The Nigerian government recently launched a transparency app, called the Citizens’ Delivery Tracker App. The application allows citizens to track priority programs, policies, and projects initiated by the federal government on their devices. Citizens can view the deliverables and key performance indicators for all ministries and give their assessments. This provides a window into government activities and spending. The goal is to use the app to enhance public engagement and government accountability, an initiative that aligns with President Tinubu’s promise that citizens would be an integral part of tracking the management process of the government under his administration. However, concerns surrounding the app’s launch and functionality undermine its potential impact.

A step toward transparency…or a hollow promise?

The first concern for the Citizen Delivery App revolves around the lack of public awareness surrounding the app’s launch and functionality. In a quick poll by Ventures Africa, only 1 out of 10 respondents have heard about the Citizen’s Delivery app. A well-received citizen engagement tool requires widespread knowledge. The app’s launch is nearly reminiscent of the E-naira’s launch. 6 Months after the e-naira’s launch, it struggled to gain adoption among Nigerians. What was more concerning was when Ventures Africa conducted a poll, 64 percent of the respondents didn’t even know about it. 

Another concern that easily comes up is about Nigeria’s internet infrastructure. According to the launch report, the tracker is available at and will be available to download on Google Play Store and Apple Store over the next month. While mobile phone penetration in Nigeria is high at around 85%, not everyone has access to reliable internet. In the last few months, Nigeria has experienced internet outages that spotlight its challenges with reliable internet. The most recent outage cost Nigeria over $593.6 million. This creates a digital divide that excludes a significant portion of the population, inherently limiting the app’s reach and impact. Although the initiative could consider exploring alternative access points beyond the internet. This can be through SMS updates, USSD interfaces, or even offline community kiosks in collaboration with local authorities.

Nigeria isn’t the first to launch a transparency platform. Back in 2008, Estonia established a comprehensive e-government system, including an e-consultation platform for citizens to participate in policy discussions and lawmaking processes. Mexico also launched a similar platform called Plataforma Nacional de Transparencia (PNT). The PNT has become a crucial resource for Mexicans seeking information on government activities and holding public officials accountable. However, the success of these apps has been mixed over the years. Shortly after Mexico’s system went online, users and experts pointed to several flaws in the platform that seriously hindered transparency. Many of them took to Twitter to demonstrate these system failures. Over the years, the platform has experienced a malfunctioning website, a poorly received anti-sexting campaign, and serious allegations of corruption. 

Moreover, Nigeria has a history and reputation for data inconsistency. Last year, Nigeria introduced the Bimodal Voter Registration System (BVAS), designed to prevent overvoting and other forms of electoral irregularity in Nigeria’s democratic process. However, it had many “technical glitches”. Nearly 48 hours after voting ended, most results were not seen on its portal. Most of the data uploaded were also inconsistent. Similarly, such government tracker apps rely on data provided by the government itself. There’s a chance information might be incomplete or skewed which can mislead citizens and undermine trust. If the data on the Citizen’s Delivery app is inaccurate or incomplete, it undermines the app’s effectiveness.

However, the concept of a real-time Citizens’ Delivery Tracker App is a positive step towards greater government accountability in Nigeria. Last year, a document on the Lagos Public Procurement Agency (LPPA) website that showed how N2,017,840 was earmarked for the supply of rechargeable fans and fridges in the office of the deputy governor, sparked widespread criticism. It showed how much transparency had become necessary for an effective government. A report by Transparency International revealed that countries with strong access to information laws tend to have lower corruption rates. However, the platform’s success hinges on transparency, accessibility, and a commitment to citizen engagement. The government may also need to develop platforms that address specific functionalities before engaging a general platform.

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