1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
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.
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
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.
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.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
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 including the use of card readers to
ensure credibility and transparency. 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. However, the researcher is out to examine the
effect of card readers on the election credibility in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
following are the objectives of this study:
examine the effect of card readers on the election credibility in Nigeria.
examine the reliability of the card reader during the electoral process.
identify the limitations in the use of the card reader for elections in
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
is the effect of card readers on the election credibility in Nigeria?
is the reliability of the card reader during the electoral process?
are the limitations in the use of the card reader for elections in Nigeria?
There is no significant relationship between card readers and 2015 presidential
election credibility in Nigeria
There is significant relationship between card readers and 2015 presidential
election credibility in Nigeria
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
following are the significance of this study:
outcome of this study will educate the general public on the benefits of the
use of card reader for elections.
2. 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.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
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
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.
Republican Institute (2015) Nigerian Voters Demonstrate Commitment to Process,
Election Day Logistics Need Improvement. Available at
Accessed 12, June
(2015) Card Reader: Clash of Technology and Politics. Available at
Accessed 24, June
(2013) Trapped In Transition: Nigeria‟s First Democratic Decade and Beyond. Taiwan
Journal of Democracy, Vol. 9 No. 2
Institute (2014) Frequently Asked Questions. Available at
tei.portal.crockerandwestride.com/faq/. Accessed 18, June, 2015.
(2015) After Initial Card Reader Failure: Nigerians Persevere, Vote in Peaceful
Elections. Available at:
Accessed 21, June