The recent statement by the Inspector General of Police that Nigerians should not take pictures with their mobile phones during the forthcoming April 2011 elections must be a national embarassment. Beyond that, it simply smells fishy. How can the police boss attempt to ban tools that should help make useful information available for him to get his job of maintaining law and order done more properly? Perhaps there is more to it than meets the eye?
Egypt, Tunisia, Anyone?
Recent events in countries like Egypt and Tunisia have demonstrated the power of the modern mobile phone. When we say that the mobile phone is inherently superior to the PC, we are not parroting a misguided notion. It is the truth – always-on, extremely portable, and multi-purpose, very few devices could have helped make possible the political revolutions that took place in those nations.
Here in Nigeria, while no such revolution is going on (yet), the mobile phone is set to help trigger a new phase of electoral monitoring. And no amount of directives from the IG or anyone else in authority will halt this. The Constitution of this country is clear about the freedom of citizens, and no-one should allow the utterances of the IG to hold them back from taking pictures, recording videos and sending updates via mobiles from voting booths across the country.
ReVoDa allows voters to report as independent citizen observers from their respective Polling Units across Nigeria, having registered to map their mobile number, name and polling unit number to specific locations. It also allows EiE Nigeria to send relevant information about the electoral process to registered users. You can download the ReVoDa app.
Beyond using ReVoDa, from the night of Friday, April 1st, Mobility Nigeria will be publishing updates sent in by our readers of happenings at polling stations nationwide. You will be able to post your comments directly, mail in your pictures and videos, or send in your updates via basic SMS. The idea is that you have the opportunity to use the power of the mobile phone to help make things happen
Let’s make it happen!