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“Looking at technology to boost governance”
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“Looking at technology to boost governance”

Technology is booming, but is not equally available to all citizens. Musa Temidayo, 26, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Nigeria, looks at bold new technology that connects people to services, increases accountability and manages scarce resources.

The ubiquitous existence of technology, in my opinion, has a potential to fundamentally transform the delivery of public services in Nigeria and Africa at large. While the problems Africa faces are huge, this is also a wonderful opportunity to completely interrupt the status quo and bump productivity exponentially.

To many citizens and electorate who are have not gotten acquainted with technology and new media for open governance, elections remain the only major point for them to exercise their influence. Yet these periods are spaced a half-decade apart. As the social mindset evolves in the digital age and the idea of democracy extends to the online realm, there is a growing need to make governance more participatory and bidirectional. Technology and innovation is playing a pivotal role to bringing about this change.

Recently, Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), a Nigerian non-partisan coalition for good governance, started The Hackathon in partnership with Co-Creation Hub, BudgIT & Paradigm Initiative Nigeria. It was themed “Not every time rant; sometimes ACT!”, which aimed at building prototypes of apps where citizens can engage and interact to provide solutions to key trending issues in their community.

Often, one hears a lot of talk about government inefficiencies, public servants’ power-drunk activities, and how to those we elected to public offices are playing mannequin challenge with resources, economy and feeding large on taxes. When it comes to reality, the problem is much bigger. There is also the problem of identifying and making the voices of the electorate and citizens heard.

After the hackathon 2.0, new apps were developed. Of those, Medpolice, Power Disputes Advocates (PODA) and Myvoice.ng emerged as the top three winners whose ideas are trailblazers in terms of how pertinent issues in different localities are given a platform to be heard, with actionable follow up to be done by the team.

While Power Disputes Advocates (PODA) presented a solution that provides fast and reliable response to power issues and educates DISCO consumers on their rights, MyVoice.ng provides a platform that picks up citizens’ rants, analyses and connects them to relevant government agencies and Civil Society Organizations for speedy resolution, which also track the time frames of the reported cases and start discussions based on keywords and hashtags springing from different areas.

The Medpolice team presented a solution by creating a platform for citizens to report cases of medical negligence to relevant authorities, with a tracking mechanism by the team to ensure prompt response to the cases reported.

Overall, these innovations and technology give the citizenry and electorate more power to checkmate public offices holders and public institutions, and a platform where the voices of the citizens can be heard with actionable results.

This will also rekindle the need for government to look at technology as a transformation enabler. This will improve not only the productivity of services, but also make better use of scarce tax money and government resources. Nigeria is at the cusp of a range of changes, and technology can propel the country in the right direction at a faster pace.

Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE) also announced that while these ideas and projects are still in their infant stage, the team has received funds to develop a prototype and finally an integrated app which will comprise the three projects into one app and platform that will be available to the citizens for use.

photo credit: raymondclarkeimages Collect Calls via photopin (license)
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About me: I am an education and research enthusiast and essayist who studied International Relations at Obafemi Awolowo University.

Once upon a time, I was the Editor-in-Chief for DIPLOMAG.

I am an Ambassador for A world At School (UK), Director of Advocacy for Organization of African Youth for Development & Peace and also belongs to several bodies with a great passion for education advocacy, human rights and youth development.

I am also the fictional leader of #Taylor-swift’s fan in Nigeria.

You can reach me on email: musatemidayo@yahoo.com

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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