In January 2014, INEC introduced the SMS alert service that allows prospective voters to confirm whether or not their names are in the INEC registrar. This is to avoid participating in the continuous voter s registration if their biometrics exercise is already successful.
To confirm this registration status, a prospective voter is required to send the name of the state, surname and last five digits of the voter’s identification number (VIN) to INEC’s dedicated lines or send INEC, STATE, SURNAME, and LAST FIVE DIGIT ON VIN to 20120.
Once the message is sent, a response will be received outlining the registrar’s profile. If the person’s name is not registered yet, then he will be informed to do this.
DOWNLOAD OF THE ‘2015 BETTER ME’ MOBILE APP VIA SMS
Towards a successful 2015 general elections, INEC in collaboration with MTN and NOA equally launched a mobile application called the 2015 Better Me App. This application was designed to allow Nigerians at home and in Diaspora to witness and participate in the electoral process.
To download the mobile App, a person is required to send the keyword 2015 to 131 through SMS. An SMS containing the link to download this mobile App will be sent to the person phone, for only android phones users.
INEC RECRUITMENT PROCESS AND BULK SMS
INEC equally uses bulk SMS for recruitment process. Invitation SMS to applicants for interviews or aptitude test and also confirmation of appointment are all pushed out through bulk SMS.
ELECTION REPORTS TO INEC VIA SMS
Another provision INEC made during the last general elections is the ability for voters to report fraud, misconducts and election violence in their election areas. If you notice such in your area, then you can send the SMS report to the provided phone numbers.
There is also a mobile application that was used for this purpose called the ReVoDa mobile App. Voters can also register on the ReVoDa network by sending name and polling unit number by SMS to a dedicated phone number. An SMS response will be sent to confirm the registration and direct the person to download the App.
Even in States where elections had to be rescheduled, INEC intimate the public of the arrangement through bulk SMS. Mass orientation on election guidelines and procedures were also carried out during the period through various channels, bulk SMS being one of them.
Given the reasonable peace and tranquility experienced during and after the general elections, It is unfair to argue that this mobile services introduced by INEC was a successful endeavor. Bulk SMS has again proved to be an efficient communication tool due to its fast delivery and extensibility. It won’t be out o place to believe that INEC will continue to unleash this efficient weapon in their arsenal in coming years.
While the electoral body uses bulk SMS effectively for organizing elections, political aspirants also can use this provision to great effect. See here how politicians can use bulk SMS effectively.
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Do you agree that INEC’s mobile service was a game changer in the last general elections? Or there are other ways INEC uses bulk SMS that we have omitted? Let us know in the comment box below.