As Nigeria Decides (4)

ReVoDa: Votes Will Count!

ReVoDa: Votes Will Count!

I’m not sure if it’s the Dubai airport ambience that informed this blog post, but it hurts each time I compare the Lagos airport to this one. The hurt gets deeper when you consider the fact that the same resources that fund government-led projects in this region of the world, where progress has been recorded, are readily available to Nigeria. But some few not-sure-of-their-humanity leaders have selfishly – or maybe unconsciously, if folly would be a good excuse – plunged Nigeria into what a nation should not look like in the 21st century. Think of the fact that Earth Hour was celebrated across the world today, when folks turned off the lights. For Nigeria, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria makes sure we observe Earth Lifetime – with few sprinkles of power supply to remind us of the fact that we have to pay monthly bills.

I’m sure that after 12 years of our return to democracy, Nigerians are now beginning to see the direct connection between quality of life and political leadership. In exactly 7 days, we have that opportunity of using the instrumentality of the ballot to decide who governs Nigeria at various levels for the next four years – save for few states that themselves represent the triumph of democracy expressed via upturned electoral mandates. A lot has been said and done, and the three weekends – April 2 for the National Assembly, April 9 for the Presidential and April 16 for the Gubernatorial / State Assembly elections – will go faster than we can imagine. With 73,528,040 people registered, increased citizen interest and participation, massive youth activity level and an umpire that has given the right signals to date, 2011 appears to be quite interesting – to say the least.

There are countless efforts aimed at making the 2011 elections free and fair but the technology projects have particularly caught my attention. For example, ReclaimNaija’s Ushahidi instance will help Nigerians report incidents during the elections; WANGONeT’s 70ft How (Not) To Rig An Election wall lays out the points that need attention just as their crowdsourced Know Your Candidates project serves as a one-stop location for information on candidates; the new TakeAStand web application allows anyone to publicly declare their support for their respective candidates; the recently held youth-focused #WhatAboutUs presidential debate was largely driven by social media; and EiE Nigeria coalition’s social media-driven Register | Select | Vote | Protect (RSVP) campaign has become the official language of the 2011 elections while the new mobile application, ReVoDa, will change the game as citizens will now be able to monitor elections in their respective polling units without the need to register as formal observers. I can imagine what 2015 will look like when some of these efforts work together and with the opportunity to further refine these tools and deploy them during the subsequent state elections that will hold in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

There will be three types of Nigerians in April: those who will make things happen, those who will work against change, and those who won’t know anything happened. There are enough excuses and assumptions to hold anyone from adding value to this opportunity to restart our national clock, but it is exciting to see the level of activity – especially those that bring together the three forces I believe are responsible for the wave of change sweeping across the world: appropriate technology, dissatisfied youth and change opportunity. Some have, however, argued that the level of interest in the Nigerian 2011 elections is largely elitist but I doubt the accuracy of that argument because Kano, Ekiti, Delta and some other areas of Nigeria where I had the chance to interact with on-the-ground efforts prove that assumption wrong. So, we’re back to the question: what will YOU do to make 2011 count for Nigeria?

As I return to Nigeria in the early hours of tomorrow, I know it’ll probably be the busiest week of my life but it’s worth every second of it because I do not want to tell our kids that when daddy had a chance, he buried his head in the sand like an ostrich. As Nigeria decides the next set of leaders, what value will you add? The least you could do after Register and Select is to make sure that you – and as many people as possible – Vote and Protect.

As Nigeria Decides (3)

ReVoDa, a new mobile application brought to you by the EnoughisEnough Nigeria coalition, was designed to allow citizens report incidents, results, violence/fraud, police behaviour, INEC staff conduct, etc, from their respective polling units – and from the comfort of their mobile phones. ReVoDa turns eligible voters into informal election observers, and allows monitoring organizations to draw conclusions about the legitimacy and accuracy of the elections. If you’re already familiar with what ReVoDa is, and you just want to start using it, please see the 5 Easy Steps at the end of this blog post.
ReVoDa ReVoDa

Since Nigeria’s elections have a history of manipulation and voters are usually disconnected from the process beyond voting in itself, the use of ReVoDa during the 2011 elections will showcase the power of popular participation. ReVoDa, as part of EiE Nigeria’s RSVP campaign, connects voters to the entire process and makes it fun – especially for young voters who’re avid technology users.

Creating a profile Saved profile prompt

ReVoDa provides untrained citizens with a medium through which they can share their objective and subjective election experiences and it potentially turns the 87,297,789 Nigerians with mobile phones, 43,982,200 with internet access and 2,985,680 on Facebook into informal election observers. ReVoDa is easy to use, and comes with a HELP function to guide you. To use ReVoDa, start by registering your name and polling unit number by sending a text message to 08128882011, using this format: PU# Name (e.g. 24/13/02/015 Oluwangozi Danladi). If you’re sending from someone else’s phone, use this format: PU# Name Mobile# (e.g. 24/13/02/015 Oluwangozi Danladi 0800 000 0000). You will get a return SMS confirming your registration and advising you to download the app. You can read more about how it works at

Making a report Making a report

Please spread the word by using the “Tell A Friend” feature of the app, or by sending this text message to your friends: “You should use ReVoDa Mobile application to monitor 2011 elections, send reports & get updates from EiENigeria. Download the app @”. If you prefer tweets: “U shld use ReVoDa Mobile app 2 monitor 2011 elections, send reports & get updates from @EiENigeria. Download @

Tell A Friend Party Acronyms

And here are 5 Easy Steps to take in order to use ReVoDa, courtesy of @EiENigeria:

1) Send your PU number (see top right corner of voters’ ID) and name to 08128882011, eg 24/13/02/015 Oluwangozi Danladi

2) @EiENigeria will send you a text message to confirm your registration, along with a link to download ReVoDa

3) Download and install ReVoDa, and set up your profile information on the ReVoDa mobile app

4) Get familiar with ReVoDa! Feel free to use the HELP menu or check out

5) Share ReVoDa with others using the “Tell A Friend” tool or Facebook/Twitter menu (not available for ReVoDa Lite)

For more information, please contact EiE Nigeria via or 0809 222 2011 or @EiENigeria.

As Nigeria Decides (2)

Web/Mobile ReVoDa screenshots

A lot has happened over the last few weeks, especially as actual campaigns begin across Nigeria. Gaffes, reckless statements, assumptions and an unhealthy dose of sycophancy are in unlimited supply as presidential candidates showcase themselves in an attempt to convince as many Nigerians as possible to vote for them. Though a 21-way race, according to the electoral commission, I have only seen a list of 18 presidential candidates. Some are so unpopular that no one seems to know what exactly they look like, but there are those that most people refer to as the leading candidates. I will only speak from available data, leaving the oft-used “man to beat” slogan for the campaigns to claim. 🙂

In a February 2011 online poll I helped coordinate for EnoughisEnough Nigeria, which seems to also mirror the offline choice of Nigerians, the leading candidate is the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan. He’s closely followed (39% to 29%) by retired General Buhari. Nuhu Ribadu wasn’t far away at 25%. Others include Pat Utomi, Dele Momodu and Chris Okotie – in that order. I had thought Governor Shekarau would pull some weight.

As if to confirm the poll, another (ongoing) poll asking young Nigerians to choose six leading candidates they want in a presidential debate shows preliminary results that include Jonathan, Ribadu, Buhari, Utomi, Momodu and Okotie. But don’t count on it, Shekarau seems set to pull a surprise. The poll also asked people to choose what topics these candidates should debate, and no one will be surprised that leading issues are power, corruption, education, economy, poverty and security. The poll closes on March 4 and you should please take it at if you haven’t done so.

The poll is a joint effort of a group of over 15 youth organizations that have come together to host a presidential debate at the Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja on March 25. With confirmations from most of the candidates and the duo of Chimamanda Adichie and Ebuka Obi-Uchendu as moderator and host, you can be sure that the group, working with the theme, “What About Us?”, isn’t leaving anything out. You can read more about the network of organizations that includes the EnoughisEnough Nigeria coalition at The group is actively using social media to promote the debate, and you will notice this in the status messages, profile pictures and tweets of young Nigerians especially on Thursday, March 3.

As the day-count towards the elections dips below 30 from tomorrow, I can literally feel the pressure coming from the need to deliver on all that we have to do – especially technology-wise – in order to make this 2011 opportunity more participatory. During the event that marked the first anniversary of EiE Nigeria on Sunday, I talked about our plans to roll out the web and mobile application that will allow each citizen become an election monitor from the comfort of their mobile phones. Tagged ReVoDa, I’m excited to have worked (directly and indirectly) with @TimAkinbo, @EmekaOkoye, @OoTheNigerian, @MayowaOwolabi, @LekanStephen@EOlutosin and @Namzo to deliver on the platform that will go live on Tuesday, March 8. Of course, these gentlemen are the real gurus behind the work and it looks like everyone is locked in considering the post-election application of ReVoDa.

As the candidates cause traffic problems and call each other rascals, it is my hope that young people – who make up 70% of the Nigerian population and 65% of the registered electorate – will drive this election towards an issue-based one by asking the question: What about us? We can take this country back, people, so that we don’t have to bury our head in shame while the world asks: what happened to the nation that showed so much promise at independence 50 years ago? We’ve moved around this mountain – of voter apathy – long enough, it’s time to turn northward and take our country back. We’ve got numbers and technology to our advantage, let’s remind office-seekers that each position comes with a social contract!

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