‘The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything’ – Josef Stalin (1923)
All parts of the RSVP (Register, Select, Vote, Protect) campaign are important, but the chilling quote above makes the case that perhaps the ‘Protect’ part of the process is the most crucial. A candidate could have a perfect campaign, put his points across, convince and mobilise voters and all that, but once the election is rigged, especially in a tight race, all could be lost. What would follow might be a lengthy court battle at best, given the nature of our legal system.
The Enough is Enough Nigeria coalition has once again taken the lead with a phone application that could turn a lot of voters into election observers and give them the power to protect their votes by making reports on the conduct of the election at their polling units which will be compiled and which are actionable. The name of this application is called ‘REVODA’, and it can be gotten by texting ‘GO’ to 08128882011. A link will then be sent to your fone to download the application. After downloading, go to the menu section and register your polling unit number and full name. There is also the option to ‘Tell a friend’ about Revoda, which I hope everyone does.
One of the most crucial things REVODA should be used for is to report the number of voters ACCREDITED at a polling unit. Voter accreditation is a new dimension introduced by INEC to further reduce rigging. The total number of voters who intend to vote is to be known before the actual voting takes place. Accreditation will be between 8am and 12.30pm and voting commences immediately after. The total number of voters ACCREDITED should be reported, so that if the number of ballots cast is higher than that figure, the results are invalidated as it will be a nearly sure case of rigging. After voting, voters are also allowed to stay behind and monitor the counting process. The final vote tallies should also be reported. Reports on events in between like early/late arrival of election officials and materials, violence, ballot box snatching, and also if the process is peaceful, will be useful to get the true picture of the conduct of these very crucial elections.
Election observers can’t be everywhere all the time. The citizens, however, can be. The Revoda app is yet another tool that can aid the people to get more involved in the process, and make sure that their will is upheld at the ballot box. The tool is here and it is left for the people to use it. Download it, and share with your friends. Spread the word. Come out and vote, and after voting don’t go back home. Protect your vote. 3 saturdays is not too much to sacrifice in order to have a better 4 years.