also helps the private sector and entrepreneurs in designing programs and projects that can generate revenue and enhance savings for government MDAs.
Member of the Open Knowledge Foundation, Oludotun Babayemi, facilitated training sessions on data expedition, mining and how to populate them online to inform citizens and equip policy makers in decisions making. Populating and geo-locating higher institutions using the Education Budget Tracker, a tool for tracking implementation of funds meant for higher education in Nigeria with the hope to provide feedback loop between citizens and the government. Babayemi Said, ‘The platform has an SMS integration to embower people without access to internet while bridging the gap between them and policy makers’. Babayemi also doubles as the Monitoring and Evaluation Expert for CODE.
Open Data Day is a global community initiative to make and spread open data. People from all around the world gather together on-line or in person to make things with and around open data.
For more information, kindly contact:
In Abuja, for CODE, Oludotun Babayemi (English) +234-0-813-490-8561 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In Abuja, for CODE, Hamzat Lawal (English) +234-0-806-869-9956 or email@example.com