Following the signing of Open Government Partnership (OGP) by the Taraba State government and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) last year, a one-day sensitisation seminar was organized for the committee of Journalists as members of the Technical Working Committee to enable them understand their role in the action plan.
The seminar that was organized by the state CSOs in collaboration with OXFARM, took place at the Nuj Press Centre in Jalingo, the State capital, North-East Nigeria.
Speaking at the occasion, the Taraba State Chairman of Civil Society Organisations, Dr. Joseph Gimba said the sensitisation was part of the process in designing the State Action Plan for the signed OGP.
“Ordinarily if the state signed into the OGP, they are supposed to have a work plan and this in preparation sensitizing some of these members of the Technical Working Committee and of course carrying the committee of Journalists along all the process from conception, execution and of course evaluation.
“So we felt there is need for us to sensitize the committee of Journalists in Taraba State, so that they now get to understand where their role starts and where their role end and what is it really they are supposed to do for the Community and of course for the government.” He explained.
Dr. Joseph Gimba informed that the Media are expected to popularize the OGP as a policy, sensitize the Community of what is for them inside the OGP plan.
They are also expected to sensitize government officials on the content of the OGP and areas of concern of the government like service providing, citizens engagement to ensure that whatever policy government is coming out with, will be a policy of the people.
“The government officials need to understand henceforth, working for the public we have to involve the public and we equally have to involve members of the civil society organizations because one of the major principles of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) is Co-creation, i.e. “Government and Civil Society Partnership in Development” Dr. Gimba clarified.
The Governance and Influencing Coordinator, OXFAM- PROSELL Project, Daniel Michael Abah who gave an overview of Civic Responsibility as well as the Role of the Media in Governance and Concept of Co-Creation especially in tracking the budget and monitoring government’s projects not only at the state level but also the federal projects that are supposed to be executed in Taraba which have been captured in the budget but have not been implemented.
Abah appreciated their partnership with the CSOs and assured the Nuj of their commitment toward building the capacity of its members to enable them carried out their duties effectively in the state.
On his part, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Taraba State Council, Comrade David Nya appreciated OXFARM and the CSOs, Taraba State for identifying with the union and assured that the Nuj is ready and willing to work in partnership with any NGO that seek for collaboration with the aim of promoting the development and the implementation of democracy in the state.
According to the Chairman, they are going to identify the genuine Journalists that are going to work with the CSOs and OXFARM on the OGP plan for the development of the state.
Some of the participants in an interview Maxwell Mijinyawa, Sarah Wando, Emmanuel Aware, Jamila Abba and Hilda Adebayo who is the NAWOJ Chairperson in the state all described the workshop as impactful and promised to make good use of what they have learned for the benefit of the society and the development of Taraba State.