Nigerian leaders have been invited to use a top-rated communication app for free to help them keep in touch with residents – as two of Africa’s major cities begin a two-week coronavirus lockdown.
Capital city Abuja and Lagos – Africa’s biggest city and Nigeria’s economic hub – have been shut down for at least two weeks to stop the spread of COVID-19 with businesses closed down and 25,000,000 citizens forced to stay at home.
Nigerian has now recorded 135 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as the virus sweeps the world – with two people losing their lives.
Non-essential travel has been banned in most of Nigeria’s states and many workers, including civil servants, have been instructed to work from home.
President Muhammadu Buhari described the fight against the virus as a “matter of life and death”.
Joel Popoola is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur and creator of Rate Your Leader. The app is designed to help politicians engage directly with voters and build relationships of trust with the electorate, as well as transmitting important information in a crisis.
The app also allows votes to identify and contact their representatives at the touch of a button, direct from their phones or tablets – allowing them to rapidly receive important advice and information.
“Social distancing saves lives, but it also makes it significantly harder for leaders to communicate vital messages to their residents – and in the difficult days ahead they are going have to do that more than ever.
“Rate Your Leader allows elected officials to identify and communicate with all voters in the areas they serve so we know our technology could be vital at times like these – which is why we’re making sure there will be no cost for them to use our platform for the duration of the lockdown.
“Clear communication is critical in a crisis. Last week we warned that Nigerians needed to learn the lessons from the ambiguous messages coming from the British government at the start of the crisis in that country, and anecdotally I’m already aware of people in Nigeria who are confused by the fact that they have been told not to leave their homes, but have also been told food shops will remain open, so aren’t sure if they are allowed to leave their homes to buy food.
“It is local politicians who need to be carrying these messages, and we’re glad to play our part in helping them do it”.
Rate Your Leader, is always free app to residents and allows voters to communicate directly with elected representatives in a way which makes abuse impossible, as well as rating them for responsiveness. The app is available from the Apple and Google Marketplaces.