Commendations galore for Agba as OGP boss, impact investment fund stakeholders call him extraordinary leader, serial champion


Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, was a subject of praise and commendation on Thursday as he attended to his last assignments in office in the twilight of his tenure.

The floodgate of encomiums was opened by Chief Executive Officer of Open Government Partnership (OGP), Mr Sanjay Pradhan, who expressed his appreciation for Agba’s “extraordinary leadership of the OGP”.

Pradhan joined the inauguration of the third National Steering Committee of the OGP via zoom.

Agba, whose ministerial voyage comes to an end on May 29, is the OGP Nigeria State Actors’ co-chair. Once he bows out on Monday, May 29, the Registrar-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, will take over in acting capacity.

He had already unveiled Abubakar at the inaugural meeting of the third National Steering Committee and presentation of NAP III, which held in the Minister’s Conference Room at the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

Under Agba’s leadership, coupled with the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari who got the country enlisted in 2016, Nigeria became a consequential member of the OGP.

Amid the inaugural meeting of the OGP Third National Steering Committee and presentation of NAP III, Pradhan joined via zoom to offer perspectives and pay tributes to the leadership and commitment of Agba.

Pradhan said he acknowledged Agba’s leadership and the leadership of Nigeria in the OGP both domestically and internationally and what “you (Agba) mean to us in the OGP”.

He referenced how Agba conceptualized the Eyemark, a web app, that enables citizens monitor capital project execution and report progress to the authorities, describing it as an extraordinary achievement.

Pradhan recalled Agba’s action during the COVID-19 pandemic in amending the NAP to emplace milestones in expenditure for the country, adding that he also, in concert with the CAC Registrar General played a notable role in the realization of the Beneficial Ownership Register.

He said that under Agba’s leadership, Nigeria was elevated twice to the Steering Committee membership of the OGP, saying it was a notable achievement.

According to him, Nigeria joined the Beneficial Ownership Leadership Forum, making it one of the eight countries in the Forum.

Read Pradhan: “You (Agba) were an active participant in our various meetings. I salute your achievements in terms of your international leadership…Your sense of humour is incredible…I found a friend in Clem Agba through the OGP Nigeria.”

At the high-level meeting on the establishment of the Nigerian Wholesale Impact Investment Fund that held at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, speakers took the opportunity of their pitches to commend Agba, whom they unanimously described as a champion.

Those who commended Agba’s commitment and leadership drive included a former Chairman of First bank and member of Binance Global Advisory Board, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Country Director of GIZ (Nigeria and the ECOWAS), Mr Magnus Wagner, who described Agba as an unwavering champion of impact investment and Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed, the permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance who declared that Agba was indeed a champion.

And at the meeting on the institutional support for government-donor joint funding facility on gender equality and women empowerment/frewell meeting and reception on Thursday, Agba was also roundly commended as a gender champion, who was always available and accessible in the course of official engagements.

Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen said on the occasion that Agba, a “HeforShe” champion, was a wonderful brother who had set a lasting legacy for posterity with his commitment to gender equality and women empowerment.

Meanwhile, at the inaugural meeting of the third national Steering Committee of the OGP, Agba had welcomed members of the Nigeria Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Steering Committee, (both outgoing and incoming), to the inauguration of the third National Steering Committee Meeting, saying “As we come to the final NSC meeting and the beginning of another, it is a victory in itself that we are seeing the journey to its momentous end.”

Agba said: “Before I proceed, let us pause to honour the memory of one of our compatriots, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, a former Country Director of Ford Foundation in Nigeria with whom we started this journey from the civil society side but who sadly is not here with us today. Chukwuma was an avid advocate of good governance which was evident in his involvement in Nigeria’s road to joining the OGP and he dedicated his life towards transforming Nigeria to a country everyone would be proud of. I ask that we observe a minute’s silence for the continuing repose of his soul [Minute’s Silence]. May the Almighty God grant him eternal rest.”

He continued: “I wish to sincerely appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR who recognized Open Government as a means of ensuring transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business and who in a letter dated 20th June, 2016, to the OGP Steering Committee titled, ‘Letter of Intention to Join the Open Government Partnership’ signed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, applied to join the OGP global family and for giving me the opportunity to serve as Co-Chair and endorsing the implementation of OGP Principles in Nigeria enabling the government to engage with the public and the citizens on transparent, accountable and participatory governance.

“I am thrilled to see so many leaders from civil society – men and women who stand up for openness, accountability, transparency and justice every single day. This is not an easy task to undertake but I believe that it is worth the efforts because throughout history, progress has always been driven by citizens who have the courage to raise their voices to be counted and who are willing to work to bring about the change that they seek.

“I therefore wish to sincerely appreciate the support of the my Co-Chair, non-state actors of the OGP for the commitment, dedication, understanding and the patriotism during the course of the life of the outgoing National Steering Committee (NSC). Together, we sailed on the ship of implementation of the National Action Plans (NAPS I and II) and set the stage for the implementation of NAP III.

“Let me also appreciate the Secretariat, under the leadership of the National Coordinator, Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria Ahmed. The secretariat has worked very closely and remarkably well with the National Steering Committee to advance the goals of the Open Government Partnership. Their continuous support to the incoming NSC is desired to ensure the maintenance of institutional memory and the continuity of programmes and policies.

“With your support, we have successfully implemented the second National Action Plan and with the feedback from the 2023 Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM), Nigeria achieved major early results and won an OGP Impact Award in recognition of its efforts to establish a public beneficial ownership registry, amongst others.

“As you know, we all worked tirelessly to ensure the institutionalization of the OGP in Nigeria, especially by strengthening the secretariat to carry out its coordination role. This led to major changes in the last two years. For example, a new National Coordinator was appointed in the course of the implementation of NAP II to lead the OGP National Secretariat.

“Let me once again, appreciate the OGP Nigeria for some of the lofty innovations and ideas, most outstanding being the development of the OGP NAIJA App which will enable citizens interface and connect with Nigeria OGP, interrogate the Action Plans and other activities of the OGP. The OGP E-Newsletter and website are other novel initiatives by the Secretariat which will be launched with the OGP NAP III during the course of this meeting.

“As we draw the curtains on the implementation of OGP NAP II, we are going to present the third National Action Plan to our successors who will be steering its implementation. It is important that you remain committed in the implementation of the OGP Principles in Nigeria, especially the implementation of NAP III.

“May I implore you to identify ways through which the OGP Agenda can be advanced for greater good for all, at both the Federal and Subnational Levels, bearing in mind that the country is entering a new phase of national leadership with the emergence of President-Elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, whose government I am optimistic will further push for the implementation of OGP principles in Nigeria.

“Finally and most Importantly, the ultimate appreciation goes to God almighty for keeping us throughout our tenure.”

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