the role of social media in electioneering credibility
This study will analyze the role of social media in the 2015 elections, highlighting the ways in which the key election stakeholders utilized social media during the election. The task of this study is divided into six sections. Following this introduction is the second section that explores the meaning, attributes, and classifications of social media. it analyze the watchdog role played by the media in a democratic society, also the paper take a look at the theoretical frame work, review of literature, empirical studies, the study also poss.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The 2015 general elections witnessed a remarkable use of social media as a political communication tool in Nigeria. Three major issues underline the tremendous use of social media tools during the 2015 elections. Firstly, the use of social media in Nigeria’s2015 elections reflects a global trend towards “internet elections” or “e-electioneering” (Macnamara 2008). Around the world, rapidly expanding access to internet, increased availability of internet ready smart-phones and other communication devices, as well as the evolution of web-based new media – personal websites, social networking sites, blogs, e-newsletters, have redefined methods of political communication, leading to a significant shift towards the use of social media in the electoral process. Previously, network television and newspapers dominated coverage of electioneering and were the primary sites of election-related information. But today, the social media has become a major election information sharing platform globally. Because of its ease of use, speed, and reach, social media is revolutionizing the efficiency of election administration, coverage and reporting.
The second issue that underline the use of social media in Nigeria’s 2015 elections is the tendency of some Nigerian politicians to tap into the opportunities offered by the social media for on-line campaigning. During the 2015 general elections, many politicians, particularly the presidential aspirants, used social media tools to connect with voters and constituents. Facebook and Twitter appear to be the most widely used social media platforms by the politicians. For example, in December 2014, it was estimated that Goodluck Jonathan had nearly 600,000 fans on his Facebook page (Ekine 2010). Other presidential aspirants like Mohammedu Buhari, Ambrose Albert, Oluremi Sonaiya, all had Twitter and other social media accounts. Political parties like the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APC also maintained Facebook accounts. Social media offered politicians and their parties the opportunity to broadcast messages and recruit a huge number of volunteers to support their campaign.3 The third issue that underscore the use of social media in Nigeria’s 2011elections is the tendency of Nigerian civil society and the electorate to take up social media as a tool for improving the efficiency of election observation.
Prior to the conduct of the 2015 elections, elections in Nigeria have been largely flawed by vote rigging and other electoral malpractices. The 2007 and 20011 elections were particularly marked by dissatisfaction by candidates, voters and observers. The elections were trailed by complaints of irregularities such as disenfranchisement of prospective voters, snatching of ballot boxes from election officials and stuffing of the boxes with invalid ballot papers, as well as allegations of collusion between election officials and politicians to alter election results and subvert popular mandate (Ibrahim and Ibeanu 2009). The flaws that characterized the conduct of the 20011 elections severely dented the integrity of elections in Nigeria’s, and triggered demands for freer, fairer, and more transparent elections.
To address the flaws that marred previous elections in Nigeria, various organizations, institutions and individuals set up social media platforms that enabled the citizens to oversee the electoral process and report electoral malpractices to authorities through their mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices. Through social media platforms, overwhelming number of videos, photos, tweets and comments were shared.
In the words of one analyst, “the widespread use of these real-time media severely limited electoral malpractices because we found that people were aware that they were on camera and this made them operate at their best behaviour” (Omokri 2011). Attahiru Jega, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), also agrees that the use of social media during the 2015 elections “enhanced transparency in the electoral process and made INEC more accountable to the public in the conduct of elections” (cited in Amuchie 2012). The 2011 general elections offer a unique context and opportunity to examine the use of social media in elections, especially the usefulness and applicability of social media in the electoral environment. Although it seems obvious that social media contributed in no small measure to the success of the 2015 elections, it is pertinent to understand specifically how particular stakeholders in the 2015 elections, like INEC, politicians/political parties, the electorate, and CSOs, used the social media during the elections.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The role of social media in every society is often to educate, inform and enlighten. It is assumed that, where those roles are adequately carried out, elections are bound to be free and fair. However, in Nigeria, several elections have been married. The question is how the social media has mobilized the Nigerian populace. How come electoral processes have not been successful, is the social media system not commensurate to other media systems elsewhere? This and many others are questions that this study hopes to identify.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this report is therefore to provide the role of social media electioneering credibility, and to help identify some of the current and potential future issues around people’s use of social media. It seeks to understand how people are using social networking sites as well as their attitudes to this form of communication.
This study will analyze the role of social media in the 2015 elections, highlighting the ways in which the key election stakeholders utilized social media during the election. The task of this study is divided into six sections. Following this introduction is the second section that explores the meaning, attributes, and classifications of social media. A clear definition of our understanding of social media is pertinent considering that one can easily misconstrue social media to encompass only social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook, and My space. The third section analyzes the treatment of social media in the Nigeria’s electoral legal framework, particularly the Electoral Act 2010. This analysis will highlight the relevance of the Electoral Act 2010 in enhancing the use of social media. The fourth section of this study will examine the use of social media among key stakeholders in the electoral process, including INEC, politicians/political parties, the electorate, and CSOs. The fifth section will recap the main arguments of the study and reflect on wider issues emanating from the findings of the study, while the final section will proffer recommendations.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This project research focused specifically on the role of social media in electioneering credibility ( A study of the 2015 general election).
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this report are as follows:
· The study indicated that social media in electioneering aid credibility
· The study indicated that social media can be used as tools to connect with voters and constituents
· To show that social media has become a major election information sharing platform globally.
· It indicated that social media act as a tool for improving the efficiency of election observation
· It enhanced transparency in the electoral process and made INEC more accountable to the public in the conduct of elections.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This and many others are questions that this study hopes to identify.
· Has social media help in mobilizing the Nigerian populace?
· Is 2015 electoral processes successful?
Is the social media system not commensurate to other media systems elsewhere?
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