2020 Audited Financial Report

Titus Tukurah 27 November 2021 33

Finacial-Report-2020

Click Here to download the report document.

Women in Leadership: Losing the Norm and Embracing the Standard

Titus Tukurah 26 February 2021 2

By Steffia Imoesi

Growing up, I always believed that a lady should live in the shadows and not be seen so as to avoid attracting the wrong crowd. We were taught to settle, be shy, contended, and not speak to elders. This notion was born out of the fact that society made us believe that a woman’s place is at home and they are unfit to handle senior executive roles in an organization. The man’s duty is to work and care for the family. A man is allowed to dream big but when a woman does, she is seen as too ambitious and inconsiderate of her family and domestic obligations.

I have come to understand that some of the challenges of female leaders include limitations caused by societal norms that impede women from attaining leadership roles or competing in a ‘man’s world. As the world evolved, these notions became meaningless. I started to read and watch women break the glass ceiling and take on more important roles, making a great show of exemplary leadership qualities. Women have become  Presidents of Nations, lead global corporations and have done exceedingly well.

Recently, I picked an interest in Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, a renowned Nigerian Economist with a wealth of knowledge in international development and global economy. She sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

Previously, Dr Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the Number 2 position of Managing Director, Operations (2007–2011). She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003–2006, 2011–2015) under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.

Okonjo was the first woman to become Finance Minister of Nigeria, and first woman to become Finance Minister of Nigeria twice. In 2005, Euromoney named her global finance minister of the year.

Rising to the second position of the world bank, as Managing Director, she had oversight responsibility for the World Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia. She spearheaded several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during the 2008 – 2009, food crises, and later during the financial crisis. In 2010, she was Chair of the IDA replenishment, the World Bank’s successful drive to raise $49.3 billion in grants and low interest credit for the poorest countries in the world. She recently clinched the position of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization based on her merit and creditable portfolio over the years

Dr Okonjo-Iweala has shown us that with tenacity, a high degree of professionalism, integrity and influence, women can achieve anything. All these are the qualities I admire in this Icon. She has also taught me that life is limitless, we can dream big as women and be all that we want to be. Infact, Okonjo-Iweala has proved that having it all is a function of personal determination.

2016 Annual Report: Big Stories from Rural Communities

Titus Tukurah 21 September 2020 19

2016 Annual Report: Big Stories from Rural Communities

In Nigerian rural communities, overtime, billions of dollars have been appropriated for the provision of health facilities , teaching aid, water and clean energy inputs, and have remained only spent “on paper”. 80% of such funds do not reach these communities. Many times they are not aware, and at times, they do not have the will/capacity to challenge and ask questions. It’s Game Over! There is a new movement that has been empowered and organised to reverse this trend. This is a compilation of what these “citizen monitors” were able to achieve in 2016.

Click here to read full report.

2016-Reports-FTM-BIG-STORIES-1

MHM: Periods Do Not Stop In Pandemics

Titus Tukurah 3 June 2020 2

MHM: Periods Do Not Stop In Pandemics

Menstrual hygiene management can be challenging for women and girls in developing countries, where access to clean water and toilet facilities are not adequate. In rural communities, some women and girls do not have the capacity to purchase sanitary towels, so they mostly rely on the use of reusable cloths and rags which has grave implications to  health.

Steffia and a School Girl in Delta State rural community

Research shows that over 800 million women and girls menstruate every day globally and they lack the tools needed  to properly manage their periods. There is a cultural and social stigma surrounding menstruation, often preventing women and girls from attending work and school. Even when they do attend while menstruating, the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, lack of sanitation infrastructure such as private toilets and handwashing facilities, and lack of menstrual hygiene education can prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential in the classroom, in the workplace, and at home. 

In some societies, there is a norm that women should not talk about menstruation openly because it is something to be  ashamed of. This often leads to their discomfort during this period. There are  situations where men  have described menstruation, which is a natural phenomenon, as disgusting and shut down female folks who tried to speak openly about it.

A girl in a community in Lagos, laughing

WASH means Water, Sanitation and Hygiene while they are separate fields of work, they are interdependent. Without clean water, proper hygiene can not be practiced, without toilet facilities our water sources can be contaminated. Without access to WASH facilities, girls and women find it extremely difficult to manage their menstruation safely. Prioritizing WASH facilities has a direct link to improving  menstrual hygiene and can create opportunities for the integration of menstrual hygiene management into policies and programmes. A good example is seen in CODE’s work on Effective -Water Sanitation and Hygiene (EWASH) project which it is currently implementing with the support of the USAID in Nigeria. CODE has successfully advocated for the passage of WASH laws in Niger and Taraba states. These laws will ensure States prioritise the provision of clean and potable water for residents and increase the building of WASH facilities, which can improve menstrual health of women and girls. The lack of access to WASH facilities can affect the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) like Goal 4.

May 28 of every year is set aside as Menstrual Hygiene Management Day (MHM Day), a day where Nonprofits, organized groups, private and government agencies come to celebrate the MH Day and advocate for good menstrual hygiene management. The theme for this year’s MHM helps to drive the narration IT’S TIME FOR ACTION with the hashtag #PeriodsInPandemic. Periods do not stop in a pandemic, so we can collectively as organizations, organized groups and individuals effectively advocate for the improvement of Menstrual hygiene management.

Managing Your Finances During the COVID19 Pandemic

Titus Tukurah 25 May 2020 78

Managing Your Finances During the COVID19 Pandemic

We are currently facing a pandemic that has not only impacted our lives, but also businesses, the economy, and the world at large. The Coronavirus pandemic has become a global issue with no prior warning as the entire world was caught unaware hence, the lack of proper planning for the impact.   This suddenness has taken a huge toll on our daily activities and lives in general. People reacted differently to the COVID- 19, especially because of the uncertainty as to when things will get back to normal, there is a range of emotions from fear, panic buying, job retrenchment, pay cut and other issues.

How can you manage your finances during a crisis like COVID- 19?

I have outlined a few ideas;

 Evaluate Your Financial Health: What you should do first,  is to analyze your assets and liabilities to ascertain your net worth. Net worth is basically really everything you own that is of significance (your assets) minus what you owe in debts (your liabilities), which can be positive or negative. Assets mean what you own that can enable economic benefit (Inflow) to flow to the entity/ person examples include Cash, buildings, land. Liabilities are what you owe on those assets — including car loans, your mortgage, and amounts payable.  

For you to effectively manage and monitor your finances then you need to create a monthly budget which is recommended or a weekly budget, whichever suits you). The budget will help track expenses and ensure that projected expenses are not above expected income. At this point, you should re-evaluate your budget tossing out unnecessary spending.

Understand the Differences between Wants and Needs: Before you spend, especially during an emergency of this type, in a pandemic, ensure that it is absolutely necessary. It is best to know what to prioritize,  such as your needs, and make sure to avoid the wants that are not necessary.  Basically your needs are essential to you and your wants are not to be prioritized at this phase. The 2 by 2 matrix below sheds more light on needs and wants.

Needs versus Wants Grid

Build your income streams by diversifying investments, this is not the time to sell off assets-avoid panic selling. Find profitable ventures while considering their risks and authenticity. The best form of investment is self-investment and also leverage on long and short investment options like cash and cash equivalents, money market, Eurobonds, mutual funds. We need investments so we can have a soft landing after the pandemic, to hedge against currency risk and to save for rainy days. 

Please hold cash, basic secondary economics classes taught us that people should hold cash for three (3) major reasons; Precautionary motive to meet uncertainties or emergencies, Speculative motive which I like to call exploring advantageous opportunities and when cash is held to meet day to day activity then it is called Transactional motive. In a nutshell, it is important to hold cash so as to cover unforeseen expenses, meet short term obligations, and take advantage of a juicy investment option.

We should all learn from experiences like this and plan adequately for unforeseen circumstances, whether you experienced a change in your finances or not, it is important to assess your financial resources and plan to ensure financial success. 

This is a phase that will pass. Change, they say, is constant, so this phase will pass. Stay safe.

CODE Launches 2018 Annual Report, Wins UN SDG Award

Titus Tukurah 14 May 2019 603

Connected Development (CODE) has launched its 2018 Annual Report that highlights the impact of its social accountability initiative, Follow The Money, in tracking an estimate of NGN 1,289,579,737 (USD 3.6 million) budgeted for projects in  69 grassroots communities across water, sanitation and hygiene [WASH], primary healthcare and education sectors, in the year 2018.

In the report, CODE emphasised its effort to spur stronger and inclusive growth for grassroots communities in Africa by providing them with the resources to amplify their voices; creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building the capacity of citizens on how to hold their elected representatives accountable through the Follow The Money initiative.

“It was a year of resilience and remarkable achievement,” said CODE’s Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, in his introduction speech at the launch of the 2018 Annual Report themed Amplifying Voices from the Grassroots. Lawal stated that “our priority in 2018 was to track subnational budgets and ensure that Federal allocations to States and Local Governments reached grassroots communities for socio-economic development.

“CODE activated Follow The Money for 9 Local Government projects and 41 State Government projects championing 5 advocacy campaigns for improved first-mile health infrastructure and services, 60 advocacy campaigns for improved education infrastructures for children to learn in schools, and 6 advocacy campaigns for communities to access safe, clean water and we impacted 1,292,848 grassroots people in 21 States of Nigeria, Lawal added.

The report also featured CODE’s tracking of spending in the extractive sector through its Conflict and Fragility Campaign, aimed at mitigating human rights and conflicts issues  to improve the livelihoods of grassroots communities in the Niger-Delta region. CODE engaged policy makers, stakeholders and beneficiaries, on the effects of artisanal mining activities in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. It also features Follow The Money’s expansion to other African Countries in Kenya, Liberia, Cameroon and The Gambia.

During the year, CODE faced key challenges including threats for exposing misappropriation of funds, poor access to data to enable tracking of government funds, security issues in NorthEast of Nigeria, and limited funds in reaching more grassroots communities, according to CODE’s Chief Operating Officer, Ojonwa Miachi.

CODE’s 2018 Report was launched alongside the presentation of Follow The Money’s award as the 2019 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Mobilizer of the year. The presentation was supported by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, OSIWA, Oxfam Nigeria, Luminate and Indigo Trust.

Chief Activist, Hamzat Lawal, dedicated the award to rural grassroots communities across Africa, the CODE team for their resilience in promoting the Follow The Money mission even in the face of insurmountable pressure; and to the donor agencies who believed CODE’s vision and contributed to actualising its mission.

Background:

The 2018 Annual Report outlines CODE’s work in tracking government and international funding in 3 thematic areas; WASH, Health and Education. It also describes its FTM sustainability model of building capacities of rural dwellers on how to hold their elected representatives accountable without CODE’s influence; and the inauguration of new local and international Follow The Money chapters.

The report highlights key activities in different regions including Kano, Lagos, Yobe, Kaduna, Bauchi, Ondo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Zamfara and Borno.

Copies of the Annual Report are available at CODE’s HQ in Abuja Nigeria or downloadable via http://followthemoneyng.org/2019/05/10/2018-annual-report/

For Media Enquiries, contact Kevwe Oghide, Communications Lead, Connected Development via kevwe@connecteddevelopment.org

Follow The Money Makes Top 3 in Mobilizer Category of 2019 United Nations SDG Action Awards!

Titus Tukurah 18 April 2019 0

Credit: SDG Action Awards

Follow The Money, an initiative of Connected Development that tracks national governments’ and foreign assistance spending to empower citizens – including marginalized communities- to hold governments to account for their commitments, has been shortlisted as a finalist for the 2019 Sustainable Development Action Awards!

This announcement which was recently made by the SDG Action Awards Global Project Leader, Laura Hildebrandt, revealed that this year’s selection process was harder than ever with more than 2000 excellent applications from 142 countries. 3 finalists have been selected for each of the 7 categories representing initiatives based in all world regions: Arab States, Lebanon, Africa Malawi, Nigeria (2) South Africa (3), the Americas (Peru, Brazil, Haiti and USA), Asia (India (2), Malaysia, and the Philippines) and Europe (Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland).

Follow The Money was one of the 3 initiatives in the finalist category of Mobilisers. Other categories are Storytellers, Campaigners, Connectors, Visualizers, Includers and Creatives. The finalists in each category will present their achievements at the UN SDG Global Festival of Action.

According to the Founder of Follow The Money, and Chief Executive of Connected Development, Hamzat Lawal, “we are excited to have been nominated among the top  21 initiatives showing how innovation, creativity and commitment lead to impactful SDG Actions from over 2000 entries of amazing organizations & initiatives around the globe. We are honoured that our social mobilization efforts are being recognised by the United Nations and are committed to ensuring that the sustainable global goals are achieved in Nigeria, other African countries and beyond.

Lawal added that Finalists are now being reviewed by a judging panel of over 20 experts that will select the top initiative in each category. Everyone has the chance to act by supporting their favourite entry for the People’s Choice Award. We urge our fellow colleagues in the development space and Nigerians to help bring this award home by liking and retweeting Follow The Money mentions on SDG Action Awards social media accounts. We will join other world leaders in Bonn, Germany in May where the winners will be announced.

Every year, the UN SDG Action Campaign opens the SDG Action Awards to call for the top individuals, civil society organizations, subnational governments, foundations, networks, private sector leaders who are advancing the global movement for the Sustainable Development Goals in the most transformative, impactful and innovative way.

Follow The Money which started in Nigeria over seven years ago, has chapters in Kenya, The Gambia, Cameroon and Liberia. As the largest social mobilization & accountability movement in Africa, it has advocated, visualized and tracked USD 10 million meant for social development across African grassroots communities, impacting directly over 2,000,000 rural lives. F

CODE’s Final Report on 2019 Nigerian Presidential Election Observation and Way Forward

Titus Tukurah 13 March 2019 0

CODE is a Non-Governmental Organization, whose mission is to improve access to information and empower local communities in Africa. Its Follow The Money initiative tracks government and international aid spending in rural communities to ensure and promote open government and service delivery. Since 2012, CODE has tracked an estimate of USD 1 million (in budgeted sums for projects) across 100 communities in over 25 Nigerian states, improving over 1 million rural lives. 

CODE is an INEC Accredited Observer for the 2019 Nigerian General Elections. CODE observed electoral processes in Kenya in 2013, Nigeria in 2015 and the USA in 2016, seeking to ensure peaceful electoral process, promote national reconciliation and improve quality of elections in these countries.

______________________________________________________________________________

Introduction

Connected Development presents, today, its Final Report on the Nigerian 2019 Presidential Election that held 23 February 2019. The report is being presented by the Head of Mission, CODE Election Observation team, Hamzat Lawal, to members of the press, the government, civil society groups, political parties and other national stakeholders.

The aim of this report is to recount findings by our tech election observation platform Uzabe mapping tool to national stakeholders, highlight recommendations which CODE believes can impact on the improvement of a more credible electoral process in Nigeria in the future.

We have also proposed recommendations for consideration by the Independent National Electoral Commission and relevant stakeholders on how to further improve future elections. These recommendations are offered to help address a number of the shortfalls outlined on Uzabe and to serve as benchmarks for assessing the commitment of the current administration in advancing democracy in Nigeria. 

Uzabe Findings and Analysis

In preparation for the Nigerian 2019 Nigerian Presidential and National Assembly Elections, Connected Development [CODE], launched Uzabe, a real-time (web-based map) situation technology, for gathering real-time security intelligence and observing the electoral process. With Uzabe mapping tool, CODE established early warning systems for communities and voters; and strengthened mitigation and emergency response during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Uzabe received over 3,887 reports from on-the-ground observers and online social sentiment analysts. From these reports, Uzabe established about 453 election incidents across 34 States of the Federation and the FCT. Uzabe recorded issues of electoral violence, voter suppression, security personnel and party agents influencing ballots of voters, vote buying, underage voting and destruction of voting materials in Lagos, Bayelsa, Rivers, Kogi, Taraba, Bauchi, Kebbi, Borno and Yobe, leading to death of civilians. 

Operations and Logistics Issues:

Logistics and operational issues were prevalent despite the fact that they were the reason for the postponement of elections. Uzabe recorded 137 cases of logistics and operational issues at many polling units across the country. For example; INEC officials in some States in the South-East and South-West did not arrive the polling stations until 12 pm and commencement of voting started at 2 pm and 4pm in some regions of Akwa Ibom. There were also records of missing stamp, card reader issues, delay of voting processes, causing INEC to extend voting to Sunday as means of covering for lost hours 

Security Issues:

Security remain a prevalent challenge confronting the nation’s growth; and electorates should not have to die or lose loved ones at the cost of participating in the electoral process. As an accredited observer, we are disheartened at the poor level of preparedness shown by the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] to conduct a violence-free election, despite the week-long postponement of the election to allow for adequate logistics and security readiness.

CODE strongly condemns election-based violence which resulted in the burning of thumb-printed ballot papers in Isolo local government area in Lagos, killing of a young voter at a polling unit in Dekina Local Government, Kogi State; death of two persons in Nembe, Bayelsa, death of 16 persons in Rivers and injuries of citizens.

The Nigerian Police stated that it would be responsible for the protection of electorates and would deploy at least 3 police officers at the 119,973 polling units across the country; however, this level of preparedness was not reflected as Uzabe recorded many polling units having 1 security agent attached, and in some places, there were none. On a positive note, there were reports of security agents restoring the peace, in areas where suspected political thugs tried to incite violence.

Uzabe situation room provided emergency incidents to security agents including the Nigerian police, ensuring minimal violence due to military deployments across the country. Uzabe platform helped mobilise security in some polling units to erase the tendency of violence. 

Bomb blasts rocked the North-East on election morning, however, Nigerians still came out en mass to vote. This is the resilient Nigerian spirit we commend. Over a million votes were cancelled because they did not meet voting standards. We implore INEC and political parties to do better in educating voters on the voting process. A few people could not travel to vote, contributing to the low turnout of voters. we believe the #NotTooYoungtoVote mandate encouraged young people to come out to cast their votes, as expressed in the elected candidates for the House of Representatives. We are still analysing the demography of voters to note the percentage of youth who voted. 

CODE would like to emphasize that Uzabe is not keen on results but rather observing the electoral process and analysing issues that are critical to running a fair electoral process.

Recommendations

  1. CODE suggests that in order to enhance confidence in the election process, INEC’s complete autonomy must be strengthened to ensure it provides more effective and objective electoral process. We seek to see an INEC that is decentralised to avoid issues of logistics and operational issues.
  2. INEC must develop result-management process using competent and secure technology; and must provide a more conducive environment for collating results in regions.
  3. There should be policies and regulations guiding campaign financing to enhance accountability of political candidates and also legal measures should be introduced to address abuse of state resources.
  4. INEC must introduce reforms that allow for Nigerians in the diaspora to vote the candidate of their choice.
  5. Under-age voting is a violation of the Nigerian constitution and it is prevalent in some regions of the country. INEC must work to curb this issue as it serves as an indictment on the credibility of election process and ultimately a threat to our democracy.
  6. Appropriate authorities should investigate all allegations of violence and cases of violent acts, as well as vandalism and destruction of election materials and electorates’ properties, in accordance with the rule of law, and perpetrators held legally responsible.
  7. Party agents must learn to be cordial irrespective of political differences and must desist from inciting election-violence. Government must apply punitive measures in prosecuting criminals and perpetrators of election-based violence.
  8. Security agents must do better in protecting lives and properties of the electorate and ensure lives are not lost during the electoral process. We cannot keep addressing issues of electoral violence except we adequately prepare for these contingencies.

We, however commend INEC, for allowing the will of the people to be heard, and for remaining firm on her duty regardless of pressure from political actors that want to truncate the electoral process. We urge citizens to support INEC, particularly the Resident Electoral Commissioners, and they should come out en mass to vote their candidate of choice for the gubernatorial elections. 

CODE would like to acknowledge the commitment made by various volunteers —the field observers who sent in reports to Uzabe for public awareness to ensure transparency; their time and resources were critical to the conduct of an objective electoral process. CODE also commends Nigerians, particularly her youth, for their loyalty and resilience in the face of insurmountable pressure. This election was a test of the magnanimity of Nigeria’s democratic consolidation.

CODE hereby calls on opposition parties and other stakeholders to act responsibly, to pursue peaceful and legal resolution of their grievances and to uphold the integrity of the political and electoral process.

For Media Enquiries, contact Kevwe Oghide, Communications Lead, Connected Development via kevwe@connecteddevelopment.org

Why Social Justice is Critical to Election Process

Titus Tukurah 13 March 2019 3

Kevwe Precious Oghide

As Nigerians await results of the Presidential and national house of assembly elections, it is important that we do not lose focus of social justice and fairness at all level. The declaration of fairness at work by the International Labour Organisation addresses fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue and fundamental principles and rights at work.

Fairness at work is about obtaining freedom, equity, security and human dignity in conditions of work. It stands against inequality and discrimination—allowing for a work environment that thrives on productivity, having a voice in the workplace and the community. Fairness and rights at work also rides on gender equality, resolving issues around balancing work and family life, enabling women to make choices and take control of their lives. 

In some extreme cases, fairness at work is about moving from subsistence to existence. Having a job, does not guarantee decent living. Not to address the disheartening rate of unemployment in Nigeria, there is a high percentage of employed persons who still cannot afford basic needs. Many people are taking up menial jobs that are characterized with low pay, poor working conditions, health and safety hazards and poor access to social protection system. This percentage of people are experiencing a lack of material well-being, economic security, equal opportunities and basic human security.

In Nigeria today, there is a huge deficit expressed in the absence of employment opportunities, denial of fairness at work and inadequate social protection. Many Nigerians are appalled by the Country’s position as a top leader in the number of people living in extreme poverty. Massive voters’ turnout is largely due to the desire to secure a better Nigeria. We are seeking change in the areas of social justice, economic opportunity, welfare upgrade, environmental protection, health benefits and an overall improved standard of living of the average Nigerian.

Although, there have been recounts of violence in some polling units across the country, people are boldly pushing back, reasserting themselves, regardless of threats and intimidations. What we are witnessing now appears to be a powerful flash of resilience and patriotism.

Also, in the pursuit of social justice, older generation are working to securing the future of their children. Child labour, in its worst form, robs a child of their education, their health, their future and even their lives. Children in rural communities are often marginalized when it comes to getting basic education. Government officials charged with implementing schools and healthcare projects in these communities often embezzle funds, widening the gap between rural and urban children, and further depriving rural children of their right to education, as well as work with higher pay, in the future. 

In addressing social justice in this context, Connected Development’s Follow The Moneyinitiative is empowering rural communities with data and accessible technology to track government spending on education, health, water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, so rural dwellers can hold governments at national and sub-national levels accountable, ensuring improved service delivery.

Good governance allows for the creation of quality jobs, better job opportunities, leading to better incomes and an improved standard of living of the average person. It also allows for a system where children have the opportunity to receive basic education. The ripple effect is evident in more unified and equitable societies that are important to preventing violence and conflicts. 

As votes are being collated across the nation, this is a moment of reflection, but also a renewed fire in our hearts, as we begin to assess the need to hold government accountable, demanding that they do better in ensuring social welfare of the average Nigerian. Young people, especially, must recognise that they are the key to future elections and the antidote to whatever fear, hatred and intolerance may lie ahead.

The aspiration for social justice, through which every working man and woman can claim freely and on the basis of equality of opportunity, their fair share of the wealth which they have helped to generate, is quite strong in recent times. CODE is convinced that no lasting peace is assured without an egalitarian system and will keep working with partners to support and promote social justice, one community at a time.

#NigeriaDecides2019: Nigerian Youths are Protecting our Democracy Using Uzabe Technology for Elections Observation

Titus Tukurah 12 March 2019 2

“Voting is not only our right—it is our power” – Loung Ung

A democratic government is birthed by a fair electoral process. Ensuring the integrity and security of the election process is essential for the functioning of democracy in Nigeria and is a shared responsibility among citizens.

However, outcomes of elections in Nigeria have planted seeds of doubt in credibility, and disparity in the minds of Nigerian citizens. People no longer see the need to vote, knowing that political parties will desperately seek to win by discrediting the votes of the people and influencing the election outcomes. Overtime, trust has dwindled and electoral processes have become ridden with corruption and self-enrichment. The disaster herein is that when we do not come out to vote, we leave room for bad government officials to be elected, consequently giving credence to poor educational policies; economic downturn; difficulty in doing business and inaccessibility to basic human amenities like water, sanitation and hygiene. 

Lyndon B. Johnson once said that “A man without a vote is a man without protection;” voting in the wrong people opens the door for our security to be jeopardized.

Some individuals and organisations who are concerned for our democracy have now risen to the challenge of ensuring transparency and accountability during the 2019 General Elections scheduled to hold on the 16th of February and 2nd of March 2019.

Connected Development [CODE], a Non-Governmental Organization, whose mission is to improve access to information and empower local communities in Africa, has launched a real-time (web-based map) situation technology, Uzabe, that would capture election processes happening across the 36 States of Nigeria.

CODE, a civil society organisation that was selected by the Independent National Electoral Commission as an accredited observer for the 2019 General Elections, will be using Uzabe technology tool to strengthen citizens participation and engagement in the electoral process, while also protecting the Nigerian democracy. CODE, through Uzabe, will provide real-time reports on security intelligence that would strengthen mitigation and emergency response during violence and establish early warning systems for vulnerable communities.

How Uzabe Works:

On election day, trained observers, volunteers and witnesses will report to Uzabe any electoral related incidences using either Uzabe hashtags on all social media platforms like twitter, facebook, Instagram; and also, directly uploading feeds to the Uzabe website. These reports are then received by the hundreds of volunteers who will structure, geo-reference, and verify them. Afterwards, the reports are visualized and made public on a map, timeline, and stats board at uzabe.org. 

Citizens can report on a successful vote and also report issues such as voter suppression, ballot issues, or violence via Uzabe mapping tool. The platform allows citizens and election observers to report from the ground via many channels such as email, SMS, twitter and embeddable web forms. Uzabe is user friendly and includes the ability to easily send and receive text and images and interaction with structured messages. 

CODE’s Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, stated that the result of this launch is that electoral and response organisations have a new channel to monitor electoral incidences; and citizens have an easy to use tool to capture and report critical information during the 2019 general elections. 

According to Lawal, riding on CODE’s participation in observing electoral processes since 2013 in Kenya, 2015 in Nigeria and 2016 in the USA, the Organisation seeks to, again, ensure peaceful electoral process, promote national reconciliation and improve quality of elections in Nigeria using Uzabe technology tools.  

Through this platform CODE intends to contribute its quota to peace-building by providing the technology tool to enhance a free, fair, peaceful and credible 2019 general election by increasing transparency and accountability through active citizen participation in the electoral cycle.

According to him, Uzabe strengthens citizens participation and give situation and iWitness report from all polling units in real-time.

Connected Development [CODE] is a Non-Governmental Organization, whose mission is to improve access to information and empower local communities in Africa. Its Follow the Money initiative tracks government and international aid spending in rural engagement in deciding a better future for our country. The technology platform helps the Nigerian citizens to communities to ensure and promote open government and service delivery. Since 2012, we have tracked an estimate of USD 1 million (in budgeted sums for projects) across 100 communities in over 25 Nigerian states, improving over 1 million rural lives.