Nigerians are eager to make a decision on who will lead their country for the next four years as the general election day approaches.
One key observation is that the news and social media have been dominant with chatter about the major Presidential contenders, even though they are not the only ones running.
Hardly would one see a major discussion on the other candidates contesting for seats in the Senate and House of Representatives where laws are made and the president is checked.
And this leaves a huge gap on the identities of these candidates, and the abilities of the citizens to make educated choices.
The very same holds true for the House of Assembly, Governorship, and Sub-national elections. About 11 states of the Federation are holding the governorship elections, but again, not many are aware of the states and the candidates.
Nigerians have benefited less from this practice than they have from it. While these contenders remain hidden behind the shields of their political party, Nigerians have a right to know who is running for parliamentary seats, and what advancement they are willing to bring.
This is why Orodata Science and Open Cities Lab created the MyCandidate portal (https://mycandidate-nigeria.opencitieslab.org/), which allows Nigerians to learn more about every candidate across all levels and states. The platform has two main components; ‘Locate me’ and ‘Address search’.
Users are able to leverage their location, state, or local government to discover a list of all the candidates contesting in their area and be informed. With the “Locate me” button on the website, the result is instant.
However, with the second feature, a user only needs to start typing the name of their local government and a list will appear, from which they can make a selection to see a list of candidates for all tiers of elections.
MyCandidate includes an embed code, a segment of HTML code that enables users to insert the website’s content into another website. You can copy and paste this code onto any website that accepts HTML.
This embed code can be used by online media, civil society, and other institutions to add MyCandidate to their own websites and provide this data to their own communities.
Orodata science is renowned for enhancing the way people and organizations use data to address pressing societal issues and advance progress. This project aims to bridge the information gap between voters and candidates while also assisting journalists and civil society groups in their efforts to monitor each candidate’s development following elections.
MyCandidate Nigeria is an open-source platform and relies on the extensive data provided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and verified information sourced from the media. In addition to giving crucial details about each candidate, it also gives access to the Google search engine for more data.
The program lead, Uche Oti, believes that bringing the same initiative before the elections in Nigeria will have an impact on voters’ knowledge and enable them to make better decisions about who deserves their votes. MyCandidate, which was piloted by Open Cities Lab in South Africa, saw great success, according to Uche Oti.
“In order to be heard at the 2023 general elections, MyCandidate Nigeria is a crucial tool.
All individuals are urged to embrace this platform and make an educated decision regarding who will serve as their leader for the ensuing four years. Citizens can feel confident in their voting choices with MyCandidate Nigeria because they have the knowledge and resources needed to make an informed decision ” he said.