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

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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid