Social Media, Participatory Governance And National Development In Nigeria
There is no doubt that social media remains the most phenomenal among various platforms st of communication in the 21 century. Its arrival has not only enhanced human communication but has also greatly transformed the ways in which many people share information. Hence, this study interrogates the role of social media in the political transformation of Nigeria. It argues that the importance of social media on political transformation in terms of political engagement, participatory politics, political communication, political mobilization and political electioneering which are vital in deepening and strengthening democracy cannot be overemphasized. The study equally recognizes that the effects that the emergence of social media platforms,such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube as well as blogging environments and online discussion fora, have had on political processes in Africa in particular and the world in general remain controversial. It, therefore, concludes that social media remains a veritable instrument for political transformation in a democratic society.
1.1. Background of the Study
The media and especially the social media have over the years been recognized as a major aspect of governance especially in the advanced countries. Before the advent of democracy, the frontliners of the adoption of democracy in the Nigeria during the military era anchored the argument on the issue of participatory governance, where government would be run in an all-inclusive fashion instead of and exclusive form of governance where decisions are taken by a microscopic few. The actualization of this form of governance cannot be made p[possible without the media playing a pivotal role in driving this process.
National development and participatory governance runs simultaneously as there will not be development without the masses participating in governance. It is through this participation that the government can adequately identify the needs of the people and work towards alleviating the sufferings of the masses, to this effect, the social media cannot be overlooked in the quest of ensuring adequate development in nations and especially in Nigeria where a lot has been said about the nature of our development not being adequate enough in satisfying at least a reasonable proportion of our populous nation.
In the present day governance, the issue of Good Governance and development has assumed the front burner as an indispensable requirement for social, economic and political developments (World Bank, 1989, UNESCO, 2005; Nanda, 2006; Hout, 2007; Gisserlquit, 2012), yet better governance continues to be a source of worry and a big challenge to most countries including Nigeria. Despite these constitutional provisions, as well as the enormous financial resources, and huge potentials of the country, including the social and economic policies that have been implemented by successive administrations good governance and adequate developments continues to be elusive to Nigeria.
Nigeria’s democracy may be considered nascent when compared to the older democracies of the western world.
In another attempt to enthrone Good Governance in the country, recent democratic administrations, organized Good Governance and developmental tours, where officials of the federal ministry of information alongside Journalists from various media houses, inspect the progress of work on the projects executed by the different agencies of the federal and the state governments and post same on social media platforms like Facebook and twitter. To this effect, it was assumed that it would go a long way in ensuring that the social media is adequately carried along but this has not yielded the desired effect as the social media may be selectively involved in the delivery of good governance to the Nigerian populace.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria today, the issue of good governance, adequate development and inclusive participatory governance has remained elusive. Previous has tried to ensure that governance was participatory but their best has not been enough. The constant under performance of our leaders and the gross under development have necessitated this study as the social media in Nigeria may have not been playing the role that is expected of them in ensuring adequate development and participatory governance. The issue of participatory governance where the masses have an input on the policies to be introduced and which projects are not necessary by government has also remain elusive; this has led to the current economic challenges of Nigeria and the current lack of investors. This some school of thought are of the opinion that the social media have not been living up to it when it comes to development while others hold the view that the political class has not tried to create the enabling environment as a result the penchant of blowing of cases out of proportion thereby leading to attacks and in most cases may cost them their political careers.
1.3. Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to study the role of the social media in ensuring participatory governance and national development in Nigeria.
Other objectives of the study are
- To examine the level of involvement of the social media in the governance of Nigeria.
- To examine the challenges of the social media in ensuring participatory governance and national development.
- To observe the benefits of participatory governance on the economic development of Nigeria.
- To know if social media influences economic development in Nigeria.
1.4. Research Questions
In-order to guide the study and achieve the stated objectives of the study, the following research questions was formulated:
- What is the level of involvement of the social media in the governance of Nigeria?
- What are the challenges of the media in ensuring participatory governance and national development?
- What are the benefits of participatory governance on the economic development of Nigeria?
- Does the social media influences economic development in Nigeria.
1.5. Research Hypotheses
- H0: social media does not influence economic development in Nigeria
H1: social media influences economic development in Nigeria
- H0: social media involvement in participatory governance in Nigeria is low.
H1: social media involvement in participatory governance in Nigeria is high.
1.6. Significance of the Study
This study would be of immense importance to the media as this would be an opener on the power of the media and their role in ensuring a steady economy and governance in Nigeria. This study would also be of importance to the scholars and researchers who are interested in the impact of the social media in participatory media and national development. This study also seeks to address the problem of poor developmental policies in Nigeria and the need to run an all-inclusive government to enhance development across all tiers of government.
1.7. Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study would be delimited to the impact of the social media on participatory governance and national development in Nigeria.
Limitation of the Study
This study had some limitations which include but not limited to;
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).
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. Definition of Terms
Social media are computer-mediated tools that allow people or companies to create, share, or exchange information, career interests, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks. The variety of stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available introduces challenges of definition; however, there are some common features: social media are Web 2.0 internet-based applications, user-generated content (UGC) is the lifeblood of the social media organism, users create service-specific profiles for the site or app that are designed and maintained by the social media organization, and social media facilitate the development of online social networks by connecting a user’s profile with those of other individuals and/or groups. Social media depend on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content.
Governance refers to “all of processes of governing, whether undertaken by a government, market or network, whether over a family, tribe, formal or informal organization or territory and whether through the laws, norms, power or language. It relates to “the processes of interaction and decision-making among the actors involved in a collective problem that lead to the creation, reinforcement, or reproduction of social norms and institutions.
1.9 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 efficacy of social media and participatory governance 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 social media and participatory governance in Nigeria.
The foregoing discourse has established the potential of the new social media platforms for participatory democracy in Nigeria. The study established the fact that in spite of the challenges of social media, it represents a veritable avenue for political change by socializing citizens into the political beliefs required for democratic citizenship, and thereby promote sustainable democracy. It argued that the widespread use of the Internet for social networking, blogging, video-sharing and tweeting has a functional relationship with participatory democracy. We are also in total agreement with Bonin (2013) that the new social media platforms are the newest lenses through which we are experiencing the products of journalism. They facilitate online communities created by readers, listeners and viewers to discuss issues, have their voices heard, and get feedback in record time. The fact that social media is a supportive avenue for sharing views and opinions and discussing political life in the country implies that the social media can play an important role in deepening democracy, if conscientiously and patriotically utilised for that purpose. However, in practical terms there is a need to translate the “rantings” on the social media to concrete impactful actions that could checkmate anti-democratic tendencies. This may not be long in coming given the rapidly evolving synergy between right campaigners/activists, journalists and the expanding tribe of social media enthusiasts. However a populist leader who can rally pro-democracy groups, embrace and coordinate genuine social media operations to put the government on its toes is needed to safeguard and consolidate Nigeria’s fledgling democracy.
The study has examined social media and political transformation of Nigerian democracy through inferences from other developed and developing countries that had embraced social media in their political process. The regime change and the establishment of and match towards democracy in some North Africa countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya among others where autocratic governments had thrived for so long were made possible through the social media networks and internet. Even though revolutions were toppling governments long before Facebook and Twitter, and even though social media-coordinated political expression has not always led to regime change (like that of the 2009 Iranian election protests (Browning, 2013:65), the Arab Spring has provided perhaps the clearest examples of how the power of social media platforms can be harnessed as a tool for political transformation, mobilisation, organization and expression. Although social media has its own shortcomings, social networking sites remain core tools of communication in deepening and strengthening liberal democracy in the 21 century.
Haven completed the study, the researcher therefor recommends that journalists and broadcasters should normalized their use of social media toolslike live blogs, twitter and facebook as source materials, filtering the best for a mass audience. Social media and internet activity have continued to provide new routes to transparency during election, thereby helping to not only reduce the challenge of electoral malpractices but also electoral violence. Its contribution towards improving the way in which politicians and the media in general are held to account, contributing to a new and more open political climate cannot be overemphasized
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