2015 Elections: Voter Education now on MTN Phones
The launch of the 2015 BetterMe app by MTN Nigeria has been described as innovative and a milestone in voter education and engagement towards enhancing and deepening Nigeria’s electoral process. The app, which is available to over 60 million MTN subscribers, has a vast and robust content offering including segments on the 2015 elections, among others. The new app enables subscribers to seamlessly access information relating to the elections, from the comfort of their mobile phones. A subscriber can access information on candidates for the elections, their plans and 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 2015 election of the BetterMe app is a collaborative effort of the Independent National Electoral Commission, National Orientation Agency and MTN Nigeria. Mr. Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, Director, Voter Education, INEC, while speaking at the event to unveil the BetterMe app to the media in Abuja, stated that the app is a major platform for voter engagement and a big step forward in Nigeria’s quest for participatory democracy. “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,” said Mr. Uzzi.
He said that INEC went into partnership with MTN because of the reach of its network. “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.”
Continuing on the benefits of the BetterMe app, Mr. Uzzi said that the app has unusual application for security agencies, election observers, among other stakeholders in the electoral process. “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 initiatives,” said Uzzi.
The BetterMe app is one among several unique initiatives MTN has introduced to enable its subscribers derive more value from the internet, said Richard Iweanoge, General Manager, Consumer Marketing, MTN Nigeria. 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.”
Mike Omeri, Director General of the National Orientation Agency, said that the app is a welcome addition to Nigeria’s sophistication. “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,” he said.
Fola Akinmolayan, CEO of NEO2, developers of the app, said that the platform is secure and can 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. Taking the media through the election-specific functions of the app, he said that the search engine capabilities of the BetterMe app makes it easier to search for information; sharing information has also been enabled on the app, he added.
The BetterMe app was introduced at the beginning of the year as part of a bundle offer to avail MTN’s subscribers more value while accessing the internet. The offer includes airtime and data bundle, with the Betterme app as a unique platform for accessing useful content as useful information would have been aggregated on the BetterMe app.