Posted at 09:26 AM ET, 04/11/2011

As Nigeria votes, election reform comes one tweet at a time

A police officer in riot gear guards a crowded polling station in Kano, northern Nigeria. Nigerians turned out for a delayed parliamentary election on Saturday, voicing determination to hold a credible vote in Africa's most populous nation despite chaotic organization and violence. (Joseph Penney - Reuters)
After several delays, most of the elections for Nigeria’s National Assembly took place Saturday, with the remaining 15 percent scheduled for April 26. “The vote widely took place without the intimidation and rigging seen in previous polls, though bombings struck the country’s northeast,” the AP reported. The opposition party made gains, including taking the seat of House of Representatives Speaker Dimeji Bankole, suggesting that this was a fairer election, the AP said.

IT professional Amara Nwankpa used Twitter to bring information about polling places, voter registration and other election topics to his 4,910 followers. Nwankpa described himself in a tweet saying, “I dont know if I'm an activist. I'm just a young, IT professional who desires gd [sic] governance & consistent electricity desperately.” Nigeria has 42 million Internet users, the most in Africa, according to CNN.

“What we’re doing is essentially encouraging young people to participate and do the right things,” Nwankpa said of his role in the elections to CNN’s Christian Purefoy. Past elections in Nigeria have been marred by violence, with this year following the same trend before the voting began, CNN reports.

After the jump, read some of Nwankpa’s tweets and watch him action.

Nwankpa uses Twitter to find out whether there is violence near polling places ...

#NigeriaDecides #TweetsWhileYouWaitToVote - Tweet if u notice that some voters can't find their names on the register. (inc. PU #)less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

#NigeriaDecides Terror strikes on eve of NASS elections - Bomb explodes at INEC Office in Suleja. No details on casualties yetless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

To give election projections ...

#ThisDayProjections #NigeriaDecides - Senate Races: Abia North (Ex Gov. Orji Uzor Kalu is running here) - Too Close to Call.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

And to provide interesting facts.

#DoYouKnowThat The people who make the laws that affect your daily lives are critical and should be chosen by you? #NigeriaDecidesless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Twitter and other social media tools have been playing an increasingly important role in politics worldwide. Egyptians used Twitter to get information about the recent protests that successfully ousted Hosni Mubarak. The Post’s William Wan recently wrote about Facebook’s changing role in post-revolution Egypt, and Elizabeth Flock gave examples of informational tweets from Friday’s “Day of Justice and Cleansing” protest. During Iran’s 2009 elections, Twitter was dubbed “the medium of the movement” by Time magazine.

To read more about Nigeria’s election issues, go here.

By  |  09:26 AM ET, 04/11/2011

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company