The Lagos state government recently launched “Citizens Gate”, a mobile app created to improve communications between the government and Lagosians. The state commissioner of Science and technology, Olufemi Odubiyi, said the launch of the app is another attempt to make the government closer to the people.
While speaking at a joint press briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Odubiyi, said;
The Citizens Gate is an integrated web and mobile-based platform through which Lagos State’s citizens can lodge feedback to the State Government on various services provided, receive quick responses on services as well as interact with government officials via web and mobile phone.
The platform is designed to promote communication and connectivity between citizens and government while it will also enable citizens to inform the government on problems and issues occurring in their areas, communities and beyond.
Physical and email addresses of all the ministries in the state are listed in the app. Also, online payment for state services through mPay can be made. The Citizens Gate app has an impressive interface and it can be downloaded from Google Play Store, Apple store or accessed via citizensgate.lagosstate.gov.ng .
This is indeed a laudable move by the Lagos state government, citizens can now be heard easily and freely from the comfort of their homes via their mobile phones. However this may not necessarily spell smooth relations between the government and the people. Even though the process of venting our concerns just got easier, the Citizens Gate app does not ensure that the government will actually act on the complaints and suggestion of its users. Despite being a useful tool to reach the government, will the app allow for the accountability and transparency we all desire?
For this app to meet its goals, two-way communication is key, the Lagos state government should be ready to speak back to the people especially through its actions. For the government to really connect with the people through this app then the citizens expect prompt response, openness, and accountability. A general platform for all users to air their views on the platform will also proof useful.
If these measures are not put in place, this app may turn out to be another haphazard project by the government.