Against the backdrop of citizens concentrating on developments at the Federal Government level in the area of public spending and procurement, BudgIT, a leading civic-tech organization promoting transparency, accountability, and effective service delivery in Nigeria, says it is profoundly disappointed at the dubious items listed in the Public Procurement Awards reported by state governments in the country for the 2023 second and third quarters.
As a fervent advocate for transparency, BudgIT challenged “all well-meaning Nigerians to pay attention to their state’s financial appropriation, budget implementation reports, and procurement details.”
It expressed belief that “if all citizens take ownership by calling their subnational governments to order through advocacies and demand accountability on their financial status, many state governments will sit up.”
A statement by Budgit recalled the example contained in an open letter by Funsho Doherty, the 2023 governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party to the Lagos State Government on November 18, 2023, drawing the attention of the public to what he termed obscure projects awarded by the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.
The letter emphasized such extravagant expenditures as the allocation of N7.4m to replace liquid fragrance in the governor’s office, N2,017,840,000 to replace rechargeable lamps and fans in the deputy governor’s office, and N535,500,000 for a church renovation.
These expenditures, he said, “are disturbing, given the state’s current debt stock of N996,440,044,235.35.”
BudgIT also drew attention to the case of Delta State in the oil rich Niger-Delta region which pulled down its procurement website before it could be scrutinized and later restored it after public outcry from concerned citizens.
The statement noted that while Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) play a vital role in holding the government accountable, accountability fundamentally depends on citizens’ active participation.
BudgIT called attention to its user-friendly platform where citizens can access data and information on approved budgets, citizens’ budgets, and other budgetary information at openstates.ng.
The statement by Nancy Odimegwu, Communications Associate at the organisation, quoted Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa, Acting Head, Open Government and Institutional Partnerships, as saying “BudgIT urges citizens to become vocal and actively engage in causes that yield concrete accountability and transparency results, and foster a collective effort toward better governance.”
This, he continued, will promote good governance and accountability, assuring that BudgIT remains “unwavering in our commitment to transparency, accountability, and responsible governance and anticipate increased citizen activism for a brighter democratic future.