Smart Card Reader Machines and Political Participation in Ebonyi State, Nigeria: Problems and Prospects

1Ibeogu, Aloysius S., 2Nwele Anamelechi O. & 3Nwusulor, Jeremiah Chikwado

1Department of Public Administration

Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki

2Department of Public Administration

Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki

3Department of Public Administration

Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.

Corresponding Author’s E-mail: bogito_son@yahoo.com

Abstract

Several elections conducted in Nigeria right from the first Republic up to the 4th Republic, have been characteristically marred by different forms of irregularities such as ballot box snatching, double voting, rigging of election results among others. It was in an attempt to checkmate the ugly trend that led to the introduction of Card Reader Machine in 2015. This study therefore investigates the use of Smart Card reader machines and Political Participation in Ebonyi State, Nigeria: Problems and Prospects. Thus; the study is aimed at determining the extent to which smart card reader machine has reduced rigging in the election process in Ebonyi State, the extent to which smart card reader motivates people to participate in electoral process in Ebonyi State, and the extent to which Smart Card reader Machine has promoted peaceful election in Ebonyi state Nigeria. System theory propounded by David Easton in 1962 was adopted as the theoretical framework. The study adopts descriptive survey research design. The population of the study was 553500 which was reduced to a researchable sample size of 400 using Taro Yamani’s statistical formula. Data for the study were collected using questionnaire and data collected were analyzed using simple percentage frequency distribution tables. Findings of the study reveal among other things; That the use of Smart Card Reader Machines significantly reduced rigging in the electoral process in Ebonyi State, the use of Smart Card Reader machines significantly motivates people to participate more in the electoral process, Smart Card Reader machines significantly promotes peaceful election in Ebonyi State. It was recommended among other things; That INEC and other stakeholders like the National Orientation Agency should organize proper sensitization to all Nigerians on the need to accept the use smart card readers in the conduct of elections at all levels. That INEC Ad hoc staff should be properly trained on the use of smart card reader machine to eliminate the challenges experienced in the previous general elections. That INEC should endeavour to allocate more time ahead of election days to adequately organize training for ad hoc staff so as to give rooms for reasonable practical demonstrations on how to use the device effectively.

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