Nigerian Press and Its Influence on Free and Fair Election in Nigeria (A Content Analysis of the 2019 Presidential Election) in Punch and Vanguard Newspapers
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The main aim of the study is to examine Nigerian press and its influence on free and fair election in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study include;
- to determine the direction of the contents on the 2019 presidential election.
- to determine how sensational the punch and vanguard newspapers in their coverage of the presidential election campaigns on free and fair election
- to determine the influence of punch and vanguard newspapers on leadership ascendancy in 2019 Presidential election in Nigeria.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
A general election is a democratic process through which people vote to choose a leader that will represent them (Elekwa, 2008, p. 30). The process of carrying out an election is called electoral process. According to Elekwa (ibid), the election process (electoral process) relates to the entire cycle ranging from the provision of voter education to the dissolution of the National Assembly. Similarly, election as defined by Osumah and Aghemelo (2010) is a process through which the people choose their leaders and indicate their policies and programmes preference and consequently invests a government with the authority to rule. In the same vein, Samuel, Felix, and Godwyns (2013)see election as one of the means by which a society may organize itself and make specified formal decisions. Eya (2003) however, defines election as the selection of a person or persons for office by balloting and making choices as between alternatives. Ozor (2010) succinctly gives a more encompassing and comprehensive definition of election when he notes that the term connotes the procedure through which qualified adult voters elect their politically preferred representatives to parliament legislature of a county (or any other public positions) for the purpose of running the government of the country. Thus, Osumah and Aghemelo (2010), elucidate what the basic objective of election is which is to select the official decision makers who are supposed to represent the citizens-interest, thereby extending and enhancing the amount of popular participation in the political system. Furthermore, in a modern democracy, supreme authority is exercised for the most part, by representatives elected by popular suffrage (Osakwe, 2011 cited in Galadima, 2014). Similarly, according to Gamji (2009), in a liberal democracy, elections enable the public to keep a check on the political leaders, as in the case of the 2008 United Kingdom Local Council elections, where the publics used their votes to protest against Brown‟s administration, giving the Conservative party a majority vote. Similarly, elections have been seen as the major feature of democracy to the extent that not only is it impossible to imagine a democratic regime without elections (Nnadozie, 2007) but, also there is the risk of confusing the holding of regular, reasonably competitive and transparent elections with democracy (Hounkpe and Gueye, 2010). Undeniably, even in the direct democracy of ancient Greece, elections were used to take decisions in various fields (Samuel, et al2013). Likewise, INEC (2006) highlighted the different phases of the electoral process in Nigeria as follows:
- Delimitation of electoral boundaries
- Registration of voters
- Notice of elections
- Nomination of candidates
- Election campaigns
- Announcement of results and completion of tribunal sittings
- Participation of other organizations
- Resolution of electoral conflicts resulting from the participation of other organizations, people, groups, etc.
The electoral process is therefore, a complex process that encompasses the good intentions and undesirable outcomes of election administration, particularly in emerging democracies where general elections are often marred by culturally hued electoral malpractices (Nnenna, 2014). Finally, Hounkpe and Gueye, (2010) concluded that in a representative democracy system, the entire population of a country need not to converge together to make a decision, but rather people are governed through their representatives, which can be best achieved through an election. This is why election remains the most appropriate widespread mechanism for selecting representatives who will be responsible for governing on behalf of the people (ibid).
Media Coverage of Election
According to Opeibi (2005) in Udende (2011), Election periods in any nation generate a lot of interest among the political candidates in particular, and the civil society in general. This is because the destiny of the people and the nation rests squarely on the shoulders of the successful candidates at the polls. This is perhaps, why both political actors and their supporters deploy different persuasive strategies to elicit support and woo voters in order to gain and control power (Uwugiaren, 2015). Experience from several countries has shown that the media have been one of the most powerful influences on how an election is perceived in and outside a country (ibid). The „media are essential to democracy , and a democratic election is impossible without the mediacoverage‟ (Omenugha, 2015, p. 64). Media coverage, according to Daramola (2003) can be defined as a process of directing information or ideas to a large and diversified audience through the use of mass media vehicles such as radio, television, internet and other forms of the print media. In the same vein, Peter(2012) observed that most of the electorates depend on the mass media for the messages about the candidates and not directly from the candidates but from the news media. According to Uwugiaren (2015) many experts have argued that, for an election to go well, it must be free and fair.
The researcher used descriptive research survey design in building up this project work the choice of this research design was considered appropriate because of its advantages of identifying attributes of a large population from a group of individuals. The design was suitable for the study as the study sought Nigerian press and its influence on free and fair election in Nigeria (a content analysis of the 2019 presidential election) in punch and vanguard newspapers
Sources of data collection
Data were collected from two main sources namely:
(i)Primary source and
These are materials of statistical investigation which were collected by the research for a particular purpose. They can be obtained through a survey, observation questionnaire or as experiment; the researcher has adopted the questionnaire method for this study.
These are data from textbook Journal handset etc. they arise as byproducts of the same other purposes. Example administration, various other unpublished works and write ups were also used.
Population of the study
Population of a study is a group of persons or aggregate items, things the researcher is interested in getting information on Nigerian press and its influence on free and fair election in Nigeria (a content analysis of the 2019 presidential election) in punch and vanguard newspapers. 200 staff of punch and vanguard newspapers was selected randomly by the researcher as the population of the study.
PRESENTATION ANALYSIS INTERPRETATION OF DATA
Efforts will be made at this stage to present, analyze and interpret the data collected during the field survey. This presentation will be based on the responses from the completed questionnaires. The result of this exercise will be summarized in tabular forms for easy references and analysis. It will also show answers to questions relating to the research questions for this research study. The researcher employed simple percentage in the analysis.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain Nigerian press and its influence on free and fair election in Nigeria (a content analysis of the 2019 presidential election) in punch and vanguard newspapers. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of Nigerian press and its influence on free and fair election in Nigeria (a content analysis of the 2019 presidential election) in punch and vanguard newspapers.
This study was on Nigerian press and its influence on free and fair election in Nigeria (a content analysis of the 2019 presidential election) in punch and vanguard newspapers. Three objectives were raised which included: to determine the direction of the contents on the 2019 presidential election, to determine how sensational the punch and vanguard newspapers in their coverage of the presidential election campaigns on free and fair election and to determine the influence of punch and vanguard newspapers on leadership ascendancy in 2019 Presidential election in Nigeria. In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 staff of punch and vanguard newspapers. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made production managers, news correspondents, editors and junior staff were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies
The prominence of the political adverts in the national dailies shows huge investment into media confirming Alawode and Sunday’s (2013) finding that the media are very powerful and served to enhance the economic development of the nation. A comparative analysis of punch and vanguard newspapers ‟ to the existing body of knowledge, as shown that, newspapers in Nigeria have unequal preference to the coverage of political election in the 2019 presidential election. In addition, factors such as proximity, ownership, economy, and regional affiliation can prompt newspapers‟ attention towards a political party. Finally, the study will constitute a valuable document to the Journalist, INEC, non-governmental organization, policy makers, et cetera in formulating appropriate policies that will regulate the activities of the press coverage of political parties during an election
Newspapers in Nigeria should endeavour to give equal attention to all participating political parties during an election.
Emphasis should be given to other themes such as; voting information, image of the candidate, scandal and advocacy.
Prominence should be given to political parties through story placement/layout (in the front and back pages of the newspapers).
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