KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: AN ANTIDOTE FOR COMBACTING ELECTORAL VIOLENCE AND FRAUD IN NIGERIA

Remi Kehinde Alao, University of Phoenix
Adero Allison, University of Phoenix; Chizoba Madueke, University of Phoenix; and Udoh
Maduemezie, University of Lagos

ABSTRACT

Election violence in Nigeria became prominent during the transition to Independence from Great Britain as a result parliamentary elections that was to elect Nigerians into the regional and national parliaments. Most political violence is often a direct result of inflammatory messages by political elites as clearly was the case in the murder of a British member of parliament, Jo Cox, because of her stance against “Brexit” from the European Union (Telesurtv.net/). Act of violence are reflections of intolerance to the political process and unwillingness to accept the results of a democratic decision in good faith. In young democracy like Nigeria, electoral and political violence often resulted in increased uncertainties and instability.

This study sought to verify the effect which the application of direct-mail – direct-info., e-mail, Short Message Services (SMS), and Surface posts can have on combating electoral fraud and violence in Nigeria politics. All the above constitute elements of effective information and knowledge management process which enable voters make informed decision. The study confirmed the hypothesis that there exist a strong influence of effective knowledge management through direct mail on voters’ acceptance of election results and this can lead to reduction in violence and fraud in Nigeria elections.

INTRODUCTION

Political controversies are a global phenomenon. Finding a region free from electoral controversies is nearly impossible. People from the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and from every corner of the globe have witnessed and realized the fall out resulting from unfair elections. Analysis of comparative and theoretical literature on electoral processes reveals a lack of consensus regarding what constitutes good and bad practices in electoral administration. The process of electoral fraud, whereby results are manipulated with the intent to favor a particular party or candidate over others make the public distrustful and displeased by what they perceived as an imposition of Alien candidate upon them.

Election fraud includes but not limited to vote buying, ballot stuffing, and connivance between electoral officials and party agents to sway election results. Others forms of electoral fraud include ballot box hijacking, collusion between electoral staff and party officials and agents, illegal printing of voter cards. It also includes falsification of registered voters list and the number of votes cast, deliberate misinformation and outright sabotage.Election fraud includes but not limited to vote buying, ballot stuffing, and connivance between electoral officials and party agents to sway election results. Others forms of electoral fraud include ballot box hijacking, collusion between electoral staff and party officials and agents, illegal printing of voter cards. It also includes falsification of registered voters list and the number of votes cast, deliberate misinformation and outright sabotage.

Nigerian voters are no strangers to election fraud as most elections are conducted without the adequate preparation of the masses. Penalties for electoral malpractices are too mild to deter perpetrators in Nigeria. Section 98(2) of the 2006 Electoral Act stipulates a maximum penalty of N50, 000.00 (about $150.- US) or imprisonment for a term of six months for an individual who contravenes its provisions on political violence. Much stronger sanctions are needed to sanitize electoral fraud in Nigeria politics. The tendency to rely on violence as a weapon for winning electoral competition is aggravated by two main factors. First is the perception of state power by the governing elite as an end in itself rather than a means to an end and the second is the immensity and ubiquity of state power and its exclusive control as the forces of coercion by the state and the elites. These two factors make state power and political power very attractive and reduce what should be a fair political contest to warfare (Animashaun, 2010). Lack of tough penalties for election-related violence is a key reason for this type of crime to continue. Another reason is the lack of enforcement of the electoral Act on the prohibition of use of violence.

Establishing a viable agenda for electoral reform in Nigeria should include issues identified by opposition parties, civil society organizations, election monitoring groups and election tribunals. Examination of these issues through the lens of the media is essential to grasping these concepts of election reform. Unbiased access of the media to these issues and efforts to ameliorate them is essential for transparency in political competitions as it allows both the parties and the candidates to sell themselves and their idea to the electorate. Private and state-funded media have a public service obligation to inform the voting public about election-related issues such as the competing political parties, their candidates, programs of the parties, salient campaign issues and other related matters. In Nigeria, Section 102 of the 2006 Electoral Act requires the public media to grant equal access to all political parties and candidates. In this paper the relevance of applying a direct mail system towards improving voter awareness and reducing the distrust that leads to election violence was presented.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Electoral fraud can be defined as act of illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts, either by increasing the votes of one candidate, thereby depressing the vote share of rival candidates, or both. The term electoral fraud is sometimes used to describe acts that are legal, but nevertheless considered morally unacceptable and outside of the spirit of elections. Example is when campaign information is deliberately distorted and inflammatory (www.telesurtv.net) or vital information that enables voters to make informed decisions are not made available. The frequency, fairness and openness of elections are crucial to the political stability of the polity.

The choice of a particular electoral system does not only have a profound effect on the political life of a country, it also distributes costs and benefits to political parties and candidates. Designing a credible and inclusive electoral regime is a necessary enterprise in all democracies. The challenge is therefore to design an electoral regime that suits their social and historical conditions of a society and also adaptable to socio-technological advancement and political realities of such society. Electoral fraud can occur at any stage in the democratic process, but most commonly it occurs during campaigns, voter registration or during vote-counting. Electoral fraud typically includes: preventing eligible voters from casting their vote freely and altering of the results.

As noted by Nwabueze in Osibanjo (2009), the key agents in the dumping of ballot papers were the presiding officers and poll clerks at the polling stations. Active cooperation of these agents was needed before thumb marked ballot papers could be dumped into the ballot box in use at the polling station and exchanged for the legitimate one. And the ballot papers to be used for the purpose would have to come from the presiding officer if their serial numbers were to agree with those issued to the polling station, though often ballot papers not in series were used. In many cases, the presiding officers and poll clerks allowed ballot papers to be dumped or ballot boxes to be exchanged. Some of the polling agents even participate in the illegal thumb-marking of ballot papers for a fee

The problem of managing an election in more than 120,000 units in a single day is an enormous logistical responsibility. It overstretches manpower, material resources and the national security forces. In addition, knowledgeable, skilled and competent people are needed to work at the Electoral Commissions. Anifowose (1982) as quoted by Animashaun (2010), stated that election-based violence imperiled Nigeria’s first democratic experiment as a result of violence in Tiv land and Yoruba land.

There exists a plethora of factors that account for electoral crisis in Nigeria, the institutional factor (designing a credible electoral system) appears to be the most salient. In addition, the process of implementing an efficient electoral regime is challenged by sociological variables such as the pluralist character of the Nigerian nation, underdeveloped political culture and irrational elite behavior (Telesurtv.net/). Myagkov et al (2009) stated that most electoral fraud takes place during or immediately after election campaigns, by interfering with the voting process or the counting of votes. However, it can also occur far in advance, by altering the composition of the electorate. In many cases, this is not illegal and thus technically not electoral fraud, although it is a violation of the principles of democracy. Other forms of electoral fraud include tampering with the hardware of the voting machine to alter vote totals or favor any candidate (Kohno, 2011; Rolling Stone, 2012).

Machika (2009) opined that the tools used by perpetrators of electoral fraud are usually the youths that are unemployed, mostly politically ignorant on electoral processes and many who are largely illiterates. They are unleashed by their political actors to score violent political points either in a bid to hold tight to or wrestle political power from opponent.

Animashaun (2010) stated that access to the media is a crucial asset in electoral competition as it affords parties and candidates the opportunity to sell themselves to the electorate. The National Broadcasting Commission, the regulatory body charged with the task of monitoring the electronic media to ensure balanced access, is itself not an autonomous institution as it operates like a department in a government ministry. Reform efforts on media access should therefore focus on how to ensure operational and institutional autonomy for public media; as well as the oversight of state media by civil society. Machika (2009) further stated that it is true that at the center of electoral violence are categories of restless youths who act as party thugs, and who form youth wings used by party henchmen for political violence and criminal activities for token sums. These youths are deeply involved in the massive rigging that characterized the Nigerian elections.

Action Aid International, Nigeria (2007), opined that many factors contribute to the deep involvement of youths in electoral fraud, these include: Financial Inducement; The Plum of Office, Illiteracy, Ignorance and Poverty, monetization of elective offices, god-fatherism and sit-tight syndrome. Also is the problem of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) Breach of Trust, which may arise from the electoral management body (EMB), Law enforcement agencies, judiciary, election tribunals, and the Media including the problem of religious and ethnic sentiments. African Elections Database (2007) stated that, major cause of these fraudulent electoral actions may be due to the following root actors: Sense of shame, Sense of Worth, Pride and inordinate ambition, productivity and lack of mentoring.

According to Iroegbu (2003), in order to face the challenges of the electoral fraud right down to the root, understanding the culture of political interest and organization is extremely vital. It is important to first diagnose the cultural bearings and then place a continuous effective educational program on the system to thwart the unproductive and polluted notions of political activity. By that we mean a tailored enlightenment program to reform the ethics of political activities and the grooming of candidates and networking abilities for various offices. A suitable national orientation monitoring and standardization of political attitude and well preparedness will help tame down idiosyncrasies and instill use of resource discipline in a political plan of interest and forms related activity.

RESEARCH METHODS

Collection of data involved random sampling in which 300 questionnaires were distributed to participants with the minimum of 18 years old in accordance with the electorate principle in Nigeria. Total of 285 (95%) participants returned their questionnaires and subsequently participated in the research. The knowledge management process in this quasi electoral research involved a conditioning election in which text messages and e-mails were sent to the 285 participants. This process was repeated severally before the test election took place at three different locations.

Analysis of the result was done using dependent theory, which involved cross tabulation or Likert's model. The objective of this study is to verify the usefulness of direct mail to solve the problems of electoral fraud in Nigeria through the creation of awareness and promotion of knowledge. The components of direct mail are classified as: Direct contact, Direct E-mail, Direct Short Message Services (DSMS) and Surface Post. The major tenet of this analysis is based on results involving dependent cross analysis of direct mail and the relevant components.

ANALYSIS OF RESULTS

Table 1.
Helpfulness Of Direct Mail For Result Acceptance/Direct Information For Result Acceptance

Influence of Direct-info on voters’ decision Helpfulness of direct mail on election result acceptance
Strongly Influenced Influenced Average Less influence Not Total
Very Helpful 91 33 13 1 1 139
Quite Helpful 33 38 05 01 02 79
Average 09 41 09 02 - 61
A bit Helpful - 2 2 1 - 5
Not Helpful - 1 - - - 1
Total 133 115 29 05 03 285

Table 1above is the imposition of direct mail for result acceptance on the helpfulness of direct information from organizers of election. Of the 285 respondents, 139(48.77%) stated that direct information is very helpful to influence the acceptance of result acceptance. On the helpfulness of direct mail to influence result acceptance, 46.67% of 133 respondents were strongly influenced by direct mail, 91(68.42%) stated that direct information as a component of direct mail is very helpful. Out of 115(40.35%) respondents who stated that direct mail has helped to influence the acceptance of election result, 38(33.04%) stated that the use of direct information is also quite helpful to direct mail.

13(44.83%) out of 29(10.18%) respondents who stated that direct mail has average influence on result acceptance, stated that direct information is also very helpful to make direct mail a subject of recognition in the issue of election. From the 5(1.75%) respondents who stated that direct mail has less influence on the acceptance of election result by respondents, 2(40%) of them, stated that direct information is averagely helpful for respondent’s election decision and from 3(1.05%) respondents that stated that direct mail has no influence on result acceptance, 2(66.67%) also noted that direct information from the organizer for election decision is quite helpful.

Table 2.
Influence Of Direct Mail For Choice Of Candidate/Direct Information For Respondent’s Decision

Direct-info influence on voters’ decision Influence of direct mail for choice of candidate
Strongly Influenced Influenced Average Less influence Not Total
Very Helpful 79 40 10 7 3 139
Quite Helpful 21 46 04 06 02 79
Average 09 20 28 03 01 68
A bit Helpful - 1 2 2 - 5
Not Helpful 1 - - - - 1
Total 110 107 44 18 06 285

The presentation of table 2 is the cross-tabulation of influence of direct mail for respondents’ choice of candidates during election and helpfulness of direct information for election decisions. From this, 139(48.77%) stated that direct information is very helpful and when distributed among various level of influence, reveals the following: from 110(38.60%) respondents that revealed that direct mail strongly influences choice of candidates, 79(78.82%) stated that direct information for election decision is very helpful. On 107(37.54%) respondents that stated that direct mail influences choice of candidates, 46(42.99%) of them also stated that direct information for election decision is quite helpful. More so, 44(15.44%) respondents stated that direct mail has average influence on choice of candidates during election and out of this, 28(63.64%) stated that direct information is also averagely helpful for respondents’ electoral decision. From the 18(6.32%) respondents who stated that direct mail has less influence on choice of candidates during election, 7(38.89%) stated that direct information is very helpful for electoral decision making processes and 3(50%) out of 6(0.35%) who stated that direct mail has no influence on choice of candidates, stated that direct information is also very helpful for election decision.

Table 3.
Direct Mail Improvement On Trust In Electoral Process And Helpfulness Of Direct Information For Respondent’s Decision.

Direct-info influence on voters’ decision Direct mail influence on voters trust in Election process
Strongly Influence Average Less influence Not Total
Very Helpful 84 43 08 04 - 139
Quite Helpful 35 31 08 03 02 79
Average 14 23 23 01 - 61
A bit Helpful - - 4 1 - 5
Not Helpful 1 - - - - 1
Total 134 97 43 09 08 285

From the presentation of the table above, the influence of direct mail to improve respondents trust in election processes was imposed on helpfulness of direct information for election decision too. From the result, 139(48.77%) stated that direct mail is very helpful for decision making which by the imposition of direct mail, we viewed that 134(47.02%) stated that direct mail is strongly influential to improve trust on which 84(62.69%) out of it also stated that direct information, is as well very helpful in providing strong influence by direct mail.

Also, out of 97(34.04%) respondents that stated that direct mail influences respondents’ trust in election process, 43(44.33%) stated that also stated that direct information is very helpful. 23(53.49%) out of 43(15.09%) respondents that believe that direct mail has average influence on improvement of respondents trust in election processes, also, believe that direct information has average help for electoral decision. Based on the revelation of respondents in trust, 4(44.44%) out of 9(3.16%) who stated that direct mail has less influence on trust improvement, also stated that direct information is also very helpful. Only 2 (2.53%) respondents, who stated that direct information is quite helpful for election, stated that direct mail is not posing any influence on respondents trust in election process.

Table 4.
Respondents’ Consideration Of Direct Mail As Helpful And Unbiased Source Of Electoral Information

Influence of Direct-info on voters’ decision Direct mail as unbiased source of Election information.
Strong yes Yes Average Not strong Not at all Total
Very Helpful 83 31 20 02 03 139
Quite Helpful 33 33 10 03 - 79
Average 09 30 11 10 1 61
A bit Helpful 01 01 03 - - 05
Not Helpful - 1 - - - 1
Total 126 96 44 15 04 285

The presentation of table 4 shows the imposition of consideration of direct mail as unbiased source of election information on the helpfulness of direct information for respondents’ decision. Basically, the issue of direct information being very helpful is the major factor with 139(48.77%) being involved. Across the issue of direct mail, out of 126(44.21%) respondents who stated they are strongly influenced that direct mail is an unbiased source of election information, 83(65.87%) out of them, stated that direct information is very helpful for such assertions. Also, 96(.68%) stated that respondents are influenced that direct mail is an unbiased source of election information and out of this, 33(34.38%) viewed that direct mail is quite helpful for such believe.

By the presentation of 44(15.44%) respondents who stated that they were averagely influenced that direct mail is an unbiased source of information during election, 20(45.45%) responded that direct information is also very helpful for such conclusion. By the report of 15(5.26%) respondents that they were less influenced that direct mail as a source of information in election is unbiased, 10(66.67%) stated that they saw direct information as a type of direct mail, being averagely helpful and out of 4(1.40%) who stated that they have not being influenced to agree that direct mail is an unbiased source of election information, 3(75%) also stated that direct information for election decision is very helpful for such decision.

Table 5.
The Influence Of Direct Mail For Choice Of Candidate And The Helpfulness Of E-Mail For Respondents’ Election Decision

Helpfulness of E-mail for voters’ decision The influence of direct mail for choice of candidate
Strong yes Influence Average Less Not at all Total
Very Helpful 84 39 06 04 03 136
Quite Helpful 19 32 06 02 03 62
Average 07 25 15 06 - 53
A bit Helpful - 08 16 03 - 27
Not Helpful - 03 01 03 - 07
Total 110 107 44 18 06 285

Table 5 above is the imposition of influence of direct mail on choice of candidates and the helpfulness of E-mail for decision making processes during election. 136(47.72%) respondents generally stated that E-mail is very helpful for decision making processes which are a source of influence during elections. On the issue of direct mail influencing respondents, 110(38.60%) respondents stated that direct mail strongly influenced choice of candidates during elections with 84(76.36%) of them, accepting direct E-mail as being very helpful for such election decisions. Also, out of the 107(37.54%) respondents who stated that direct mail has influence on choice of candidates during elections, 39(36.45%) stated that E-mail is very useful in making election decisions.

Also, 16(36.36%) out of 44(15.44%) respondents who stated that direct mail has average influence for respondents’ choice of candidates stated that E-mail is also somewhat useful for their election decisions. From 18(6.32%) respondents that stated that direct mail has less influence on their choice of candidate during election, 6(33.33%) revealed that E-mail has average assistance to render to decision processes of the electorates while out of 6(2.11%) respondents who saw direct mail as not making any influence on respondent’s choice of candidate during election, 3(50%) each stated that application of E-mail for election decision is very and quite helpful respectively.

Table 6.
Direct Mail Influence Of Trust In Electoral Process And Helpfulness Of Direct E-Mail For Respondents’ Decision

Helpfulness of E-mail for voters' decision Influence of Direct mail on trust in Election Process
Strongly Influence Average Less Not at all Total
Very Helpful 89 39 04 03 01 136
Quite Helpful 28 26 06 01 01 62
Average 12 24 15 02 - 53
A bit Helpful 05 04 16 02 - 27
Not Helpful 04 02 01 03 - 07
Total 134 97 43 09 02 285

The information on table 6 describes the level of trust that arises from the introduction of direct mail and the imposition of such on the helpfulness of direct E-mail in election processes. Out of 134(47.02%) respondents who stated that direct mail strong influence has improved trust in election processes and out of this, 89(66.42%) stated that the application of E-mail is very helpful for respondents’ decision in election processes. Also, 39(40.21%) out of 97(34.04%) respondents that stated that direct mail influence has improved trust on election process, stated that applying direct E-mail for decision making by respondents during election is also very important.

By the report of those who stated that direct mail influence has averagely improved trust in election process, 16(37.21%) out of 43(15.09%) who stated it stated that it is also somewhat helpful by the introduction of direct E-mail. On the issue of direct mail having less influence on the improvement of electoral trusts, 3(33.33%) out of 9(3.16%) who stated such stated that application of E-mail is very helpful for respondent’s decision making in election processes and out of 2(0.70%) respondents who stated that direct mail has no influence on the improvement of trust in election process 1(50%) each, stated that the introduction of E-mail is both very and quite helpful respectively.

Table 7.
Consideration Of Direct Mail As Unbiased Source Of Electoral Decision And The Help Fullness Of E-Mail For Respondents’ Election Decision

Helpfulness of direct E-mail to voters Direct mail as unbiased source of election information
Strongly Influence Average Less Not at all Total
Very Helpful 88 27 15 03 03 136
Quite Helpful 20 32 08 02 - 62
Average 13 19 16 05 - 53
Somewhat Helpful 05 14 05 03 - 27
Not Helpful - 04 - 02 01 07
Total 126 96 44 15 04 285

The provision of table 7, is the cross-tabulation of the consideration of direct mail as unbiased source of election information and the helpfulness of E-mail for respondents’ electoral decision. Basically, 126(44.21%) stated that were strongly influenced that direct mail form the organizer of elections, is an unbiased source of election information and out of this number, 88(69.84%) viewed E-mail as being very helpful. Also, from 96(33.68%) respondents who revealed that they were influenced that direct mail is an unbiased source of information, 32(33.33%) mentioned that direct E-mail is quite helpful for respondents’ decision making during election.

By the response by respondents in the issue of average nature of direct mail, out of 44(15.44%) respondents who viewed that direct mail has averagely influenced them to consider it as unbiased source of electoral information, 16(36.36%) stated that the application of E-mail to aid decision making of the respondents is also averagely helpful. By the responses of 15(5.26%) respondents that they were less influenced to consider direct mail as an unbiased source of election information, 5(33.33%) also stated that applying E-mail is averagely helpful. Out of 4(1.4%) respondents who stated that they were not at all influenced to consider direct mail as an unbiased source of election information, 3(75%) emphatically, stated that applying E-mail will also be very helpful in making election decisions by the electorates.

Table 8.
Helpfulness Of Direct Mail Influence For Result Acceptance And Direct SMS For Respondents’ Result Acceptance

Direct SMS on voters’ decision Likelihood of direct mail to influence result acceptance
Strongly Influence Average Less Not at all Total
Very Helpful 94 35 07 02 01 139
Quite Helpful 28 41 01 01 - 71
Average 08 25 13 01 01 48
A bit Helpful 03 13 07 01 - 24
Not Helpful - 01 01 - 01 03
Total 133 115 29 05 03 285

Table 8 above presents the tabulation of the likelihood of direct mail to influence result acceptance and the helpfulness of direct SMS for respondents’ electoral decision. 133(46.67%) respondents stated that there is the likelihood of direct mail strongly influencing the acceptance of result and 94(70.68%) out of them, stated that direct SMS is very helpful for such influence. Also, out of 115(40.35%) respondents who stated that direct mail has the likelihood of influencing election result, 41(35.65%) stated that the application of SMS is also quite helpful. On the issue of Direct SMS having average influence on election result acceptance, 13(44.83%) out of 29(10.18%) respondents that stated this also stated that application of SMS is averagely important.

Out of 5(1.75%) respondents who stated that there is the likelihood that direct mail will have less influence on election result acceptance, 2(40%) stated that the introduction or application of direct SMS, will also be very helpful. On 3(1.05%) respondents who stated that direct mail cannot influence election result, 1(33.33%) each revealed that there is the tendency that SMS will be very helpful, averagely helpful and not helpful to the issue.

Table 9.
Influence Of Direct Mail For Choice Of Candidate In Election And Helpfulness Of SMS For Election Decision

Influence of direct SMS on voters’ decision Direct mail on choice of candidate in election
Strongly Influence Average Less Not at all Total
Very Helpful 82 41 07 06 03 139
Quite Helpful 21 39 08 01 02 71
Average 06 21 15 05 01 48
Somewhat Helpful - 06 14 04 - 24
Not Helpful 01 - - 02 - 03
Total 110 107 44 18 06 285

The concept of the above table is the imposition of influence of direct mail choice of candidates in election on helpfulness of SMS to election decision. 110(38.60%) stated that direct mail has a strong influence on respondents on choice of candidate in which 82(74.55%) stated that the use of SMS is very important. On the issue of direct mail being influential, out of 107(37.54%) that affirmed on such view, 41(38.32%) respondents therein, stated that SMS application is also very helpful. Out of the 44(15.44%) respondents that stated that direct mail has an average influence on the respondent’s choice of candidates, 15(34.09%) stated that application of SMS also has average assistance to render to the issue. 6(33.33%) out of 18(6.32%) respondents with the opinion that direct mail has less influence on respondent’s choice of candidates also affirmed that application of SMS method of information dissemination, is very helpful. 6(2.11%) stated that application of direct mail has no influence on the choice of candidates during election by which 3(50%) stated that the introduction of SMS is very useful for respondents’ election decision. On a general note, 139(48.77%) firmly stated that direct SMS application is very helpful for respondent’s decision making during election processes.

Table 10.
Consideration Of Direct Mail As Unbiased Source Of Election Information And Helpfulness Of SMS For Respondents’ Election Decision

Direct SMS on voters’ decision Direct mail as unbiased source of Election information
V. Strongly Influence Average Less Not at all Total
Very Helpful 79 36 16 05 03 139
Quite Helpful 30 32 08 01 - 71
Average 12 16 14 06 - 48
Somewhat Helpful 05 12 05 02 - 24
Not Helpful - - 01 01 01 03
Total 126 96 44 15 04 285

Table 10 opens the view that direct mail is an unbiased source of election information and on this; the helpfulness of SMS for election decision is also implied. 126(44.21%) respondents stated that they are strongly influenced to consider direct mail as an unbiased source of election information and from this, 79(62.70%) affirmed that application of SMS, is very useful for respondent’s decision making. Also, 36(37.50%) out of 96(33.68%) respondents who affirmed that they were influenced that direct mail is an unbiased source of election information confirmed that the use of SMS is also very helpful for the respondents’ electoral decision making.

From the 44(15.44%) respondents that revealed that they were averagely influenced that direct mail is an unbiased source of election information, 16(36.36%) affirmed that the use of direct SMS id very useful to aid respondents’ electoral decisions. From the 15(5.26%) respondents who are less influenced to believe that direct mail is an unbiased source of election information, 6(40%) stated that applying direct SMS to it to help respondents decision making processes, is averagely helpful and 3(75%) out of 4(1.40%) respondents with the opinion that they were not influenced to accept direct mail as an unbiased source of election information, stated that using direct SMS is also very useful for election decision making.

Table 11.
The Likelihood Of Direct Mail Influencing Election Result Acceptance And Helpfulness Of Surface Post To Respondents’ Decision

Surface post influence on voters’ decision Direct-mail influence on election result acceptance
Strongly Influence Average Less Not at all Total
Strongly Influenced 81 26 08 01 - 116
Influence 28 37 05 - 02 72
Average 24 36 12 03 - 75
Less influence - 15 03 01 01 20
Not any influence - 01 01 - - 02
Total 133 115 29 05 03 285

From table 11, 116(40.70%) respondents affirmed the application of surface post will strongly influence respondents’ decision. Within the context of influence by direct mail, out of 133.(46.67%) respondents with the opinion that there the likelihood that direct mail will strongly influence election result acceptance, 81(60.90%) believed that surface post for election decision, has a strong influence on the subject matter. Also, out of 115(40.35%) respondents who viewed direct mail to likely influence election result acceptance, 37(32.17%) saw the application of surface post as an influence to election decision making.

Within the 29(10.18%) respondents with the opinion that direct mail has average influence on election result acceptance, 12(41.38%) also stated that the helpfulness of surface post will have average influence on respondents’ decision making processes. From the 5(1.75%) respondents with the view or opinion that direct mail has less influence of election result acceptance, 3(60%) has the view that surface post has average influence on respondents’ decision making and out of 3(1.05%) respondents who opined that direct mail has no influence of election result acceptance, 2(66.67%) reported that SMS introduction will influence the respondents’ electoral decision making.

Table 12.
The Influence Of Direct Mail For Choice Of Candidate In Election And The Helpfulness Of Surface Post For Respondents’ Decision

Surface positon voters decision Influence of direct mail for choice of candidate in election
Strongly Influence Average Less Not at all Total
Strongly Influenced 75 26 08 04 03 116
Influence 24 37 04 05 02 72
Average 09 41 19 05 01 75
Less influence 01 03 13 03 - 20
Not any influence 01 - - 01 - 02
Total 110 107 44 18 06 285

Table 12 shows the imposition of influence of direct mail for choice of candidates in election and helpfulness of surface post in influencing respondents’ electoral decision making processes. 116(40.70%) responded that surface post strongly influenced respondents’ decision making in election. Within the context of direct mail influencing choice of candidates, 110(38.60%) respondents stated that direct mail strong influence on their choice for candidate and within this also, 75(68.18%) stated that helpfulness of surface post strongly influenced respondent’s electoral decisions. Also, out of 107(37.54%) respondents who stated that direct mail influence respondents’ choice of candidates in election with 41(38.32%)

The result indicate that the helpfulness of direct SMS has average influence on respondents’ decision making processes in election. 44(15.44%) respondents stated that direct mail has average influence on the choice of candidate during election, 19(43.18%) out of it also pointed that helpfulness of surface post has average influence on respondents’ electoral decision making. Out of the 18(6.36%) respondents who stated that direct mail has less influence on their choice of candidates during election process, 5(27.78%) each stated that usefulness of surface post has influence and also average influence on respondent’s decision making in election respectively and out of 6(2.11%) respondents who stated that direct mail has no influence on candidates’ choice, 3(50%) stated the helpfulness of surface post has strongly influenced the respondents’ decision in election.

Table 13.
The Helpfulness Of Surface Post Influence On Direct Mail As An Unbiased Source Of Electoral Information

Surface post on voters’ electoral decision Direct mail as unbiased source of electoral information
Strongly Influence Average Less Not at all Total
Strongly Influenced 80 19 13 01 03 116
Influence 25 35 08 04 - 72
Average 19 31 17 08 - 75
Less influence 02 11 15 01 01 20
Not any influence - - 01 01 - 02
Total 126 96 44 15 04 285

In table 13, out of 126 (44.21%) respondents who were strongly influenced to consider direct mail as an unbiased source of electoral information, 80(63.49%) also stated that the helpfulness of surface post strongly influenced the respondents’ electoral decision. Also, out of 96(33.68%) respondents who were influenced to consider direct mail as an unbiased source of electoral information, 35(36.46%) stated that the helpfulness of surface post has influence on respondents’ electoral decision processes. Furthermore, 44(15.44%) respondents stated there they were averagely influenced to consider direct mail as an unbiased source of electoral information and from this, 17(38.64%) reported that the assistance of surface post, has average influence on the respondent’s electoral decision.

Also, out of 15(5.226%) respondents who stated that they were less influenced to consider direct mail as an unbiased source of electoral information, 8(53.33%) of them stated that the helpfulness of surface post has also, averagely influenced respondent’s decision process in current election. From the 4(1.40%) respondents who revealed that they were not by any means influenced to consider direct mail as unbiased means of electoral information, 3 (75%) stated that the helpfulness of surface post has strongly influenced respondents’ election decisions.

DISCUSSION AND SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

The level of organized fraud in election in Nigeria cannot be mentioned without wording out the activities of tugs, electoral commission, political parties, candidates, interest groups and other relevant actors in the electoral system. Many times, it has been discovered that the security agents also take part in such heinous actions. These actions can never be limited or stopped if there is no public interest carried along during the electoral processes. What this conserves is that elections in Nigeria no matter the level it is operated, needs public interest which must come through education to harness their decision making.

Education is one of the most powerful tools for a successful election. To educate the masses does not require the setting up of classrooms or seminar centers. What is needed is the establishment of information management system that will forward relevant electoral information through the direct mail system to relevant recipients. Direct mail as explained in the current study comprises of Direct Information System (DIS), Electronic Mail (E-mail), Direct Short Message Services (DSMS) and Surface Posts (SP). The relevance of these components has shown that it will add values to the electoral system leading to reduction of reduce violence and fraudulent activities during the elections in elections in Nigeria.

Direct mail is a very useful component of modern information technology. It will assist the voters to accept result and make decisions without bias this will accurately be by the application of direct information. This can be by the level of transparent information forwarded to them through a trust worthy channel that will assist result acceptance. This is because direct information is very helpful to influence the acceptance of election results. This will also assist in the choice of candidates and trust will be harnessed fundamentally. Direct mail assistance is due to the strong influence of direct information which is taken to be very helpful. By this act, the electorates will not feel cheated or biased on election matters and will critically reduce fraud induced violence. The major thing that matters most is the improvement of trust, selection of candidate, unbiased source of information and complete information dissemination and unbiased decision making processes in every successful election.

Email has become a strong adaptive information and communication technology tool capable of reaching recipients almost anywhere on earth. It is clear to note that the spread of this vice is gradually getting balance even in the local areas as a result of the spread of android hand phones. E-mail is one of the components of a direct mail and has wielded a strong influence in information dissemination instantly. E-mail has a strong influence on direct mail for the choice of candidates during elections therefore, it is considered to be very helpful. Besides, it has herald and improved trust in the election process. Basically, sources of information through E-mail become unbiased if it comprehends what is required for a purposeful election which must be taken to be fraud free. What people really need in any election is the protection of their interest, thus once the interest is protected, elections will be done genuinely and fraud less decisions will be taken.

The influence of Short Message Service (SMS) in elections have become universally acceptable. The American Elections, British elections, local elections and more have recognized that SMS is a direct means of getting across to the electorates in the shortest time using their available mobile phone numbers. As a component of direct mail, it can be very helpful to strongly influence the acceptance of election result which is always the bone of contention that can lead to electoral crisis after every successive election in Nigeria that normally ended up in the law court where results are sometimes and always reversed to the benefit of the opponent without recourse to sometimes ethical values of politics. This will allow for a dependable decision by the electorate who will whole heartedly accept the result announced and posted for their proper voting right. The major factors that declare a commendable election is when it is conducted out of bias.

When messages are received for a particular candidate on and on, there is the element of removing bias mind from the electorate. This will create a legitimate government and at the same verge, promote electoral education. SMS has the complete strength to strongly influence electoral decisions without a bias mind thus, making it very helpful to the system. Most electoral campaign in Nigeria are advertised through posters which incidentally, deface the environment and most campaign managers still rely heavily on its usage. It assists the electorates to connect facial expression to the voice of who they are voting for even without hearing or seeing from him/her directly what is required for improvement in life. This indicates that surface posters also possess a strong influence for the electorate to make decisions on election results. It is a helpful means of reaching out for result acceptance by the electorate without a one on one contact with the prospective candidates.

There is a strong affirmation that whenever posters are spread, people may fall in love with the physique of the candidate and any result released against the person is rejected and contested with impunity. Therefore, posters facilitate choice of candidate without second thought because there is facial interpretation of the outlook and people are bound to reflect back in conjunction with past experience (Tinubu’s Eye glasses which depicts Awolowo’s outlook). When this is placed utmost, there is no bias in accepting any information that comes during election despite its sincerity or insincerity of purpose. This is because, the candidate has been accepted without bias mind from the outset but if results are announced without favoring this candidate; there is always a hick in the process.

CONCLUSION

Elections or voting are naturally preceded by campaign activities. In campaigns, the major aim is to defeat the opponents by reaching out to the electorates with all available tools. Direct mail is a major means to reach the people and convince them on the importance of getting the opponents defeated, it also provides the electorates opportunity to make an informed choice. Direct-mail as shown in the current study, involves mostly reaching out to voters through, personal contact, direct or personalized electronic or print media. In the age of electronic and social media, using direct info to reach voters become a common-place. Nigeria, with an estimated voters’ population of about 80 million, has mobile penetration of 80% percent of the estimated 180 million populations and an estimated 70% of the voting population have access to mobile phone and automatically a short message functionality.

E-mail functionalities have also moved to mobile smart gadgets and this make reaching large populations of voters on the go a matter of one click away. Website blogging is also gaining popularity and the avenue is also serving as a medium of direct two-way interaction among subscribers of a blog platform. There continues to emerge other social media platforms through customized direct info can be sent to subscribers of the platform. Example is Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, Yahoo messenger, etc. Beside the use of traditional print (Posters, Flyers), and electronic (Radio, TV) media, social media use as a faster, convenient and cost effective information dissemination platform is becoming the preferred option for direct contact and point of interaction among the electorates. This opportunity increases the chances of improved knowledge and awareness for informed decision-making process. It may not be possible to eliminate fraud completely, but the chances of misinformation that lead to uninformed decision can be greatly reduced through the use of direct mail.

REFERENCES

Action Aid International, Nigeria, (2007). Campaign against Electoral Violence in Nigeria Project, Report on Campaign against Electoral Violence
http://www.pedrovicente.org/Fieldwork/Nigeria/Delta/delta.pdf;retrieved, 23.10.2009.

African Elections Database, (2007). Elections in Nigeria;
http://africanelections.tripod.com/ng.html

Anifowose, R. (1982); Violence and Politics in Nigeria: Tiv and Yoruba Experience.
Nok Publishers International, New York, ©1982.

Animashaun Kunle, (2010). Regime character, electoral crisis and prospects of electoral
Reform in Nigeria. Journal of Nigeria studies, 1(1) fall 2010.

Iroegbu P., (2003). Electoral fraud and Nigeria’s democratic quest, (part 1)
http://nigeriaworld.com/articles/2003/may/121.html.

Kohno, T., Stubblefield, A., Aviel D. Rubin D., And Wallach, S. (2004). Analysis of an
Electronic Voting System. Retrieved July 3. 2016 from http://avirubin.com/vote.pdf.

Machika Sule Usman (2009). Causes and Consequences Of Youth Involvement In Electoral Violence. Workshop on “Youths against Electoral Violence”
http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/guest-articles/causes-and-consequences-of-youth-involvement-in-electoral-violence-2.html

Myagkov, Mikhail G., Ordeshook, P.C., and Shakin, D., (2009). The forensics of Election fraud: Russia and Ukraine. Cambridge University Press.

National Post, (2012). Fraudulent election calls. Reported by News.nationalpost.com.
http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/02/22/racknine-inc-fraudulent-election-calls-traced/

Oshinbajo Yemi (2009). Elections and Electoral Malpractice: The Nigerian Dilemma.
PM NEWS. February 17, 2009. http://pmnewsnigeria.com/author/pmnewsadmin/

Rolling Stone, (2012). "The GOP War on Voting".
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-gop-war-on-voting-20110830#ixzz1r5HSfVEp

Telesurtv.net, (2016). http://www.telesurtv.net/english/analysis/As-Brexit-Looms-5-Ways-UK-Elite-Helped-Cause-Jo-Cox-Death-20160620-0008.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *