By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
As the general elections in Nigeria draws nearer, MTN has unveiled a mobile app designed to enhance voter education and deepen the democratic process in the country.
Christened BetterMe, the app is available to the telco’s over 60 million subscribers.
With a rich bouquet of innovative services on the app, this year’s general election slated for this month has a special feature in the app.
The new app enables subscribers to seamlessly access information relating to the elections within the comfort of their homes on their mobile devices.
Presenting the app yesterday, it was gathered that a subscriber can access information on candidates for the elections, manifestoes as well as the strategic thrust and policy direction of the various political parties, among others from the convenience of the mobile phone.
The segment on the general election of the app is a tripartite collaborative effort among the telco, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and National Orientation Agency (NOA).
Speaking during the unveiling of the app, Director-General, NOA, Mike Omeri, said,. “It is very uplifting that the BetterMe app was built by a Nigerian, which is an indication of our potential. The app will make Nigerians not only witnesses but also participants in the electoral process. We thank MTN for keeping faith with the Nigerian who developed this app.”
MTN said the app is just one among several unique initiatives it has introduced to enable its subscribers derive more value from the internet.
Its General Manager, Consumer Marketing, Richard Iweanoge said with the elections around the corner, Nigerians will find the app even more useful in participating in the electoral process. “With the BetterMe app in mobile phones, it is easy to get info about the election, whether it is about parties, manifestoes or the candidates. What we are doing is enabling access, opening the window to lots of useful information,” he said.
In his contribution, Mr. Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, Director, Voter Education, INEC, said the app is a major platform for voter engagement and a big step forward in Nigeria’s quest for participatory democracy.
Said he, “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.
“We commend MTN and NE02 (developer of the app) because without being prompted, they have developed the app to help enhance access to information and voter education. For elections to be credible, voters must participate in the electoral process in an informed manner; without information, voters can’t participate in the electoral process in an informed manner.”
Mr. Uzzi described the app as an unusual app for security agencies, election observers and other stakeholders in the electoral process.
He said,”The ease of using the app for voter education is quite commendable. We hope the scope of the partnership can be expanded in other areas and that other organisations will take a cue from this initiative in their CSR initiative.,”
The app developers, Fola Akinmolayan, CEO of NEO2, said the platform is secure and could be accessed via most mobile phones.
“Creating content in real time has been made possible by INEC. Social media content are curated from the INEC website, syndicated news about the election and other relevant information as released by INEC,” he said, adding that the search engine capabilities of the BetterMe app makes it easier to search for information and sharing of information.