Last week, the Nigerian National Statistical Agency announced an app for easy access to statistics on Nigeria, as a whole, and its individual states. Basically stuff you can get from their website, just quicker. This announcement came after they revamped their website. So you get data like food security, infant mortality rate, total fertility rate, they even have a “percentage using improved sources of drinking water”, and all this is sorted by state. Pretty neat.

At face value, the app looks okay. Simple, even. Nothing flashy and of course, there’s green. Lots and lots of green. My main issue with this app, however, is the fact that it’s only available on iOS, for now at least. Someone already asked the question that was on my mind.

Plus, there’s always this person.

I’m assuming this data is for the everyday Nigerian including the common man. How many “everyday” Nigerians have iPhones? This is even more puzzling because it’s infinitely easier to get an app on the Google Play Store than on Apple’s App Store, so guys…wyd?

Now is a good time to have this conversation. Does Nigeria have an organised, relational database from which a lot of useful data has been pulled? What we have instead is a flurry of private/public sector organisations collecting the same data sets from everyone whenever they need to float some new scheme.

Food for thought: Why do I need to go to FRSC to “re-capture” my data when I lose my driver’s license? Why can government agencies not collect a lot of this biometric data about Nigerians form telcos (who have the most reliable list, as far as I know), throw in the failed National ID Card scheme and all the others, to create one comprehensive database everyone can pull from?

And finally, I think the Nigerian National Statistical Agency should open the app to developers. We have a very talented bunch of them in Nigeria, and there’s no telling the cool stuff they could build or the problems they could solve as soon as they have access to the right resources.

Tola Agunbiade Author

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