Nigerian youth converged at Chams City, Ikeja, Lagos, 29 – 30 October 2010 to brainstorm on how to deploy technology to ensure free and fair elections in 2011. The event tagged “Lagos DevFest 2010” was put together by Google and attended by over 100 developers, mapping geeks and social media enthusiasts from across the country.
In her welcome address, Google team leader, Bridgette Sexton encouraged participants to apply the knowledge acquired from the two-day training to help make next year’s election free and fair.
In his own contribution, a guest speaker from the World Bank, Mr Ismail Radman challenged participants to replicate the American experience where technology was used to break racial barrier to make Barack Obama president. He stated that youth between the ages of 18 – 30 years were largely responsible for electing Obama, and adding that Nigerian youth can rise to the occasion and make 2011 elections free and fair.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Tunji Lardner of the West African NGO Network (WANGONET) argued that the various discrepancies in INEC’s database may not allow the commission to conduct free and fair elections, even with the best of intentions. He explained that a research conducted by his NGO recently showed that there are only 90,000 polling stations in the country instead of the 120,000 in INEC’s records.
He reasoned that youth can fill the gap by mapping the real polling stations such that the ghost ones can become visible to everyone. He warned youth not to be apathetic noting that their “very future depends on the 2011 elections”.
By the end of the training in map making, App Engine and other technical aspects of mapping, participants had developed 25 applications for election monitoring as well as adding 2,500 locations to the map of Nigeria.
Hard work and innovation were rewarded as two laptops were given to the developers of the most innovative application as well as the participant who added the most locations to the map of the country.
Headline Image via Webtrends