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.