Learner’s Submission: E-Government in Nigeria – A Dream Still in Distant Lands

“The world outside has left behind the industrial era and has fully paved way for the era of Information Technology in a world that changes with every tick of the clock.

Vanguard newspaper in Nigeria published an article on July 2nd, 2014 with the headline: ‘UN Ranks Nigeria High in E-Government Development Index’, the article articulated the progress of Nigeria in the area of E-Government, pointing out the steady progress that the nation had experienced in previous years before the 2014 feat. It is a curious thing that these stunning statistics only exist on the pages of our national dailies. As at the time of writing (January, 2015), 99.9% of the entire Nigerian citizens will admit that the implementation of E-Government in the country is non-existent in reality!

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE

First and foremost, the top political office holders must be willing to embrace change; they must be willing to admit that the world has gone beyond heaping numerous files in offices. When this is done, there should be absolute digitisation of government processes, unrestricted access to and delivery of E-Government services which constitutes a significant part of the eluding solutions that are desperately needed in the country. E-Government enables transparency, efficiency, productivity and citizen engagement. This is why any serious government wishing to elicit the support of its citizens must implement the E-system, especially for countries like Nigeria who have had an exhaustive list of issues, ranging from transparency, accountability and irregularities of all sorts.

Making use of the internet strengthens relationship between the government and its citizens, and it encourages interaction between the two parties throughout the period of policy implementation. It is crucial, however, to state that internet is only one of numerous solutions of Information Technology available in the process of governance. When we talk about Information Technology in government, it is not limited to the provision of internet facilities in government organisations. Information Technology is an optimal tool for improving performance and for keeping abreast of contemporary ways of disseminating and securing information.

So, our primary objective as a people should be on a degree to which Information Technology can accomplish large-scale, permanent change for a better and sustainable Nigeria, and by extension, the future of nations throughout Africa.

Importantly, also, the implementation of E-Government is crucial in scrutinising top public officials, like assets declaration and making available the salary structure of public servants in every category of Nigeria’s Public Service. This, without a doubt, is one area where Nigerians have raised uncountable number of questions without success. It is believed that E-Government, if implemented without access restriction, will attract transparency, which will in turn bring about development for all Nigerians.” – Elias Ozikpu – Lagos, Nigeria

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