The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki has said that unhindered access to information will fast-track efforts to attain socio-economic and political growth and development in third world countries.
Obaseki said this on the celebration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information, September 28 each year, set aside by the United Nations to emphasise the relevance between access to information and the 2030 Development Agenda, and in particular with Sustainable Development Goal 16 target.
He stressed that third world countries that desire exponential economic growth, advancement in their justice system, legislative procedures and media systems must have very strong laws that allow unhindered public access to information about government activities so that relevant stakeholders such as the organised private sector, civil society, international partners and other actors on the development scene can make informed input.
“We are in an information age indexed by computerisation of systems and processes, which have revolutionised the means, methods and modes of sharing knowledge, experiences, ideas and intelligence, at a speed never before imagined. We have to make the best of the moment by opening up our doors to as many genuine and well-meaning individuals and groups to add value to our ideas,” Obaseki said.
He tasked his contemporaries in developing economies to adopt information and communication technology in their governance systems and exploit information on best health care practices, modern farming, town planning, education and security management amongst other sectors.
“In Edo State, we have created a Geographic Information System Agency to capture and store the state’s land surface data for effective planning.
“We are reviewing propositions to adopt internet-based teaching that will redesign subjects and courses taught through mobile applications that can be downloaded and used by students. This, we hope, will complement our traditional teaching method and close observed gaps in the education sector,” Obaseki said.
He further said that “the Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria has armed journalists, individuals, civil societies with the power to demand and if need be, compel governments and their institutions to produce information that they need.”