Dr. Bell Ihua, Chief Executive Officer of NOIPolls Limited, a Nigerian polling and data service, wants Nigerians to participate in collection and dissemination of data.
“The talk about data is a call for everyone to go out and look for what is available, and also spread the data you can find”, Ihua told attendees Friday at Social Media Week Lagos.
“The need for data requires that not just the National Bureau of Statistics or NOIPolls will be collecting data, that many more organizations will come and collect data because Nigeria will be better off for it”, the NOIPolls CEO adds.
NOIPols says it is trying its best to make data accessible to all Nigerians through various traditional and social media platforms because data is a key factor in planning as a government and as an individual and also, a means of holding government accountable.
According to Ihua, “we have been doing quite a lot of media work over the last three years. We are engaging our intensive brand awareness. So, we engage in the traditional media and in the social media, and we have been going out to radio stations, and TV stations trying to bring out data.
“We also do quite a lot of sensitization, we have opened base where we invite Nigerians to come in, understand our process, look at how we conduct this data, follow us through the process, if it is the telephonic one or the face-to-face one, come in and understand the process”, according to Ihua.
“So, we do quite a lot of that and all that to push this whole idea of opinion polling and the need for data and to open up that space so that more players can even come.”
Ihua who spoke at a session of the Social Media Week Lagos on “When Data Speaks” says, “we are calling Nigerians to contribute their opinion on a daily basis and we release these data on a weekly basis. Let’s get the data available appreciated by those who appreciates data. They should understand the role of data in shaping the economy.”
Agencies don’t appreciate the data that are being released to them by the organization, Ihua says noting that agencies act dumb after receiving the data without sending acknowledgements. He noted that in addition to data availability, data usage is also very important.
According to him, “the challenge is that those we hope are eager to receive the data are actually not eager. Not even an acknowledgement letter from them. For example, the data we released on hunger and starvation in the North-East was sent to several offices in Abuja, but no single acknowledgement letter.”
He further pointed out that inaccurate data gathering and dissemination can be curbed with adequate funding noting that, “the challenge with gathering credible data is funding. For example, it’s 2016, and the last time we conducted a full census was 2006.”
According to him, “we should be conducting the census this year. The issue now is if there are enough funds to conduct the census this year. I really do not know about that. So, yes, data can be captured. That’s critical at the policy level, especially the electioneering process.”
According to the NOIPOlls CEO, there are posers like, “for example, how many people have even collected their PVCs. We have the information given by INEC, but if you actually go down to the grassroots to actually find out the number of people who have their PVCs, you will be amazed at the kind of figures you will get.”