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)
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.
However, because of the chance of reaching the targeted audience via traditional mass media and social media; political parties, party spokes persons and their supporters are intensifying their pace aimed at winning the hearts of voters resulted in hate words, propaganda, persuasive and attention gaining statements were exchanged and observed between the 2 key competitors, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
At the commencement of campaigns for the 2015 general election, politicians sought the support of the electorate in the media, by way of paid adverts or sponsored programmes in selling their programmes, some of the political parties have engaged in mudslinging and libellous publications. Politicians who were campaigning for votes should be made to proffer solutions to the crisis of underdevelopment plaguing the country.
Similarly, as the stage became set for the 2015 General Elections and the actors of the major parties became sure of the flag bearers, propaganda and hate speeches fast assumed a common place in the various campaigns. During this period, hardly could one listening to a politician or group of politicians address issues without using abusive expressions, especially during political rallies which became avenues for raining hate speeches.
In some other instances, contestants from even the same religious group, openly incited her members against others. Same was the case even among people that professed the same faith but different denominations.
However, ethics of journalism compel journalists and media houses to be objective, accurate and fairness in their reportage. Also, during electioneering processes all political parties need to be given equal attention and publicity without any tone of fear or favour. This is a cardinal principle that guides the operation of journalism world over.
Tuchman (1978:2) cited in Kate, A. O. and Majority, O. (2013) describes objectivity as `facility’ (a mechanism which allows the journalists to hide even from themselves the `constructed’ and `partial’ nature of their stories). This view seems to have garnered force as increasingly scholars suggest that news even when professionally `selected’ is guided more by organizational needs than by professionalism.
The media are expected not to allow reactionary politicians to divert attention from the hydra headed problems of comatose economy, unemployment, insecurity, infrastructural decay, looting of the treasury, armed robbery, kidnapping and terrorism.
In 2015 Presidential Election, the core ethical standards of journalism were eroded and traded in exchange for political benefits from concern political parties by some media organizations. Although, some serious minded media organization adhered strictly to the ethical principles of their profession in the face of growing abuse of journalistic etiquette.