Abstract: The study examined social media as tools for political participation . 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, political communication and political mobilization. The study was anchored on Technological Determinism Theory and Demoractic Participant Theory. Survey research method was used with the questionnaire serving as the research instrument to gather the required data. The data collected were analysis using descriptive statistics. Findings in the study show that majority of the respondents used social media to contribute to debates, sharing opinions and getting updates during the re-run election while it is also evidence that majority of the respondents use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp more than any other social during the period. It is recommended that social media be used to enhance and improve public communication, mobilization, sensitization and true democracy in Nigeria particularly during voters’ registration, campaign and voting processes.
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. New media is an information revolution which brings about citizen journalism and ends of government mono-poly of mass media platform.
The technologies that are making this development possible and easier are of phases: Devices: Smartphone, digital camera, tablet, computer, modem, wireless, internet etc. and
Social media e.g facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, whatsapp, wechat, blogs
Email e.g yahoo.com, gmail.com, outlook.com, aimmail.com, icloudmail.com etc.
Search engines: e.g google.com, yahoo.com, bing.com, ask.com, Aolsearch.com etc.
Blogs: ritequest.com, lindaikeji.blogspot.com, naij.com, afriwatch.com etc. (Olaitan, 2015).
ICTs are sweeping away the limitations of the analogue world and weakening the grip of government-owned platforms of information mono-poly and control. Odeyemi, and Mosunmola, (2015) describes 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.
However, beyond elections, the flowering of democratic practice depends largely on the active participation of the people through different forms of political activities such as in the electoral process. One of the areas in which this active participation of the people has been enhanced, world over, is in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) platforms, being an instrument of political socialisation and means of political education, ICTs have galvanised massive citizen awareness and enhanced liberal values of individualism. (Odeyemi and Mosunmola, (2015).
In the meantime, the quality of governance has been enhanced over the years as a result of many factors; among which is revolutions in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). This has, in turn, impacted participation of citizens in public affairs; in relation to plurality of voices, advocacy, activism and electoral activities, enhanced by ICT platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the Internet, thus deepening the democratic process (Diamond, 2010).
The power of these platforms as viable mechanisms for political mobilisation was first noticed in advanced democracies in the mid-90s (Tedesco, 2004). Ever since, events and processes have further highlighted their utility to democratic politics, most notably, to the electoral process.
This was underscored by the extensive use of the social media by Barack Obama in the build up to the 2008 United States of America presidential election. This, perhaps, marked the beginning of e-electioneering (Vaccari, 2010). So profound was the impact of the Internet to Obama‘s electoral success that Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post, declared that ―were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be president‖ (Campantey, Durante and Sobbrio, 2013). Instructively, by using interactive Web 2.0 tools, Mr. Obama‘s campaign changed the way politicians organize supporters, advertise to voters, defend against attacks and communicate with constituents (Miller, 2008).
Stakeholders in several other democracies have since harnessed the utility of ICTs platforms in their electoral process, and Nigeria, despite structural challenges, is not exempted. The social media was first used in a remarkable way in the 2011 elections (Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, 2012), especially by President Goodluck Jonathan, who used his Facebook account to garner country-wide support. Ever since, stakeholders‘ use of ICTs platforms for election-related activity has risen (Shehu Musa Yar‘Adua Foundation, 2012).
2015 general election is characterized as the most e-electioneering in the history of Nigeria politics because of the high level of technology adopted at that time from the bio-metric card reader machine initiated by the electoral umpire, to the use of social media and digital platforms to mobilize, educate, enlighten, sensitise, debate and argue on political matters which eventually directly or indirectly influenced the voting pattern and choice of electorates.
However, facebook.com, twitter.com, instagram.com and youtube.com are considered to lead other digital platforms in terms of patronage by Nigerians during the previous elections. It is against this backdrop, the research examines the influence of social media as tools for political participation in Kastina State Senatorial Bye Election in 2018 as a result of the death of the Senator Mustapha Bukar on April 4, 2018 who was representing the constituency at the Senate House.
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 which is reflecting on their post, comment, tweet and what they follow or like online.
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 as unverified election results were tweeting, posting and sharing on twitter and facebook respectively.
Nevertheless, Facebook and Twitter offer unique platform for political education, debate, opinion exchange, dialogue, modification of opinions among others. Thus, the research examines social media as tools for political participation and also appraise the contribution of these platforms on the credibility and the general conduct of Bye Election in Daura Senatorial District Kastina State in 2018 as a result of the demise of the Senator Mustapha Bukar on April 4, 2018 who was representing the constituency at the Senate House.
1.3 Research Questions
- What is the level of social medial usage in the Bye Election in Daura Senatorial District Kastina State in 2018?
- Does social network site usage enhance the level of communication, awareness and participation among electorate in Daura Senatorial District Bye Election in 2018?
1.4 Objectives of the study
i To examine the level of social medial usage during Daura Senatorial District Bye Election in 2018.
ii. To ascertain whether social network site usage enhanced the level of communication, awareness and participation of electorate in Daura Senatorial District Bye Election in 2018.
1.5 Significance of the Study
Since social media have emerged as tool for political communication, 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.
Voters: 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, re-tweet, follow” among etc.
National Assembly: 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.
Researcher: 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.
Corporate institution: 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
1.6 Scope of the Study
Due to time factor, fund and other logistics the study has been limited to only 10 local governments that formed Daura Senatorial District. The bye election was selected because it is the most recent election in Kastina State in order to given the research its freshness while the proximity of the senatorial district is another factor. Meanwhile, all residents of the 10 local government as at the time of the Bye election will be studied.
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: It is a group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of web 2.0 which allow the interaction, creation and posting of political messages and other information such as Facebook, Twitter, and blog sites used to mobilize and sensitise among citizens during Daura Bye Election in 2018.
Political Mobilisation: This is the process of technique of bringing people together for the purpose of election especially by voting for a particular candidate during the Daura Senatorial Bye election.
Political Participation: These are various means of getting involved in political activities especially by voting for a choice senator during Daura Senatorial District Bye Election in 2018 poll in 2018.
Daura Senatorial District Bye Election in 2018: This is one of the three senatorial districts in Kastina State and it consists of Bakori, Batagarawa, Batsari, Baure, Bindawa, Charanchi, Dan Musa, Dandume, Danja, Daura, Dutsi and Dutsin-Ma.
Bye Election: This election was contested due to the demise of late Senator Senator Mustapha Bukar who was representing the constituency before his death and the position was contested by two main parties.