By Eric Elezuo
In the last couple of weeks, Nigerians have lived in absolute carefulness owing to the fact that someone brought in the dreaded Coronavirus disease otherwise known as COVID-19 into the country. The importer, an Italian citizen, had flown in via a Turkish airline on February 25 before he was discovered two days later and quarantined. His contacts were as well isolated though one has tested positive to the virus, bringing the number of infected persons to two.
Ever since, the cyberspace has been inundated with myths and conspiracy theories about the Coronavirus disease, and as a result social media experts, led by Digital Democracy Project originators and owners of the prolific Rate Your Leader app, are calling on politicians to take the lead in stopping the spread. This is by complete engagement with their electors one on one to disabuse their minds regarding these myths. Some of them are that it can be cured by keeping clean shaven or by covering yourself in sesame oil and that it was created as a weapon by the Chinese or CIA. These myths need to be rapidly rebutted by credible sources to keep people safe, and Rate Your Leader app is the veritable avenue.
Echoing world leaders’ advice that “the media has a very important role in this, particularly the social media and electronic media of all types,” the Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Rate Your Leader, Mr. Joel Popoola, said that the app will allow the free flow of accurate information concerning the virus from those who should know. He noted that dependence on unfiltered communication channel will be eliminated thereby giving electors access to only the truth.
“Social media timelines are being taken over by stories about the virus with myths about what you can do to fight it spreading almost as quickly as the virus itself.
“People might tell you that they don’t trust their representatives, but in reality, they are high credibility sources with a unique power and reach to promote crucial health messages through their networks.
“Networks like Rate Your Leader have a vital role to play in allowing accurate information to be communicated unfiltered from reliable sources to the people who might otherwise be panicked into listening to less reputable advice and taking steps which might actually be dangerous or damaging to their health.”
Rate Your Leader, a free app, was created by the Digital Democracy project to bridge the gulf between people and their elected representatives with phones and other handheld devices – whilst blocking malicious or offensive communication in a way that other social media platforms do not.
The abuse-proof Rate Your Leader app confirmed voters in specific electoral divisions to communicate directly with the elected representatives, as well as rating them for responsiveness.
The Rate Your Leader app is available from the Apple and Google Marketplaces. The app has a five star rating on the Google market, with one reviewer writing “This is the new level of politics…better communication of leaders with the electorates and accountability”.
The app, which is already making waves in the United Kingdom, is due for launch in Nigeria in the coming weeks. It is worthy of note that the launch has received the unequivocal support of not only the Nigerian government, but the generality of the public, including the oppositions
At launch, representatives of the people at all levels will take advantage of the free democracy app to stay in touch with the people who elected them and to get their messages out to confirmed voters in their constituencies, helping them truly understand what matters most to them.