Edo State in South south Nigeria on Thursday during the 3rd EdoTechnology Day became the first in the country to launch an open data portal which gives access to public records and data.
Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole who launched the open data portal in Benin, said that introduction of Information and Communications Technology, ICT, into governance will make for more efficient operations and help reduce wastages and the problem of ghost workers in the public service.
“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”, the governor observed.
He went further: “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 analoguetactics to deal with digital solutions and such is the huge fraud that has characterised our wage administration.”
Oshiomhole said that he was sure about where he was going when he assumed office which informed the setting up of an ICT unit, adding, “I am convinced in the task of good governance there is no way we can deliver without investment on ICT.”
“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”, the governor stated.
The minister for communications technology, Omobola Johnson, commended the Edo State government for sustaining the EdoTechnology Day and noted that the use of ICT can help a government improve the interaction between it and it citizens or between it and the international community.
Also speaking at the occasion, the representative the World Bank, Jeff Kaplan, said the launching of the open portal data is a major “milestone” not only for Edo State but also 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,” Kaplan stated..
“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,” he added.
The Edo State open data portal contains data sets on various aspects of public information including a list of tertiary institutions, school enrolment, population by age and sex, budgets, road contracts among others.