AN ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF BROADCAST MEDIA IN WOMEN MOBILIZATION DURING THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA
Women attempting to enter into politics in Nigeria face numerous obstacles. Those who have aspired to office must often deal with a lack of funds to run an effective campaign, a discriminative use of party zoning, low education and a slew of cultural and religious barriers. The marginalization of women in politics is certainly not new to Nigeria, having dated back to colonial times. In fact, women did not gain the right to vote until 1976.
Though there was improvement in the mobilization of women in the 2007 general elections but in Nigerian politics, sexism has become a major predicament. Women have been politically considered as an endangered species, and their low participation in Nigerian government and politics is often associated with cultural, religious and economic constraints, and male chauvinism (Umechukwu, 2004).
The mass media provides perspectives, shape images of candidates and parties help highlight issues around which a campaign would develop, and define the unique atmosphere and areas of sensitivity with any particular campaign (Lang and Lang 1999). This research therefore seeks to find out how well Nigerian newspaper covered women’s participation in 2007 general elections.
In this study, mobilization here refers to all women issues in 2015 elections whose activities and events, influenced the electoral process.
Elections can be a key element either in both conflict resolution and conflict escalation. Therefore, free and fair elections are essential for democracy consolidation and conflict prevention. The professionalism of media is crucial during election periods. To promote fair, safe and professional media election coverage, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) supports advocacy to encourage full, fair and efficient disclosure of information to journalists covering the elections; training to enhance professional election reporting; training on the safety of journalists and their right to work without threat; and the production and distribution of election guidelines reflecting principles of professional reporting during elections, journalists' rights, election processes and safety information, as well as briefing notes on international human rights law with emphasis on freedom of expression.
It is a truism that the media play an indispensable role in the proper functioning of a democracy. Discussion of the media's functions usually focuses on their "watchdog" role: by unfettered scrutiny and discussion of the successes and failures of governments, the media can inform the public of how effectively its representatives have performed and help to hold them to account. Yet the media can also play a more specific part in enabling full public participation in elections, not only by reporting on the performance of government, but also in a number of other ways:
1. By educating the voters on how to exercise their democratic rights.
2. By reporting on the development of the election campaign.
3. By providing a platform for the political parties to communicate their message to the electorate.
4. By allowing the parties to debate with each other.
5. By reporting results and monitoring vote counting.
6. By scrutinizing the electoral process itself in order to evaluate its fairness, efficiency, and probity.
Studies of media coverage of political campaigns have uncovered some disturbing trend; journalists function as a pack; there is seldom any really distinctive political reporting during elections. Further, journalists treat fore-runners differently than they do the remainder of the candidate pack. Fore-runners are the objects of closer scrutiny, but those examinations are seldom about issues, even-though it is issue oriented reporting that tends o provoke political interest and public participation. Instead electoral reporting focuses on personality, a key component of political leadership, but certainly not the only one.(Petterson& Wilkins 1994, p. 149)
There is a bewildering variety of possible systems for regulating political advertising or free direct access coverage and reporting. This refers to that portion of election reporting that is under the editorial control of the parties or candidates themselves. There may be obligations on some sections of the newspapers to carry such material, and there will almost certainly be conditions that they must abide by if they do.
1.1 Background to the Study
The background of this study looks into the role played by the radio as a medium in the political mobilization of women in the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.
There are other communication channels liketelevision, interpersonal (rituals and festivals, gongs, drums), newspapers and magazines; these are channels of information dissemination. But in view of how effective these channels could be used in performing the role of mobilizing women throughout the nation into mobilization in politics, its credibility is given to radio in getting political message to its target audience (women) informed.
Even though the newspaper and magazines for their non- transient features would have helped, it is found difficult these days to be affordable by average Nigerians and women in their own situation finds it more difficult to spend their income in buying newspapers or magazines in order to get information in this economic crunch situation in the country today.
Hence, the media is used as their resort for information acquisition. Also, the television due to its high cost is not easily affordable by every family, and for the traditional communication, since these targeted audience (women generally) some of which are from urban areas, it is found difficult or ineffective to disseminate information to them. This is because they have socially developed too. Hence they can tune to their various transistor radio sets for information.
Obiakalusi Lynda et al (1991) in their research work stated that Nigerians political independence in 1960 had raised hopes of many that the nation was being set towards achieving a free and democratic society. In such a democratic society, it is expected that the press such as radio in particular should be the market place of political thought. The radio therefore, should exist mainly to serve the information need of the citizenry in politics.
Akpan (1985) mass communication in Nigeria: book of reading (Nwuneli) say that the public is entitled to all facts in a political situation and that on the basis of these facts, it can make its decisions. However, these woman being to revert to political interest.
Again warren, Kendall (1985: 1990) position that the media for its social role as a mobilization channel made American listens to feel the brutal impact of Hitler’s demands against the background of hysterical orator and frenzied nazi crowd reaction. They (American) were graved when they heard morrow described war preparation in London, relieved when kilter born predicted that chamberlain and Hitler found a peace solution at Munich. However, it was radio that brought to them this scene of personal participation in what they realized was the world’s crisis not merely Europe’s.
The mass media generally performed broad social functions to the audience and these functions are entertainment, information and education. Therefore, the radio playing the same function, in terms of providing messages to its listeners while it is entertaining them thereby reminding its targeted audience (women).
Media as an information channel has continued to wax stronger as a medium of the people. Just like kristie person, executive director of the Cape Town, south Africa- based free play foundation posit that, broadcast media is the one tool that the greatest potential to reach the most people.
Again, as an information channel, it informs its audience about politics and enables them participate in political programmes or transitions.
Also, for its educational function, the F R C N in 1998 mapped out a programme time sponed by Mrs. Florence ejoor (chair personAbia state family support programme) to educated the woman not to stay away from the ongoing terminated in that year (1998), but rather to came out enmasse to complete with their male counterparts towards making them achieve their objectives of the programmes.
Apparently, development should not be seized from being mentioned while discussing politics. According to Nwosu 1985, he says that development and politics are so intertwined that one cannot talk about or deal with one with the other, especially in a developing country like Nigeria.
Hawing observed the above statement; it is rarely difficult to distinguish between politics and development especially as it relates to Nigeria politically.
The media could be seen as a more possible agent of social and political mobilizing in the country than television especially in mobilizing women towards participating in politics. For instance, Mrs. Evenly chukwu a barrister in an interview with the researcher discloses that she got motivated from the various political messages she hears from the radio and felt that with these messages she could challenge the male counterparts. She also said that the woman who came to vote for her during the main election got mobilized
1.2 Statement of Problem
Nigeria gained independence since 1960, although the ruling colonial government dictated pre independence politics the Nigeria man did not want to be left out in the art of governance. The activities of the women folk not in the same scale as of the men were nonetheless not worthy.
Oyegbola (1986) in her address to the intra parliamentary union meeting. The role of women in Nigeria politics rightly points out the Aba women Riot of 1929 and the activities of few other women which contributed to the eventual handing over of power to the people, will always be remembered as some of the pioneer landmarks of the journey to political independence by this great nation.
However, a lot of write-ups are prejudiced while others are geared towards educating the society especially, African society, where it is frequently alleged that women are relegated to the background of the needs integrate. Well in all facets of life to enhance their social, political and economic development.
Obviously, it should be universally acknowledged that a woman is the most useful product of the creator’s skill. There is a “maxim” which says that, “behind every successful man there is a woman” for instance, there were some powerful woman who were the wheel on which their men rode to success, fame and acclaim. For example, the case of Lincoln and his wife who literally dragged him to the highest political seat, the United States presidency. Satellite (march 6, 1982) “ own through the ages, there have been examples of powerful women. The biblical Esther was a powerful, beloved of her husband who was also to redeem her people Israelites from slavery and oppression. The queen of Sheba gave birth to many nations. Cleopatra was a queen who through her Armour and political inclination nearly brought down the entire Roman Nation. Cleopatra was a queen who through her Armour and political inclination nearly brought down the entire Roman Nation. Queen Elizabeth l of England was one of that nation, more capable and popular ruler.
Back to Africa, Queen Amina of Zaria, a formidable woman, achieved many spectacular seats, ruling a vast kingdom and is still fondly remembered as a capable strategist and rule. Although in traditional African context woman were seen to be playing a second fiddle role by the male counterparts especially in Nigeria politics. It is widely held that woman are under privileged in traditional Africa culture, but pre-colonial politics in Nigeria represents a dual sex role, in other words, woman should stand alongside their male counterparts to find solutions to problems of prime national intersects. For instance, under the 1979 constitution, law prohibits indiscrimination of any kind women and very citizen male or female of eligible age can vote and be voted for. However, this is contrast to what the situation was in the past.
In recent years in Nigeria, women also engage themselves in some development projects. An example is the “Better life for women” championed by Mrs. Maryam Babangida and “Family support programmer” by Mrs. Maryam Abacha (Nationally).
Women also partake in petty trading association some of them bind themselves together in socioeconomic bodies or trade groups like “women cooperatives” to carter for the need of their common occupations and objectives this, collectively make substantial contribution to the social development of their immediate areas of operation and influence.
Another good example was the “National council of women society”, which was aimed at assisting women in towns and villages in their important role as nation builders. These organizations to mention but a few have strived to mobilize and sensitize women folk on the need of modern politics.
Also, the 1995 Beijing conferences help by women of raious categories from different countries, was also a forum to mobilize women towards their rights to compete with the male counterparts in politics participation. Apparently, the federal government has created ministry of women so that Nigeria women would be mobilized in participating in politics.
According to Agee Agult Emery (1998:45) the media with its peculiar characteristics is being present everywhere, the mail carrier walks a route with a transistor radio fastened to the mail bag, the crowd on the beach listens to good music through the media devices they carry alongside them on the beach, the carpenter on roof nails shingles in time to rock beat. Hence, these women at their various places be it market, the office or shops, tune on their transistor sets and pay particular attention to political messages.
There are some who in one way or the other participated in the past national or star like AdetounOgunseye, Mrs. EbunOyegbola, Mrs. Janet Mokely, political advice to the Anambra state chief Executive (1982) chief Mrs. UcheOfiaNwuli, legal luminary, Dr. Helen Chukwumaetc
Having looked into records or listened to various national women who had participated in one time or the other in Nigeria politics and seeing how decreasingly the women post in the Nigeria political positions are being occupied by their male counterparts, the questions which could be drawn here are.
1. Will women in the state after being exposed to the media political messages gear more interest towards participating in the national politics?
2. Could their exposure to the media political massages activate them towards holding political post?
3. Could their exposure to the media political message expose them to political hatred?
1.3 Aim and Objectives of Study
The objective of this study will focus on the credibility of the media in the dissemination of political news and socio-political tool for mobilizing women for the 2015 general election.
Also, in discussing credibility in the media reports, the researcher will consider both messages credibility and source credibility. Media credibility here is referred to as the ability of the broadcast reports to be believed and accepted by their target audience (women). In relation to source credibility, the researcher will be interested in knowing whether the source of the news has any influence on the credibility rating of the news report.
Among other is a list of objectives that will be covered by the research work:
i. To evaluate the effectiveness of the media in mobilizing women for election 2015.
ii. To assess the level of message from the broadcast media’s penetration to the audience in mobilizing them for the 2015 general election.
iii. To ascertain the extent to which women in the State are exposed to the broadcast media programme
iv. To examine whether their political knowledge has increased as a result of their exposure to the media programme?
v. To assess the role played by the mobilized women in the 2015 general election.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions shall guide the study;
i. Where you geared up for the 2015 general election as a result of the broadcast media?
ii. To what extent has the programme raised the political interest of women to politics in the State?
iii. To what extent has women participation in political activities increased as a result of their exposure to the broadcast media programme?
iv. Where you able to carry out your role as a woman in this 2015 general election?
1.5 Research hypotheses
The following hypotheses will be tested in the study;
Ho:There is no significant relationship between broadcast media
to women mobilization for the 2015 general election
Hi:There is no significant relationship between broadcast media
to women mobilization for the 2015 general election
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study will help the government in making policy or broadcast media use in a political situation among women.
Finally, the study will also contribute to our political and socio-cultural development through an empirical linkage of credibility and sycophancy in Nigerian’s environment. It6 will again enlighten our mind on the use of radio for socio-cultural integration of the women through fair political new management in the media.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The study is focused on the mobilization of women for the general election of 2015 for political participation.
The study will focus on such aspect as the rate of usages of ride. This is because according to various researchers made by some researchers mass communication, it is observed that an averages of about 60 - 70 % of the women that listens to radio. Also, the study will associate some effective theories of the mass media.
Finally, the researcher presumes that the scientific nature of her samples and the standard of her measuring instrument (questionnaire) will help her to generalize the large population.
1.8 Research Methodology
The study shall employ the survey research method in the process of data collection. The method entails identifying population of study and collection of data through questionnaire administration.
Population of Study
The population of study shall comprise of Nkanu-East Local Government Area in Enugu-East Senatorial Zone, Udi Local Government Area from Enugu-West Senatorial Zone while Igbo-etiti Local Government from Enugu-North Senatorial Zone. The population size is at about 1,671,795.
A sample size of 400 respondents was drawn from the study population. The constitution of the sample was as follows;
Because of the largeness of the population size for this study, the researcher selected a manageable but representative sample size using a scientific formula.
Therefore, for the sake of statistical convenience as it concerns the management of primary data, the researcher aligned herself with the Taro Yamane formula.
Data Collection Instrument
Data collection will be done through the questionnaire method. The questionnaire was structured into section A and B with close ended questions. Section A shall generate information on respondents’ bio-data while, section B, will elicits information on respondents perception of the role of broadcast media in women mobilization.
The questionnaire is in a close ended format which allowed the respondents to offer their views according to the Lickert scale of responses.
Administration of the Instrument
To foster quick response to the questionnaire, the researcher will personally administered the questionnaires to the respondents. The effort enable the researcher to clear some of the items contain in the instrument with the respondents while, at the same time, respondent attention were drawn to some items yet to be filled.
Method of Data Analysis
All data collected shall be analysed using statistical tools such as frequency distribution table, percentages, and chi-square analysis for testing the formulated hypotheses.