Now that the elections are over and thankfully the Nigerian Apocalypse did not happen, I am sure that everyone like me is looking at the transition and the challenges that are sure to come up in terms of governance over the next few years. Yes there is a wind of change blowing across the nation. The wind of change in my opinion is a wind of “O boy if you mess up we go vote you out o” and not any of the Messianic bullshit that APC sold us in their campaign. We have witnessed a watering down of campaign promises in recent weeks and some very old faces (and yes I m talking about age) surrounding the President-elect. I hope he does not forget that the youth were a major force in the last election. Anyway, Let us leave that matter for Matthias as we say in colloquial speak. Whether change or transformation won, what is important or at least should be important to us as Nigerians is governance and the intended dividends of democracy it should deliver. Call me crazy but I believe we should crowdsource governance.
Crowdsource governance, how? Crowdsourcing entails obtaining input and contributions from a large source of people especially online to achieve a goal. In Nigeria there is a disconnect between government and the people. My idea intends to connect them wirelessly. What connects them if anything are chains of patronage. I know someone who knows someone to the Nth degree who knows so and so commissioner who knows the governor but I do not have access to the governor even though he is governing my state. Crowdsourcing governance would involve that governor or any elected official getting input directly from their constituency and using that to make an informed decision on how best to serve them. People who have worked with Maintenance Management Systems such as SAP would get the concept I am talking about.
The idea I had is this; why dont we have a portal that connects the people to their leaders. Yes it would require the buy-in of the leaders and it would be accessible as an app or through the web as well as by text or phone call. The portal would provide an avenue for people to report faults in their communities that require the attention of their local government chairmen, legislators, governors and so on. The reported fault for instance a pothole or the need for electricity in the community is compiled and analysed by the body and the leader is able to make a case to fix the problem or marshal the resources to fix it if it is within their powers. The portal will also provide an avenue for quick polls to gauge the opinion of the electorate on matters that affect them. To engender transparency, people who send in requests can track the requests to ensure they are closed out. The portal can also go beyond that to even list the people awarded the contract and perhaps help in the bidding process and tracking costs. In theory, it could become the very definition of open governance. The portal intends to be a one stop shop for information about government, governance and performance while giving the populace direct input into how they are governed.
How will such an idea make any money? Well, I think the portal can decide to charge the government and leaders for analyzing the data as well as presenting it to them in discretized form and possible the pay structure would be per unit of information. Initial funding? Maybe venture capitalists or international organizations interested in initiatives for development, good governance, open society and transparency.
Anyway, that is my little idea (For potential future legal issues, this blog post serves as a proof of intellectual property). What do you think? Would it work in Nigeria? Would it work in any country? How can it be made better? How do you get buy-in of the leaders? of the people? Does allowing SMS as an option make it more accessible to rural areas that might need it? Do you know how we could possible make this idea somewhat a reality? Let’s discuss. Drop me a comment or dime below