Edo launches first Open Data portal in Nigeria
Govenor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, yesterday launched the State’s Open Data Portal, the first of its kind in Nigeria and Africa as part of the state’s 3rd Technology Day, saying the only way to deal with wastages, fraud and ghost workers’ syndrome in government is to introduce Information and Communications Technology into governance.
Speaking during the launch, Oshiomhole said on assumption of office, he had a clear idea that the way to clean the mess in the running of government business was to set up an ICT unit.
“Today we haven’t gotten to where we want to go, but we are already reaping enormous benefit from the initial investment we have made”, he said.
According to him, “I have always wondered how in the 21st century, government after government buffet us with stories about ghost workers; it must sound strange to our development partners when local governments, state governments and federal government talk about ghost workers”, he noted.
The governor noted that, “the truth is that we were dealing with monumental fraud in our salary administration such that clerks, junior service officers whose names are not printable in newspapers take advantage of our bulky documentary process using analogue tactics to deal with digital solutions and such is the huge fraud that has characterised our wage administration.”
Oshiomhole asserted, “ I believe we just have no way but to continue to deepen technology, deepen ICT, which is why last year we enacted an act to concretise the existence of Information Technology Agency backed to be run outside the framework of the civil service.”
The governor insisted that “we want to be able to run not only an efficient government but an accountable government”, adding that the promise of democracy is the capacity of the people to interrogate those in authority over the management of scarce resources and that capacity cannot be exercised in the absence of information communication technology.
“I am convinced in the task of good governance there is no way we can deliver without investment on ICT,” he added.
In a keynote address, the Minister for Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson who said, economic and social impact of ICT in the economy cannot be over-emphasised commended Edo State government for sustaining the Edo Technology Day.
The Technology Minister said that e-governance is the use of ICT by governments to transform and improve the interaction between government and citizens as well as between government and international community.
The World Bank representative, Mr. Jeff Kaplan in a goodwill message, felicitated with Edo State government in its effort to establish open governance in Edo State.
“The launch of the Edo State open portal data is a major milestone. It is a milestone for Edo State, a milestone for Nigeria. As Edo State launches the open data portal, there are about three hundred governments around the world that are also doing the open portal. Around the world now open data is something important to investors,” he added.
He said open data affords the citizens to measure how their government is performing and it also enables the civil society to have adequate data on the government.
“Its important to know that this open data is a partnership between government and civil society from day about what the priorities are. I just want to congratulate Edo State government for being the first in Nigeria to launch an open data forum, as far I know, it’s the first in Africa by a sub-national government and I think it might be the first in the world to launch an open data forum which on day one has data from the sub-national government, the national government, civil society which and international development partners, in this case the World Bank. I don’t know of any open data portal which from day one has data from all of these ”
Several companies in the information and communications technology field displayed their products at the event.