Voters in Nigeria will be able to track everything happening on election day as it happens, thanks to a new tool launched by a civil society organisation, who are partners with HumAngle.
Connected Development (CODE), a pan-African organisation officially unveiled the platform called “Uzabe”, to members of the public on Friday 24 Feb, a day before the polls opened.
Speaking at the event, Hamzat Lawal, CEO of CODE, noted that available data released by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicates that a good number of Nigerians are eager to exercise their franchise at the upcoming polls.
More than that, he emphasised that the current elections possess the highest number of young persons in the election register
“Data from INEC shows that 26 million students are registered voters and 37 million voters are aged between 18-43. This means that Nigerian youths are waking up to their duty in project Nigeria,” he said.
The impressive participation of young people in the electoral process, Hamzat said, is a great opportunity for CSOs, media organisations, and other stakeholders in Nigeria to unite and play their part in ensuring “democracy thrives in the country,” hence, necessitating the launching of an important platform such as Uzabe.
The Uzabe Platform
Previously deployed by CODE in monitoring the 2019 Nigerian elections and 2022 elections in Kenya, Uzabe is “an open Situation Awareness Room (OSAR) initiative that would provide real-time intelligence, mapping tools, and witness reports from 20,000 trained observers” across polling units in all 36 states of Nigeria.
The observers have been trained to relay the real-time election proceedings to teams in the situation room who would then organise and make the information available on the platform.
Uzabe is also an open-source and geo-mapping tool which has been designed to help Nigerians stay abreast of incidence reports around their vicinities.
According to CODE, Nigeria’s history of violent elections which has been largely aided by the inadequacy of election observers would be “checkmated” by the use of the platform.
The CSO also notes that the spread of fake news during elections spurred it to partner with “reputable media organisations to expand coverage and fact-check information to quell fake news and other forms of misinformation likely to incite violence or significantly impact the elections.”
The organisation also explained the other mechanics of the physical situation room in Abuja and how different organisations would contribute to its running. Speaking on HumAngle’s contribution, the CSO said that HumAngle’s expertise in conflict and insecurity across Nigeria (and especially in the Northeast) would aid in comprehending and analysing incident reports as they come in.
The Nigerian election, though yet to commence, has already seen cases of election violence, with political thugs attacking residents and convoys of targeted politicians.
In addition to that, the security threats across all regions of the country give importance to an open-source geo-mapping tool such as Uzabe, as this would aid security operatives and citizens alike, in avoiding bloodshed during the polls.
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