Electoral Malpractices And Card Reader System In Nigeria (A Case Study Of 2015 Presidential Election In Taraba State)

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Electoral Malpractices And Card Reader System In Nigeria (A Case Study Of 2015 Presidential Election In Taraba State)


Abstract


This study was carried out on electoral malpractices and card reader system in Nigeria (a case study of 2015 presidential election in Taraba State). The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprises of residents who participated in the 2015 presidential election in Taraba State. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 160 respondents and 141 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables. The result of the findings reveals the card reader system is not reliable in the Nigerian electoral process. The study also revealed that the extent card readers were used in the 2015 presidential election in Taraba State is high. Furthermore, the card reader system aided electoral malpractices during the presidential election in Taraba State. And the challenges encountered in the use of card reader mar the 2015 presidential election process in Taraba State. Therefore, it is recommended that Extensive and Intensive training of man power personnel who will handle the card reader or its equivalent perfectly well in the future election. Electronic accreditations of permanent voter cards of the electorates should be included in the Nigeria Constitution to address the issue of legality of card reader or its equivalent in our future elections since Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the creation of law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. To mention but few.


Table of Content


Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organization of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The use of card readers at the 2015 general elections in Nigeria has infused some level of transparency and credibility into Nigeria electoral process (Okonji, 2015). It was observed that when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) first announced its plan to introduce card reader for the March 28 and April 11 2015 general elections, many Nigerians, politicians in particular vehemently and tenaciously opposed it. They felt that the card reader machine could have been test -run prior to the general elections to ensure hitch free elections. Besides, they felt that the country has not developed to a level where such technology could be employed for elections without prior test.

Undoubtedly, the public outcry that greeted the planned use of card reader was enough to discourage Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from using it in the general elections. But because INEC has confidence in the efficacy of modern technology in achieving quick results, in addendum to its vision to transform the country’s electoral process from its archaic norms characterized by ballot box snatching and multiplicity of ballot tomb-printing, INEC went ahead and used the technology against all hitches (Vanguard, 2015).

However, despite the fact that perfection is the attribute of God alone, many technology experts in Nigeria and outsides, who monitored the elections, are full of praises for the INEC insistence on the usage of card reader machines, pointing out that it is the best thing that has ever happened to the Nigeria electoral process in the area of election transparency. They have called on the general public to embrace it having tested its efficacy and urged the electoral empire to ensure card reader is used in the subsequent elections as a yardstick for achieving transparency and credibility in our future elections.

Meanwhile, election is a process of choosing a candidate through a registered political party into a public office. It is a critical component of any democratic setting in the sense that political battle (oppositions) is inevitable. Nigeria first witnessed democracy after the actualization of its Independence (1960-1966) before the military intervention which led to the obstruction of the process till 1979 when civilian rule was restored by Obasanjo and in 1983 the military intervened again and eventually, Nigeria returned to democratic rule and engagement which led to the conduct of its general elections in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015. General elections are elections conducted in the federation at large for federal and state elective positions (The Electoral Institute, 2015).

Undoubtedly, the 2015 presidential election appears to be the most closely and keenly contested in the history of Nigeria elections because it was the first time four major opposition parties viz (ANPP, ACN, CPC and APGA) came together to form a formidable party, All Progressive Congress (APC) in order to challenge the preponderance and dominance of the ruling party (PDP) in the society. Indeed, according to Omotola (2013), the election became the only game in town, shaping and reshaping public discourse and political actions. Before the 2015 general elections, a number of technological based reforms such as Biometric Register of Voters, Advanced Fingerprints Identification System were embarked upon by Independent National Electoral Commission under the leadership of Prof. Attahiru Jega. The election management body empowered by the 1999 constitution as amended of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to organise, undertake and supervise all elections in Nigeria.

However, despite the confidence of INEC in the use of card reader machine in the 2015 general elections, some challenges were inevitable even though the election was adjudged as being the best. For instance, during the March 28 presidential and National Assembly elections across the country, the card readers malfunctioned in several polling units, a situation that triggered undue delay in the accreditation process. While, in some polling units it worked perfectly well. The hitches ranged from rejection of permanent voters’ card (PVC) by the card readers, inability to capture the biometrics from finger tips for instance the then president Goodluck Jonathan’s finger tips were not captured by the machine, irregular capturing and fast battery drainage. INEC adhoc staff had to abandon their polling units and took the card readers back to INEC office for proper configuration. In order to salvage the situation, which was almost becoming frustrating, INEC ordered the use of incident forms which resulted in manual process of accreditation, but before the order could go round the states and local government areas, it was already late to conduct accreditation and actual voting in some areas, a situation that forced INEC to postponed the exercise to the following day in all the affected polling units. Owing to the massive electoral malpractice witnessed in the past general elections in Nigeria, INEC announcement and subsequent deployment of the card readers in 2015 general elections was to ensure a credible, transparent, free and fair election in order to deepen Nigeria’s electoral democracy. However, the use of the electronic device in the 2015 general elections generated debate among election stakeholders before during and after the elections.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The puzzle is the failure of the card reader machines in some polling units to capture the biometric data of some electorates which led to manual accreditation (incidence form usage i.e. option B of the 2015 presidential election). Therefore this paper is meant to bridge the gap of the partial functioning of card readers in the 2015 presidential election.

Meanwhile, the 2015 presidential election was the closest electoral contest since the country’s post-1999 transition to multi-party democracy (International Republican Institute, 2015). The election is the most politically engaged in the history of electoral democracy in Nigeria. Huge resources were used for the elections including 120 billion naira expended by INEC, 750,000 ad-hoc election staff with over 360,000 security personnel. The presidential election was contested by fourteen candidates from different political parties. However, the candidates of the PDP (Dr Goodluck Jonathan) and APC (General Muhammadu Buhari) were the major contenders in the election.

The 2015 general election was the fifth general elections since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999. Nigerians went into the general elections with renewed determination to exercise their voting rights and stood stoutly to monitor and protect their votes with anything and everything (Momodu, 2015). Though, the 2015 general election has come and gone. The election was be devilled with issues that almost denied Nigeria and Nigerians the opportunity of voting in their representatives in government for another four years.

These issues almost affected the integrity, quality and management of the election. Indeed, quality election management is crucial to the sustenance of democracy. This is because, if the citizenry does not believe in the fairness, accuracy, openness, and basic integrity of election process, the very basis of any democratic society might be threatened. This implies that public faith in the integrity of election system is a cornerstone of democratic government (Alvarez and Hall, 2008). Therefore, a legitimate electoral process and public confidence in democratic governance depends on both the actual and perceived integrity of an election (International Foundation for Electoral Systems, 2015).


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to examine electoral malpractices and card reader system in Nigeria (a case study of 2015 presidential election in Taraba State). Other objectives of this study are:

  1. To find out whether the card reader system is reliable in the Nigerian electoral process.
  2. To find out the extent card readers were used in the 2015 presidential election in Taraba State.
  3. To determine whether the card reader system aided electoral malpractices during the presidential election in Taraba State.
  4. To find out whether the challenges encountered in the use of card reader mar the 2015 presidential election process in Taraba State.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions will be answered in this study:

  1. Is the card reader system reliable in the Nigerian electoral process?
  2. To what extent were card readers used in the 2015 presidential election in Taraba State?
  3. Did the card reader system aid electoral malpractices during the 2015 presidential election in Taraba State?
  4. Did the challenges encountered in the use of card reader mar the 2015 presidential election process in Taraba State?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses will validate this study:

H01: The card reader system is not reliable in the Nigerian electoral process.

H02: The card reader system did not aid electoral malpractices during the presidential election in Taraba State.


1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will help the Nigeria government to adopt policy that will enhance card reader usage in the subsequent elections so as to strengthen democracy in the Country and thereby filling the vacuum created by the current electoral malpractices. The study will also assist Nigeria government to address those loopholes identified in the last election. Generally, it will help in the reduction of arms and thugs during the election and deepen the confidence of the electorates in choosing their leaders. The issue of whether once vote will count or not in election will no longer be a subject of discussion during election. Furthermore, this study will bridge the existing gap between the past and present literature on the effect of card readers on election credibility in Nigeria there by adding to the pool of knowledge already existing in the area under study. Coincidentally, findings made available by this study will serve as reference material to scholars who may carry out similar study in future. Besides, this research work will open a new frontier for debate on the impact of card readers on the last concluded elections. Above all, this study will also be of immense importance to students of international relations especially political science scholars.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This study focuses on electoral malpractices and card reader system in Nigeria (a case study of 2015 presidential election in Taraba State). Specifically, this study focuses on finding out whether the card reader system is reliable in the Nigerian electoral process, finding out the extent card readers were used in the 2015 presidential election in Taraba State, determining whether the card reader system aided electoral malpractices during the presidential election in Taraba State and finding out the challenges encountered while using the card reader during the 2015 presidential election in Taraba State. The respondents for this study will be obtained from the individuals who participated in the 2015 presidential election in Taraba State.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.

Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Electoral Malpractices:

Sometimes referred to as election manipulation, voter fraud or vote rigging, involves illegal interference with the process of an election, either by increasing the vote share of a favored candidate, depressing the vote share of rival candidates, or both.

Card Readers:

A card reader is a data input device that reads data from a card-shaped storage medium. The first were punched card readers, which read the paper or cardboard punched cards that were used during the first several decades of the computer industry to store information and programs for computer systems.


1.10 Organization of the Studies

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on electoral malpractices and card reader system in Nigeria using 2015 presidential election in Taraba State as a case study.

The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on electoral malpractices and card reader system in Nigeria using 2015 presidential election in Taraba State as a case study. The study was specifically carried out to find out whether the card reader system is reliable in the Nigerian electoral process, find out the extent card readers were used in the 2015 presidential election in Taraba State. determine whether the card reader system aided electoral malpractices during the presidential election in Taraba State. And find out whether the challenges encountered in the use of card reader mar the 2015 presidential election process in Taraba State.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 141 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent were residents who participated in the 2015 presidential election in Taraba State.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concluded that;

  1. The card reader system is not reliable in the Nigerian electoral process.
  2. The extent card readers were used in the 2015 presidential election in Taraba State is high.
  3. The card reader system aided electoral malpractices during the presidential election in Taraba State.
  4. The challenges encountered in the use of card reader mar the 2015 presidential election process in Taraba State.

5.4 Recommendation

From the findings of the study, the following recommendations are made:

  1. Extensive and Intensive training of man power personnel who will handle the card reader or its equivalent perfectly well in the future election.
  2. Electronic accreditations of permanent voter cards of the electorates should be included in the Nigeria Constitution to address the issue of legality of card reader or its equivalent in our future elections since Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the creation of law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
  3. Timeliness: the proximity of the election must be considered before the test run and the issues identified must be addressed before the general election.
  4. The card reader or its equivalent in our future election must be scrutinized by the expert to ensure that the issue of non-activation of the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card does not occur again. Coincidentally, the inbuilt security installation should be decoded by the INEC engineers or experts to avoid malfunctioning of the machine.

Electoral Malpractices And Card Reader System In Nigeria (A Case Study Of 2015 Presidential Election In Taraba State)


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