to the Study
communication technology has become a potent force in the transformation of
social, economic, and political life globally. More and more, development
strategies are based on the need for developing countries to embrace
information technology both as a way to avoid further economic and social
marginalization as well as to offer opportunities for both growth and diversification
of their economies. The role of the
Nigerian media in actualizing democracy cannot be overemphasized. The annulment
of June 12, 1993 election by General Ibrahim Babangida’s regime tested the
effectiveness and strength of the media. Media houses and journalists were able
to sensitize the masses about the evils being perpetuated by the military and
the elites who supported the annulment of the 1993 election considered being
one of the freest and fairest polls ever seen in Nigeria. The Nigerian media
made the Babangida regime became unpopular and eventually Babangida bowed to
pressure by stepping aside on August 27, 1993.
In the 2015 general
election, the social media became more potent tool and even a more lethal
weapon. There were releases in the form of videos, voice notes, headlines, and
broadcasts that made and marred many political parties and individuals. For
example, a publication on Senator Buruji Kashamu almost marred his political
ambition and eventually his swearing in. A hate video was broadcast on both
General Muhammadu Buhari and Senator Bola Tinubu. Ordinarily, these videos
might have ended the political ambitions of these individuals in some other
places. The social media have become the most accessible source of information,
particularly in the last two (2011 and 2015) general elections. The social
media disseminated many messages to the public that went viral before the day
of the election. The social media communicated to the public a lot of
information that could have caused unrest in some volatile nations. For
example, the social media gave other reasons for the postponement of the
election from February 14, 2015 to March 28, 2015 aside from the unpreparedness
of Independent National Electoral Commission. Reasons that made the public
believed that the postponement was to the advantage of the ruling party as it
would provide the opportunity for the ruling party to manipulate the election
in such a way that the power of the electorates would amount to nothing. This sort of report can cause anarchy in some volatile countries
that are not stable.
Nigeria held its
Presidential Elections on the 28th of March, 2015 and contrary to
expectations, the elections were free, fair and devoid of wrangling. The
opposition party held sway and gained the upper hand in the polls. The
opposition; All Progressives Congress (APC) also took the majority of the
Senate seats and enjoyed wide support and acceptance from the populace. Prior
to the election, the presidential and vice presidential candidate of the
opposition party opened Twitter accounts and made their presence known on
social media in which they engaged directly with the young people. Several
issues were raised and the candidates were able to sell their programs and
policies directly to those who mattered most. Posts were favourited and
retweeted by thousands and the ripple effect meant that young voters had access
to information on the go and were able to make up their minds as to who to cast
their votes for. Several campaigns were also started by young people in which
they became volunteers, campaigners and actively canvassed votes for their
preferred candidate. The "Change" slogan floated by the opposition
party as its rallying and campaigns was widely embraced by all.
posts and virtual town hall meetings held almost on a regular basis on cyber
space. People were able to air their opinions, and for once in the bistros if
the country, the young people became actively involved politically. For any
Government to actively involve and engage with its youths, it must go where
they are. And right now, the youths spend most of their time on social media
and the internet. Information is available on the go and people make up their
minds on issues in the split of a second. On the day in which the results were
being announced there was no electricity, which is one of the issues Nigeria
faces at the moment and which, hopefully, will be addressed by the incoming
administration. Still people were able to follow up with the trends, news and announcements
on Twitter as several young people were tweeting the results on the go as they
were being announced.
media really helped shape the opinion of many youths in the elections and
increased the political awareness and consciousness of the Nigerian youths, be
it by offering a platform for the candidates to interact directly with the
voters or offering a setting to hold virtual town hall meetings. Trust social media to play
an even bigger role in reporting non-official election results, mapping of
troubled spots and sharing users' voting experience. Social media is now a new
battleground for any election in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The social media has
become almost an inseparable part of human life in places where they exist. In
recent times, social media have evolved new forms of democracy, government, and
have become a clear and more effective voice of many. In fact, social media have
influences on all spheres of human life. The impacts of the social media are
felt most in the 2015 general elections. According to Policy and Legal Advocacy
Centre (2012), the 2011 elections in Nigeria witnessed a remarkable use of the
social media as a tool for political communication. It was used for campaigns
via personal websites, blogs, all social media applications, and several other
media. Apart from this, the social media was equally used as a tool to
undermine and even destroy the image of other political parties, most
especially the People’s Democratic Party.
Social media will play yet an important role
in Nigeria’s democracy in the coming years. With Internet penetration rates
rising, Nigeria's 67 million internet population is likely to increase over the
years. If the current administration considers social media to be some sort of
pest, the next one might as well prepare for more of the same. The freedom the
space offers will eventually be deployed by a lot more Nigerians, and
governance and a listening government would be the better for it.
The following are some of the
questions which this study intends to answer:
what are the factors that are responsible for the
use of social media in the presidential election?
What are the effects of the use of
social media on the 2015 presidential election?
What is the relationship between
social media and voters’ attitude in the presidential election?
of the Study
The main objective of the study
is to examine the impact of social media in the last presidential election in
Nigeria. Specific objectives of the study are:
To find out the factors that are
responsible for the use of social media in the presidential election.
To demonstrate the effects of the use
of social media on the 2015 presidential election.
To find out the relationship between
social media and voters’ attitude in the presidential election.
There is no significant relationship between social media and voters’ attitude
in the presidential election
of the Study
This study tends to investigate the impacts of social media in the last
presidential election in Nigeria among all the eligible voters that had access
to social media in one way or the other. It will show how BBM, WhatsApp, Gmail,
Yahoo, Twitter, Instagram etc contributed greatly to electioneering campaigns
of victory of the now ruling party in the elections.
1.7 Scope of the
This study was strictly restricted to
the eligible Nigerians who are qualified to vote and be voted for.
1.8 Limitation of
This study faced limitation that need to be taken into
consideration. Apart from the obvious time limit and the delicate subject matter,
there were issues that arose from the methodological choices applied to the
study. Some respondents were not willing to disclose accurate information
needed for the validity of the study.
The following terms were used
in the course of this study:
Media: This refers to computer-mediated
technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information,
ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities
This is a formal decision-making process by which a
population chooses an individual to hold public office.
Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy
has operated since the 17th century.
Saheed Oyenuga, (2015). Social Media Participation and Pollution of
General Elections in Nigeria. Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social
Sciences, Lagos State
University, Ojo, Lagos.
Japheth Omojuwa, (2015). Social Media and 2015 Elections: Beyond APC vs PDP Beyond
APC vs PDP. Retrieved from http://www.naij.com on July 4th,2017.
Olakunle Olowojolu, (2015). Role of
Media in 2015 Presidential Election in Nigeria.
International Journal of Politics and Good
Governance Volume VII, No.
7.1 Quarter I 2016 ISSN: 0976 – 1195
Johnson, (2015). The role of social media
in the 2015 Presidential elections in