The Mass Media And Democratic Governance In Nigeria: An Appraisal Of 2015 Gubernatorial Elections In Ogun State

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

The Mass Media And Democratic Governance In Nigeria: An Appraisal Of 2015 Gubernatorial Elections In Ogun State


Abstract


The study examined the mass media and democratic governance in Nigeria: an appraisal of 2015 gubernatorial elections in ogun state. The study employed the survey design and the purposive sampling technique to select 450 people living in illisan, Ogun state. A well-constructed questionnaire, which was adjudged valid and reliable, was used for collection of data from the respondents. The data obtained through the administration of the questionnaires was analyzed using the Pearson analysis.

The results revealed that: The level of equal media coverage given to political parties to candidates attained are high and visible. There is a relationship between the mass media and electioneering campaign. The identified significant level of mobilization of mass media towards elections are potent. The media plays a positive significant roles towards the democratic governance in Nigeria. The solutions to the issues of unequal media coverage of political parties and candidates were potent.

The study hereby concluded that the mass media has a significant positive effect on democratic governance in Nigeria according to 2015 gubernatorial elections in Ogun State. The study suggested: Medias should ensure the level of coverage given to political parties and candidates are equal; Mass media should work more on electioneering campaign content awareness; The mass media should try to give each other signal and mobilize towards elections; The media should be more concern about democratic governance in Nigeria.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

The Nigerian mass media started out with the publications of IweIroyin in 1859. It was published by Rev. Henry Townsend who was in Briton. This was the very first new media published in Nigeria and it was published in the southwest. The publication was in Yoruba language. Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe established their own outfits and they used it to promote their political interests. This occurred till 1960 when Nigeria became an independent nation. The Nigerian Newspapers that were available then contributed greatly to the achievement of Nigeria’s independence from Britain. The federal government of Nigeria also established its own media outfit to counter the politics of the day that were geared against it by existing newspapers then. The federal government owned newspaper was named The Morning Post but the Nigerian people revoked the newspaper because they saw it as working in favor of the government against the true will of the Nigerian people. Later, the federal government decided to buy 60% of the shares of daily times, many of the people in those days viewed Daily Times as a fair newspaper. Thus, prompted the federal government to buy a huge share in order to win the heart of the people through this means.

The Nigerian Press had been at the fore front of fighting against wrong government policies right from initiation. They were the fore front during the series of military rule in Nigeria. They used the media as a tool against oppression during the Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and through the time of Late Gen. Sanni Abacha. Many journalists lost their lives during these years fighting for democracy. Prominent among them was Mr. Dele Giwa who was assassinated via a letter bomb. The Nigerian press also fought against conception in order to sustain Nigeria’s nascent democracy. Asides the print media, the television stations also played their part in the fight against corruption and in the defense of democracy. The Nigerian government took complete control of the radio broadcasting and television in 1967.

This was later reversed in Gen. Babangida’s regime as part of his Structural Adjustment Program, this initiated the rise of privately owned television and radio station. Presently, Nigeria has the biggest and most virile press community in Africa followed by South Africa and Kenya (Park, 1993:1).The mass media can be described as a channel of communication that are capable of captivating the minds of their audience with a simultaneously with an unvaried message.

The media covers a wide range of issues such as politics, health, music, arts, sports, entertainment and many more. The mass media conveys ideas and information to target audience in the society. In elections the mass media plays an important role in keeping the people up to date with information regarding the activities surrounding the elections. Election is the formal process of selecting a person for public office or of accepting or rejecting a political proposition by voting. Tosani Sunmi (2004) has described observed that the mass media educate, inform and entertain beyond these functions as they also persuade and catalyze for social mobilization. This simply means that the mass media as a whole is the powerhouse of information because they have the ability to infiltrate every segment of the society.

Furthermore the mass media has the capacity to create awareness and knowledge of issues of national interest. Mass media is conceptualized as “the totality of organizations and agencies that provide information for the members of the public” (Yaqub 2015).The traditional mass media consists of radio, television, newspapers and magazines while today it has expanded due to the effects of globalization on our society. The media has the responsibility to mobilize for national development meaning that the media bolsters the success of the development of social mobilization. Before the advent of the new media, the older or conventional media ruled the world and directly or indirectly blocked popular participation in the electoral process (Nnayelugo and Nwafor, 2013). This is because there has always been shortage of space and airtime given by the conventional media to citizens to have their way in politics, governance and the electoral process. The broadcast media (Radio and Television) through their programs create an avenue for people to express their views about candidates and provide platforms through which individuals or members of the society contribute issues on public interest. On the other hand the social media are interactive, a web based media that belong to the new media which focuses on networking, allowing users to express themselves, interact with friends, share information and publish their own views on the internet. These online devices have democratizing effects as the offer for more engagement in the political process meaning voters have become more active consumers of digital messages.

Kuhu (2011) in his paper “Life in the Age of Self Assembling message” cited in Adibe, Odooemelam and Chibuwe (2012) on this development observes that:

“The value of the communication experience has undergone a sea-change; from the need to share it, to the need to share in it. Technology and social media in particular have brought power back to the people; with such technologies, established authorities are now undermined and users are now experts”

This suggests that people can now use media as wanted and needed rather than allowing media producers to schedule consumption time and content. Communication between people can now be done anywhere at any time.

After gaining independence in 1960 From Great Britain, Nigeria fell prey to Civil war and the first of so many military coups in 1966. Democracy was briefly restored from 1979 to 1983 to Nigeria. The last major military ruler, Gen. Sanni Abacha, died suddenly 1998. His successor, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar promised a transition to democracy and a new constitution was adopted in May 5th, 1999. The end of military rule brought about a new era of regular elections as well as the return of civil liberties, free press and an end to arbitrary arrests and torture, although human right violations occur regularly. Nigeria’s democracy is considered rudimental when compared to older democracies of the western world. Democratic governance is a system of government where institutions function according to democratic processes and norms both internally and in their interactions among other institutions. Democratic governance is a system of government that practices democracy. Democracy is a concept that originated at about 2400 years ago in ancient Greece.

Democracy is widely acknowledged as the best form of government in most parts of the world today. Election is an important element of democracy; it enables the individual to express a sense of belonging to a political system. Elections allow an exchange of influence between leaders and the electorate (Nwaozuzu 1999). It also provides a forum for discussion of public opinion on important issues. This is also a process which represents the most modern and universally accepted process through which individuals are chosen to represent the community in a larger entity or government and this one of the prime features of democracy. This is so because in a democratic system the authority of the government derives from the approval of the governed. This is therefore why democracy is referred to as “the government of the people, by the people and for the people” (Abraham Lincoln 1963).


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Right from time in Nigeria, elections has always brought to the limelight various divergent roles of the mass media in Nigeria political process within the framework of democratic governance and national political goal. The issue and question of education, information, mobilization and monitoring has become a very crucial factor in the realization of the democratic objectives in the context of the electoral process.

Although at independence, most African leaders including Nigerians borrowed the authoritarian attitude in respect of the curtailment of mass media freedom, the political activities that took place after independence were cauterized by unequal mass media coverage given to political parties and candidates. This has been the hallmark of the unstable political system in Nigeria that is filled corruption, bribery, poor democratic governance and uncertainties.

Nowadays, most private mass media outfits are owned by prominent politicians for the purpose of sectional political presentation of candidates to the members of the public. Then, most public mass media outfits must subscribe to the orders of the government of the day. Therefore, mass media services cannot be accessed by a citizen who is not rich enough to pay heavily for campaign promotions. This was the scenario in the 2015 gubernatorial elections in Ogun State, whereby some unpopular parties could not afford airtimes or radio and TV based on the competition raised by the prominent parties who has booked several sections of airtime on the media.

The general knowledge of Nigeria’s unhealthy political culture should form the springboard for media action. Its present status as an elite media, that is, the preserve of the powerful and the harbingers of government, does not augur well for the media, government and society. Agba (2017) argues that the media should go back to the concept of reporting in public interest to be able to discharge its proper role in times of election. In this regard, the very first task of the mass media is how to make politicians respect people’s right to promote democratic governance, hence the timeliness of this research on mass media and democratic governance in Nigeria with focus on the 2015 gubernatorial elections in Ogun State.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general objective of the study is to understand the role of mass media and democratic governance in Nigeria.

There are specific objectives of the study which are:

  1. To ascertain the level of equal media coverage given to political parties to candidates
  2. To identify the significant relationship between mass media and electioneering campaign
  3. To determine the significant level of mobilization of mass media towards elections
  4. To analyze the significant role media plays towards the democratic governance in Nigeria
  5. To determine the solutions to the issues of unequal media coverage of political parties and candidates

1.4 Research Questions

  1. How is the level of equal media coverage given to political parties to candidates attained?
  2. What is the relationship between the mass media and electioneering campaign?
  3. How can the significant level of mobilization of mass media towards elections be identified?
  4. What are the significant roles the media plays towards the democratic governance in Nigeria?
  5. What are the solutions to the issues of unequal media coverage of political parties and candidates?

1.5 Significance of the Study

On the completion of this project the end result will be to enable the to understand the distinct roles both the media and the democratic government serve in Nigeria and also enable the understanding of these roles as well as a linkage if there is any linkage at all. This paper also seeks to outline the existing problems with the media and how information is carried out and also find solutions to these issues as they may arise. Furthermore, this study also wishes to give us an actual sense of what democracy is in terms of democratic governance and is it actually being practiced in Nigeria. In addition this study focuses on the Ogun state elections in 2015 and also wishes to give an understanding of how the media made an impact in the course of the elections either positively or negatively and how did this affect the outcome of the elections as a whole.


1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this research work will only cover the people within Ogun metropolis. It will cover the activates of mass media during the gubernatorial electioneering campaign and elections in Ogun State between 2014 and 2015. This focus will be on the people living around Ilishan, Ikenne and Sagamu axis of the city.


1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

Mass Media: This is a medium of communication (as newspapers, radio, or television that is designed to reach the mass of the people. Ike(2005) sees the mass media as “ the institution of mass communications such as radio, television, newspaper and magazine”.

Democracy:

A well-known definition of democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. It suggests that the essence of a political system is for the good of the people in as much as they have a hand in bringing it into being through constitutional means. Therefore democracy can be said to be a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free and fair elections (Oxford English Dictionary)

Governance:

The Advanced Learners dictionary of current English defines government as the activity of governing a country or controlling a company or an organization, the way in which a country is governed or a company or institution is controlled.


1.8 Chapter Outline

This chapter gives a brief background to the subject matter at hand. It states the historical background, the problem, the objectives, the research questions, the scope, the significance and the operational definition of terms.


Chapter Five


Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Policy Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Findings

The study examined the mass media and democratic governance in Nigeria: an appraisal of 2015 gubernatorial elections in ogun state. The study employed the survey design and the purposive sampling technique to select 450 people living in illisan, Ogun state. A well-constructed questionnaire, which was adjudged valid and reliable, was used for collection of data from the respondents. The data obtained through the administration of the questionnaires was analyzed using the Pearson analysis.

The results revealed that:

  1. The level of equal media coverage given to political parties to candidates attained arehigh and visible.
  2. There is a relationship between the mass media and electioneering campaign.
  3. The identified significant level of mobilization of mass media towards elections are potent.
  4. The media plays a positive significant roles towards the democratic governance in Nigeria.
  5. The solutions to the issues of unequal media coverage of political parties and candidates were potent.

Thus, the mass media has a significant positive effect on democratic governance in Nigeria according to 2015 gubernatorial elections in Ogun State.


5.2 Conclusion

The study hereby concluded that the mass media has a significant positive effect on democratic governance in Nigeria according to 2015 gubernatorial elections in Ogun State.


5.3 Policy Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the following policy recommendations are suggested:

  1. Medias should ensure the levelof coverage given to political parties and candidates are equal.
  2. Mass media should work more on electioneering campaign content awareness.
  3. The mass media should try to give each other signal and mobilize towards elections.
  4. The media should be more concern about democratic governance in Nigeria.

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Discussion of Findings


The results revealed that respondents believed that the level of equal media coverage given to political parties to candidates attained arehigh and visible. Furthermore, the results showed that there is a relationship between the mass media and electioneering campaign. Also, the result unveiled that the identified significant level of mobilization of mass media towards elections are potent.

The results showed thatthe media plays a positive significant roles towards the democratic governance in Nigeria. Lastly, the results showed thatthe solutions to the issues of unequal media coverage of political parties and candidates were potent.

This implies that the mass media has a significant positive effect on democratic governance in Nigeria according to 2015 gubernatorial elections in Ogun State.

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