Influence Of Political Campaign Radio On Voters Preference Of Candidates In Bende Local Government Area Abia State

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Influence Of Political Campaign Radio On Voters Preference Of Candidates In Bende Local Government Area Abia State


Abstract


This study will examine the influence of radio political campaign messages on the electorates’ voting behavior in Bende L.G.A, Abia – Nigeria, with a focus on the 2019 general elections. It seeks to ascertain the extent that the electorates in Bende L.G.A, Abia – Nigeria were exposed to radio political campaign messages, as well as the extent to which such messages influenced their voting decisions.

Equally, the study claims that Bende L.G.A, Abia people are religiously and ethnically attached to their leaders. Accordingly, the study seeks to determine whether or not there is relationship between radio political campaign messages; interference of the opinion leaders on the voters’ behavior leading to turn out into participating during the elections; and the outcome of the elections result. To achieve this, the study offers the survey method with the questionnaire as research instrument.

The research was launched on the premise of multi-step flow of communication theory. The findings indicate, among other things, that the majority (90.0%) of electorates in Bende L.G.A, Abiawere exposed to political campaign messages on radio. Explaining further, respondents (58.3%) said they listen to political party related campaigns and were influenced by them while casting their ballot.

The findings further revealed that respondents (65.5%) were influenced by opinion leaders in their choice of political parties or candidates during elections as they perceived their advice/instruction as credible. In light of the findings, it was concluded that political campaign messages aired by local radio stations were an essential factor in the political decisions of the electorates in Bende L.G.A, Abia. Similarly, it was recommended that producers of political campaign messages should make optimum use of their right sense of judgment in packaging their messages to avoid deception on voters.

And, that opinion leaders while interpreting the messages to opinion followers should always check the reality or otherwise of the messages produced by parties and candidates to avoid misleading their followers.


Table Of Contents


Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title
  • Declaration
  • Approval
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Content

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Significance of the study
  • 1.6 Scope of the study
  • 1.7 Limitation of the study
  • 1.8 organization of the study

Chapter Two:

Review Of Related Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Review
  • 2.1.1 Brief history of radio development in Nigeria
  • 2.1.2 Mass Media and Elections in Nigeria
  • 2.1.3 The Radio and Voters’ Electoral Choice in Nigeria’s Election
  • 2.1.4 Concept of political advertising
  • 2.1.5 Taxonomy of Political of Advertising.
  • 2.3 Empirical Studies

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research design
  • 3.2 Area of study
  • 3.3 Sources of Data
  • 3.4 Sampling and sampling technique
  • 3.5 Population of the study
  • 3.6 Instrumentation
  • 3.7 Data collection
  • 3.8 Method of data analysis

Chapter Four:

Results And Discussion

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Demographic analysis
  • 4.3 Discussion of findings

Chapter Five:

Conclusion And Recommendation

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendix
  • Questionnaire

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background To The Study

The preparation for the conduct of the Nigeria’s 2019 general elections has witnessed a rise in the use of radio as a means of airing political campaign messages. Even, before then, a proliferation of radio stations in the entire country was witnessed. The radio stations that were mainly local stations otherwise known as FM stations were used to air political campaign messages by the government, political parties and candidates.

After the conduct of 2011 general elections in Nigeria, Utor, (2011, p. 39) conducted a research in order to find out the reason for lack of participation by the citizens. His findings showed that voters in Nigeria have low levels of political knowledge and information. Moreover, he recommended the use of radio as the channel of disseminating political campaign messages while targeting audience. Buttressing this, Jibo (1996, p. 127) suggest the importance of focusing on the influence of radio political campaign messages. He found out that radio as a medium can help in enhancing the political information awareness of the Nigerian voters.

Modern day politics demand that political parties serve as a platform through which politicians contest for different elective positions. And in order for these electorates to participate, Adibe (2019, p. 7) observed that they (electorates) are mobilized to vote candidates into various offices. These mobilizations are done through production and airing or publishing of political campaign messages that aimed to educate and influence voters to act during the elections. Supporting this position, Adaba (2019, p. 13) observed that, as Nigerians conducted their 2019 general elections, such political communication in the form of various campaign messages were witnessed. He asserts, that “Radio, which is one of the most frequent medium used by campaign organizers and political parties, witnessed such presence of political campaign messages even higher.”

Today, voters in Nigeria come across various political campaign messages through listening to radio. Pate (2014, p. 3) in a result of a nationwide study carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2011 showed that Nigerians are heavily dependent on radio as major source of public information. The study titled:Access to Information and Communication Technology revealed that (80%) of Nigerians have access to radio, though there exist a demographic variation in ownership rates especially among the genders.

A result of exposure to medium of the radio shows that (39%) of women listen to the radio at least once a week, while (55%) of men listen to the radio for the same period. In terms of educational background, it was established (66%) of women with a secondary education or higher listens to the radio at least once a week, as compare with (23%) of women with no education. In men, age barrier determines the level of listening to the radio. For example, men aged 45 – 59 and above (61.6%) listen to radio more than other age brackets.

Furthermore, residency equally shows difference in exposure and usage to the radio. Urban women that listen to radio comprises (52.2%) against rural women (30.2%). In the same vein (62.2%) of men living in urban areas listen to radio as against (48.8%) of those living in rural areas. It is important to note that, according to the cultural settings of Nigerian culture, rural dwellers believe more in interpersonal communication as means of receiving information.

Agencies like the National Orientation Agency (NOA); civil societies like the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) that serves as election observers, among others; electoral bodies like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Nigeria were all aware of the pervasiveness of the radio. These bodies, among others, involved radio in enlightening citizens about the political system. With this development, Obot (2009, p. 56) showed that audience members got to know about aspirants and candidates for various elective posts as well as the manifestoes of political parties mostly through the medium of the radio.

Additionally, Ukwu (2007, p. 165) stressed that radio as a medium used in Nigeria’s political process had witnessed development in producing knowledge as regards to choice and voting. On this, Obeta (2007, p. 123) offers a piece of advice that any person or group of persons and even government that ignore the role of radio in their life is courting some danger because radio reportage on the political life alone is crucial to its survival and growth. Nigeria is a country that can be described as a nation, where people are mostly guided by their ethnic affiliation and identity. This identity led to the proliferation of local media outfits especially local radio stations.

These local radio stations give all the various community leaders in the locality advantages by allowing them to speak to their ethnic community members or tribal members. This is one reason that makes local radio stations more patronized by the various community members. And this also allows community leaders to speak to their co-community members directly.

In Abia, were this research is conducted the proliferation of local radio stations has gone up. These stations usually speak to their listeners mostly in their local language. The stations cover local events like farmers’ programs, etc. This is the reason why during electioneering campaigns, electoral actors i.e. the political parties, candidates and electoral regulatory bodies engage these community leaders to explain to people their political messages.

In a study, Kolawole (2019, p. 51) established that majority constituting (59%) of the respondents confirmed that they did not search for information on who to vote, meaning that most of them voted on the advice or instruction of their leaders. The study, an analysis of the influence of opinion leaders on the voting decision of rural voters: an evidence from Ayetoro, Ogun – state of Nigeria, showed that (75%) of the respondents believed their community and religious leaders more than other sources of political information.

Abia people are very attached to listening to local radio more than any other medium. A study conducted by Sanda (2014, p. 11) found that in Nigeria and Abia in particular, people listen to radio more than any other form of media. Buttressing this, Belli (2013: 23) asserts that, “radio gives enlightenment to a lot of people. It gets to people more than any other kind of media”. In all corners of Abia state, you find a farmer working on his farm and at the same time listening to radio or meat seller while frying his meat for customers but listening to his radio.

Even women that stay at home preparing for daily meals listen to radio. It is on this basis, this research study seeks to establish the extent to which political campaign messages aired on radio by politicians and other political stakeholders targeted at potential voters, influenced the voting pattern of Abia electorates during the conduct of Nigeria’s 2019 elections.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

To state a problem one need to go through three stages: 1- to identify it based on primary symptoms 2- to do a preliminary explorative research to make the problem known so you are sure it is not constructed but it really exist 3- to explain it thoroughly. Radio as a medium of communication influences how people experience their political life by its regular broadcast of news material in current affairs, politics and other areas, Morgan, (2011, p. 139). Radio is still the best way for political parties and candidates to influence people, (ibid, p. 143). In Nigeria, the political institutions were in the past employed the use of traditional means of communication to share their political campaign messages to potential voters.

However, in recent times, there is a shift from defending much on use of direct or face-to-face meetings, and instead embark on the use of mostly local radio stations to send political campaign messages to the populace, especially potential voters. Abia state which is the main focus state of this research witnesses the proliferation of local radio stations both state-owned and privately-owned stations.

Government at all levels struggles to control the political sphere in the state using radio as a means of disseminating their messages during and after elections. This development saw the establishment of many radio stations in comparison to other forms of media, both in Abia and across Nigerian state.

The issue is whether the huge political campaign messages by the parties, candidates and other political institutions being aired on local radio have bearing to creation and sustenance of awareness of a party and/or its candidate(s) for election. Furthermore, it is a question for determination whether or not there is a relationship between radio political campaign messages; interference of the opinion leaders on the voters’ behavior leading to turn out into participating during the elections; and the outcome of the elections result.


1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The main objective of this study is to examine the influence of political campaign radio on voters preference of candidates in Bende local government area, Abia state.

The specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. To find out the extent to which radio political campaign messages influence voters behavior during the 2019 general elections;
  2. To examine the influence of other political campaign techniques used by political parties to influence the decision of voters to their favor;
  3. To determine whether frequent exposure to both pro and against candidates radio political campaign messages influence voters’ decisions on the election day;
  4. To investigate the extent of the influence of opinion leaders among voters during elections;
  5. To examine the correlation between the influence of radio political campaign messages and the opinion leaders in relations to the voters’ behavior and election outcomes.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. To what extent do the radio political campaign messages influence voters’ behavior during 2019 elections in Abia – Nigeria?
  2. How do political campaign techniques other than radio used by political parties influence the decision of voters to their favor?
  3. Does frequent exposure to the positive or negative radio political campaign messages influence voters’ decision in favor or against candidates or political parties?
  4. To what extent do opinion leaders influence voters’ electoral behavior of their subordinates during elections?
  5. What is the correlation between the influence of radio political campaign messages and the opinion leaders in relations to the voters’ behavior during elections and the elections outcome?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The past two decades witnessed increased use of political advertising in Nigeria as a tool for mobilizing electorate’s support for elections (Achor and Moguluwa, 2012). Prior to and during 2019 election in Bende Local Government Area, Abia State, as in other parts of Nigeria, political parties employed advertising to sell their parties’ manifestoes and candidates. Given the heated political atmosphere that pervaded Abia State prior to the elections, it was not quite clear whether the crafted political advertising messages significantly influenced the voting public.
This study will also serve as study material to academicians and researchers carrying out research on topics related to this study.


1.6 Scope Of The Study

The study used the opinions of eligible and registered voters in the last general elections regarding the Influence of political campaign radio on voters preference of candidates choice. For objectivity, this was balanced with the views of scholars in political campaign. The study was therefore limited to 2019 election in Bende Local Government Area, Abia State.


1.7 Limitation Of The Study

Financial constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


1.8 Organization Of The Study

The study is divided 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 Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

The objective of this study is to ascertain the level of influence of radio political campaign messages on the voting behavior of electorates during the 2019 elections in Bende L.G.A, Abia – Nigeria. The findings of this study, therefore, indicated that the media, specifically the radio through its airing of various political campaign messages projected the 2019 general elections in Bende L.G.A, Abia – Nigeria. This infers that the mass media generally during the said elections supplied people with information which was in some quotas interpreted by opinion leaders and passed on to their opinion followers for use while making decisions to vote. The masses in Bende L.G.A, Abia having regard for the local radio stations were thus reacted in accordance to its reflection. Here, it could be said that variably two models were used. The first is the medium of radio and opinion leaders who served as guidance to the majority of the masses (registered voters) in Bende L.G.A, Abia. The second are the political campaign messages that were produced and managed by the political actors, especially the political parties and candidates that were set to express their campaign messages with the aim to influence the voting behavior of the electorates and vote for them during 2019 elections. From the practical perspective, the results of the study suggest that voters’ demographic characteristics and the somewhat urban/rural divide are necessary considerations in the formulation of political campaign messages. The caliber of the respondents and the accessibility of the medium through which the messages would be disseminated are also of important considerations. The implication of all these is that the results of this study have both practical and theoretical relevance.

Practically, the combination of the one of the main stream media, the radio and opinion leaders, a sought of oral media, so to say suggest that producers and managers of political campaign messages ought to adopt flexible approach to political campaigns in their quest for influential campaigns on voters’ electoral behavior. Theoretically, this study contributed to the body of knowledge of political communication and marketing, and as well adds to the stream of research findings in political communication (Oriavwote, 2000, p. 261).And hence, this type of study could be recommended for use by the academia, politicians, research students, candidates and party workers. Having gathered that political campaign messages exert powerful influence on the society and especially on the voting behavior of electorates, the researcher recommends that producers of political campaign messages should make optimum use of their right sense of judgment in packaging their messages to avoid deception on voters. Such messages should be packaged in such a way that if followed by the masses would not be harmful to any individual or the society.


5.2 Recommendations

Based on the findings of this study, it is hereby recommended as follows:

Political advertisers particularly candidates should engage the services of experts to undertake their political advertising campaigns for better results. Candidates should deemphasize name calling and attack ad but adopt pure and comparative advertising technique in crafting advertising messages. Voters should always evaluate the content of advertising message and match the results with the observable character of candidates to be able to ascertain whether the candidates fit into their choice criteria. Political advertisers, e.g. candidates should also develop their unique selling points on issues of fact but not on trivia.

Furthermore, opinion leaders who equally found to exert considerable level of influence on the opinion followers through interpretation of the political campaign messages should always check the reality or otherwise of the messages produced by parties and candidates to avoid misleading their followers. They should also try to avoid sentimentalism, ethnicity and religious bigotries in their quest to hold on to the followers’ decision making during elections, as that could have negative consequences on the society.


Influence Of Political Campaign Radio On Voters Preference Of Candidates In Bende Local Government Area Abia State


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