John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Technology and Nigeria’s Elections

by John Campbell
April 26, 2011

A man casts his vote at a polling unit in Dugbe neighbourhood during the governorship election in Ibadan, southwest Nigeria, April 26, 2011. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

As Nigeria’s gubernatorial polls draw to a close today, I’m reminded of a noteworthy development during the entire 2011 election cycle: the use of technology. My Research Associate Asch Harwood writes today that new forms of connectivity—everything from mobile phones, to social media, to digital cameras—have improved citizen participation and election observation in Nigeria:

Their impact has been threefold—contributing documentation to Nigeria’s electoral record, empowering Nigeria’s connected youth to participate in the democratic process, and building capacity around technologies that are increasing becoming indispensable tools for securing democracy globally.

Harwood makes it clear that new technology is not a “panacea.” Connectivity issues can limit reporting from rural areas, and some information may be less than reliable. On the whole, however, new forms of connectivity are an important, positive step for democracy in the country and the region.

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  • Posted by Onanuga Olusegun

    Technology improved the process of independent observation and monitoring, limited age old malpractices like ballot box snatching and multiple voting, but did not stop the manipulation of figures at the collation centers where independent observers are mostly restricted.

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