A member of the steering committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), Mr Agabaidu Chukwuemeka Jideani, has said that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, could not have operate any bank account on behalf of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) as a co-Chair.
Reacting to report of financial impropriety against Malami, Jideani, who is also a Director of the Lawyers Network Against Corruption (LAWNAC), said a co-Chair of the OGP, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, did not accused the minister of financial misdeed, during a steering committee meeting of the organisation in Abuja.
“Mr Ojo is the co-chair of the non-state actors for the period 2017 to 2019 in Nigeria’s OGP. We were together at the steering committee meeting and he did not raise any issue on financial impropriety in his address. He has strong views about governance, like any other CSO would have, but issues of financial impropriety was never raised.
“Somebody must have quoted him out of contest. I don’t think as a co-chair he would say he did not know how the organisation is being run. As a leader of the OGP, Mr Ojo knows how to address concern and who to talk to.
“The FG signed the OGP and part of the funding should be from the government, but we were way back when the budget was signed in 2017, so OGP was not captured in the budget and we know how government work if you are not on the budget line, you will not be considered.
“Despite the lack of budget, the OGP has done well and this has led to Nigeria being considered for international steering committee. We were recently in Tbilisi, Georgia, for the 5th global OGP international summit, when Nigeria was honoured in the comity of nations for not lagging behind,” Jideani said.
He said the OGP secretariat tried to work for virement and that when it did not work out, some development partners and funders, for non-state actors, like the MacArthur Foundation and Trust Africa provided funds and grants for some CSOs for trainings and other arrangements.
“These funds were not paid to OGP secretariat as the secretariat does not have a bank account. The funders directly paid for the hotels, accommodation, transportation and other logistics. Since there is no special funding for the OGP secretariat from the government, there is no way the secretariat could have operate any bank account, at least for now,” he said.