Title: Citizen and Government: The Role of Good Governance – A Case Study of Nigeria’s Economic Situation By Precious Adigwe

Title: Citizen and Government: The Role of Good Governance – A Case Study of Nigeria’s Economic Situation By Precious Adigwe

Introduction
In any society, the relationship between citizens and their government is crucial for the well-being and progress of the nation. Good governance plays a fundamental role in shaping a nation’s economic situation, paving the way for sustainable development, social stability, and individual prosperity. This blog post aims to explore the significance of good governance, taking the current economic situation in Nigeria as a case study.

Good governance refers to a set of principles and practices that ensure accountability, transparency, participation, fairness, and efficiency in the functioning of a government. It serves as a framework for effective decision-making, policy implementation, and public service delivery. The key elements of good governance include the rule of law, strong institutions, respect for human rights, and citizen engagement.

The Nigerian Economic Situation

Nigerians Protest of Cost of Living

“This is not Hope but Shege” is the outcry in Nigeria in the past few weeks that reflects the current situation. Although Nigeria is faced with numerous challenges in achieving economic stability and sustainable development. Issues such as corruption, inadequate infrastructure, mismanagement of resources, and limited diversification have hindered its progress. Key areas affected by this situation includes:
High Cost of Living:
The cost of living in Nigeria has been on a steady rise, making it increasingly difficult for citizens to afford basic necessities. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s inflation rate has been on an upward trajectory, reaching 17.33% in February 2021. This surge in inflation has eroded the purchasing power of the average Nigerian, leading to widespread financial strain.
Insecurity:
Insecurity continues to pose a significant threat to Nigeria’s economic well-being. The activities of insurgent groups, banditry, and communal clashes have disrupted economic activities and deterred investment in various regions. In 2020, the Global Terrorism Index ranked Nigeria as the third most impacted country by terrorism, further highlighting the detrimental impact of insecurity on the economy.

Government Policies
The effectiveness and impact of government policies play a crucial role in shaping the economic landscape. However, uncertainties surrounding policy implementation and inconsistencies have created challenges for businesses and investors. The lack of a stable policy environment has contributed to investment hesitancy and reduced confidence in the economy.

Crash of the Naira
The devaluation of the Naira has significantly affected Nigeria’s economic stability. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, the official exchange rate of the Naira to the US dollar has been adjusted multiple times, reflecting the currency’s declining value. This has led to increased import costs, further driving up the prices of goods and services within the country.

Unemployment
Unemployment remains a pressing issue in Nigeria, with the youth being disproportionately affected. The NBS reported the country’s unemployment rate at 33.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020, highlighting the urgent need for job creation and skills development initiatives to mitigate this challenge.

Corruption
Corruption has been a persistent issue in Nigeria, impacting various sectors of the economy. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, Nigeria ranked 149 out of 180 countries in 2020, indicating the prevalence of corruption within the country and its adverse effects on economic development.

The Role of Good Governance
Nigeria, a nation blessed with immense potential, faces the ongoing challenge of achieving good governance. This entails fostering an environment where leadership is responsible, transparent, and accountable to the people it serves. However, achieving this ideal requires not just capable leaders, but also active and engaged citizens. Good governance encourages and ensures:

1. Accountability: Good governance establishes mechanisms that hold government officials accountable for their actions and decisions. Transparent financial systems, efficient auditing, and anti-corruption measures are crucial in combating corruption and ensuring that public funds are utilized appropriately for development initiatives. Our role in PPDC through the community-based monitoring systems to track projects and ensure quality delivery of services is a critical way of holding the government accountable.

2. Transparency: Transparency in governance encourages trust between citizens and the government. Openness in decision-making processes, accessible information, and regular reporting enhance public confidence and enable citizens to participate effectively in public affairs. Transparency also discourages corrupt practices and fosters an environment conducive to investment and economic growth.

3. Citizen Participation: Citizen participation in decision-making processes empowers individuals and communities, enabling them to voice their concerns, contribute ideas, and hold their government accountable. By involving citizens through consultations, town hall meetings, and public hearings, good governance ensures that policies and projects align with the needs and aspirations of the people.

4. Strengthening Institutions: Good governance helps build strong and efficient institutions capable of delivering essential services, implementing policies effectively, and upholding the rule of law. Independent judiciary, impartial law enforcement agencies, and reliable regulatory bodies play a vital role in attracting investments, protecting property rights, and fostering a stable business environment.

5. Sustainable Economic Development: Good governance promotes long-term economic growth by creating an attractive investment climate, reducing bureaucracy, and encouraging entrepreneurship. It emphasizes prudent fiscal management, responsible resource allocation, and strategic planning, allowing governments to invest in critical sectors such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

Conclusion
The current economic situation in Nigeria serves as a stark reminder of the importance of good governance in fostering sustainable development. By implementing transparent mechanisms, ensuring accountability, promoting citizen participation, and strengthening institutions, the government can address the existing challenges and unlock the nation’s vast potential. It is the collective responsibility of both citizens and the government to actively engage in building a system that prioritizes good governance, ultimately leading to a prosperous and inclusive society in Nigeria and beyond. In all “The success of democracy is impossible without the participation of the people.

ROCKETING TOWARD TRANSPARENT GOVERNANCE

Just two weeks ago, I found myself engrossed in a moment of awe, eyes fixed on my screen as SpaceX launched the Super Heavy Starship – the largest and heaviest flying machine ever built. It was a spectacle, a breathtaking display of human ingenuity, as we propelled a colossal metal behemoth toward the vast expanse of the cosmos. The sight was nothing short of magical, a testament to our relentless pursuit of progress.

However, as I marveled at this innovation, I wondered: How is Africa faring in this global race toward technological advancement? The truth is, we are still playing catch-up. Despite Nigeria’s status as the giant of Africa, our journey in the technological realm has been a mix of achievements and challenges.
Nigeria has indeed made strides in technology, proudly launching Africa’s first communication satellite. While this is a commendable feat, it is crucial to acknowledge that we have a long way to go to establish ourselves as a leading technological powerhouse on the continent.
One area that urgently requires attention is our governance sector, particularly public contracting. The current system is plagued by a lack of transparency, accountability, and effective project monitoring. It’s akin to navigating through a maze of hidden processes, where awarding contracts, implementing projects, and tracking progress are shrouded in opacity and inefficiency.
But here’s the good news: there is hope on the horizon. The Public and Private Development Center (PPDC), is in leveraging technology to transform public governance monitoring in Nigeria. While we may not be launching rockets into space, our initiatives are revolutionary in our context.

At the heart of our efforts is the “Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) Portals,” implemented across six states and at the Federal level in Nigeria. These portals serve as a beacon of transparency, providing citizens with accessible and timely information on public contracts. Imagine a Nigeria where every citizen can track how their hard-earned tax Nairas are being utilized from the comfort of their home or anywhere in the world. With these portals, PPDC is empowering citizens, enabling them to scrutinize government projects and hold public institutions accountable.

Our technology solutions, coupled with field monitoring efforts and advocacy, have catalyzed tangible improvements in public projects across Nigeria. We have revived abandoned projects, resulting in the completion of essential infrastructure such as primary healthcare centers and schools. Our initiatives have even enabled a state to secure approximately $4 million in grants and have documented projects worth over ₦34 billion on our Budeshi OCDS Portal.

But our impact goes beyond numbers and statistics. PPDC’s initiatives have empowered journalists and government officials, irrespective of their technological proficiency, with the tools and knowledge required to ensure effective and transparent systems. By promoting citizen engagement and fostering a culture of accountability, we are bridging the gap between government and citizens, promoting mutual benefit, trust, and participation.
At PPDC, our mission transcends technological innovation; it is about fostering good governance, sustainable development, and transparency in Nigeria. We are committed to creating a just society where government and citizens collaborate to shape a brighter future for present and future generations.

Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) Hosts Access to Justice Town Hall Meeting and Workshop in Nasarawa State

Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) Hosts Access to Justice Town Hall Meeting and Workshop in Nasarawa State

Revolutionizing Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System: The Impact of the Court Administration and Case Management Project in Nasarawa State. 

Revolutionizing Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System: The Impact of the Court Administration and Case Management Project in Nasarawa State. 

By Nnenna Eze

To strengthen Nigeria’s criminal justice system, the Public and Private Development Centre’s Court Administration and Case Management (CACM) project, supported by the US Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement  Affairs (INL), represents a significant effort to enhance Nigeria’s criminal justice administration. The project focuses on improving capacity, efficiency, and accountability within the Nigerian courts, with key objectives including enhanced case management, evidence control, scheduling systems, and overall court administration processes.

In 2023, upon assessment of the select courts in the 3 pilot states, Nasarawa Plateau and Kaduna, our findings revealed significant challenges plaguing the judicial system. Judges grappled with the daunting task of writing judgments, taking notes, and simultaneously observing litigants’ body language. This multitasking burden resulted in delayed judgments, exacerbating an already overburdened system. Concurrently, correctional officers faced logistical hurdles in transporting inmates from correctional centers to courts. Weather conditions, transportation costs, and security risks compounded the difficulties, further impeding the legal process. Additionally, inadequate case and evidence management practices led to disorganized and unsupervised case files, hindering effective tracking and monitoring of case progress.

Another key challenge we saw was the lack of secure facilities in magistrate courts for typing and printing confidential court proceedings, which posed significant security and confidentiality risks. Clerical activities conducted in external business centers outside court premises increased the likelihood of leaked court judgments before official pronouncements.

During our recent visit to our stakeholders in Nasarawa State, we visited all of the project’s interventions to assess their impact and ensure their sustainability.  One of the project’s pivotal interventions is the deployment of speech-to-text facilities in select courtrooms in Nasarawa State. Recognizing the challenge faced by judges in simultaneously writing judgments and observing litigants’ body language, the introduction of the speech-to-text facility accelerates court proceedings, eliminates manual transcription delays, and enhances transparency. This initiative not only streamlines administrative tasks but also fosters a swift dispensation of justice.

PPDC and INL team with the Comptroller of Corrections, Nasarawa state  

PPDC and INL team with the Attorney General, Nasarawa state  

PPDC and INL team with the Chief Justice Nasarawa state  

“We are not taking the interventions for granted, as they have aided our work in the courtroom, and we are committed to ensuring the expansion and sustainability of the speech-to-text and virtual courts.” -Chief Judge of Nasarawa State, Honourable Justice Aisha Bashir

The implementation of virtual courts in custodial centers has addressed significant logistical challenges faced by correctional officers. By enabling remote hearings, this innovative solution reduces the need for physically transporting individuals in custody to courtrooms, saving time and resources and minimizing security risks. 

A virtual court hearing from the Nasarawa State Custodial Center 

I had a case that was heard virtually from the custodial center, and it was like a dream come true.  To be able to use such technology will improve the justice sector in Nasarawa State.” –  Honourable  Justice Simon Aboki  

The project also addresses the critical issue of case file arrangement and management. By meticulously sorting, indexing, and cataloging criminal case files in the High Court across pilot states, the initiative enhances the reliability and security of legal documentation. Standardized case-filing units not only ensure easy retrieval but also significantly reduce the risk of loss or damage, thereby improving overall case management efficiency.

We had the issue of unsecured case files; however, with the intervention, case files are sorted and kept in secure racks for easy retrieval  –  Nicholas Abunduga, chief state counsel, Ministry of Justice, Nasarawa State. 

Case files before and after PPDC’s intervention 

Additionally, establishing a magistrate secretarial pool equipped with essential facilities for typing and printing confidential court proceedings addresses security and confidentiality concerns. This initiative not only enhances the secure handling of sensitive court documents but also provides a source of revenue for magistrate courts. It signifies a significant step towards ensuring a more robust and confidential judicial process.

The commendable support and adoption of the project by the good people and various government arms of Nasarawa State highlight a commitment to sustainability. Provisions for the maintenance of deployed facilities in subsequent budgets and the provision of subscriptions for virtual hearings and SMS messaging in the 2024 budget underscore a proactive approach toward ensuring the long-term success and impact of these transformative interventions. Additionally, the invitation extended to PPDC to join the ACMC committee further emphasizes the collaborative nature of the project, paving the way for continued innovation and improvement in Nigeria’s criminal justice system.

Before PPDC’s intervention, lawyers were hesitant to handle cases; however, with the implementation of the Case Management System, case files are uploaded and notifications are sent. The AG can see when a case’s limit has elapsed. This has resulted in a stronger synergy between the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary. Nicholas Abunduga, chief state counsel, Ministry of Justice, Nasarawa State. 

The Public and Private Development Centre is committed through its Access to Justice program to ensure speedy dispensation of justice across our pilot states. The  Court Administration and Case Management (CACM) project, is paving the way for Nigeria’s criminal justice system to become more efficient, transparent, and equitable by addressing systemic issues and leveraging cutting-edge technologies.

Building Bridges for Better Procurement Practices: PPDC Partners with The Association of Public Procurement Practitioners of Nigeria (APPON)

Building Bridges for Better Procurement Practices: PPDC Partners with The Association of Public Procurement Practitioners of Nigeria (APPON)

By Motunrayo Anibaba

In a heartening move towards fostering transparency and collaboration in public procurement, the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) recently sealed a partnership with the Association of Public Procurement Practitioners of Nigeria (APPON)  during the association’s Maiden Annual Executive Council Meeting which was held on Friday 8th of February 2024. 

The Association of Public Procurement Practitioners of Nigeria (APPON) is a professional body committed to enhancing the standards and practices of public procurement in Nigeria and through this partnership, the  Public and Private Development Centre will broaden its influence in the public procurement sector, leveraging the vast network and expertise of APPON’s members in different government agencies. This collaboration enhances PPDC’s mission to advocate for transparency, accountability, and best practices in procurement governance. By facilitating knowledge sharing and civic participation, PPDC strengthens its role as a thought leader in Nigeria’s procurement landscape. 

Jubril Shittu, the Chief Executive Officer of PPDC expressed that the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) has been dedicated to public procurement for over 17 years and envisions itself continuing this commitment for at least the next 20 years. He said, “We will continue to work in this area, it is something we are passionate about and something we are heavily invested in and we look forward to continuing collaboration with APPON in this regard.

Sadiq Sambo, PPDC’s software developer introduces the e-portal contacting platform BUDESHI to APPON members

The collaboration was not just about paperwork; it also involved enlightening sessions on critical topics such as Gender Responsive Procurement and Technology for Transparency and Accountability. Precious Adigwe, PPDC’s Gender Mainstreaming & Inclusion Officer, shared insights into supporting women-owned businesses in procurement processes. Sadiq Sambo, PPDC’s software developer, introduced BUDESHI, PPDC’s  innovative e-portal promoting openness in contracting processes.

Mr. Emem Kanico, the President of the Association of Public Procurement Practitioners of Nigeria (APPON),  highlighted that with this knowledge of Gender Responsive Procurement and Technology for Transparency, they are better equipped to contribute meaningfully to policy formulation.

L-R Ife Olatunji David Senior Program Manager, Governance PPDC,  Jubril Shittu CEO PPDC,  Emem Kanico President APPON, Nura Sani Secretary General APPON

PPDC CEO Jubril Shittu and APPON President Emem Kanico MOU signing ceremony, solidifying a meaningful partnership.

This joint effort represents a shared vision to create a procurement landscape marked by best practices and ethical standards. The partnership with APPON is a positive step towards reshaping public procurement practices in Nigeria. With the sustained commitment of PPDC and the collaborative spirit of key stakeholders, a brighter and more transparent procurement future is on the horizon.

Safer Internet Day 2024 – Making The Internet Safer Together 

Safer Internet Day 2024 – Making The Internet Safer Together 

The internet is a big global village that connects us all and brings many benefits, like making money, connecting with friends, and more. But, just like any job, staying safe online is essential. As it has been our custom since 2015, on February 6, 2024, PPDC celebrated Safer Internet Day (SID) to promote safe and responsible Internet use, especially among young users.

This year, the Safer Internet Day was marked at Junior Secondary School Durumi, Abuja. The theme for this year was “Together for a Better Internet” highlighting the importance of working together to make the Internet safe, so we talked to students about common practices that expose online users to security risks, safety measures, and also netiquette (internet ethics). 

The in-depth conversations covered; how to be a responsible netizen by treating others online with respect, thinking before they post, and reporting any instances of cyberbullying or harmful content. The students were also encouraged not to believe everything they saw online. They were finally encouraged to empower others by sharing their knowledge about online safety with friends and classmates, creating a network of responsible digital citizens.

The students enjoyed the interaction, played puzzles, and watched our short film ‘Feisty John,’ which gives tips on dealing with cyberbullies. Two of the students had this to say;

“I learnt more about what two-factor authentication is, what you can use it for, and its importance in social media accounts.”  -Ogbonna Wisdom

“Today, I learned the importance of promoting cybersecurity rather than cyberbullying.” – Nufi Jessica

Check out some pictures from the event and remember, a better internet starts with YOU!

Enjoy! 

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