NITDA, Brain Builders Explore Leveraging Technology To Tackle Vote Buying
TECHDIGEST – The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and a civil society organisation (CSO), Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative, (BBYDI), plan to explore innovative technology to checkmate vote buying and enhance citizens’ participation in the electoral process as part of their civic responsibilities.
Both organisations expressed this commitment this week in Abuja at the Yvote Naija CivicTech Hackathon 2022 ceremony where Youth Let’s Talk Politics emerged the winner with 34.67 point to beat seven other finalists.
Youth Let’s Talk Politics is to receive the N2 million cash reward for its winning-pitching.
The Yvote Naija [Why Should You Vote, Najia] is an initiative of BBYDI to get more young people involved in the country’s political space.
The hackathon, designed to identify civic-tech solutions to improve citizen participation in the electoral process, is funded by Christian Aid with the support of NITDA, dHub, AfriLabs, MALhub and Equilibrium zone.org, SeedBuilders. Others are Alivon, Webfala Digital Skills For All Initiative, Tech Economy.Ng, and Online Hub Educational Services.
“As the 2023 general elections approach, the importance of this civictech hackathon cannot be over emphasized because citizens’ participation in the electoral process, democracy is an indispensable pillar of good governance. Participation mechanisms provide the government with regular feedback for developing policies and designing decisions that promote democratic ethos and processes,” said Director General, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi.
The NITDA boss who was represented by National Director, National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Yau Issa Garba added: “With our general elections around the corner, Nigeria needs programmes like this civictech hackathon to help bolster inclusive and accountable decision-making, equitable civic participation and voice, effective public service delivery and government responsibility. Indeed, the outcome of this grand finale would be further proof of the value that technology can bring to the electoral process.
“Therefore, I encourage all the finalists at this stage of 2022 Yvote Naija Civictech Hackathon to channel their ingenuity into developing their innovative solutions to strengthen citizens’ participation in the electoral process and help to deepen Nigeria’s democratic experience.”
According to Executive Director, BBYDI, Abideen Olasupo, in addition to addressing Nigeria’s major election concerns of vote buying, voter apathy and electoral violence, the hackathon desires to explore civic-tech solutions to improve public participation in the political process.
Senior Communications Coordinator for Christian Aid Nigeria, Kehinde Afolabi, urged young people to get more involed in participatory politics as well as the entire electoral process.
According to the organisers, the CivicTech competition attracted about 30,252 applications from all 36 states of Nigeria. The entries were streamlined from 30,252 entries to 81 with viable ideas. These were further shortlisted to seven after taking the 81 teams through a virtual fellowship that exposed them to mentorship opportunities from different experts. The final pre-selection ended with seven competitors from where the winning solutions emerged.
They assured that the runners-up will also be able to accessed mentorship, incubation and funding with the support of NITDA.
Yvote Naija (Why Should You Vote, Najia) has been in the forefront of raising electoral consciousness among Nigerian youths and their participation in elections to enhance credibility of the entire process.