THE EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON VOTING BEHAVIOR IN NIGERIA
This study titled “The effect of social media on voting behavior in Nigeria” sought to find out the influence of social media on Nigerian youths voting behaviour. The Nigerian population, according to the census of 2006 has over 70% of Nigeria’s 150million people as under the age of 30years; despite this young populace the country has been having low voters turnout during elections. Guided by the diffusion of innovation and agenda setting theories, the study used questionnaire and interview to sample the opinions of Nigerian youths resident in the south east to examine if and how they utilize social media and the influence it has on their political behaviour. Using the online Australian calculator, a sample size of 400 respondents was drawn from the five south eastern states which had a combined population of 16, 395, 560. Multi level sampling which consisted of cluster sampling and purposive sampling was used to draw the respondents across the south eastern states. Findings revealed that Nigerian youths resident in the south eastern region are very active on social media and it has a positive influence on their voting behaviour. However, social media does not have an influence on their voting preferences. It is however a veritable mass medium that can be used to set agenda and diffuse ideas and programmes to the youths as it is highly regarded as a credible medium by the youth. It is recommended that the federal government should intensify its ICT drive in the education and other sectors to bring more citizens also on the information super highway. Orientation agencies, political parties, electoral bodies were advised to increase their online presence especially on social media platforms which are popular with the youths in order to reverse the voters apathy syndrome prevalent among the youths.
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