THE ROLE OF TELEVISION IN THE POLITICAL MOBILIZATION OF RURAL AREAS IN NIGERIA
This study is geared towards finding out the role of television in political mobilization of rural areas in Nigeria with special reference to Njikoka Local Government . For this study, five rural towns in Njikoka Local government Area were studied.
The important of television as the most mobilization media of mass communication is universally acknowledge, the use of television is limited because of some factors that militate against its full utilization, such as high cost of television, maintenance cost and power supply. Most rural communities are not connected to the electricity. Non availability of television has made some rural communities to resort to the old traditional methods of transmitting information which is counter productive and mockery of democracy, especially now that we are at the stage of entering into the new century.
Television has the advantage of audio and visual facilities, hearing and seeing makes for a lasting impression. Political and governments could exploit television to get across their political activities and agenda to the people politician could use it to market their political, ideologies, programmes and by so doing, win followers and supports through creating awareness and political enlightenment in Nigeria.
This project is a survey research and primary source of data collection for the study in the questionnaire which is formed from three main research question. The researcher made use of oral interview also to get across to the illiterate dwellers also to get balanced data and ensure credibility’s, reliability of information supplied.
Data collected were analysed and interpreted. The finding reveal that the impact of television in not yet fully and enjoyed by many in Njikoka zone because of the high cost of television and lack of electricity supply for those who own TC sets. In this democratic era, rural, dwellers needs political, education, awareness and enlightenment. The government should therefore do something to improve the economy of the nation to enable may to be position to own T.V sets. They should also embark on rural electrification and political education. Ministry of information and that of public utilities should consider the possibility of providing and developing rural television viewing centres for the general public.
Adult services should be encouraged and established in rural communities to eradicate illiteracy.
Television authorities should run more programmes to carry rural dwellers along. The researcher hoped that the suggestions would enhance political mobilization and public enlightenment.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
This study will delve into an in-depth appraisal of role of television in the political mobilization of rural area in Nigeria. However, the Nigeria Electorate in recent years has always been in intensely individualistic group. Hence political parties will always confront profound culture differences. Given the cultural structure of the Nigerian electorate, the important of television programmes cannot be overemphasized. The role of television in political mobilization in the annulled 1993 presidential is one of the greatest challenges facing the electorate especially those in the rural areas. This also is a typical case of election malpractices that have been the lot of Nigeria elections.
Television on it’s own part is an electronic gadgets wit the combination of sound and pictures. It is mot effective spontaneous message carrier of our time. Its conciseness brings to the masses especially the rural dwellers in on the spot account of the event making it number one when compared to any other medium. Admittedly television may be expensive as to have it in every home or to be affordable to most people in the rural areas but when its ability to satisfy curiosity by allowing you see for yourself is not just an overstatement. Again its ability to disseminate information in our various dialects also serves as atomic to language barrier. Television as an integral part of the fourth estate of the realm, is expected as usual to play its traditional role as a watchdog of the society and as agent of change and innovations. In rural areas advertisement role on political trend aspirant responsiveness to the medium has become a major feature of campaigns for public office at national state and local government level. Most rural dwellers are known to be financially poor because of their low education status and cannot afford television sets. This has often been a problem to efficient and effective use of television in achieving political mobilization in the rural area. All things being equal, the term, television and political mobilization refers to all kinds of political services rendered to the populace to bring about information, Education, entertainment and influence in the rural dwellers. Apart from the general rile, it enhance and encourage through its various programmes the acquisition and pursuit of knowledge thereby promoting national consciousness and acts as a powerful means of social mobilization.
i. USES OF TELEVISION: Television has many uses other than broadcasting programmes at the home. For example, school, businesses, hospitals and many other Organizations use closed circuit television. In closed circuit Television, signal are set by way of wire to only certain television sets rather to all sets within the area that broadcast signals could reach. Since the late 1970s, such equipments as video cassette record, video dis players and personal computers have changed the way people use television in their homes. For example, television sets may be used for such purposes as playing electronic games and receiving televised information services, documentaries, discussion or talk shows and all kinds of sports events. Considering the fact that television is not only the means of communication let us have an overview of the various media of communication.
ii. ASSESSMENT OF THE VARIOUS MEDIA :-Radio, Television magazine, pamphlets, posters, brochures and audio – visual aids are important media for conveying information simultaneously to a large population. They easily open the eyes of the people to the fact of mobilization. Radio especially, can reach people and be effectively used in many countries as instrument mobilizing communication. Television with its sight and sound characteristics can create insight which radio cannot. But Television has its limitations, its use is hampered by its very cast, only very few rural folks can afford the luxury of buying sets.
According to Rogers and Shoemaker, less reliance on mass media channels in less developed nations may be attributed to
Lack of relevance of messages in the mass media channels that do exist (Op.cit, p.258) An overview of this assessment reveals to us that upon the benefits according to each of these media, there are still loopholes which stop them from doing perfectly the work for they are meant for considering these loopholes, one may be tempted to ask what is the future of television.
iii. THE FUTURE OF TELEVISION:- The future of the television will be one of the constant and somewhat unpredictable change. The zapper, the hand-held remote control or changing the channel for muting the sound or changing the channel without leaving the chair or couch will continue to trouble advertisers and they will actively explore alternative media. Another aspect of television feature is that it is too difficult to predict its technology.
Looming on the horizon are a number of technology systems that will vastly extend the number of choices viewers will be able to make their homes. These includes a number of new ways of deliver. The signal via optic cables and telephone lines. Other innovations will enlarge and clarify the picture that viewers see.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM:
Television is one of the most persuasive and effective media of the mass communication, but it has not been accepted in Nigeria as popular medium. This owning to its relatively high costs, irregular electricity supply and ownership patterns that have made them the sole preserve of either government of a few wealthy individuals. The people mostly affected are those in the rural areas including Njikoka Local Government Area. Apart from the fact that they appear to be under- reported, most of them cannot afford the price of television and the few that have one do not often receive the message because of the irregular power supply. As a result of this, the rural dwellers resort to the primordial system of using the town crier to disseminate information. The use of television in mobilizing the political life of the rural dwellers have not been achieved because of poverty on the part of the villagers and lack of sufficient support from Government.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
To know the extent to which television programmes have gone in mobilizing and persuading voters in the rural areas during election. Since television is mostly employed by candidates as a means of reaching the people. To know whether television medium has in any way contributed positively to the political life of the people, especially the rural dwellers. To provide easy access to developmental information diffusion at the grass root.
We must have that full and unrestricted access to all facts and ideas.
This democratic idea can only be realized when the citizens are able to receive, internalize and apply information in such a way as can enable them participate fully in the political process. While it is the fundamental accessible to the electorate in a demarcate system, it is also necessary that the target public is able to take advantage of such information which will from the basic ingredient of its political judgment. The essence of information lies in its ability to reduce or eliminate uncertainty by eliminating societal as well as environmental complexities in terms of political evolution. Information seeks to explain political issues, tends and phenomenon of which the recipient has hither to been ascertain or completely obvious. Thus, the value of information is determined by the extent to which it has helped us to gain new knowledge and insight into issues over which we have been puzzled, thereby, reducing our anxiety or ignorance. It is in this regard that H. pross (1972; 21- 31) has defined information as “a co-relate of uncertainness”. While it may be impracticable to generate total mass participation of the electorate in the political process of any policy, it is still desirable that a greater percentage of the enfranchised citizenry exercise their political sights and obligations by demonstrating what L Mibratt (1996 5;60) call “rotational activities such as holding public and party offices”
Transitional activities such as attending political meetings and spectators activities such as wearing party’s sticker, vest and face-cap and finally voting. It is when individuals are capable of being exposed and alive to political stimuli transmitted through the mass media such as radio, television, looks, papers, posters, stricken bill boards etc. That the political aspirant can expect to communicate with them in terms of selling himself and his manifestos in other to achieve mutual understanding and good will, acceptance and patronage.
And enfranchised citizenry that is illiterate or pauperized to make meaningful use of these media forms will not be expected to participate in the political process in any of the categories already mentioned. As has been stated by Donotive and C Olien (1970, 197- 209) with increased in flow of information into a social system, segments of the population with highest levels of education often tend to acquire this information at a faster rate than segments with lower levels of 2:2 education. According to them such a situation will lead to increasing gap in knowledge between these segments it then becomes pertinent to ask if certain mass media stimuli cannot be given different and often distorted inter predations by the different individual and groups that constitute a society that is ethnically and culturally divergent. And if the old saying that “knowledge is power is still relevant” it then means that those segment of the society that are not able to take advantage of information (which produces knowledge) with not have the kind of power which the well informed and exposed often do enjoy.
M. Robinson (1975.288) has gone a stop further by saying that in cases where recipients may be fairly educated but economically disadvantage even though they may develop strong impressions about places, personalities and over all condition of the country. They may still be lacking in the sophistication to follow (or care about the specifies of individual political ) new story. It should be noted that if only a tiny segment of the Nigeria society i.e. able to make effective demand and use of information transmitted through the mass media faster than the rest, there is a considerable gap in knowledge of political affairs between it and the largely in active majority.
But according to Oknokwo: Since it is the unformatted citizenry that can be asked to express his opinion always on contemporary issues of public interest. It becomes necessary to intensify efforts in providing information education and entertainment to ensure maximum participation of the populace in social, political and economic lives of the nation.
1.2 THE REVIEW
From the above, we can that information is very essential for overall mobilization of those in the rural areas. Since television is seen as the most effective medium of reaching these people and so many of them have not been able to put one but rather depend on opinion leaders for political as they do not know their political sights and obligation.
According to Akpan (1987:22) media information has a tremendous energy for change. Change in this context refers learning, which manifests in the needed most in the rural areas where a good number of the people are allowing in ignorance. They therefore need media information to improve in all aspects of life. For instance, in ion to improve in all aspects of life. For instance, in political aspect, they need media information to participate fully in elements because through the media, they will fully in elections because through the media, they will learn their political rights and obligations. In the economic aspects, the media will teach them how to use modern implements in farming so as to make a good yield.
Akpan (1987:124) does a step further by stating that television can be very good medium for mobilizing and Educating the people. It can used for the transmission of knowledge the instillation of values and the mobilization of intellectual, physical, social and artistic skills and competence. Its ability to talk, more and be seen makes television very unique.
Akpan (1987:125) also sees television as a very powerful visual aid in teaching or learning process. According to him with television the learner can see demonstrations at close quarter. For instance, the political aspirations carry out their campaigns in the television. The candidates are also seen television, advertising themselves with this, people can then decide on whom to vote for television therefore, has the capacity to pass knowledge thus, the occurrence of learning.
In this case, he is trying to tell us that television being audio visual could be a good medium for mobilizing and Educating the rural dwellers on political as it makes them to see for themselves rather than being told. Emphasizing more on the need for television in the political process. Gerald ford, 1976 has this to say
The presidents campaign must be
We must change the perception
of literarily millions
of voters and this can only be done
Through the mass media with the
Principle emphasis on television
From the above, we can understand that the best medium through which we can carry out campaign is the television. It is also a good medium for mobilizing political aspirants who wish to sell themselves so as to win people over, especially those in the rural areas. The writers
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will help to create an awareness on the need for proper use of television in political mobilization of rural areas. It will enable television procedures to give equal coverage to both urban and rural dwellers it will help to create a more co-coordinated socio-political and socio- economic awareness on some burning issues at the grass roots. It is also hoped that the research will help in promoting political participation and national consciousness. It will ensure continued education for the rural population.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Are the people of Nijiokoka Local Government Area exposed to political advertisement and activities
2. Does exposure to television programme affect their voting pattern
3. Have television programme been able to create any positive impact on the political life of the people.
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The functional theory that is mostly related to this study is the two-step flow hypotheses .
Ho : The theory holds the view that the mass media often transmit ideas directly to opinion leaders who formulate opinions and in turn pass some to less interested and more poorly informed voters.
H1 : T hat much of the effect of the mass media were found to be more powerful that had been perniciously assumed and also noted that much of media effect was indirect since they were interrupted through interpersonal interaction.
H2 : The research found that opinion change among those individual who engaged in interpersonal communication that is their voting was more influence by other people than by media message.
Ho :Those individual who influenced the voters were labeled opinion leaders.
H1 :Those opinion leaders rely heavily on media for political contents, in contrast tot those voters who rely more on opinion leaders to make up their minds.
H2 :The researcher exactly finds, the inhabitants of Njikoka Local Government Area, majority of who rely on the opinion leaders for decision – making, both political and otherwise. The regards were highlighted in the concept that was originally coined by laze field and other 1984 as part of the two- step model whereby they describe the following social characteristics to opinion leaders.
1. They occupy positions, which their communities regard as giving them special competence in the matter at hand
2. Accessibility to many people
3. Contact with relevant information coming from outside their immediate circle.
4. Opinion leaders are like to be exposed to the media appropriate, to the sphere in which they lead. The two-step flow hypothesis”, therefore is the pivot on which this research work is based.
1:7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
There are some outstanding terms used it is work and for the purpose of clarity, their definitions are given but where necessary, descriptions are used in place of definitions.
MOBILIZATION : It can be define as encouraging people to come together to pursue common development objectives.
POLITICAL: Is defined as the science or art of Government politics is not confined to state but can take place in other associations and institutions.
RURAL AREA: Are men and women who live in different urbanized communities of any country in contrast to the urban people who live in the towns or in a more developed environment.
TELEVISION: Is the method of broadcasting still and moving picture and sound over a distance by means of electrical waves moving through the air.
Through television, viewers can see and learn about people, places and things in far away lands.
MOBILIZATION :This means to work together in order to achieve a particular aim.
POLITICAL: Art of Governing for letter and more rewarding life
RURAL AREA: Any undeveloped area, in this project Njikoka Local Government Area.
TELEVISION: The medium for transmitting mobilizing information /value for the rural areas.