ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate social media as tools for political participation in Nigeria with a specific focus on 2015 (2023) general election. Political education and mobilization in Nigeria have changed as a result of the rapid growth of social media, often known as citizen media. Political campaigns, cyberactivism, discussions, and political mobilization can all take place on its platform. Technological Determinism Theory was employed in the investigation. A cross-sectional survey methodology was utilized in a quantitative study design, and a questionnaire was used to collect the data. The three tertiary schools from Ogun state, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Babcock University, Ileshan, and Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ojere, each received 300 copies of the questionnaires. According to research, political office holders and politicians, including the president and governors, now manage social media accounts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, among others. Political candidates and leaders increasingly communicate their political platforms and encourage support for them. It is advised that social media be enhanced to boost public mobilization, sensitization, and true democracy in Nigeria through citizen sensitization programs, registration including national identity card, and other means.
Keywords: Political Participation
Table of Contents
Title page i
Table of Content vi
1.0 Introduction 1
1.1 Background to the Study 1
1.2 Problem Statement 3
1.3 Research Questions 4
1.4 Objectives of the Study 4
1.5 Significance the Study 5
1.6 Scope of the Study 5
1.7 Limitations to the Study 6
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms 6
2.0 Literature Review 7
2.1 Empirical Framework 7
2.2 Conceptual Review 8
2.3 Theoretical framework 24
3.0 Research Methodology 26
3.1 Research Design 26
3.2 Research Method 26
3.3 Study Population 27
3.4 Sample Size 27
3.5 Sampling Technique 27
3.6 Data Collection Instrument 27
3.7 Validity and Reliability of Research Instrument 27
3.8 Data Collection Instrument 28
3.9 Data Analysis Procedure 28
4.0 Data Presentation and Analysis 29
4.1 Data Analysis 29
4.2 Demography of the Participants 29
4.3 Discussion of Findings 39
5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations 40
5.1 Summary 41
5.2 Conclusion 41
5.3 Recommendations 41
1.1 Background to the study
Elective democracy was introduced to Nigeria in May 1919, when the Townships Ordinance gave the right to vote for three members of Lagos Town Council to some men. The first elections to the council were held on 29 March 1920. In 1922 a new constitution (known as the Clifford Constitution after Governor Hugh Clifford) was promulgated, which introduced four elected seats to the Legislative Council, three for Lagos and one for Calabar and the first general elections were held in Nigeria for the first time on 20 September 1923. The Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) won three of the four elected seats in the Legislative Council while Independence party won one seat (Annual Nigeria Report, 1923).
However, political mobilization, education and participation were done mainly by newspaper because radio was an alien medium which was even in the hand of the colonial dictatorship. From colonial day’s election, to post independence polls, to the enthronement of democracy in 1999 mass media have been a major platform for political communication, education and public mobilization in order to sustain our democracy.
Meanwhile, advancement in communication technology in this century has paved way for modern means of mass communication facilitated by the internet called (new media or social media) which are made possible by software and hardware. These which has boosted the political awareness, participation and reducing of political apathy. Also, the advent of social networking is a cyber-revolution that has changed the course of time.
Olayinka (2014) observes that the fast development in technology is fuelling an information revolution. New media, digital broadcasting, social media Facebook,, Twitter, Instigaram, Tiktok and Whatsapp, mobile application, video games, blogging, smartphones, mini-laptop, tablet computer, and internet are sweeping away the limitations of the analogue world and weakening the grip of government-owned platforms of information mono-poly. Omojuwa (2015) writes that a space that was all about power brokers and media moguls has become so deregulated you could consider it the freest space in Nigeria right now.
Social media is that space, the many tools helping to amplify the voices of average Nigerians, taking ordinary voices and making them extraordinary by bringing them to homes, offices, and places most of them would have probably never reached under different circumstances. It started out as a playground for mostly young jobless people. Today, it has become the battleground of what would arguably be the most competitive election in Nigeria’s history. How exactly are social media influencing the political space in Nigeria and how have the major stakeholders taken to it?
The relationship between traditional media and its audience is changing from monopoly of content by mass media. Information communication technology provides an immediate, informative, intelligent, interactive platform for discussion, participation, mobilization and debating of different issues from political, economy, social, academic, cultural to personal matters.
It is now clear that the advent of internet has made everybody a journalist just as Gutenberg made everybody a printer with the invention of printing press and Marconi made many to be broadcasters by giving us radio, everyone is now a journalist with social media platforms. Citizen journalism has made it a reality for everybody to be media creators, owners and actors instead of being media consumers otherwise known as passive users.
With the advent of citizen journalism practice, journalism is no longer restricted to trained professionals. The Internet and its associated multimedia technology such as blogs, social media, video platform (youtube) etc. have expanded the frontiers of journalism practices to include practically everybody that has access to these technologies.
Today, it is now common among citizens/electorate, political parties, political candidate, political activists among others to discuss, share and comment on political events in the country especially in mobilizing support for a particular political party or candidate in an election. 2015 presidential election witnessed the highest use of social media in the political history of Nigeria. In fact the under-age citizens were not left out as they are growing in political awareness and socialization through social media.
Also, through social media, political manifestoes and parties programmes become debatable issues most especially since November 2014. It worthy to state here that the social media users at that time were divided into two (GEJ and GMB or PDP and APC) from the tone of their posts, creation on groups, messages, links sharing among others. In fact, few days to the poll it was political argument on who wins the presidential elections among social media users on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and YouTube etc.
Even before the Presidential election, social media platform play a crucial role during Governorship poll in Osun and Ekiti State June and August. During the poll, citizen observers, the civil society, political party situation rooms, party agents etc. monitored the election process mainly through SMS, using twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, YouTube among others for the purpose of tracking happenings at the polling centres.
Few hours later, results have been surfacing in poll units and are been disseminated through social media which them drawn the attention of political parties, local observers towards the analysis of the result. Although INEC constantly advised that genuine election result should be monitor on social media but through INEC designated channels. In fact many knew that APC have defeated PDP in Osun while it was also clear that PDP have also defeated APC in Ekiti state respectively. It is against this backdrop that the research examined the influence of social media as tool for political participation in Nigeria with a focus on 2015 (2023) General Election.
1.2 Problem statement
Lack of gatekeeping, inaccurate and unfair posting and sharing of information have been attributed as some of the problems hindering effective use of social media for political campaign, political mobilization, public sensitization and particularly in posting and sharing election results. With the rise of information communication technology and social media, the public domain is growing; information that used to be in the expert domain is becoming publicly available and new mechanisms for public involvement are being explored. Also, citizens did not know the level of freedom they enjoy in terms of freedom of expression and speech both online and offline while their limitations to the freedom of information remain unknown to them.
Also, the gross misuse of social media presidential election in Nigeria calls for urgent attention on how to use social media during elections. INEC and other stakeholders have severally warned citizens to desist from posting or sharing unverified information while the announcement of elections results should be left for the electoral body (INEC) to make the pronouncement been the sole authority i.e citizen to desist from posting fictitious and frivolous election result on social media one had restricted that only INEC has the constitutional mandate to do so but the mischievous and would not heed the caution.
As of Saturday night and Sunday, March 28th -29th 2015 (a few hours after the election) there were several result been posted even when in the area where the election was considered inconclusive, this throwing some people into a frenzied dance of victory while INEC had yet to announce any candidate as the eventual winner. This sordid and sad development calls for a bill to be sponsored by INEC to the National Assembly barring any Nigerian from posting part or full election results online, with appropriate sanction to the offender as it happens in China.
Other problems associated with online forums include name-calling and the use of abusive words and tittle for political leaders, politicians among fans when discussing or commenting on political posts. It is against this backdrop that the research examine the influence of social media as tool for political participation in Nigeria with a particular focus on 2015 (2023) General Election.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine the influence of social media as tool for political participation in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:
1. To examine the level of social media usage in the 2015 (2023) general elections among students in Ogun state.
2. To ascertain the extent to which social media enhanced political mobilization of electorates in the 2015 (2023) general elections.
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the level of social media usage in the 2015 (2023) general elections among students in Ogun state?
- To what extent did social media enhance political mobilization of electorates in the 2015 (2023) general elections?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research which is relatively new to the field of mass communication, although some scholars have writing on the role of mass media in mobilizing people for political participation and enlightenment yet only few of them ever written on social media in political participation in Africa and Nigeria in particular.
Therefore, being a new aspect, the work will benefit individuals, corporate bodies, government, researchers, students, media professionals, political parties, political aspirants, politicians, INEC, Security \operative among others.
Individuals/electorate will benefit from this study as they will know the extent at which they can post or share information online particularly how to verify information before it is like, comment, repost, share, retweet, follow among etc.
Corporate bodies such as Nigerian Union of Journalists, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, CDHR and other advocacy bodies will through the research know how best to utilize social media and other information technology to mobilize people on political matters such as winning mobilizing people for the use of Card Reader during Poll e.t.c
Government through its agencies is expected to see social media as one of the targeted media of dissemination of information to be used in disseminating socio-political economic information to the public.
The National Assembly should as a matter of urgency pass a bill as is been sponsored by the INEC to prevent people from announcing part or all election results without prior announcement from INEC due to abuse of the media by so many citizens in the last general election.
Future researchers who many what to carry out research in this area or related aspect will find this materials very useful and serve as reference material.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research which investigates the influence of social media as tool for political participation in Nigeria on 2015 (2023) General Election was narrowed in scope to the students of University of Agriculture, Babcock University and Mashood Abiola Polytechnic, all within Ogun state. Thus, the geographical location of this study was Ogun State. The choice of this scope is due to the proximity to the researcher, inadequate time and other logistics. Hence, the demography of the respondents will be examined before the preparation and administration of research instrument (questionnaire) to the selected respondents.
1.7 Operational Definition of the Terms
To effectively do justice to this research project, there is need to explain some of the key words:
Social Media: A group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of web 2.0 and that allow the interaction, creation and posting of political messages and other information.
Political Participation: It means making people to take part or the process of mobilizing people towards political activities particularly voting.
Electoral Education: It refers to the process of sensitizing and enlighten the public (voters) on electoral procedures such as how to vote, how to use BVAS, importance of PVC among others.
General Elections: This refers to the voting of political leaders in the country from the President to the State House of Assembly Levels.
“SOCIAL MEDIA AS TOOLS FOR POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN NIGERIA“
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