EFFECT OF SMART CARD READER AND CREDIBLE ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA IN 2015 GENERAL ELECTION.

CHAPTER
ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background To The Study
Election is the process
whereby an electoral chooses, by voting, officers either to act on its behalf
or represent it in an assembly with a view to governing or administering. An
electorate refers to a class of citizens entitled (by a law course) to vote in
an election, by whatever procedure
Elections
provide for a bare minimum of political participation, perhaps the only act of
participation for the vast majority of the governed, and therefore create a feeling
of belonging and a degree of responsibility for government decision
The use of
card readers at the 2015 general election in Nigeria has infused some level of
transparency and credibility into Nigeria’s electoral process (Okonji, 2015).
It was observed that when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
first announced its plan to introduce card reader machine for the March 28 and
April 11 2015 general elections, many Nigerians, especially politicians,
vehemently opposed to it. They felt the country has not developed to a
level where such technology can be employed for elections. Besides, they felt
the uses of card reader would disrupt the entire electoral processes.
The public
outcry that greeted the planned introduction of card reader machines was enough
to discourage INEC from introducing it. However, because of   INEC
confidence in the efficacy of modern technologies in achieving quick results,
coupled with its vision to transform the country’s electoral process from its
old norms that was characterized by ballot box snatching and multiplicity of
ballot tomb-printing, INEC went ahead and introduced the technology against all
odds (Vanguard, 2015). However, many technology experts in Nigeria and outside,
who monitored the elections are full of praises for INEC for insisting on the
use of card reader machines, saying it is the best thing that has ever happened
to the Nigerian electoral process in the area of election transparency. They
have called on the electoral umpire to introduce card reader machines in
subsequent elections, believing it is a sure way to achieve transparency and
credibility in every election.
Election is
the process of choosing a candidate for public office. Election is a critical
component of any democratic society. As such, Nigeria’s returned to democratic
rule and engagement with the democratic process 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). The 2015 presidential election
appears to be the most keenly contested in the history of elections in Nigeria
because it was the first time about four major opposition parties came together
to form a very strong party, All Progressive Congress (APC) in order to
challenge the dominance of the ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in
the polity. Indeed, according to Omotola (2013), the election became the only
game in town, shaping and reshaping public discourse and political actions.
Prior to the
2015 general elections, a number of technologically based reforms (e.g.
biometric Register of Voters, Advanced Fingerprints Identification System) were
embarked upon by the new leadership (headed by Prof Attairu Jega) of the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the election management body
empowered by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria to organize, undertake and supervise all elections in Nigeria.
However, despite
the confidence of INEC in the use of card reader in the 2015 general elections,
the machines came with some challenges, even though the elections have been
widely adjudged as being successful. 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 caused undue
delay in the accreditation process. It, however, worked perfectly in other
polling units. The challenges ranged from rejection of permanent voter’s card
(PVC) by the card readers, inability to capture the biometrics from finger
tips, to irregular capturing and fast battery drainage. INEC officials have to
abandon their polling units and took the card readers back to their office for
proper configuration. In order to salvage the situation, which was almost
becoming frustrating, INEC ordered the use of manual process for 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 extend the exercise to the next day in all
affected areas.
Concerned
about the massive electoral fraud witnessed in the past general elections in
Nigeria, INEC deployment of the card reader in 2015 general elections was to
ensure a credible, transparent, free and fair election in order to deepen
Nigeria’s electoral democracy. However, the used of the electronic device in
the 2015 general elections generated debate among election stakeholders before,
during and after the elections.
 Statement Of the Problem

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 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of
the study is to analyze of the  effect of
Smart Card Reader and Credible Elections in Nigeria in 2015 general election.
The specific objectives
are;
i.               
To examine the effect of card readers on the
election process.
ii.               
To identify the reasons for use of Smart Card Reader
(SRC) in Nigerians 2015 general Elections
iii.               
To
ascertain the credibility of the Smart Card Reader (SCR) in Nigerians 2015
general Elections
iv.               
To profound solutions to the challenges experience
in the use of smart card readers in Nigeria’s 2015 general elections
 Research Questions
1.         
What are the  effect of card readers on the election
credibility in Nigeria.
2.         
What are the reasons for use of Smart Card Reader
(SRC) in Nigerians 2015 general Elections
3.         
Does
card reader make election credible in Nigerians 2015 general Elections
4.         
What are the  solutions to the challenges experience in the
use of smart card readers in Nigeria’s 2015 general elections
 Significance Of The Study
The outcome of this study will
educate the general public on the benefits of the use of card reader for
elections.  This research will also serve
as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out
further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to
provide new explanation to the topic.
 Scope Of The Study
This study on the effect of card
readers on the election credibility in Nigeria will cover the processes
involved in the conduct of 2015 presidential election with special focus on the
influence of the card reader on the outcome of the election.
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Limitations Of Study
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede
the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials,
literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet,
questionnaire and interview).
 Time constraint– The
researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work.
This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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