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EXPLORING THE CONTRIBUTION OF SOCIAL MEDIA TOWARDS THE PROMOTION OF YOUTHS POLITICAL INTEREST IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF ALIMOSHO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

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EXPLORING THE CONTRIBUTION OF SOCIAL MEDIA TOWARDS THE PROMOTION OF YOUTHS POLITICAL INTEREST IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF ALIMOSHO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Social media platforms have fundamentally transformed the global landscape of human interaction. The significant indicator of social media technologies is the unrestricted and rapid dissemination of information, which has advanced liberty and facilitated the realization of the inalienable right to free speech and expression of every individual. Global commerce, culture, religion, and, above all else, politics have been profoundly affected by these digital instruments (Ashiekpe & Mojaye, 2019; Okoro & Nwafor, 2023). As evidenced by the 'political tsunami' that ravaged several African nations in the wake of the popular Arab spring of 2011/2012, numerous authoritarian and consolidate-minded political regimes have been deposed and substituted with more democratic ones via social media. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were utilized to coordinate demonstrations that toppled the protracted regimes of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Ben Ali in Tunisia, and Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya during the Arab uprising. According to Okoro and Nwafor (2023), social media has created an environment in which individuals can freely express their views on government; citizens are now empowered to serve as check and balances on public officials; ordinary citizens can now demand government probity, transparency, and accountability with relative ease; and there has been an increase in political engagement among users, also known as "netizens." This is precisely the circumstance among the youth of Nigeria. 

Youth in Nigeria have incorporated social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp into their daily lives. These platforms provide a forum for young people to meet, exchange thoughts, and deliberate on a wide range of topics, including politics. Consequently, social media possesses the capacity to exert a substantial impact on the political engagement and interest of young Nigerians. 

Political participation, which affects the lives of the youth in particular, is a fundamental tenet of democracy involving both active and passive engagement of individuals (Agu, 2020). This engagement is demonstrated through a variety of activities carried out by the youth of a nation in an effort to exert influence over the government's structures, policies, and/or programs (Castertrione & Pieczka, 2018). It is impossible to overstate the significance of youth political engagement, as the lack thereof fosters political apathy among the populace and promotes governmental shortcomings. Social media platforms offer adolescents abundant opportunities to maintain their political engagement and interest by ensuring that their opinions are acknowledged and reflected on a global scale. They facilitate greater levels of youth political engagement with the government (Madueke, Ogbonna & Anumadu, 2019). 

Nevertheless, it is critical to acknowledge that there are obstacles to the utilization of social media as a platform for fostering political engagement among the youth in Nigeria. Challenges such as online manipulation, misinformation, and false news have the potential to erode the trustworthiness of political discussions on social media platforms and shape the perspectives and attitudes of young individuals regarding politics.

  In view of the above, this study seek to examine the role of social media in promoting political interest among youths in Nigeria: a case study of Alimosho Local Government Area.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

A complex and multifaceted issue, the role of social media in fostering political interest among Nigerian adolescents demands close examination. Amid the considerable influence that social media platforms have acquired as instruments of communication, information distribution, and political participation, apprehensions have been generated concerning their effect on the political convictions and conduct of Nigerian adolescents (Agbo, 2019). Moreover, as Nwankwo (2018) asserts, challenges including online manipulation, misinformation, and false news have eroded the trustworthiness of political discussions on social media platforms and shaped the perspectives and attitudes of Nigerian youths regarding politics. 

Nevertheless, notwithstanding the plethora of scholarly investigations pertaining to the intersection of politics and social media usage, there appears to be a dearth of empirical research concerning the extent to which social media influences the political engagement of Nigerian youth. The aforementioned serves as the foundation for this research.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of the study is focused on exploring the contribution of social media towards the promotion of youths political interest in Nigeria: a case study of Alimosho Local Government Area. The specific objectives are:

Determine the extent the social media platforms has increased political awareness among Nigerian youths in Alimosho Local Government Area?

Determine the extent the social media encourages Nigerian youths to participate in political activities, such as voting and activism in Alimosho Local Government Area?

Determine the effectiveness of the social media in engaging Nigerian youths in political discussions in Alimosho Local Government Area.

Determine the effectiveness of the social media in publicizing Nigerian youths’ political demands and expectations in Alimosho Local Government Area?

1.4  Research Question

The study will be guided by the following questions;

To what extent has the social media platforms increased political awareness among Nigerian youths in Alimosho Local Government Area?

To what extent does the social media encourage Nigerian youths to participate in political activities, such as voting and activism in Alimosho Local Government Area?

How effective is the social media in engaging Nigerian youths in political discussions in Alimosho Local Government Area?

How effective is the social media in publicizing Nigerian youths’ political demands and expectations in Alimosho Local Government Area?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Ho: The social media does not play any significant role in promoting the political interest of Nigerian youths in Alimosho Local Government Area.

Ha: The social media plays a significant role in promoting the political interest of Nigerian youths in Alimosho Local Government Area.

1.6  Significance of the Study

Given the volume of research affirming that media influences people’s decisions to engage in political activities, this study will provide information on the extent to which social media influences the participation of Nigerian youth in elections. This study will also be useful to the youth as it first focuses on how to improve youth participation in the formulation of policy decisions that have a significant influence on their future. This study will also be useful to future scholars who can use its findings as reference material with respect to the promotion of youths interest in politics through social media. 

1.7  Scope of the study

The scope of the study borders on exploring the contribution of social media towards the promotion of youths political interest in Nigeria. Geographically, this study will be delimited to youths in Alimosho Local Government Area.

1.8  Definition Of Terms

Youth: This is the collectivity of all individuals in Nigeria who have attained the age of eighteen years but have not attained the age of thirty-five years.

Social media: A group of internet-based applications that facilitate the creation and exchange of user-generated content, and they include numerous applications such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus, WhatsApp, and YouTube. 

Political participation: The actions that members of the population undertake to influence the decisions of government officials, such as voting in elections, donating to political campaigns, volunteering in community development activities, communicating with political representatives, and involving in cooperative activities such as strikes.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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