Table 1: Project Number of Federal Consistencies Based on 1991 Census Compared to Actual Number of Federal Constituencies, by State .           . 59

Table 2: INEFC 2011 Information on Voters Register by State Population of Voters and Pattern of  Voting       .       .           .           .           .           .63

Table 3: Result of Data Analysis on the Composition  INEC  and the conduct of Free and Fair Election-       –           –           –           –           –           65

Table 4: Registered Voters Data in Comparative Perspective by Electoral Management Body (EMB) of Nigeria         –    –           –           77

Table 5: A Zonal Summary of Registered Voters     –           –           –           80

Table 6: Result of Data Analyzed on Public Perception of INEC and the Effectiveness of Voters Registration-               –           –           –           –           84

Table 7:  Public Confidence Instrument  –           –           –           –           90

Table 8:  Responses  on the credibility of INEC officials–         –           92

Table 9:  Result of Data Analyzed on Public Perception of INEC an the Effectiveness of Voters Registration –      –           –           –           –           93


FIG.1:  The Perceptual Framework-  –          –           –           –           34

Fig 2:  Organizational Chart of Independent National Electoral Commission 

(INEC) National and State levels)-    –             –           –           –           46

Fig: 3  Organizational Chart of State and Local Government Structure of

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)          –           –           47


AEOs-Assistant Electoral Officers

AFIS-Automated Finger Print Identification System

AROs I-Assistant Registration Officers

DDC-Direct Data Computing Machine

DDCM-Direct Data Capture Machine

ECN-Electoral Commission of Nigeria

ECOWAS-Economic Community of West African States

EMB-Election Management Body

EOS-Electoral Officer

ERO-Electoral Returning Officer

FEC- Federal Electoral Commission

INEC-Independent  National Electoral Commission

IRI- international republican institute

NERDC-Nigerian Education Research And Development Council

OMR-Optical Mark Reader

PRVF-preliminary register of voters form

RAs-Registration Areas

RECs-Resident Electoral Commissioners

SAIEC- South Africa Independent Electoral Commission

SSAS-Sub-Saharan African States

TMG- Transition Monitoring Group


Title Page        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           i

Aproval  page  –        –           –           –           –           –           –           ii

Certification    –            –           –           –           –           –           –           iii

Dedication      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iv

Acknowledgement      —                      –           –           –           –           –           v

List of tables   —          –           –                       –           –           –           –           –           vi

List of figure –        –           –           –           –           –           –           vii

List of Abbreviations –              –           –           –           –           viii

Table of contents        –           –           –           –           –           –           —                      x

Abstract          –           –           –           –           –           —          –           –           –           x


1.1 Background of the study  –             –           –           –           –           1

1.2 Statement of the problem                 –           –           –           –           –           4

1.3 Objectives of the study                   –           –           –           –           8

1.4 Significance of the study  –           –           –           –           –           8

1.5 Literature  Review       –           –           –           –           –           –           9

1.6  Theoretical framework      –           –           –           –           –           28

1.7 Hypothesis       –           –           –           —          –           –           37

1.8 Method of Data Collection –  —                      —          –           37

1.9 Method of Data Analysis           –           –           –           –           –           39



2.1 Origin and Development of Electoral Commission in Nigeria     –           41

2.2 The Composition, function. And Constitutional Backing of INEC and

the State independent Electoral Commission (SIEC)  –           –           –           44

2.4  Electoral Framework for Delimitation of Constituencies

in Nigeria  electoral system      –           –           –           –           52

2. 5 Problems of Delimitation Constituencies in Nigeria   .           .           54       


3.1 2010/2011 Voters’ registration in Nigeria     .           .           .           71



4.1 Level of Confidence of the Public on the Activities of INEC .    87

CHAPTER FIVE: Conclusion, Summary and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusions and Summary      .           .           .           .           94

5.2 Implications of the Study/Discussion of Findings   .           .           99

5.3 Recommendations             .           .           .           .           .           .           103

Bibliography         .           .           .           .           .           .           .           105

APPENDICES          .           .           .           .           .           .           111

APPENDIX A           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           111

APPENDIX B            .    .           .           .           .           .           .           .           115

APPENDIX C                     .           .           .           .           .           .           .           117     

APPENDIX D            .    .           .           .           .           .           .           .           120


The study set out to evaluate an aspect of electoral process of the voters’ registration exercise with a view to evaluating the impact of negative perception by the Nigerian public of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on voters’ registration in Nigeria. The aim of the research was to provide a framework for explaining, the causes of public negative perception, and how the agenda of the electoral process was set, as well as how the outcome determined, and the character of the administration of electoral process. The agenda-setting theory, first developed by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw in their Chapel Hill study (1968) which explains the relationship between Reality and the Media’s selection of Reality and the influence of this on Public perception was used as the analytical framework that provided a conceptual foundation for Nigeria’s persistently incredible and unsatisfactory electoral  process and conduct of elections. It presumed that media sets the agenda for public opinion by highlighting certain issues. Both secondary and primary sources of data were used. The secondary involved library materials and primary sources which entailed using a total of 400 questionnaires administered to a randomly selected sample, as well as oral interview and personal observations at the registration units. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics such as chi-square test was used to elicit information from the questionnaires. In addition, frequency tables, and charts were used which enabled the researcher to organize the quantitative information gathered in concise and ordered form to clarify the nature of voter’s registration and public perception of the electoral process in Nigeria. Three hypotheses were tested:  There is no significant relationship between the composition of INEC and conduct of free and fair electoral process. Public perception does not have any effect on the effectiveness of voters’ registration. The credibility of INEC does not inspire public confidence on the electoral process. From the findings of study, the integrity of elections is fundamentally germane to the sustenance of a truly representative form of government, and public perception suggests that elections conducted in Nigeria have persistently been incredible and unsatisfactory which confirmed the hypotheses, underlying the study. The findings underscore some critical problem areas on the concerted state action are required against the backdrop of the prevailing incredible and unsatisfactory electoral process and conduct of elections in Nigeria. The study notes that the perceived independence of the electoral management body from political interference lends credibility to the electoral process, and this is a crucial determinant of the success of any election, on the one hand, and that, the low turnout and apathy displayed by the people during the exercise is as a result of their negative perception. The study recommends that national electoral management body (INEC) have to engender trust and confidence in the system through transparency of the process in order to conduct a free, fair and acceptable election  in the future.



1.1 Background of the study

We see things not as they are but as we are. Our perception is shaped by our previous experience. (Kimbro quoted by Sternberg.J. Robert 1997). This is more so because:

                 Political stability and instability are ultimately

                 dependent on a state of mind and mood in a society.

                 It is the dissatisfied state of mind rather than the tangible

                 equality and  liberty which produces the revolution…”

                 Davies quoted by Iyayi (2006).

One of the contending and contentious issues facing developing democracies such as Nigeria is the administration of elections. A fundamental segment of the electoral process is voters’ registration. The voters register is the foundation of an election. A credible voters register constitute the corner stone of a credible elections. Importantly, the voters’ register is an index for determining eligibility and tool of enfranchisement during elections. As important as the voter register is to the electoral process, much importance has not been attached to the process leading to its production- Voter Registration. To the extent that if this very important and foundational component of electoral process has been neglected, the succeeding processes become flawed.

Pastor (1999) observed that much has been written about the causes and consequences of democracy, but a crucial variable for explaining the success or the failure of democratic transition has been omitted which is the administration of elections. According to him, “ in a poor country with low levels of education, the administration of elections is no simple matter and accidents occurring at the intersection between political suspicion and technical incapacity”. Technical incapacity, he noted plays a major role in the administrative failures of the electoral process. But of much greater impact is the behaviour of the election administrators. The administrative behaviour and attitudes of the administrators are crucial to the perception of the public towards the electoral process.

Elections are forerunner; and critical signposts of democracy. And all democracies confront the important tasks of broadening personal freedoms, encouraging genuine political competition, promoting the accountability of leaders, resolving conflicts, advancing a general  rule of law, and building efficient and effective public institutions (Lewis, 2005:3). Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy as the government of the people by the people and for the people is in line with the Nigerian’s idea of the concept. There is no better way to realize the ideal other than through elections because they provide the people with the opportunity to exercise their voice. Lewis (2005:56) poignantly posits that a “well functioning electoral system offers citizens political alternatives, permits them to make decisions that express preferences, or elections provide essential validation for democracy by increasing the confidence of individual citizens in their ability to meaningfully participate in public life”. When people feel that their personal interest in politics and their engagement in elections make a difference, they are much likely to value the democratic system.

The recurring and immediate challenge facing the Election Management Body (EMB) in Nigeria is the battle for the minds of the electorate. Such minds infected with virus of flawed electoral process. The virus is evident in the form of electoral malpractices, constriction of political space, subversion of the people’s choice and will in the elections of 1964 in Western Nigeria, the 1983 General Elections and the 2003 General Elections and the perceived inelegant manner that INEC administered the programme of the 2011 General Elections. Even the past voters’ registration exercises conducted for the purpose of the elections were marred by massive irregularities. Hence various attempts at producing an acceptable voters’ register had not yielded positive outcome.

A historical survey of voters’ registration in Nigeria would reveal an exercise devoid of credibility and transparency. The voters’ registration 1959 General Election in which over 9 million people were registered was marred by ethnic politics and the quest by each political party to raise the stake in its regional enclave. The 1978 voters’ registration for the transition to civil rule programme in which over 48 million people were registered was manually conducted. The 1998 voters registration exercise with over 65 million people registered were marginally in line with acceptable standards.

The 2010/2011 voters registration is a bold determination and irrevocable commitment to the conduct of a credible election in 2011. The INEC chairman had observed that the existing register of voters used in the 2007 general election served its purpose to a greater extent, but it had profound limitations one of which was the absence of the photograph of the voters (Iwu, 2006). A major contributory factor to the 2007 election malpractices is the shoddy and ill mannered nature of the 2006 voter registration which involved some elements of the OMR Form, EC/A Form and a make-up registration.

The 2010/2011 voters registration exercise that started in 2011 was not free of the problems of the past ones. For instance, INEC projected delivery of 4,000 Direct Data Computing (DDC) that is 40,000 and 4, 000 reserve stock was not achieved by almost middle of February with a few days to the end of the exercise, only a little over 150 Direct Data Capturing (DDC) machines were received in Enugu State with seventeen (17) Local Government Areas and 4958 registration units. Other problems include break down of machine, battery failure, unfriendly weather condition, manpower and logistic problems. The Assistant Registration Officers (AROS I) was not sufficiently trained to operate the machine, hence hours on end were spent in trying to configure them and register a registrant. It took two days to register the Governor of the state at his registration units in Agbani. Insufficient supplies of consumables such as ink, laminating films, absence of operational motor or vehicles for difficult terrain, led to gratuitous support of the state and local governments.

These problems as earlier started have been the perception of people in the light of the preceding and contemporary administrative lapses of INEC in the electoral process voters’ registration. The work is organized under the following sections.

  1. Statement of the problem