Telecommunications service provider, MTN Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the National Orientation Agency (NOA), on Friday in Abuja unveiled an innovative software application, called “BetterMe App”, designed to bring transparency to the electoral process through real time online election monitoring, voters education and engagement.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, the General Manager, MTN Consumer Marketing, Mr. Richard Iweanoge, said the application which was now available to over 60 million MTN subscribers had inbuilt content on voter education ostensibly geared towards deepening the country’s electoral process; adding that Nigerians would now have the unhindered access of monitoring the coming February through their mobile devices.
He said: "A subscriber can access information on candidates for the elections, their plans and manifestoes as well as their strategic thrust and policy direction of the various political parties."
In a remark, INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, represented by Mr. Oluwole Uzzi, a Director at the commission said the purpose of the collaboration was to bring more credibility to the entire electoral process through voter education and engagement.
He said: "When the idea was mooted, we were quite excited because of the positive benefits that the app has in engaging the voter and enhancing their participation in the electoral process. INEC went into partnership with MTN because of the reach of its network." Jega commended MTN and Mr. Fola Akinmolayan of NEO 2 limited, the designer of the app, adding, "Without being prompted, they have developed the app to help enhance access to information and voter education."
According to the INEC boss, for elections to be credible, voters must participate in the electoral process in an informed manner. The BetterMe app, Uzzi said, had unusual application security agencies, election observers, the Civil Society Groups and other stakeholders, adding that other public and corporate organisations should key into the application for the country’s overall development.
Also speaking, the Director General of NOA, Mr. Mike Omeri expressed satisfaction that the app was developed by a young Nigerian, adding “This uplifting that the BetterMe app was developed by a Nigerian, an indication of the country’s potential in the IT world.
With the app, he said Nigerians both within and outside the country would be able to witness and participate fully in the electoral process.
On the safe guard of the app from hackers, Akinmolayan assured that the app had inbuilt curators that would make it will very difficult for hackers to distort the streaming of content because the content would directly emanate from INEC or any other credible agency like NOA. He said MTN had the capability to fully monitor all that was generated to ensure that it was coming from the right source.
"Creating content in real time has been made possible by INEC. Social media content are curated from INEC website, syndicated news about the election and other relevant information as released by the commission." he said.
Akinmolayan said: "MTN will be able to curate and allow people to upload contents like videos. we are looking forward to integrating features where we want people on election day to show us information around their areas and the way the voting is being conducted."