News / Africa

Nigerian Diaspora Seeks Credible Elections Using Social Media

Social media activists are hoping their efforts will prevent a repeat of the fraud which marked the 2007 election
Social media activists are hoping their efforts will prevent a repeat of the fraud which marked the 2007 election
TEXT SIZE - +

Social media powered civil society groups and the Nigerian diaspora are trying to help make the country’s ongoing election process credible. Election analysts are impressed, saying such efforts will help democracy establish itself across Africa.

A video posted on the YouTube video site Thursday showed alleged rigging by election officials during last week’s legislative voting in Rivers state.

Comments below the video included the cell phone number of a top official from the Independent National Electoral Commission, known as INEC, so Nigerians worldwide could call to complain.

The video was released by a group called Juju Films Productions.

At a recent event in Washington, Reno Omokri explained the actions his Nigerian group, Council for Youth Empowerment, are encouraging.

"Go surreptitiously and just video what is happening and then upload it so that we can actually force the elections to be free and fair and credible. We are not just going to rely on INEC," Omokri said.

Omokri says Nigerians around the world have been inspired by recent social media driven uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.

"We are actually sending youths from over here in the diaspora, also from the UK, and youths in Nigeria to monitor the election. Now you see what is happening in Egypt and Tunisia in the Arab countries. Facebook has played a major role," Omokri  said.

Facebook, the social media website, has hundreds of pages dedicated to the ongoing elections. These continue Saturday with the presidential poll, and April 26 with gubernatorial voting.

Twitter, the micro-blogging website, is full of conversations preceded with so called hash tags like "Nigeria Decides."

One group of Internet Nigerian activists called "Enough is Enough Nigeria" is using both Twitter and Facebook to encourage voting, as well as discuss the process, and point out any irregularities.

With more than 70 million mobile phone lines and thousands of Internet cafes in Nigeria, as well as a very concerned Internet connected diaspora, Africa analysts say social media are helping these elections become better, a trend they are witnessing across the continent.

Peter Lewis, the director of the African Studies program at Johns Hopkins University, says more traditional civil society groups also play an important role, but now have help to be heard.

"Nigeria has always had a vibrant and diverse civil society and many groups including the Transition Monitoring Group and other organizations are very focused on this election, concerned while also hopeful and eager to play a very assertive role and a very active role in observing, documenting and indeed trying to ensure that it is a competitive and transparent exercise," Lewis said.

Dave Peterson, from the U.S.-based National Endowment for Democracy, says thousands of election observers who are becoming more and more professional are the final piece of the puzzle in making sure the elections are credible.

"If there is fraud, the world will know about it. These groups, my impression is that, they are better organized than ever," Peterson said.

Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States Adebowale Adefuye is not surprised by these developments, given the general disappointment following the last elections in 2007, which were marred by widespread violence and cheating.

"The clamor for free and fair and credible elections has been so strong since 2007 that no government dare ignore it. It is as strong as the cry for reliable source of electricity and everybody knows what I am talking about in Nigeria. The future of the country, the international image of the country, respectability of Nigerians when they leave the country is so much tied with that," Adefuye said.

Candidates in the elections have noticed as well, using Facebook and Twitter to make important announcements, and encourage more voting for them.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid