ABUJA, Nigeria, 17 March 2016- The U-report Nigeria platform was set up in 2014 as a tool to engage young Nigerians and get them to speak out on social issues that concern them. Nigerians join U-report by texting “JOIN” from any mobile network to a short code, 24453 to complete the registration process after which they can participate in weekly polls.
Since inception of the U-report project in Nigeria, the team has partnered with different government agencies to ensure that results from the polls are disseminated to relevant agencies. To take this a step further, the U-report National Coordinator, Victoria Ndoh had series of meetings with a Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President in January 2016 to introduce the concept of stakeholder engagement through U-report.
On the 23rd of February 2016, the U-report Coordinator was invited to the Office of the Vice President to give a formal presentation to the Monitoring and Service Delivery team of the office of the Vice President (OVP) and she used this opportunity to highlight the importance of stakeholder consultation through the U-report platform and explained how results from polls can be used as input in the development of National project implementation strategies.
Following the presentation, the Office of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made a formal request to partner with UNICEF on the U-report platform. The first poll from the OVP was sent out on the 9th of March 2016 and the poll questions were centred on Federal Government projects of which majority of the beneficiaries would be the poorest and most vulnerable people in the communities.
The key poll question was what do you think is the biggest social problem that Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) should address?
The Poll results showed that the biggest social problem U-reporters want the government of Nigeria to address is unemployment and there were also other suggestions for government to address poverty, improve the quality of education, tackle corruption and improve electricity supply.
Results also showed that 69% of the respondents think it is a good idea for the poor to be the major beneficiaries of government schemes especially the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme where government will give a monthly allowance of N5000 to the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians.
It is anticipated that the Federal Government of Nigeria will use the data generated from the OVP polls as input in the development of project implementation strategies which will lead to improved livelihoods for millions of Nigerians.