*As PDP, APC absent again at debate
By Chioma Onuegbu Uyo
FIVE governorship candidates in Akwa Ibom State have publicly signed a manifesto to demonstrate their willingness and commitment to implement the Open Government Partnership, OGP, in the state if elected into office.
They signed the manifesto Sunday night during the governorship debate organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Akwa Ibom State Council at Ibom Icon Hotel & Golf Resort Uyo.
The candidates who signed the open government pact, anchored by a non Governmental organisation, Policy Alert,
were Senator John James Akpanudoedehe
of New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), and Arc. Ezekiel Nya-Etok, of African Democratic Congress (ADC),
Others were Mr. Iboro Otu of African Action Congress (AAC); Dr Ekere Essien, of the Action Democracy Party(ADP) and Senator Bassey Akpan of Young Progressives Party (YPP), who joined the debate via zoom.
However, Comrade Aniekan Udofia, Chairman of the NUJ Political Committee, organisers of the 2023 Governorship debate disclosed earlier that the candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Umo Eno and Mr Akanimo Udofia respectively announced their withdrawal from the debate 24hours to the event.
It could be recalled that Pastor Eno of the PDP had also boycotted the governorship candidates interactive meeting with Akwa Ibom Council of Elders chaired by former governor of the State, Obong Victor Attah without communicating any reason for not partipating in the programme .
Speaking during the Manifesto signing, the Senior Programme Officer of Policy Alert, Mr. Mfon Gabriel explained that the OGP is an initiative which aims at sustaining ongoing governance reforms in the nine States of Niger Delta region.
His words: “The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global multi-stakeholder initiative that brings reformers in and outside of government to work together to create solutions that make government more transparent, accountable, and participatory.
“Nigeria signed on to the OGP in 2016 and so far, 25 states have signed on to the OGP, yet Akwa Ibom is one of the three states in the Niger Delta that has not yet signed on to the Partnership.
“The signing of the Manifesto today is part of an OpenGovTownHall series implemented by the Niger-Delta Open Government Observatory (NOGO), a civil society cluster working to strengthen the uptake and implementation of OGP in the region.
“NOGO is currently implemented in six states of the Niger Delta with support from USAID Nigeria/Palladium Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project.
“The project is led by Policy Alert in partnership with Nigeria’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) Secretariat, Open Alliance, the Mail Newspaper, and The Roothub, among others”
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