BACKGROUND TO THE STDUY
Even during the dark days of ruthless military dictatorship in Nigeria, the media (print and electronic), particularly privately owned media, has always been powerful vehicles of awareness and mobilization of people towards democracy (Ajayi P. M, 2007). However, government intimidation and harassment, logistics, limited resources, and their aristocratic ownership and control restricted their spread. However, as the communication media space has expanded due to increased technology, information distribution and public awareness have become more extensive, with more thorough event follow-up. This is due to their widespread accessibility and availability, regardless of socioeconomic position. Even with the simplest mobile phones, one may access several social media sites for information, education, and enjoyment at a low cost. Fundamentally, the media serves as a conduit for information gathering and distribution, as well as societal awareness and mobilization. These roles distinguish the media as a key player in the connection between the government and the governed, making them essential for effective governance, democracy strengthening, and social progress and development in general (Olujide, Adeyeimi, & Gbadeyan, 2010). However, the rise of social media has revolutionized the connection, communication, and sharing of knowledge amongst individuals all over the globe in the twenty-first century. The most common definition of social media is activities that combine technology, telecommunications, and social connections, as well as the creation of writings, photographs, videos, and audio. As individuals share their tales and experiences, this interaction and the way information is presented is dependent on diverse views and the “creation” of common meaning across groups (Wattal et al. 2010; Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Blogs, MySpace, and LinkedIn are just a few of the prominent and extensively utilized social networking services. People all across the globe now use social media as a normal part of their daily lives. In recent years, social media has seen a significant increase in user numbers and has been the subject of scientific research (Wigand et al., 2010; McAfee&Jane, 2006). Facebook, for example, has over 800 million users globally (Facebook, 2011), while Twitter has over 200 million users (HuffPost Tech, 2011). As a result of this evolution, social media has become excellent instruments for connecting with a big audience. The introduction of these social media platforms has continued to alter how people interact throughout the globe. Mobile phone penetration rates, for example, have sparked a slew of new media platform concepts aimed at bridging the information gap between the connected and the disconnected (Unwin K.R, 2012). Furthermore, Internet-based communication has begun to acquire traction in Nigeria, as well as Africa as a whole. Both mobile phones and the internet provide fascinating new one-to-one and one-to-many communication possibilities. The widely reported rapid spread of mobile connectivity and services, as well as various forms of public and shared internet access, such as social media, has enabled an increasing number of people who do not have access to a computer or a fixed connection to participate in “the global conversation” (André&Michel, 2010). Since the twenty-first century, the use of social media in politics has grown in many countries of Africa, including Nigeria. For example, Nigeria’s general elections in 2011 represented a watershed moment in the country’s usage of social media for political communication. Nigerian politicians are progressively moving their campaigns to social networking sites and other online platforms, inspired by President Barack Obama’s successful use of Facebook to win the United States elections as the first black president. Following the awareness that electioneering required more than handshakes and physical persuasion during the election time, political hopefuls used every tools at their disposal to build up their support base (Omenugha, Ukwueze, & Malizu, 2011).
The history of Nigerian elections has provided us with a unique chance to analyze the various functions of the media in the Nigerian political process in the context of our national political objectives (Ajayi P. M, 2007). In the framework of the election process, the problem and subject of education, information, mobilization, and monitoring has become a very important aspect in achieving national goals (Ajayi P. M, 2007). This is as a consequence of the heinous incidents of different sorts of electoral fraud that have repeatedly jeopardized Nigeria’s ability to hold legitimate elections and achieve national unification. Though the problem at hand is the obligation of all stakeholders in the body politic, there is logic in attributing this responsibility to the social media as a main concern on the basis of professional competency as the realm’s fourth estate. This is because social media as a community has had a significant influence on individuals, and many people trust it. It has therefore, become very important to investigate into the role played by social media on electoral enlightenment among the Nigeria populace.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The study will generally investigate the role played by social media on electoral enlightenment among the Nigeria populace; specifically, the following aims are highlighted:
i. To examine the role social media play in the electoral enlightenment of Nigerian populace.
ii. To find out the various social media tool used for electoral enlightenment among Nigeria populace.
iii. To investigate the lapses in the use of social media for electoral enlightenment among Nigeria populace.
iv. To recommend strategic ways of using social for a successful electoral enlightenment program in Nigeria.
The following questions have been prepared for the study:
i. Have social media play a role in the electoral enlightenment of Nigerian populace?
ii. What are the various social media tool used for electoral enlightenment among Nigeria populace?
iii. Are there lapses in the use of social media for electoral enlightenment among Nigeria populace?
iv. What are the strategic ways of using social for a successful electoral enlightenment program in Nigeria?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will be of importance to the political participants as it exposes a new way of influencing the audience into a party ideology. To the academia, the role of social media will be explored for better understanding. Also, the study will be referenced for further researches.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will examine the role social media play in the electoral enlightenment of Nigerian populace. The study will also find out the various social media tool used for electoral enlightenment among Nigeria populace. The study will further investigate the lapses in the use of social media for electoral enlightenment among Nigeria populace. Lastly, the study will recommend strategic ways of using social for a successful electoral enlightenment program in Nigeria. Hence the study will be delimited to Lagos state.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Social Media: A group of social networks interconnected in forms of websites, app and blogs that allows individuals send and receive messages, consequently disseminating information.
Electoral: something that has to do with election process
Electoral Education: A type of education centred on election and electioneering
ORGANIZATION OF STUDY
This study is organized in five chapters. The first chapter lays the background to the study as well as stating the problem of study and the hypotheses for testing. The second chapter is structured to give the study a literature review. This review is divide into the theoretical framework, Empirical framework and the conceptual framework. Chapter three deals with research methodology including the research design, sampling method, Data collection and the research instruments employed. Chapter four seek to analyze the result, it is also made up of detailed analysis of data collected and presentation of information with the aid of quantitative and statistical models. The fifth chapter covers the summary, conclusion and recommendation.