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Freitag, 4.12.2020
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An international Data Scientist and Artificial Intelligence specialist, Mr Adewale Omoniyi, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to halt plans by his administration to regulate social media, but rather use the platform to enhance governance and anti-graft policies.

In an open letter, the founder of Naijatent – the first Nigerian indigenous social network – said the business of governance has moved to the information and communication technologies, adding that any form of gauging or censorship will stifle growth and development in the country.

According to Omoniyi, the concept of inclusive governance can take its root through social media if properly managed, adding that President Buhari can bridge the missing gaps in social media without necessarily censoring it.The letter read, “I write to express my most potent and most powerful protest against your government’s plan to regulate social media. The bill that contains social media regulation provisions seek to censor the Nigerian citizens’ voices, and I urge you to reject it.

“there are many benefits that social media in government can achieve. For instance, through the use of social media, the masses can engage in direct dialogue with government officials and all government agencies. But most importantly, social media plays a significant role in the fight against corruption in the following ways.

“Embracing information and communication technologies (ICTs) has proven to be a sure way of improving government transparency and eradicating corruption in a country. Today, corruption is a major impediment to the growth and sustainability of Nigeria. Continued lack of transparency can cause stagnated growth, which translates to an unstable nation.”

Omoniyi noted further that, “The adoption of ICTs, particularly social media, is an important move in enabling the government to achieve success in its transparency and anti-corruption initiatives and should not be banned.

“Other than transparency and anti-corruption initiatives, social media enables the government to cut costs associated with data collection and distribution. Among the ICT tools, social media serves as the ideal platform for promoting efficiency. Social media platforms provide citizens with an opportunity to play their oversight role, especially in areas of taxation and awarding of government contracts.

“Across the globe, most e-government activities are centred around social media. Unlike traditional media, which often relies on a professional’s perspective, social media presents users’ opportunity to convey their opinions. Ultimately, citizens can participate in discussions that are geared towards enhancing the growth of the nation.”

“Social media is mostly regarded as a conglomerate of web-based services such as wikis, blogs, collaborative editing tools, media-sharing services, and social networking services. These networks allow for disseminating information in a social environment; hence Nigerians can openly share their opinions and interact with like-minded people. Also, social platforms provide important information that influences the citizens’ perception of the government.

“Therefore, your Excellency, there are numerous ways through which your government can promote transparency and efficiency through the use of social media. Respectfully, I would like to share some ideas successfully tried and tested in Europe and Asia.

  • Development of e-procurement systems where citizens can monitor government tenders and the bidding process
  • Land record systems provide factual information on land ownership and transfers, which helps reduce corruption amongst local land officials.
  • Online tracking systems to make follow-ups on delivery of government services
  • Restructuring tax departments and systems to reduce interaction between tax officials and citizens hence lowering chances of corruption.

“Social media has had a sweeping effect on how people interact and how the government conducts its business. This presents an opportunity for the Nigerian government to rebuild itself as a global inspiration for governance matters. The transformational effect on the proper use of Social Media by your government will be as follows:

  • An improved democratic environment that allows for open participation and engagement without fear of reprisal.
  • Enhanced the relationship between the Government and Nigerians, hence creating healthy partnerships that translate to economic growth.
  • Provision of reliable crowd-funding innovations and solutions.

“In conclusion, the adoption of social media in government is a huge step towards transforming its fortunes. It presents an opportunity to build a united Nigeria whose backbone is trust and loyalty to the nation. Therefore, instead of banning social media, it is time for the government to implement a strategy that will promote social media as a key source of disseminating information and collecting opinions from citizens for transparency and accountability,” Omoniyi said.

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Quelle/Source: The Nation, 07.11.2020

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