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ATTITUDE OF ELECTORATE TOWARDS E-CAMPAIGNS DURING ELECTIONEERING

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ABSTRACT: The study’s main objective was to examine the attitude of electorate towards e-campaigns during electioneering. The proliferation of social media and other digital platforms have redefined political processing in Nigeria. It provides avenue for political debates, political campaign, political mobilization and political participation. The research used Technological Determinism Theory, Social Responsibility Media Theory and Democratic Participant Media Theory respectively to give the study a theoretical footing. A survey method was used  while questionnaire was used to elicit responses from respondents.  questionnaire was administered to respondents in five strategic locations particularly in Oke-Fia/Alekuwodo, Olaiya/Asubiaro, Ogo Oluwa, Ita-Olokan/Isale-Osun and Station Road/Oja-Oba. The data were analysed in descriptive statistics (frequency and percentage). The study Finds out that political leaders and political candidate now share their political agenda, manifestoes and mobilize electorate towards achieving their electoral goal. The study therefore, recommended that, social media and other digital platforms need be improved to enhance better public mobilization, sensitization and true democracy in Nigeria.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1  Background to the Study

Advancement in technology in this era has improved and enhanced effective communication in our society today especially among the students of tertiary institutions.  The advent of social networks is a cyber-revolution that 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, BlackBerry Message, 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 creator, owner and actor instead of been a media consumers otherwise known as passive user.             

With the advent of citizen journalism practice, journalism is no longer restricted to the 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, Tiktok, 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 through social media monitoring and reportage.

However, in the buildup of 2018 gubernatorial elections, people have started using social media for discussion politics especially various issues surrounding APC primary and PDP primary and emergence of Senator Ademola Adeleke as PDP flag bearer and Hon. Oyetoba current Chief of Staff as APC flag bearer including issues surrounding Senator Ademola Result etc. It is against this backdrop that the research examines the attitude of Electorate towards E-Campaigns in Election, particularly on how people use social media platforms for political discussion.  

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 the 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, citizen 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 misused of the social media in the just conclude 2015 presidential election in Nigeria call for urgent attention on how to use social media during elections. INEC and other stakeholder have severally warned citizens to desist from posting or sharing unverified information while announcement of elections results should be left for the electoral body (INEC) do 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 constitution mandate to do so but the mischievous and would not heed the caution.

As of Saturday night and Sunday, March 28th -29th 2015 (few hours after election) there were several result been posted even when in the area where election was considered inconclusive, this throwing some people into frenzied dance of victory while INEC had yet to announce any candidate as the eventual winner. This sordid and sad development call for a bills to be sponsored by INEC to the National Assembly barring any Nigerian from posting part or full election result online, with appropriate sanction to offender as it happens in China. Other problem associated with online forum include name calling and use of abusive words and tittle for political leaders, politician among fans when discussing or commenting on political posts. It is against this backdrop that this research examine the attitude of Electorate to E-Campaigns in Election.

1.3        Objectives of the Study

i To examine the level of social medial usage during the 2018 governorship election by candidates.

ii.To ascertain whether social media usage enhance the level of awareness, education and political mobilization of electorates in the 2018 governorship election.

1.4        Research Questions

i. To what extent is the social media used for campaign online in the buid-up for the Osun 2018 governorship election?

ii. In what way(s) can social media be improved to enhance better public mobilization, sensitization and true democracy in Nigeria?

1.5       Significance of the Study                 

This research which is relatively new to the field of mass communication, although some scholars have written on the attitude of electorates to campaigns on the media yet only few of them ever written on e-campaigns in Nigeria and Osun State 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.             

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 investigated the attitude of Electorate to E-Campaigns in Election was narrowed in scope to residents of Osogbo, Osun State. Hence, the geographical location of this study was Osun State. The choice of Osogbo was due to its proximity of the researcher, other factors includes the inadequate to study all voters in Osun State and by extension to voters in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the demography of the respondents who are mainly electorates in Osun State will be examined before the preparation and administration of research instrument (questionnaire) to the selected respondents.

1.7       Operational Definition of the Terms

Attitude: One’s state of the mind or disposition towards something. Electorates: The collective people of a country, state, or electoral office district who are entitled to vote.

E-Campaigns: the use of electronic and internet-based platform for political awareness, mobilization and advert. Election: The process of choosing a leader, representatives and political office holders

PROJECT DETAILS:

Format = MS Word, Price = ₦4000, Chapter = 1-5, Pages = 52, References = Yes, Questionnaire =Yes, Table of Contents = Yes and Abstract = Yes

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