Communication And Good Governance

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Communication And Good Governance


Abstract


This study ―Communication and Good Governance in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State‖ was carried out to examine the context of communication in governance of Ishielu Local Government area of Ebonyi state. The objectives are to validate the impact of communication on governance through regular participatory meetings between leaders and followers in Ishielu L.G.A; to stimulate inclusive governance as a means to empower the citizens and enhance their confidence in the leadership of Ishielu L.G.A; and, to examine how judicious and equitable use of revenue can lead to mutual understanding, cooperation and development in Ishielu L.G.A. Over the years, much emphasis has been on communication use for good governance in the (3rd) Third World Countries and yet so many studies still show that communication has not achieved its potency in the Third World Countries. To balance the gap found in studies consulted, this study therefore; accessed the ideologies of the three categories of people in Ishielu on communication use for good governance in Ishielu. Instruments for data generation include questionnaire, focus group discussion and key informant interview. Data analysis showed that there is no effective structure for communication in Ishielu LGA.

The study also found out that citizens are not sufficiently reaping the dividends of democracy. Another finding is that lack of development is threatening the unity of Ishielu. To address such threats, the study thus suggests regular sensitization of both leaders and followers on communication use for good governance in Ishielu. It also suggests annual audit on income and expenditure as a channel to minimize misappropriation of fund as well as the establishment of a functional communication structure that would allow both leaders and the led to talk and effectively interact. Finally, the study has it that effective communication can stimulate unity; build trust and rapid development and as well, create openness and transparency among the people of Ishielu Local Government Area.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Communication is the most general form of interpersonal interaction required for decision-making and interpersonal influence in organizations. To this end, the second half of 20th century brought a tradition of communication research and practice geared toward Third World development needs, an area that has come to be known as development communication (Melkote and Steeves, 2001:1).The objective of development communication professionals is to work with the individuals and communities at the grassroots so that they may eventually enter and participate meaningfully in the political and economic processes in their communities/societies. This calls for grassroots organizing and communicative social action on the part of the poor, women, minorities, and others who have been consistently and increasingly marginalized in the process of social change; all of which result to poverty (Pg.117).

The effect of poverty is obvious as many lives are battered, happiness stifled, creativity destroyed and freedom limited. The consequence of this poverty also includes shortage of income, lack of schools, absence of health facilities, and unavailability of medicines, the subjugation of women, hazardous environmental features, and lack of jobs.

Unfortunately, many governments in developing countries have attributed poverty to lack of wealth rather than misappropriation of wealth by few powerful individuals in the communities. Thus, the government‘s bent on seeking for international donors not minding that in a country like Nigeria with huge talents and mineral resources there is enough to go round if good governance thrives.

Prevailing views on good governance centre upon concepts of capability, accountability and responsiveness. They focus on the need for the full participation of citizens and civil society actors in governance and are predicated on the effective flow of information and dialogue between citizen, governments and other actors. By situating communication, information dissemination and dialogue as key components of governance a positive correlation between communication and good governance is tacitly assumed.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The media, in the Nigerian history have consistently been in the front line of the battle to promote good governance in the nation. Lending credence to this assertion, Obilade (1999:235), opined that the “press in Nigeria constitutes an active force in the realization of the goal of the evolution of good governance in the continent of Africa. This big achievement by the Nigerian media spanned through to the first, second, third, and fourth republics respectively. Even during the military era, the Nigerian media fought with all their efforts for the restoration of democracy. This struggle brought the nation to a new era of the fourth republic in May 1999. As part of their constitutional role, the mass media are expected to mobilize the people to participate in the democratic process. This was aptly demonstrated by the Nigerian media during the period under review. Take for example, as soon as the Abdulsalami Abubakar led government established the transition programme that ushered in a new democratic government, the media swung into action by creating awareness on the electoral process.

On the protection of the fundamental human rights of the people, the Nigerian Media fought vehemently well to ensure that those whose rights are violated are brought to face the wrath of the law. Furthermore, the mass media are the fulcrum of all forms of democracy. This assertion is on the claim that in any democratic society, the media is being termed as the market place of ideas for all political thoughts.

Nevertheless, the performance of the Nigerian media over the years could be regarded as a combination of both success and failures. This is because in promoting the hard earned democracy the media struggled and fought to reestablished, there are a plethora of encumbrances the media is facing which serve as impediments in stabilizing Nigerian democracy. The media is constantly receiving heavy pressure from the public, political parties, interest groups as well as the government. This pressure usually results in a situation where the media is forced to take side in reporting national events in order to promote the interest of a particular party or interest group. It is on this foundation that this study examines the role the media have played and continue to play in the socio-political and socio-economic reengineering of structures in a country faced with numerous challenges that limit the role of media in promoting good governance in Nigeria by using Vanguard Newspaper as a case study.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to analyze the communication and good governance as a case study. Other specific objectives include:

  1. To examine the roles that the Nigerian media has been playing in promoting good governance in the country.
  2. To explore the relationship between the media and good governance in Nigeria.
  3. To also examine the challenges faced by the media in promoting good governance in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

This study is guided by the following research questions:

  1. What are the roles that the Nigerian media has been playing in promoting good governance in the country?
  2. What is the relationship between the media and good governance in Nigeria?
  3. What are the challenges faced by the media in promoting good governance in Nigeria?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The study is guided by the following assumptions:

  • HO: There is no significant correlation between media and promotion of good governance
  • HI: There is a significant correlation between media challenges and promotion of good governance

1.6 Significance of the Study

Until recently, media and good governance is one critical area in Nigeria that has attracted little attention in the academics and development experts. Thus, literature on the role of the media and its implications on good governance are scanty, hence the few reviewed concentrated more on general, role of the media in a democracy as well its challenges. Hence, the overriding significance of this study is to add up to the growing literature on media and democratic relations. Thus the study is, therefore, both timely and significant. A detailed analysis of this phenomenon will reduce the dearth of knowledge in this area. Finally, this work will be useful to scholars and students who may wish to carry out further research on the role of the media and the challenges of good governance in Nigeria.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The focus of the study is on the examination of the impact of the media in promoting good governance. The scope however limited to the Vanguard Newspaper as a case study


1.8 Limitation of the Study

The inability of the researcher to sample opinions from all the media practitioners in Nigeria limits the findings of this research. As a matter of fact, only a small population of data from the Vanguard Newspaper was sampled. Time constraints also pose a limitation for this study as the researcher is not able to cover more grounds that would have been insightful for this research. Also, finding media practitioners and convincing them to collect, fill and submit the questionnaires was a difficult task that poses a limitation to this study, not to mention the financial constraints in moving from one place to another within Lagos to sample opinions.


1.9 Definition of Concepts

The following concepts are keys to the study.

Democracy:

Is a form of government, which the supreme power of the political community rest on popular sovereignty. According to Oyovbaire (1987) democracy as a system which seek to realize a generally recognized common good through a collective initiation and discussion of policy questions concerning public affairs and which delegated authority to agents to implement the broad decisions made by the people through majority vote. The most popular definition of democracy was that of Abraham Lincoln, which sees Democracy as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. This definition is widely accepted.

Good Governance:

This has much to do with the ethical grounding of governance and must be evaluated with reference to specific norms and objectives as may be laid down. It looks at the functioning of the given segment of the society from the point of view of its acknowledged stakeholders, beneficiaries and customers. Therefore, to describe governance as democratic requires the understanding of the essence of the state which is not only embedded in the constitution but also a function of religious ideals and the nature of the current problems confronting the state.

The Mass Media:

For the purpose of this study, the conceptualization of the mass media in both developed and Third World countries are all encompassing. It embraces all communication outlets commonly called the mass media. Regardless of the size of the mass media in any polity, they can be mechanical device or mechanism, and (ii) presumed level or degree of impact on society (Uyo, 1987). Using the first criteria, all mass media can be grouped into two classes as Blanke and Harolsen (1975) did: (i) print media – such as newspapers, news magazines, pamphlets, direct mail, circulars, billboards, skywriting, and any technical device that carries a message to ‘the masses’ by appealing to their sense of sight. Print media communicate information through the publication of written words and pictures. There are then (ii) electronic media: (a) radio and audio recordings that appeal to the sense of sound, and (b) television, motion pictures and video recording that appeal to both the sense of sound and sense of vision. Broadcast media communicate information electronically through sounds or sights.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The broad objective of this study is to analyze the communication and good governance using Vanguard Newspaper as a case study. It examine the roles that the role of communication in promoting good governance in the country. It explored the relationship between the media and good governance in Nigeria. It also examine the challenges faced by the media in promoting good governance in Nigeria.

The study adopted a survey research design and with the aid of convenient sampling method, the researcher enrolled 36 participants in the study who are media practitioners in Vanguard Newspaper in Ebonyi State. Well structured questionnaire was issued and a total of 30 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants. Data was analyzed in simple percentage using frequencies and tables. Hypothesis test was conducted using Chi-Square statistical tool (spss).


5.2 Conclusion

Achieving Good Governance requires the understanding and participation of every member of the society. However, it has been observed that for governance to be just and democratic, leaders more than any other sector of the society need to use their power responsibly and for the greater good. Systems and procedures need to be in place that impose restraints on power and encourage government officials to act in the public’s best interests. From the result of the study, the following conclusions were ascertained:

There is a significant correlation between media challenges and promotion of good governance. More so the media promotes good governance by helping to creating public awareness on new government policies. They provide platforms for public debate on the effect of new national issues of concern and They issue public orientation on political issues and voters education. however the media face challenges such as Unprofessionalism in sticking to the ethic of journalism Inability of sourcing news from reliable avenue and Undue interference from government.


5.3 Recommendation

The media, their roles, channels and contents, are considered powerful enough to make this achievement a reality. The Nigerian media have been in the vanguard for the promotion and sustenance of the democracy we now have in the country, even the struggle for independence was pioneered and fought for by the Nigerian media. But a great number of existing media channels in the country need to take up the responsibility of adequately engendering better governance in our democratic polity. As the institution mandated to hold those in governance accountable, the Nigerian media can effectively achieve this if they apply the basic principles of patriotism, accountability, transparency and objectivity in the discharge of their duties as well as uphold the sanctity of truth and fairness at all times. In effect, for the media to contribute to Good Governance, the media must embrace the principles of Good Governance themselves as a critical precondition for effectiveness in the discharging their functions to the Nigerian society. The watchdogs must watch themselves.


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