How to Salvage #INECRegistration.

The time allocated for the registration of voters (in Nigeria)  is supposed to end this weekend. If it does, it will be a disaster because millions of people would not have registered. If that happens then the election is as good as the one done in 2007. Although I have my reservations about  some things done so far, I will leave that for later and list out things that should be done to salvage this voters registration drive.

  1. Voters registration will have to be extended by another week. There were a lot of hiccups at the beginning and that time would have to be got from somewhere.
  2. 2-3 days of public holidays will have to be declared in the extra week to ensure people have the time to stay at home (where they will vote) and register. Before you shout, far less important things have led to the declaration of holidays. I do believe a week of public holidays is not too much to sacrifice for the future of Nigeria. besides it will not be done at the scale ever again. so they say.
  3. Registration days have to be lengthened: I hear registration closes by 3 on Sunday. I think having registrations until 8pm is not too much to ask for at these last days especially in greatly populated areas.
  4. A queuing system would have to be deployed. I went to vote yesterday morning and was told i would have to return the next day as too many people were before me. The problem is, what time do I return? I should be sent a test approximately 30 minutes before it is my turn. A lot of people have very limited free periods so it will be appreciated if their times are optimized. secondly, a queuing system will allow INEC to know how many people are yet to register. “text your name to 1960 if you are yet to register”

If some of these things are not done, we will see queues of 300 people in the last hour of the last day (Naija style) turned back?

Please, if you have not registered pleas do. I have that very sweet feeling that this is the time, I promise you will not want to be left out.

Camera Phones,BB, Twitter, Facebook and Nigerian Elections: A match made in Heaven?

“Ballot box, corper and police kidnapped and taken away in black Toyota LandCruiser reg number TP 887 KJA” [E. Imasuen, Warri] #DeltaRerunless than a minute ago via web

The above is an example of a Tweet that was sent during the recent Governorship elections held in Delta State Nigeria. It is self explanatory and to the point. I guess what is missing is a picture.

I have previously agreed with those that said shouting on Twitter/Facebook cannot lead to reform but I think the Nigerian elections will be an interesting case.

You see, one of the reasons riggers have been allowed to go  scot free by INEC and the courts after stealing votes has been the ‘absence of proof’.  It was up to the opponents to provide evidence which was just too expensive! This time around, evidence gathering would be distributed and performed by the electorate.

During the last 2007 elections, a Deputy Governor personally stole a ballot box. He did not want to leave anything to chance. Had it be done this time around, I an certain mobile phones would have been there to capture the embarrassment. It would be easy to distribute this on Twitter, BB, and share on Facebook. Yup, people will tag the sons and daughter of riggers and maybe the riggers themselves.

So in addition to my predictions for the Nigerian tech space, I see tweets being used as evidence in law courts this year.

We would also have to be aware that these tools can also be used to spread false information so we should be VER careful before we retweet, re share or rebroadcast any thing.

*I have heard a lot of great things about Ushahidi but Not really sure how works so did not speak about it. My understanding is that it maps information. e.g SMS of incidents on a map. I do not know how easy it is for public distribution.