The Media And Elections In Nigeria
This study is on the media and elections in Nigeria. The total population for the study is 200 staff of INEC, Abuja. 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 electoral commissioners, presiding officers, senior staff and junior staff were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies
1.1 Background of the study
The Nigerian governmental structure which is an offshoot of the British from whom we secured political independence consists of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary with the media being the fourth being an institution that checkmates the excesses of the other three arms. Anegbode and Azelama (208) give voice to the place and function of the press as they assert that: The press remains the fourth estate of the realm, the watchdog and the conscience of the nation. It is the organ that informs the public about the activities of the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The canine metaphor of the media as a watchdog is an indication of its watchful role in any government. Interestingly, the media does not only serve as a watchdog that only barks but one which guides the government towards change. Information is the basis of effecting change and to tackle the consequence of change. The information needed in running a government is provided by this vibrant organ – the media. The information carrying and dissemination role of this “estate” is a veritable tool for change. Adeyemi (151) puts it this way “Throughout the history of mankind, the press has always occupied the fore-front of socio-political and economic changes.” From the foregoing, one can safely contend that the media’s role in running the affairs of government is that which cannot be relegated or ignored. A former President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson, while emphasizing the importance of the media once said that if he was made to choose between a government without a press or a press without government, he would not hesitate to choose the latter. Here in Nigeria, the Federal Government in recognition of the sacred role of the media enshrined in the Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution as amended that: The press, radio, television and other agencies of the media shall at all times be free to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people. The Nigerian state, like many African countries that were once cololonised, was confronted with the problem of economic development and nation building. Reflecting on the problems plaguing the continent, Omoera (256) notes that: Contemporary Africa is beset by a myriad of problems from north to south, east to west, pervasive corruption, hunger, political, religious and ethnic crisis, unemployment, illiteracy, HIV/AIDS pandemic, internal and external brain drain, etc. The leadership is almost overwhelmed by these developmental needs and ever-multiplying challenges. The situation aptly captured by the above position is traceable to the period when the military was dominant in the leadership in Africa. No thanks to the politicians, whose squandermania and power abusing tendencies gave the military the excuse to seize power. The attendant problems of the military’s incursion into politics and undue interference in or outright rigging of the electoral process to either transform to a civilian president or install their favoured candidate into office, were prevalent in the continent. Unfortunately, this undemocratic and anti-people act was often perpetuated with the connivance of a section of the media. The exit of the “politicians in uniform” from Nigeria’s political space served as a fillip to the aspirations of the Nigerian populace for true political leadership positions.
The desirability of democracy over the sham of the militarized politics was succinctly put by Oluchi (119). She asserts that: Virtually all Nigerians believed that the exit which resulted to the return of democratic government will finally put paid to the leadership problems, which characterized the military regime. This explains the ardour with which the Nigerian populace embraced the return of civil rule in 1999.
Democracy that was enthroned in Nigeria some seventeen years ago is a function of the activist role played by the media. In this regard Adeyemi (117) notes that: Press has therefore succeeded in fulfilling one of the fundamental requirements of acceptance in the new world order Democracy.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Media play a major role during election, it’s a platform for political mobilization, education, debate and opinions generation on political matter which gave Nigerian home and Diaspora an opportunity to play their part and share their views on different issues especially as it occurs to them rather than objectively. On this background the researcher wants to investigate the media and elections in Nigeria.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The objectives of the study are;
- To ascertain the relationship between media and elections in Nigeria
- To ascertain the role of media during election
- To ascertain the information media disseminate to people about election
1.4 Research Hypotheses
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
- H0: there is no relationship between media and elections in Nigeria
H1: there is relationship between media and elections in Nigeria
- H02: there is no role of media during election
H2: there is role of media during election
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will give a clear insight on the media and election in Nigeria. The study will be beneficial to students, INEC, Media and the general public. It will also serve as a reference to other researcher who wants to embark on this topic.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The scope of the study covers the media and elections in Nigeria. 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
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
A general election is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation’s primary legislative body, as distinguished from by-elections and local elections
The mass media is a diversified collection of media technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this communication takes place include a variety of outlets
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
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the media and elections in Nigeria. 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 challenge of the media and elections in Nigeria
This study was on the media and elections in Nigeria. Three objectives were raised which included: To ascertain the relationship between media and elections in Nigeria, to ascertain the role of media during election, to ascertain the information media disseminate to people about 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 staffof INEC, Abuja.
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 electoral commissioners, presiding officers, senior staff and junior staff were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies
It is the conclusion of the study, therefore, that in order to attain that improvement, the next time around, it is imperative that all hands must be on deck. Starting from the mass media that could not be alive to its responsibilities in terms of reporting news factually, shunning hate campaigns, unable to stand by its code of ethics, and posing as potential agent of destroying the country; to the Nigeria Press Council that has a law it is diffident to implement; to the Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC) that is limited by law to prosecute airing mass media and good-for-nothing political party that failed woefully in moving the country a notch higher than when it took over power after the previous (2011) General Elections, the paper advises that let all the weaknesses be addressed with seriousness, a sense of sincerity, focus and purpose, as well as the discipline that shall ensure the shenanigans that have held us up from developing shall be extirpated. In short, the success of the 2015 General Elections should actually be the defining moment for the quantum takes off of the country to higher and nobler achievements. From the foregoing discussions, this paper therefore supports the notion that while media as an institution exerts a lot of influence due to the centrality of their function to the running of contemporary societies, the power the media wield in any society is tangentially related to the political orientation on the holders of political power in the society who only use the media to leverage on their already existing powers.
Based on the findings and conclusion of the study, we made the following recommendations:
- Government owned media should be more proactive in handling electoral reports in Nigeria, and should report on free and fair elections at all times no matter who such report favours.
- Government should allow public owned media to be run professionally so that they should emphasize fairness in their report of elections in the country.
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