Abstract: The study examines social media as tools for political mobilization in Osun State. The emergency and proliferation of social media otherwise known as citizen media has reshaped political education and mobilization in Nigeria. It offers platform for political debates, cyber activism, political campaign and political mobilization. The study was anchored on Technological Determinism. Survey research method was adopted while the data collection instrument was questionnaire. 250 copies of questionnaires that were administered to the respondents in OSPOLY and 180 were retrieved. Findings have shown that as a result of the political dispensation, political office holders, politicians, including president and governors now have and manage social media account such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram among others. Political leaders and political candidate now share their political agenda and mobilize people towards it propagation. It is recommended that, social media can be improved to enhance better public mobilization, sensitization and true democracy in Nigeria through citizen sensitization programmes, registration that involve national identity card.
Keywords: Political Mobilization
Table of Contents
Title Page i
Table of Contents vi
1.0 Introduction 1
1.1 Background to the Study 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem 3
1.3 Objectives of the Study 4
1.4 Research Questions 5
1.5 Significance the Study 5
1.6 Scope of the Study 5
1.7 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
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research Design____________________________________________33
3.2 Research Method___________________________________________33
3.3 Study Population_____________________________________________34
3.4 Sample Size ________________________________________________34
3.5 Sampling Technique _________________________________________34
3.6 Instrument for Data Collection__________________________________35
3.7 Validity and Reliability of Research Instrument_____________________35
3.9 Method of Data Analysis_______________________________________36
4.0 Data Analysis and Presentation 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
In the past politics and democracy, political mobilization, education and participation were done mainly by newspaper, magazine, radio and television. From the colonial day’s election, to post independence polls and to the enthronement of democracy in 1999; mass media have been a major platform for political communication, political awareness and public mobilization in order to sustain democratic principles.
However, advancement in this century has paved way for modern means of mass communication facilitated by the internet called new media or social media. This which has boosted and reshaped means of passing and creating political awareness, participation and reducing political apathy among youth especially students. Odeyemi, and Mosunmola (2015:1) describe election as the central component and the minimum necessary requirement for representative democracy, remains the only legitimate instrument for leadership turnover. It is a core aspect that requires the active involvement of citizens.
Meanwhile, social media has become a powerful tool for political mobilization in Nigeria in recent years. With a population of over 200 million people and more than 98 million internet users, Nigeria is one of the largest and most digitally connected countries in Africa (Nigerian Communications Commission, 2021). This has provided an avenue for political actors to reach out to a large audience and mobilize them for political purposes. Hence, study, examines the role of social media as a tool for political mobilization in Nigeria, with a focus on the 2023 general elections.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp have become a popular means of communication among Nigerians. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 84% of Nigerian adults own a mobile phone, and 70% of them use social media (National Democratic Institute, 2021). This has created an opportunity for political actors to reach out to a large audience and mobilize them for political purposes.
During the 2019 and 2023 general elections in Nigeria, social media played a significant role in mobilizing voters. Political parties and candidates used social media platforms to disseminate their campaign messages, engage with voters, and mobilize supporters. For instance, the campaign team of President Muhammadu Buhari used social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to reach out to young people, who make up a significant portion of the electorate (Olayinka, 2020). The campaign team of the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), also used social media to mobilize supporters and spread their message (Onoja, 2020).
Social media was also used by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups to mobilize voters during the elections. For instance, a group called “Enough is Enough Nigeria” used social media platforms to mobilize young people to participate in the electoral process. The group created a hashtag, #RSVP, which stood for Register, Select, Vote, Protect, and used it to encourage young people to register to vote, select the right candidates, vote on election day, and protect their votes (Onoja, 2020).
Social media also played a role in election monitoring and reporting. Nigerians used social media platforms to report cases of electoral malpractice, including vote buying, ballot box snatching, and violence. This helped to expose electoral fraud and hold politicians accountable (Olayinka, 2020).
However, social media has also been used to spread fake news and disinformation during elections. Political actors and their supporters have used social media platforms to spread false information about their opponents and to manipulate public opinion. This has led to tension and violence in some instances (Onoja, 2020).
It is therefore, worthy to emphasized that social media has become a powerful tool for political mobilization in Nigeria. Political actors and civil society groups have used social media platforms to reach out to voters, mobilize supporters, and monitor elections. However, the use of social media has also led to the spread of fake news and disinformation, which can undermine the credibility of elections. Therefore, there is a need for stakeholders to work together to ensure the responsible use of social media during elections (Adegoke, 2019).
It is against this backdrop that the research examines social media as tool for political mobilisation in Nigeria with a specific focus on 2023 General Elections in Osun State, with the view to know the extent which people participated in political activities especially using social media and the extent which they share political messages in the past and in the future elections as electronic campaigns are now invoking.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
With the rise of the information communication technology (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 remained unknown to them.
Also, the gross misused of the social media in the 2023 General Elections in Osun State in Nigeria call for urgent attention on how to use social media during elections. Lack of official gatekeepers, inaccurate reports 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.
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.
Other abuses of social media include name calling and use of abusive words and title for political leaders, politician among fans when discussing or commenting on political posts. This research thus examines social media as tool for political mobiliation with the view to know the extent which students participate in political activities especially using social media and the extent which they share political messages in the past and in the future elections as electronic campaigns are now invoking.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To examine the level of social media usage in the 2023 General Elections in Osun State among students in Osun State Polytechnic, Iree.
- To ascertain the extent in which social media usage has enhanced the level of awareness, education and political mobilization of electorate in the 2023 General Elections in Osun State.
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the level of social media usage in the 2023 General Elections in Osun State among students in Osun State Polytechnic, Iree?
- To what extent has social media usage enhanced the level of awareness, education and political mobilization of electorate in Osun State?
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 study which examines social media as for political mobilization” has been narrowed in scope to the students of Osun State Polytechnic Iree. The choice of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree is due to the proximity, inadequate time among other logistics. Hence, the demographical variables of the respondents will be examined before the preparation and administration of research instrument (questionnaire) to the selected respondents.
1.7 Operational Definition of 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 such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok etc.
Political Mobilization: In this study, it refers to how people to take part or in the process of political activities.
Electoral education: It refers to the process of sensitizing and enlightens the public on electoral matters such as how to vote, how to use Card reader, importance of PVC among others.
Political Aspiration: This is the use of social media to enhance political desire, interest and participation and mobilization in the 2023 general election.