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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More