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Chapter one


Background of the study.
Nigeria’s young democracies have faced continuous challenges in organising free, fair, credible, and transparent elections. Most are characterised by serious anomalies, election fraud, violence, and inconclusive ballots (Ayoade, 1998).

This is why most African countries are eager to use modern technical methods in election administration, specifically to improve the quality of the electoral process (Diamond 2008).

Biometric identity methods are already widely used for voter registration in more than 34 low- and middle-income nations. Ghana, Mali, Kenya, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, and Mauritania are among the African countries that have enrolled with varied degrees of success.

Golden, Kramon, and Ofosu provide insights into how technological solutions such as electronic voting machines, polling station webcams, and biometric identification equipment hold the promise of rapid, accurate, and ostensibly tamper-proof innovations that are expected to reduce fraud in the registration, voting, and vote count aggregation processes.

Golden, Kramon, and Ofosu (2014): 1. On the same note, Professor Attahiru Jega, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who oversaw the implementation of biometric voting technology in Nigeria, confirms:

We have made rigging impossible for them (electoral fraudsters) because the total number of votes cast at the polling unit cannot exceed the number of accredited persons. Such discrepancies in data will be promptly detected.

This technique made it impossible for any unscrupulous election officer to collude with a politician to skew the results. The card reader machines will assist us in addressing all of these issues, beginning with voter accreditation at all polling locations.

Once evidence of tampering is discovered, the information saved in both the card readers and the result sheets taken to the ward levels will be retrieved. We believe that this adds value to our approach and is something we haven’t been able to achieve in the past. (Jega as cited in Nnochiri 2015)

This unwavering confidence appears robust and genuine. Nonetheless, some fundamental difficulties continue and provide challenges. For example, no effort is made to understand the level of spatial differentiation in rural voters’ behaviour in individual localities during election campaigns.

This makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to provide policymakers with critical information about specific regions where voters easily navigate biometric voting systems and those where they do not. The basic issues that underpin and motivate this study are: What are the social elements that influence the voting behaviour of residents of rural communities?

How does biometric technology interact with and address the adoption issues of rural voters during the voting process? It is critical to identify the extent to which such factors interact to redefine or rebuild rural voters’ interactions with Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-driven biometrics, hence influencing electoral outcomes.

Whereas rural voters have a less instinctive drive for electoral participation, their apolitical dispositions are particularly influenced by certain fundamental social realities, such as negative perceptions and/or increasing apprehension about biometric technology systems, a lack of adequate infrastructure, and a significant distance between polling stations and their homes.

These circumstances give some light on rural voters’ electoral aggressiveness and overall attitude throughout election season. Most analysts associate the observed malfunctioning of voting smart card readers (SCRs) with technical and manufacturing flaws (Election Monitor 2015)

while others maintain that such an eventuality is the result of a combination of factors such as the inability of some voters to read and write (Fujiwara 2015), the unpreparedness of the INEC and its ad hoc staff (National Democratic Institute 2015), and a generally low level of awareness (Dahiru, Abdulkadir, and Baba 2017).

When combined with debilitating social conditions, these factors contribute to and encourage political apathy, low and half-hearted electoral engagement, voter restraint, self-withdrawal, sentiments of unwillingness, dread, and unusual threat perceptions among rural voters.

Mutual suspicion and fear, contextual prejudice, and emotions of political intrusion and threat to ethnic heritage all influence rural voters’ perceptions of biometric technology.

While policymakers and public analysts remain trapped in the fulcrum of policy goals, such as increasing the benefits and reliability of biometric technology and ICT infrastructure in general

specific social dynamics that have not been rigorously identified continue to interact negatively with the purposes and goals of biometric technology and other ICT systems designed to improve election administration.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

However, it has been reported that Nigeria has yet to meet international standards for the provision of a viable, successful, and widely accepted democratic electoral system due to a lack of full implementation of the required electronic voting system in the country, which entails combining electronic voters registers and smart card readers with election result devices that are self-auditing and fully equipped with real-time capabilities.

It is considered that full adoption of the requisite electronic voting system in Nigeria would improve election management in the country, thus matching international standards.

The study’s aims are:

To assess the impact of ICT on voting in Nigeria.

To determine the relationship between ICT and elections in Nigeria.

To determine the behaviour of voters towards ICT.

Research Hypotheses
To ensure the study’s success, the researcher developed the following research hypotheses:

H0: There is no correlation between ICT and elections in Nigeria.

H1: There is a link between ICT and elections in Nigeria.

H02: voters exhibit negative behaviour towards ICT.

H2: voters have positive attitudes towards ICT.

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