PERCEPTION OF GUBERNATORIAL NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENTS IN THE 2015 ELECTION BY THE ELECTORATE IN OLEH METROPOLIS, DELTA STATE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

The term newspaper advertising refers to publicity made in the form of paper, newsprint on a daily or weekly basis.  It also refers to a serial publication containing news and other informative articles. It is usually printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. The news organizations that publishnewspapers are themselves often metonymically callednewspapers.  According to Udeze and Akpan(2013), newspaper advertising seeks to persuade audience, inform, educate, entertain, enlighten and mobilize the public. This is why the government and other private bodies give so much attention to it.  The ability of newspapers to also mobilize people and make them behave in a given manner and to perform certain actions made it a tool in the hands of the government or political parties.  The medium serves as an intermediary between the government, political parties and the people because it assist the government in getting plans and policies across to the citizens and in return gets their response, feelings and plight.

For any democratic system to thrive, it is vital that political parties and candidates provide the electorates with adequate information on party policies, clear cut visions as well as their political agendas to enable electorates actively choose their candidate based on adequate information. To achieve this, political parties use the media in campaign advertisement and the media assists voters to make an informed choice at election time.  This is done in form of paid political advertising, social media campaigns, commentaries and news stories.  For an election to be considered free and fair, electorates must have adequate knowledge of the candidates, political parties and their election policies.  It thus implies that the media plays a significant role in this process and the forum provided by them during the election days become an important platform to present political ideologies by different parties.

Elections are considered to be the primary and important part of democracy.  The elections in democratic societies demand that public should have an opportunity to choose the representatives and parties according to their free will in that election is the central instrument for the exercise of the sovereignty of the nation as well as quality measurement of the society (Yaser, Nawaz, Mashud, Chaudhry &Amhead, 2011). The print media particularly the medium of newspapers advertising has been a major source of information dissemination over the years in this regard and also a major means of political mobilization in Nigeria. 

There are various political strategies that contestant employees to emerge as their party’s candidate before ultimately contesting against candidates from other parties in a general election.   These political strategies includes lobbying, personal contacts, political rallies and campaign, however these strategies have now become less effective for mobilizing support and voters for election (Olujide, Adeyemi&Gbadeyan, 2011).  The case of the 2015 general election in Delta State exemplifies a situation that different political parties made extensive use of newspapers advertising to sell their different political views and candidates to the electorates.  The implication of the above statement is that political parties may have had their chances enhanced through advertising messages.  It is in the light of the above that this study examined the perception of gubernatorial newspapers advertisement in the 2015 election by the electorate of Oleh metropolis in Delta State.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

During the 2015 gubernatorial elections in Delta State, political parties made use of newspapers advertising to sell their parties and the candidates on their platforms such that it actually influenced the behavior of the electorates of Oleh community in Delta State.  Although there are other views that political parties make use of newspapers advertisement to blackmail other political parties as well as publicizing information that may mislead the electorate to wrongly cast their votes.   However, electorates now have erroneous perceptions on the news reported in newspaper as carrying untrue stories.  Practically, newspapers advertising should serve as a tool for political sensitization and mobilization but this view has been wrongly perceived by the readers.  Inspite of the erroneous perceptions by readers, there are little or no studies to investigate the anomalies associated with their perception.  It is this gap that the researcher want to fill by investigating the perception of gubernatorial newspapers advertisement in the 2015 election by the electorate of Oleh metropolis in Delta State.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to investigate the perception of gubernatorial newspapers advertisement in the 2015 election by the electorate of Oleh metropolis in Delta State. The specific objectives are: 

1.       To assess the extent to which newspapers advertising serve as a tool for political sensitization and mobilization in Oleh metropolis.

2.       To find out the effect of newspaper advertising on the political affairs in Oleh metropolis.

3.       To ascertain the effect of newspapers content on its readers in relation to other medium of mass communications in Oleh metropolis.

4.       To determine the extent to which advertisement in newspapers reinforce voter’s decision for a particular gubernatorial candidates in Oleh metropolis.

1.4     Research Questions

The study is guided by the following research questions:

1.       To what extent does newspapers advertising serve as a tool for political sensitization and mobilization in Oleh metropolis?

2.       What effect does newspaper advertising have on the political affairs in Oleh metropolis?

3.       What effect does newspapers content have on its readers in relation to other medium of mass communications in Oleh metropolis?

4.       To what extent does advertisement in newspapers reinforce voter’s decision for a particular gubernatorial candidates in Oleh metropolis?

1.5     Significance of the Study

The significance of the study stems from the fact that it there are little or no empirical evidence on the perception of gubernatorial newspapers advertisement in the 2015 election by the electorate of Oleh metropolis in Delta State.  Thus, the findings of this study will be of immense importance to journalists, media owners, government, political parties as well as research students.  For the journalists, the study will help them realize the important role they can play in helping the electorates at the grassroot level take the right decisions as they exercise their franchise through the contents of the information published in the newspaper for all political parties.  The study will enable media owners to earmark reasonable amount of money, equipment and other logistics to support issues as they pertain to politics. The government at all levels will see reasons to attach so much important and value to the print media as it is one of the commonest form of passing information to its citizens.  For political parties, the study will guide them in choosing the right words or information needed to be disseminated to the electorate rather than blackmail messages and finally, the study will serve as a secondary data to research students that may want to carry out a study in this subjected related area.

1.6     Scope of the Study

The purpose of this study is to investigate the perception of gubernatorial newspapers advertisement in the 2015 election by the electorate and its influence on their choice of candidates and participation.  However, this study is delimited in scope to the 2015 election in Oleh metropolis, Delta State.

1.7     Background Information on Oleh Metropolis

          Oleh is the headquarters of Isoko South Local Government Area, one of the two administrative units in the Isoko region of Delta State of Southern Nigeria. As the administrative center for the local government, it houses the council offices. The town is under the rulership of a monarch, His Majesty, King A.W.O. Ovrawah (J.P., FCAI).  He is also the traditional custodian of the people's customs and traditions. The monarch is influential in Isokoland in matters relating to his kingdom. The main economic activity is food crop farming and some hunting. The staple food crops include cassava and yams. Women form a large proportion of the farming population. They also engage in trade of food crops for cash to meet other basic household needs. On market days, Oleh women can be seen peddling their assorted wares in the town markets. Cassava is the source of most of the foods consumed by the people. Garri, starch meal (Ozi), Egu are cassava derivatives.

Oleh has several primary, secondary and post-secondary schools. Some of its major schools are Odoro primary school, Owara primary school, Emiye girl's grammar school Emore grammar school and Saint Michaels College. It also has law campus and faculty of engineering Delta State University with various private schools.  Although the predominant religion in Oleh is Christianity, some natives still practice pagan worship. This is evident in the few ancestral shrines that still dot the Oleh landscape. A critical appraisal of the belief system of the average Oleh citizen will reveal a combination of both Christian practices and traditional leanings.

1.8     Limitations of the Study

One of the major limitations of this study is that not all the sample size will be studied.  This is as a result of the homogenous nature of the population, time and financial constraints.  Another major limitation was the uncooperative attitude of some respondents towards providing the required information for the fear that information so provided will be used against them.  Despite these limitations, it is believed that the quality of the research work would not be hampered.

1.9     Definition of Terms

*        Advertising: This refers to any paid form of communication about a product, services, ideas and sometimes candidates in the form of political campaigns.

*        Electorate: This is refers to a group of individuals who are eligible to cast their vote in an election.

*        Voting Patterns: The way the electorates in Delta State voted in the 2015 gubernatorial elections.

*        Newspapers: Printed media usually distributed weekly or daily in the form of a folded book or papers and usually sectioned off based on subjects and contents.

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