THE IMPACT OF NIGERIAN PRESS ON THE CHOICE OF A POLITICAL CANDIDATE
Mass communication is defined as messages directed towards a large group of people using a mass medium. It involves disseminating information to a large, diverse, homogenous/heterogeneous audience. Mass communication is made possible through the help of mass media. That is to say mass media makes mass communication a reality. Mass media includes television, radio, newspaper, magazine etc.
For every human society the successful conduct of her internal/external affairs depends largely on the extent of the reliability of government apparatus and the government successfully communicating, understanding and accepting themselves in a mutual and symbiotic relationship"- Obaze .A et al (2004:1)
The need for information is such that man can hardly function or determine his course of life with out communication. On account of this, the influential role of the media is cited in her caprice to direct, redirect, and shoulder the course of altitude change and instilling/building public perception towards societal affair.
There is no modern society that can dispense with the press especially newspapers. The newspapers especially to places where there are no radio stations rapidly spread important news. The newspapers give us reliable information about towns and countries. Many social tools are exposed in one newspaper to attract the attention of the government, police and the citizens as a whole so that such evils may be immediately combated. Many articles written by intelligent people and carried by newspapers contain good ideas with which we can experiment in our bid to reform the society. These articles have suggested ways and means by which we can combat tribalism, fraud, serious crimes, avarice, greed, and extravagance, which are disintegrating forces in the society.
By impacting meaningfully through the involvement of Nigeria press vis-Ã -vis as a social system in society positioning, it is her duty, responsibility and obligation to enhance the survival of the vital ingredient of society demand. Which are unity; structure; inter-dependence; compliance, commitment and conformity; and transmission of social norms, culture and value. The media is by this gear towards enhancing the continuity and survival of the total social "gadget."
The print media, particularly the medium of newspaper has become the major source of information dissemination over the years, and also the major means of political mobilization in Nigeria. Newspaper has the ability to inform, educate, entertain, enlighten and mobilize the public. That is why the government and other private bodies give much attention to it. The ability of newspaper to also mobilize the people and make them behave in a given manner and to perform certain actions has made it a tool in the hands of the government. The medium serves as an intermediary between the government and the people, because it assists the government in getting it plans and policies across to the people, and the people in return gets their response, feeling and plight back to the government.
Footnoting this trend on the national scale, the challenges that confront us as young democracy nation in a country of diverse ethnic divide, is to establish an ideological and structural homogeneity with a common political destiny and purpose among our diverse ethnic groups, forthwith, the media being an institution of the larger society is virtually needed to shoulder this course.
After many years of military rule in Nigeria, democracy became a much needed endeavour and newspaper serves as a major tool through which the people were fully informed, educated, enlightened and mobilized to actively participate in the decision making in the country during transition period.
Newspaper to a large extent helped in making the people of Nigeria to get all the political awareness, and it mobilized the people to both contest election and be voted for, or to vote for a candidate of their choice as an electorate. The importance of newspaper in ensuring a successful transition in Nigeria cannot be underestimated.
Pinpointing the decisive measure the Nigeria press has attained, it is for her to maintain her effort to accumulate and accommodate the structural pattern of the social unit into the mainstream of our society entity, hence creating a platform for an all rounds stability of societal struggle. During this attempt by the press in this fortified struggle; and her nature of place in societal positioning it came to interest that, politic or the political sphere falls as one of the social system. The society today which is acknowledge as a contingent of each social sphere/system(s), need the collaboration and support of each system in order to get herself "alive".
In our modern society, the remarkable role of newspapers in political affairs of a free and democratic society or nation is that they educate and influence public opinion relative to political issues. They carry manifestos of political parties before the elections, publish what certain political leaders think of other parties and give adequate publicity to political activities.
The value of newspapers in a political society cannot be over emphasized. John Bittner (1980) wrote,
"On whether there should be a society without a newspapers or a newspapers without a society I will chose the later because its newspapers that made the society".
Bittner simply mean that newspapers play the remarkable role of making or marring a society. This supposition Jeremy Turnstel agreed with when he wrote the books titled.
"The media is America" and a decade later he wrote another book "The media is still America"
Politically, it is the above supposition that prompted the study of this work into analyzing, using audience research, to determine the impact of the Nigeria press, in this case the newspaper, on the choice of political candidate. This is because, among other things discussed earlier the newspaper influences its readers by shaping their thinking towards believing what ordinary they wouldn't have believe. Onagoruwa (1973) most have seen through this, agree with the supposition when he wrote that: "The power of the press is the power of the written word - its first quality is performance". Unlike the spear arrow or the fired bullet a written word can be in ages.
In other word, newspaper readership has a lasting memory of whatever interesting that appears on pages of newspaper. And it is for this reason that some politicians and political elections candidates have device means of manipulating the mind of their supporters and non-supporters alike into believing their ability to performed better when elected into any political office position. The means they use through the newspaper includes, writing of article directly or, using other latent to write a favourable article that will increase their personality and credibility; they also write opinion and advertisement using their picture; some even newspaper. Columnists who exploit these advantages promote themselves in the name of gaining cheap popularity before the masses that are able to vote. No wonder Mark Levin (2000) said,
"Just as the Government becomes necessary to society for even development, the press becomes inevitable to the political development of that society".
By this foremost discussion, I will through this piece of study bring the relevance needs and impact the Nigeria press (print restrictive) plays on politics. Citing the players of this system (i.e. politic, as political candidate) I will do well, centered the work on how widely the media promulgate the interest/yearning and goals of these candidate and how on a better ground have the Nigeria press being able to influence and implant a sustainable touch on the political system, through her "conscientizing" of the political public on choosing a political candidate as their choice.
It is in light of the above that this project research work intends to study the impact of the Nigeria press on the choice of political candidates using as case study residence of Kaduna metropolis.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
As pose by contemporary scholars of the Instinctive Stimulus (S.I) theory and those of the Agenda Setting theory on the powerful influence of the media as a mind-controlling agent, it is on account of their posits the research will drive home a point.
Citing possible ways the media could play or improve in her "bi-literal" relationship with the political system, the researcher will as a matter of fact, present the media on a cross-road to verify (as being claimed by the "magic-bullet" theorist}, if at all, the media have gain such a great influence in the affairs of the political system.
The main objective of the study is to stress the roles of newspaper (a branch of the Nigeria press) as a tool for political sensitization and mobilization in Nigeria. With this, it is among the aims of this study to find out the effects of Newspaper report on political affairs in Nigeria.
Furthermore, the study will be carried out to know the effect of newspaper content on its reader in relation to other medium of Mass Communication. Our study of the Nigeria press effect on choice of political candidate will be lowered to cover only the print discourse, in that it exist as the encompassing knowledge of what we appreciation as press.
Through this study, a design will be made to make various politicians contesting for electoral position as well as the electorate to see the importance of newspaper in political mobilization, information, awareness, enlightenment and education. With a provision of two-edge paramedic against arguments to ascertain which from which better spread the goodwill of politicians to the public - be it the party, which the candidate belong or the print medium.
In the mean time, the objective will enable us see the relative importance of newspaper to the society and why the government rely more on newspaper content to mobilize Nigerians to fully participate in the general elections in Nigeria which will be pattern to reflect how the choice made by residence of Kaduna state metropolis is influenced by the newspaper coverage.