Indigenous Media And Rural Development (The Case Of Oil Producing Communities In Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria)

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Indigenous Media And Rural Development (The Case Of Oil Producing Communities In Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria)


This study is an attempt to provide lucid and perhaps comprehensive information on the role of traditional media on rural development in four oil producing communities in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. It identifies types of traditional communication channels available for rural development, it examines the effectiveness of these channels of communication, and establishes how messages are packaged and presented in performance. The study employed descriptive survey design.

The population of the study comprised 200 respondents sampled from the four communities. Simple random sampling technique was used to select 50 out of 200 respondents that constituted the sample for this study each from the four communitiesin Ikot Abasi Local Government, Akwa Ibom State. The result of the study among others showed that indigenous media are still being effectively used on rural development.

Apparently vast majority of respondents strongly agreed that indigenous media are effective in disseminating information on rural development. The findings also showed that indigenous media facilitates communication among the rural people on community development. The study among others recommended that the government through the ministry of information and culture should improve the role of folk mediaby organizing regular workshops and seminar for the training of stakeholders in media operations.

Table Of Contents

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Research questions
  • 1.5 Significance of Study
  • 1.6 Scope of the study
  • 1.7 Limitations of the study
  • 1.8 Organization of the study

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Conceptual review
  • 2.2.1 Risk communication and indigenous media
  • 2.2.2 Risk Communication in the Oil Industry
  • 2.2.3 The Nature and Content of Indigenous Communication System
  • 2.2.4 Community-environment relations and development
  • 2.2 Theoretical framework
  • 2.3 Review of related literature

Chapter Three:

Materials And Methods

  • 3.1 Research design
  • 3.2 Sources of Data
  • 3.3 Population and sampling of the study
  • 3.4 Instrumentation
  • 3.5 Reliability
  • 3.6 Validity
  • 3.7 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.8 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.9 Ethical consideration

Chapter Four

Data Analysis And Presentation

Chapter Five:

Conclusion And Recommendations

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • References

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the study

The role of traditional folk media has been very significant in rural development since the turn of this century, and with the advent of new media, the forms and ways of communication have become more specialized. Every human society has developed its traditional modes and channels of communication which characterize its existence, organization and development. These communication modes and channels form the basis upon which the communities, especially the rural community, progress (Orewere 1991).

Communication, that is, transmission of information from a point called origin or source to another called destination or receiver (audience), is the life wire of every society. No wonder people continue to marvel at the continued relevance of the African indigenous media; otherwise, known as African traditional folk media, in the contemporary world despite the manifestation of Marshall McLuhan‟s theory of „Global Village‟ in the contemporary world. The first significant recognition of the traditional media in the communication and development strategies of the developing countries came in the year 1972 when the international parenthood federation and UNESCO organized a series of meetings in London relating to integrated use of traditional folk media in family planning communication programmes.

The interest generated by this meeting and the continued efforts to highlight the folk media as effective form of conveying developmental messages resulted in a number of seminars and workshops around the world (Mohanty & Parhi, 2011). UNESCO, (1999),also organized a seminar to provide a forum for the discussion and formulation of strategies for promoting and enhancing the development of traditional media in African countries. The importance of the seminar resided in the priority given by UNESCO, in its communication strategy and programmes in Africa, to encourage and support the development of folk media which helps to expand access to news and information and provide more opportunities for communities to express themselves.

Nigeria is characterized by a complex social system with different classes and ethnic groups with 80% of her population residing in the rural areas; hence, the need for sustainable rural development (Akpoveta, 2006). Traditional community communication in Nigeria has a unique network which may not be easily understood. It is difficult to understand this network through externally imposed philosophies and concepts. To appreciate this network, one has to live in the village, observe, studyand understandit. This communication network can be effectively used for rural development (Orewere, 1991). The reason for the popularity and effectiveness of this mode of communication for development-oriented messages is that it is transactional and highly participatory, allowing participants to work with new information through a familiar and comfortable format (Ansu-Kyeremeh, 1998).

To the rural people, the mass media proved only to be glamorous, impersonal and unbelievable in comparison with the familiar performance of traditional artist whom the villagers could see and hear and even touch emotionally. Obviously, the traditional media is the right choice of media to carry messages to the rural community for the purpose, and process of change and development (Stichele, 2000).

It is also viewed that dialogue is the essence of any work in communication for development. As a matter of fact, traditional media have a remarkable impact on rural areas because of their acceptable idioms, functional significance and entertainment component. It can overcome language difficulty, speech, words and other barriers of communication like interest, understanding, interpretation, attitude and perception. Folk media are the most important vehicle of social change. It is used for educational purposes and as a tool to reform society. It helps to convey educational messages through entertainment, costume, music, dance etc.

Traditional media have always played a major role in rural development; for example in precolonial days, people carved stories on stones and temples and as a result, today we have known a lot about early cultural development by seeing the sculptures and rock paintings of such stories. Subsequently, with the invention of print and electronic media, it made easier for people to know about the happenings around the world through newspapers, radio, television, internet etc. Traditional media are based on indigenous culture, produced and consumed by members of rural communities. (Adoyo 2004) noted that many rural people utilize folk media for communication of culture messages. In African context, sensitive information is never passed in a straightforward manner but through songs, dances, drum, town crier and plays using proverbs and poems.

The town crier is a source of news and information. He is a major social and cultural facilitator helping to form attitudes, values and develop a climate of change. However, the reality of town crier is that he serves only rural areas and largely the illiterate populace.

Oral societies do generate and utilize a vast amount of information on development embodied in such societies‟ oral tradition (Fayose, 1980). Oral tradition is embedded in folk media and is an important communication vehicle for promoting and improving dialogue which the common people or the rural farmers employ to deliver their messages (Zwaal, 2000).

Traditional folk media have remained a significant tool in the process of motivating people in the desired direction. It is a means of development and educational communication as well as the most appropriate medium for bringing about changes in attitudes as it is informal and unscripted in nature. This in turn helps the rural masses to accept social changes. For example, the use of traditional media can help to create awareness about the need for cleanliness in the neighbourhood.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In Nigeria and indeed other third world countries, greater percentage of the people still live in rural areas. It is perhaps for this reason that it is now being advocated that in such countries, particular attention must be paid to the rural areas in any development strategy if there is to be any noticeable general national development. Traditional folk media which should provide an effective tool for dealing with development problems in rural areas has not been properly articulated in the mainstream development process. Hence attempts at communicating modern scientific and technological information to the rural people on rural development often result in the failure of such projects.

Rural development is a broad term and certain aspects like health, education, employment generation, infrastructure, environment protection, sanitation, energy conservation and entertainment can be the determinants of rural development. Judging from the failure of many rural development efforts to produce the desired effects, it is clear that there are defects in the communication processes embodied in those efforts especially when modern media, instead of traditional folk media is introduced into the rural development process. The characteristics of the sources, messages, channels, recipients and feedback involved in the process of communicating with rural communities need to be examined to see how they can be made more appropriate. A careful examination of rural areas will show that rural people are exposed to quite a lot of information, but the problem, however, is whether the information reaching them is reliable and organized in such a way as to achieve defined objectives.

It is also clear that not all the information required for rural development is available or accessible to the rural dwellers. The problem of this study therefore, is to find out how to facilitate access to this information by rural people for the purpose of development.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objective of this study is to look at the roles of indigenous folk media in the development of four oil producing communities in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, its contribution and success in the implementation of development projects.

Specifically, the objectives of this study are to:

  1. Examine the role of indigenous folk media in rural development in three oil communities.
  2. Identify types of traditional communication channels available for rural development.
  3. Examine the effectiveness of these channels of communication.
  4. Establish how messages are packaged and presented in performance.

1.4 Research questions

  1. What are the roles of indigenous folk media in rural development?
  2. What are the types of traditional communication channel available for rural development?
  3. How effective are these channels of communication?
  4. How are messages packaged and presented in performance?

1.5 Significance of Study

  1. The study will preserve the originality of each folk media form for rural dwellers
  2. It will generate a number of guiding principles for the government and development agencies on how to use folk media for motivational purpose and for promoting rural development programmes.
  3. The rural dwellers will rediscover the potential of performing indigenous arts in their domain as a weapon in their struggle for good health status, enhanced working and living conditions, political and human rights etc.
  4. Development planners will begin to appreciate the use of folk media as a mode of communication to explain development programme.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study was carried out on indigenous media and rural development. Oil Producing Communities in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria was used as the case study for this study.

1.7 Limitations of the study

In the process of carrying out this study, several constraints were encountered. Some of these are difficulty in administering and gathering of questionnaires as most of the respondents were not easily reached and took longer time periods; financial implication of executing the study which involved distribution of research instruments and gathering information on sources of project financing; and the paucity of data as most organizations are not ready and willing to review the source or sources of their project financing. Despite the constraints and limitations, the researcher made use of available data and research materials to complete the study successfully.

1.8 Organization of the study

The study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature. The chapter three gives the research methodology while the chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data. The study concludes with chapter five which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation.

Chapter Five

Conclusion And Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

This research study examined the role of indigenous media on rural development of four oil producing communities in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Based on the findings of the study, the following conclusions were drawn;An overview of the overall results of the study showed a high inclination of the application of traditional media on rural development. In other words, the role of indigenous media on rural development has been successful in project implementation in the three oil producing communities as seen in the responses. The result shows that majority of the respondents strongly agreed that indigenous media are effective in planning and execution of development projects. It was also observed that all facets of traditional media enhances rural development except that emphasis on the use of local trees, animals, landscape and weather as a way of coding and delivery of messages have tremendously reduced due to environmental factor such as deforestation, excessive land use, bush burning and hunting activities in the area.

Finally, it was also found that the role of traditional folk media on rural development is still viable, that traditional channels of communication such as drums, songs, village crier and folktales are still effective way of communicating development programmes. Messages are packaged and presented in performance. This is exemplified by different project initiated by the state and local governments. The communication potentials of indigenous media have been proven time and again in the history of development in various communities.

5.2 Recommendations

From the findings of the study, the following recommendations are made:

  1. The government through the ministry of information and culture should improve the role of indigenous folk media by organizing regular workshops and seminar for the training of stakeholders in indigenous media operations.
  2. A number of guiding principles should be generated by the government on how to use indigenous media for motivational purposes and promoting development programmes.
  3. Not all folk forms can be used for development communication purposes; thus they should be carefully studied from the point of view of content and characterization for the possible adaptation for development purpose.
  4. Indigenous media productions should be consistent with the needs of the social context and related to the customs and belief of the local communities.
  5. Traditional media makes communication among the rural people more effective and authentic when employed for development activities of the society, therefore, the government should encourage the development of traditional communications in all it ramification.

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