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2022 Open Contracting Champion: Ezekiel Osemuahu Obazele

What is the most important role open contracting plays in the fight against corruption?

Corruption strives in secrecy. The right approach to fighting corruption to the barest minimum is ensuring transparency in the conduct of government activities. In my opinion, the most essential role open contracting plays in the fight against corruption is that it creates in all stakeholders a sense of awareness and access to data regarding contracts awarded and executed by the government. This invariably brings to the limelight any irregularities or discrepancies, which will help identify red flags and inform further necessary actions. 

What has been your proudest moment or achievement in building accountability or transparency in government?

My proudest achievement so far is leading a team that championed the successful publication of Contract Awards details on the web in 2016, making Edo State the first subnational in Nigeria to publish details of major contract awards on the web.

For your fellow open contracting champions out there—what is the #1 piece of advice you would share with a reformer working to increase accountability, transparency, or participation in government? 

I would advise anyone who is genuinely inspired to be a change agent in the public financial management sector, to place the interest of the public over personal gains.

If public procurement was an animal, which one do you think it would be and why?

If public procurement was an animal, it would be a butterfly. My reason is that apart from their beauty, the butterfly has the ability to trigger a process that is vital for ecosystem conservation (pollination) same as public procurement (sustainable public spending). I could relate the pollination to the intentions of a responsible government when planning and budgeting for its capital expenditure for a fiscal year—taking into cognizance economic, social, and environmental factors. After pollination, the plant’s fruits start developing, in relation to the subject, this can be construed as a well-executed budget that can have a trickle-down effect on the economy and invariably aid development as well as an improved standard of living. Public procurement “the butterfly” is the process by which governments execute their budgets. It can be used as a strategic tool for achieving developmental objectives and policies, the same way butterflies aid pollination and consequently ensures food security and most importantly ecosystem conservation.

Find Ezekiel on LinkedIn.

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