Impact Of Radio On The Voting Behaviour Of Electorate

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Impact Of Radio On The Voting Behaviour Of Electorate


Abstract


The study examined the impact of radio on the voting behaviour of electorate in the 2016 Edo state governorship election with a particular focus on Benin City. Several efforts and empirical research have shown that mass media most especially radio plays a significant role in educating, enlightening, sensitizing and general mobilization of electorate for political development. Radio is the most effective channels of political education because it offers signal in every nooks and crannies of society and it is very rich in educating, enlightening, mobilizing the electorates for political participation. Survey research method was adopted coupled with 100 copies of questionnaire that were printed and administered to the respondents within Benin City and out of 100 copies that were administered 90 copies were returned. Therefore, the data were analyzed by using table, frequency and percentage method. It is noted that journalists should see their role in community especially during election as vital which they must not toy with while government should provide more freedom and security for the press to act without fair or favour.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

It is obvious that the last half of the twenty first century witnessed a rival of radical political change that has swept across the frontiers of most modern nations of the world. A result of this change is the emergence of socio-cultural variety and political pluralism. (Nwosu, 2003:50).

Basically, politics is about power, but the struggle for power results in conflicts and competitions. Thus, under the girdling political practice is the struggle for power which creates disagreement and conflict. Nevertheless, the effects of politics which are conflicts and disagreement are never permanent and must be managed for the improvement of the society to be achieved. From another dimension, politics is about policy. Extending this view, Nzimiro (1992:7) states that “policy is a matter of either the desire for change or the desire to protect something against change”. This also leads to conflict. The history of human civilization clearly shows that class conflict is an inherent characterization of human societies. This offers a clear conviction that the eminent nuclear physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was bemoaning the endemic conflict arising from human interactions when he says, “I can calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies but not the madness of people”. Newton’s timeless wits indicate that conflict as a perceived incompatibility of actions, goals or ideal (Myers, 1989:113), pervades virtually all aspects of human endeavours including political activities. In the modern society, politics is expressed through political parties, which are created to achieve the goals of a society. This is why political parties are organized around specific idea.

Before independence in 1960, the colonial administration has organized a couple of general elections. In none of them was a deliberate and systematic political advertising programme under taken. All political activities were limited to rallies soap box, speeches and where possible press editorial efforts. For obvious reasons it was not possible for politicians to use electronic media for political advertising. Also the print media concentrated heavily on the issue of political independence. The leader of Action Group Party of Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1963 used skywriting advertising during rallies to send campaign messages. That was a unique attempt in promoting politicians in Nigeria’s political history. It did not go far because it lacked systematic political advertising.

In 1979, the media option had widened and more political parities resorted to political advertising. Political advertising is an important element of democratic society. In view of this, former United States of American President Richard M. Nixon, is reputed to have said that “political advertising is to politics what bumper stickers are to philosophy”. Equally commenting on the indispensability of political advertising in democracy or in the process of electioneering campaign Jamieson (1984), believes that it “legitimates our political institutions by affirming that change is possible within the political system. However, we may recognize that political advertising is our 20th century version of the old whistle stop campaign tour from a train, the torch light rally, the stump speech and the town hall debate, all of which started during the early years of American democracy and are still very much in vogue in some respects in Nigeria election campaigns today. Politics according to Gerbner (1981:15) is … a word game”. Gerber contends that politicians rise to power because that can talk persuasively to voters and political elites”.

Okigbo (1992:123) added impetus to this view when he describes politics as largely a verbal profession”. The glaring lessons are learnt from the above scenario. One, no political activity ever takes place in the absence of conflict of wills or clash of interests among the participants. Again, no human relations or interactions’ as Nwosu (1990: 323) observes can take place without one form of communication or the other. Therefore, it would not be out of place to admit that the influence of political advertising on the voting behaviour of the electorates is at the root of any political process. And given that the mass media (radio) are veritable tools for reaching widely spatial heterogeneous audience with the same communication message. It is unquestionable that they would serve well as pivotal institution upon which the pendulum of our political/electioneering campaign should swing.

However, the real and or imagined power of the mass media of which radio is one of them to mould attitudes and behaviour especially as it pertains to outcome of electioneering campaign had been a subject of intense debate. Regardless of why cynics might say, media of mass communication to large extent do have influence on attitude and behaviours, at least they keep people adequately informed about events happening outside their immediate experience (Nwosu 2003: 51). To buttress the above view, Baran (1991) is right when he says:

“The media so fully saturate our everyday lives that we are often unconscious of their presence not to mention their influence. Media help define us, they shape our realities. There was also the issue of negative political values like rigging which can negate the effect of political advertising. Over the decades, electoral processes have always witnessed one problem or the other. Elections in Nigeria, have been marred by violence and rigging. Infact, I seriously doubt, if there had been any election in the country that has not been characterized by one electoral malpractice or the other. According to Oyediran (1976: 17),

The 1964-1965 election has often been referred to as a classic case of the politics of brinkmanship. It was during the election that the first plot for military coup d’etat was planned. Myriads of factors are responsible for this unfortunate reality. One major factor is poor political socialization of the country, family, church and of course the mass media.

Indeed, the purpose of this study is to find out if radio political adverting does influence voters voting behaviour in Nigeria.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The zeal to pilot the affairs of the state and by extension, ensure strict compliance to acceptable pattern of shared norms which Defleuretal (1971:448) describe as “consensus” which gave rise to modern government. And while some individuals in the society assume leadership position by forcefully imposing it on themselves, as in the case of fast fading authoritarian states others attain the same goal through popular election. The later alternative is common feature of democratic variant of governance allow the members of any society while latitude of freedom to choose their leaders. Again it gives the citizens equal participation in the process of public decision making.

Irrespective of the varying philosophies and the attending economic ideologies that tends to differentiate various human societies every nation aspires to project, promote and protect her socio-politically and economic interests through the effective use of mass media (radio) organs. As a result of this, Schramm and Roberts (1978: 635) argue “… each of the various forms of political power can be characterized in terms of information distribution which it allows, of how communication channels are controlled, of how and to whom information is made available”. Lasswell’s (1936) conception of politics as “a game of who gets what, when and how” still guides the political drives of most Nigeria. The burden of this study therefore is to critically examine impact of radio on the voting behavior of electorate


1.3 Objective of the Study

The objectives of the study are

  1. To ascertain whether the radio political messages determines the voting behviours of the electorates
  2. To ascertain the impact of radio on voting behavior of electorate
  3. To ascertain whether radio influence the electorates to vote during election

1.4 Research Hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

  1. H0: the radio political messages do not determines the voting behviours of the electorates
    H1: the radio political messages determines the voting behviours of the electorates
  2. H02: there is no impact of radio on voting behavior of electorate
    H2: the impact of radio on voting behavior of electorate

1.5 Significance of the Study

The result of this study will be useful to policy formulators and implementers for devising viable political campaign policies that will be in line with the socio-cultural and political orientation of the electorates. This study will also help the government and its agencies in making policy decisions on the best way to channel political education to the electorates or votes for effective participation in the electoral process. Besides, the study will immensely enhance media organizations to understand the appropriate way of structuring information for its audience and assist them in knowing the most effective medium of political information dissemination available to electorates. It will also be useful to Nigerian media practitioners, communication experts, politicians, political science students, as well as other members of the public, to improve their knowledge and skills in the area of utilizing the mass media for the execution of political campaign or mobilization of rural residents. Finally, it will serve as a veritable reference material for scholars and students of political communication.


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers impact of radio on the voting behavior of electorate. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational Privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.


1.7 Definition of Terms

Electorate:

All the people in a country or area who are entitled to vote in an election.

Radio:

Radio is the technology of using radio waves to carry information, such as sound, by systematically modulating properties of electromagnetic energy waves transmitted through space, such as their amplitude, frequency, phase, or pulse width

Voting Behaviour:

Voting behavior is a form of electoral behavior. Understanding voters’ behavior can explain how and why decisions were made either by public decision-makers, which has been a central concern for political scientists, or by the electorate.


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain impact of radio on the voting behavior of electorate. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of impact of radio on the voting behavior of electorate


5.2 Summary

This study was impact of radio on the voting behavior of electorate. Three objectives were raised which included: To ascertain whether the radio political messages determine the voting behaviours of the electorates, to ascertain the impact of radio on voting behavior of electorate, to ascertain whether radio influence the electorates to vote during election. In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 staff of selected radio stations in Benin city, Edo state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made broadcasters, news correspondents, editors and junior staff were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies


5.3 Conclusion

In conclusion, this study found out that radio is part of the mainstream media that impact sense into electorate during election. Political content was aired through radio news, political talk shows and political adverts.


5.4 Recommendation

There is need for marketing of radio to the political class in Nigeria so that in future they can use radio more to channel their messages to the electorate. This is because radio can reach remote areas where other mainstream media cannot. Increase the number of radio talk shows to educate voters on their rights to vote and more so to understand issues of national importance that can be solved by electing the right person into the top leadership of the country.


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