Premium Times’ Olorunyomi, Onyekpere, Hassan to discuss budget padding

Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher and Chief Executive Officer, Premium Times
Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher and Chief Executive Officer, Premium Times

The Publisher/Chief Executive Officer of Premium Times, Dapo Olorunyomi; Eze Onyekpere, Lead Director of Centre for Social Justice, CENSOJ; and Hassan Idayat, Executive Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, West Africa, are among media and Civil Society Organization (CSO) eggheads to join other stakeholders to discuss reforms of the nation’s budgetary system.

The forum is the Gallery Colloquium organized by OrderPaper.ng, Nigeria’s premier independent parliamentary reporting newspaper set to hold on September 26 at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

The colloquium is convened to address contentious issues on the budget and will bring together several top government officials from both arms of government to share ideas, perspectives and experiences on the Appropriation process as dictated by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The high-profile event will attract attendance and participation from critical stakeholders in the Executive, Legislature (National and State Assemblies), Academia, Media, Nigeria’s Development Partners, Civil Society Organizations, Community-based Organizations, Private Sector and other stakeholders, including political operators across partisan divides.

Mr. Olorunyomi, a multiple award-winning veteran journalist and social entrepreneur, will address issues relating to the role of the media in the budgetary process and general reportage and monitoring of Executive-Legislature relationship in Nigeria as watchdog of society. A recipient of the International Editor of the Year Award and winner of the Freedom to Write Award from PEN (West), he co-founded the News Magazine and was very prominent in the fight against military dictatorship in the late Gen. Sani Abacha days.

Mr. Olorunyomi, also a winner of the Press Freedom Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists in the United States, was enterprise editor at the defunct Next Newspapers, and founded the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ). He also worked as Director and chief of staff at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from 2005 until 2008, under former Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu.

Mr. Onyekpere, development lawyer, human rights activist and highly regarded public policy/economic analyst, will bring his wealth of experience and versatile knowledge of the budgetary process of Nigeria to bear on the conversation. He is highly sought after in the area of public expenditure management and fiscal governance.

Idayat Hassan, on the other hand, is a renowned civil society activist and social commentator whose work has impacted significantly on the public policy debate in Nigeria. She will bring a robust CSO perspective to bear on the budget reforms conversation at the Colloquium.

The Colloquium will be chaired by Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, while the Speaker, of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, is among other top dignitaries from the National and State Assemblies as well as Executive arm of government confirmed to attend the event. A keynote address will be delivered by Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma.

According to Oke Epia, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of OrderPaper.ng, “the theme of the Colloquium is deliberately chosen to shift the focus on the budget padding controversy towards reforms that will make the process work for the overall benefit of the majority of Nigerians.”

The Colloquium, tagged ‘The Gallery’ is a signature programme of OrderPaper.ng conceived to provide a platform for various stakeholders in the democratic project to cross-fertilize ideas and proffer suggestions and solutions on thorny issues bordering on the triumvirate of Legislature; the Executive; and the Electorate.

The broad objective of The Gallery is to provide a forum to smoothen rough edges towards better inter-governmental relations and improved cooperation for the ultimate benefit of democracy and the Nigerian nation in general.

OrderPaper.ng is Nigeria’s premier multi-platform media company dedicated to reporting, tracking and archiving activities of the legislature as an arm of government for the digital generation. As the first authentic and independently-driven online medium of interface between citizens and elected representatives, its mission is to deepen democratic growth and development.

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