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Nigeria: Will Technology Impact 2011 Elections?

This post is part of our special coverage Nigeria Elections 2011.

Nigerians will go to the polls on 16 April 2011 to elect their new president. The election was postponed from 9 April 2011 because of organizational difficulties. In this post we are looking at how Nigerians are using technology to enhance electoral transparency, political participation and good governance.

Take a Stand, Publicly!

Nigerians on social networking sites can take a public stand using Take a Stand website:

TakeAStand allows people to identify publicly with their positions on certain issues. Take a stand was built to fight apathy, double speak and non commitment by our friends and colleagues on the forthcoming Nigerian elections . Take a Stand is the ‘option A4*’ of online voting *Option A4 also known as open ballot is the voting system that was used in the 1992 Presidential elections. Voters were required to line up behind the candidates they supported. The 1992 elections is aclaimed to be the freest and fairest election held in Nigeria.

FAQ about Take a Stand:

What is the diffience [sic] between this and online voting Online voting is anonymous. With TakeAStand, you stand by your vote publicly. Besides, you can stand for only one candidate unlike in online voting where you can use multiple email adderesses to vote for multiple people. Why are there only 4 candidates when there are about 18 contesting? Exactly the same reason the 20 premier league clubs do not go to the Champion's League. However, if enough people email info@takeastand.com.ng requesting for a particular candidate, we will consider. I am in a position of neutrality therefore I cannot state my position publicly (e.g. military, INEC official) Fair pont. Journalists are not exempted though, they should balanced, not neutral. I do not have a Facebook or Twitter account. I am sorry, that is the only universal public identity tool.

Online Voting For Nigeria Elections 2011

Online Voting for the Nigerian 2011 Election is a website that allows Nigerians who will not have the opportunity to vote to do so online:

For Nigerians in Diaspora or Nigerians online as a whole who will not have the opportunity to vote, this Internet portal has been set up to allow any interested parties vote for the presidential candidate of their choice in the Nigerian Election of April 2011. Voting Rules The result will be displayed as soon you select one candidate and click the Done button You will need to be of Nigerian heritage You can only vote once – (Just to keep close to the real thing).

Nigerians Decide
Another website that allows Nigerians to vote online is Nigerians Decide:

Fellow Nigerians, it is time to decide our future as a country. Your vote is your POWER to decide who will lead NIGERIA out of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, and the candidate that will restore the true dignity of Nigerians. VOTE NOW! and VOTE RIGHT!

Here are the latest results:

1. President Goodluck Jonathan (Peoples Democratic Party) 621 21%
2. Muhammadu Buhari (Congress for Progressive Change) 1870 64%
3. Nuhu Ribadu (Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) 343 12%
4. Pat Utomi (Social Democratic Mega Party) 24 1%
5. Dele Momodu (National Conscience Party) 7 0%
6. Ibrahim Shekarau (All Nigeria Peoples Party) 34 1%

ReclaimNaija:

ReclaimNaija is a broad based national platform for popular, grassroots engagement in promoting electoral transparency and democratic government. ReclaimNaija uses Ushahidi platform to monitor the Nigeria Elections 2011.

ReclaimNaija: My Vote, My Power!

The objectives of ReclaimNaija are:

To empower the individual Nigerian Citizen as a monitor of incidents in the area of: Free and fair elections; Corruption of public officials, civil servants and law enforcement agents; Human Rights abuses To provide a mechanism for citizens to report on incidents of electoral malpractices, corruption and Human Rights violations that they experience; To provide a resource to the Mass Communication industry in publicising the incidents reported by Nigerian citizens; To provide mechanism for collating and analysing reports and channelling them appropriately to inform public decision making, shape and influence policy outcomes.

Writing at Ushahidi blog, Linda had this to say about ReclaimNaija:

The reclaimnaija platform, which is driven by the Ushahidi web engine, is a reporting platform set up as a mechanism for grassroots people to get their voices heard on issues of electoral transparency and governance. The platform makes it possible for citizens to monitor the electoral process and report incidents of electoral fraud and other malpractices simply by sending text messages or calling dedicated numbers in four major languages (Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin). For the text messages,FrontlineSMS is what has been used as the SMS gateway. Citizens can also report to the platform via email, direct reporting on the site and twitter. Community Life Project successfully deployed the platform for promoting electoral transparency in the pre-election phase of the 2011 elections.

Reclaim Naija is redefining election monitoring in Nigeria:

In addition, the reclaimnaija.net website serves as a one-stop online resource for information on the 2011 elections. It features all the polling units, senatorial districts and wards, the Nigerian Constitution, information on candidates, the 2010 electoral act, the election timetable, electoral guidelines, certified voters’ registration figures, political parties as well as civic and voter education modules. For the first time in our history, citizens of this country have a formidable platform for promoting electoral transparency and popular participation. Citizens were able to positively influence the electoral process. For instance, a lot of reports came from communities with limited access to registration centres and a couple of such communities had the deadline for voter registration extended by two days. Reclaimnaija.net has already succeeded in redefining the paradigm of election monitoring in Nigeria.

This post is part of our special coverage Nigeria Elections 2011.

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