Dr Oby Ezekwesili, the Senior Economic Advisor, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI), says internet has become the greatest tool for citizens’ participation in good governance.
Ezekwesili, former Education Minister, said this at the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum 2018 with the theme: “Internet; An Enabler for Good Governance’’ in Abuja on Tuesday.
She was speaking on the topic: “Internet as an Enabler of Accountability and Transparency’’.
According to her, governance exists to improve the quality of life and ensure safety and security, using the instrumentality of strong policies with strong and dynamic institutions to promote growth and development.
“Without quality governance, it is impossible for a country to develop; the internet is an equaliser and a means of improving capacity.
“It is a tool to use to create the bases for wider participation, engage voices, demand for accountability and define how quickly we get to good governance.
“As growth and development happens societies become stable and prosperous, the prosperity of society further thrives because as society grows, the citizens grow and this creates a basis for social cohesion.’’
She said the internet had destroyed the barrier of geography and distance that made communication and participation in governance impossible.
She explained that people could be in the remotest areas in Nigeria and still be able to interact with the people in the Diaspora.
“The internet has come to disrupt the monopoly of bad governance, and so the main issue is going to be getting the citizens to a place of information literacy.
“Just getting the citizens to a place you have a right to know, you not only have a right to know, you have a voice to demand and the power to determine the quality of governance that is given to you.’’
She, therefore, urged youths to focus on knowledge-based technology to improve their society instead of commercial-oriented schemes to enrich themselves which would not result in good governance.
Mr Gbenga Sesan, the Executive Officer of Paradigm Initiative an NGO said that Nigeria would never move forward economically or otherwise if it kept talking down on the youth instead of providing opportunities for them.
“Nigeria can do a lot better as far as the internet is concerned; when we talk of internet governance, one of the key elements is digital rights.
“We need to make sure that every young person who is a citizen of this country is pushed toward being creative so that instead of arresting people for the things they tweet, we can focus on the opportunities the internet presents,’’ he said.