In the digital age, a well-designed and informative website is crucial for public institutions to establish effective connections with the public they serve. However, the Ogun State House of Assembly seems to fall short of the transparency standards expected of a public institution in the 21st century, as revealed by investigations conducted by Ogunwatch.
Upon visiting the official website of the Ogun State House of Assembly, “https://www.ogha.og.gov.ng/,” it was discovered that the last update on the activities of the chambers was made in 2022. One of the blog posts on the website reported on a condolence visit by the state’s lawmakers to the former clerk of the house who had passed away. This post, dated October 28, 2022, is the most recent activity reported on the website.
Considering that it has been six months since October 2022, numerous activities have taken place within the state’s lawmaking body. These include the passage of the 2023 Appropriation bill into law in December 2022, the election of new lawmakers, and the presentation of Certificates of Return to them by the Independent National Electoral Commission. Surprisingly, there is no visual documentation of the certificate presentation ceremony or the Document of the 2023 Appropriation law on the state’s website at the time of this report. This lack of accountability indicates a disregard for the citizens of Ogun State, whom the Assembly supposedly represents.
Moreover, on May 9, 2023, the Assembly passed a bill titled “H.B No 089/OG/2023-Re-passage of the Ogun State College of Health Technology (Amendment) Law, 2006” during a plenary session presided over by the Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo. Despite reports of the event in newspapers, the amended law document cannot be found on the Assembly’s website.
The website does have a section on the homepage labeled “Latest public documents,” which should provide downloadable electronic copies of bills and laws passed by the Assembly. However, the latest document displayed is “Legislative Bill LIST OF FIFTH ALTERATION PASSED BY OGUN STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY,” posted in 2022.
In addition to the website, the Ogun State House of Assembly maintains an official Twitter handle with 179 followers: @oghaofficial. The Twitter page’s bio describes it as the official account of the Ogun State House of Assembly, the Legislative Arm of the Ogun State Government in Nigeria. However, the account was last updated on January 21, 2021.
Ogunwatch confirms the authenticity of the Twitter account, as it is directly linked to and hosted on the Assembly’s website.
According to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 in Nigeria, public institutions are obligated to record and maintain information about their activities, operations, and business. It is emphasized that such institutions must properly organize and manage all information in their custody, ensuring easy public access to such information.
The lack of transparency demonstrated by the Ogun State House of Assembly raises concerns about its commitment to accountability and public engagement. The citizens of Ogun State deserve a more transparent and accessible platform through which they can stay informed about the activities of their lawmakers.