The study examines readers’ perception of newspapers political advertisement. Political campaigns go for projecting ideas, canvassing of support and exhibiting candidates and manifesto in publicity towards the objective. Publicity for rallies and campaigns can be done with posters, flyers, banners, radio, television and newspaper. Media coverage of campaigns is important as the reports propagate the events further. The study adopted agenda setting theory of mass communication. The survey design was employed in carrying out this research. A total size sample size was drawn from the total population of 46, 000 through the simple random technique. The findings indicate that pointer and the guardian newspapers reader of political advertisement often read these newspapers daily for the purpose of knowing how political parties and their candidates are canvassing for voters. In campaigning for votes, the result of the study indicates that quarter page advertisements with black and white appear more. In comparing both newspapers used in this study, the Guardian newspaper frequently publishes political advertisement than the pointer newspaper. Newspaper organization should improve on picture quality of political advertisements so that many advertisers will often patronize the newspaper during elections. The study recommended that Newspapers should avoid partisan politics in advertising for politicians and political parties in Nigeria. The doctrine of objectivity in mass communication cannot be superimpose with the quest for advert revenue, because media credibility is paramount, government owned newspapers like the pointer should distinguished the newspaper from the government of the day as such will make the newspaper to be more objective in carrying out political advertisements be it the ruling government or opposition party and newspaper organization should always tailor it advertisement to suit the whims and caprice of the people because they are the society of the newspaper.
1.1 Background to the Study
According to Umechukwu (2004:14) “politics is all those activities which are directly or indirectly associated with acquiring of state power, the consolidation of state power and the use of state” this simply means that politicians is concerned with acquiring and exercising political power within a state. Cambridge Dictionaries defines politics “as the activities of the government, members of law-making organizations, or people who try to influence the way a country is governed.” To governed translate the uses of power in politics. Power remains an important instrument in political development of a country.
If power is the center of politics it therefore means that the political bone of contention is power. Ezeukwu (1998:272) views power “as control of behaviour”. The power politics must be vivid in any political circle, whereby the activities of such person or person is focus on how to possess power to influence the behavior of other. Ezeukwu (1998:278) opined that “legitimate power is authority, and its wielding is morally and legally justified”. Authority is legitimate power and power is legitimate when the individuals exercising it have been granted the necessary authority. The authority to exercise power must come from the people, and can usually be found in certain written documents such as a constitution.
The constitution determines the political development because all parts including the government and the press have important roles which are coherent in the pursuit of the nationhood of Nigeria.
In political terrain, the people are viewed as king because of the capacity they carried to enthroned or dethrone any government.
The power of the people is usually exercised during general election. Before the conduct of election, political parties and their candidates woo the people with all available campaign channels. Olalekan (2003:232) posits “Rallies and campaigns in politics in politics are done to mobilize the people and enlighten them to adopt a cause, give support, embrace a principle, take a step etc:.
Political campaigns go for projecting ideas, canvassing of support and exhibiting candidates and manifesto in publicity towards the objective. Publicity for rallies and campaigns can be done with posters, flyers, banners, radio, television and newspaper. Media coverage of campaigns is important as the reports propagate the events further. The means of reaching out to the public’s is political advertising. According to Omotunde, Babtunde, John-Dewole (2013), advertising was derived from the Latin word toward”. Advertising is a major tool in the idea is to sell products, services or idea to consumers”. It is a form of mass communication use to persuade or manipulate the mind of audience who are prospective consumer of a particular products, service or idea.
Since advertising is on wining the mind of people through persuasive communication, it therefore mean that political advertising is political instruments for winning the mind of the electorate to support and vote for a particular candidate who is advertising. Olalekan (2003) defines political advertising “as synchronized methods of promotion and publicity”. Among the tools are websites, flyers, party flag parade, use of electronics and stanbic billboards, distribution of free party stickers and pamphlets, radio and TV jingles, street carnivals, sponsored radio and television phone-in audience participation programme, solidarity visits and rallies.
According to Sunny and Uwem (2013:50), political advertising has become a veritable tool for selling candidates of political parties during election campaigns. John-Kamen (2006:93) argued that political advertising is here to stay. Its influence is vastly overestimated by some critics, but it does help candidates project their personalities to large numbers of voters.
Finally, this study will therefore evaluate how voter perception of political advertisement at the government campaign level in Nigeria and influence to the success or failure at the election.
Aduradolar, Remi and Chris (2013) state “in politics, language is a strong device for communication as it carries many or different shades of meaning. It is the tool of political discourse”. Pfestch (2001) as cited by Galadima (2007:21) states that from the point of system theory, constant exchange between occupants of boundary roles of two social system (politics and media) lead to political communication where there is political and media roles with both transcending purely sectional interest”.
This brings to mind that the press is the fourth estate of the realm in political environment. Olalekan (2003:217) defines politics “as the art and science of government, which in turn is a body of person with authority to rule in a country and thereby entrusted with legislative executive and judicial powers. Politics effect therefore is the expression of the will of the state”. According to a quote by a political scientist O.B.C Nwolise, political leaders is the occupancy of a political status by one person or body of person who in constant voluntary interaction with members of the group, determine the direction of group.
In election engineering, the political provide the umbrella for her aspirant win election. Most often, party loyalist and faithful regard the party as “supreme”. The publics of the political party include party members, the electoral body law-enforcement agencies, professional associations, schools and colleges, human rights organizations, women’s association and groups, local opinion leaders, international regulatory agencies, prospective party members, non-governmental organizations labour union, traditional rulers and chiefs, town unions and regional associations, ethnic associations, eligible voters and the mass media.
Olalekan (2003:226) states “the role of political party is provision of candidates for elective posts of government... education of the public through rallies manifestoes, inter-party debates on the way of governance. The process of acquiring and exercising the state power breads the use of the mass media. Nwosu (2004:27) defines mass media “as the agents of mass communication”. N communicating, the politicians seek to use all available channels to reach out to the masses. Uwakwe (2005:22) in agreement states “politicians old and contemporary have always use political advertising. The press contributes in either making or marring the image of politicians. This comes in the way of image making through overt and covert negative or positive press reports and other publicity methods”.
One would understand more about power of the press when one sees segments of society in a dynamic and perpetual struggle using the press as tool in the struggle to win election.
It is a proven fact that the Nigeria independence was won by the nationalist press. Nwosu (2003) opines “soon after 1960, (independence of Nigeria), many government realized the power of the newspaper. A lot of the newspaper sprang up, but they were sponsored by political parties, government or ethnic groups”. Due to these reason many political parties and politicians seek to make they popular to the people by engaging in media political advertising, knowing fully well that media advertising very influential to create favourabel understanding and acceptability by the registered voters of 2015 general election.
Sunny and Uwen (2015) defines political advertising “as the use paid media (newspaper, radio, television, internet etc.) to influence the political decision made for and by groups”. Diamond and Bates (1992) as cited by Sunny and Uwen (2012) notes that unlike political campaigns in the past, advances in media technology have streamlined the process, giving candidates more options to reach larger groups of constituents with little effort. Commenting on the concept of political advertising, According to Olujide et al. (2010) said that political advertising is the use of the media by political candidates to increase their exposure to the public.
Advertisement has become the most commonly used technique to create a favorable image for the opponent, a trend which appeared to be common during. Sunny and Uwen (2013:15) outlined three categories of political advertising to include: political advertisement that gives state of the candidate; contrast political advertisement consists of both negative and positive statement of the opponent and negative political advertisement which seek to attack the opponent.
However, they state that the above are collapsed into two broad: image advertising and issue advertising. Political advertising carries political language which fits the cultural and ethnic background of the constituency. Aduradola, Remi & Chris (2013) view language in polities as a strong device for communication as it carries many or different shades of meaning. The purpose of political message during electioneering campaigns is to inform, entertain and persuade. Significantly, the quantum of political expressions employed by political elites determine to a reasonable extent bring out justified political result. Most politicians use to express views and feelings to the public with the intention of reshaping and redirecting the electorates' opinion to align with theirs. The message should be a simple statement that can be repeated severally throughout the campaign period to persuade the target audience or influence voters act in the candidate’s favors.
Oyeleye (2004) wrote in an article “the power of words and the techniques of public communication” that the situation audience and purpose of communication integrate to determine the function and choice of language to use in an exchange. Gurevitch and Blumler (1997) as stated by Galadima (2009) states that the horizontal and vertical relationship between the media and political communication to include political institution: patties, government and non-government organizations involved in political communication through policy, strategies channels and goals in passing message across. Audience orientation refers to the levels of interest shown in political messages as a result of past experience.
Galadima (2009:22) states that political communication creates and maintains an active and effective citizenship. This is done through television program, radio, newspaper and magazine reports and advertisement. These political communications in the mass media come in form of documentaries, personality, profiles, and features news etc. Political communication is the function of mass media. There is no way a political communication can reach its mass without the mass media. Lorena (2015) opined that the media system has played and will continue to play an important advertising in particular, will help us to understand the development of political process”. According to Lorena (2015) “the complex relation between polities is not something new. Thus, is also reflected in the drastic changes in the form and content of the television campaign”.
The essence of using the mass media for campaign is base on the need of influences the electorates. According to Ojekwe (2015) “recently political parties and their candidate are becoming increasingly aware of the effectiveness of advertising and its roles in getting the electorate to choose a particular candidate or part over the other by way of informing them”. Political advertising is the simple means to persuade the electorate through the mass media in order to create favorable image and trust for the political party or candidate. According to Samalia (2003) “the fact that the mass media even through daily advertising continues to pervade our daily lives has continued to be established by various scholars and communication experts alike. In politics, advert campaigns have become an essential tool used among candidates contesting for various positions to get the electorate to vote for them.
Advertising and public relations occupy the centre stage of promotion of political candidates and parties vying for different political positions during campaigns”.
In recent past in Nigeria, political advertising has grown immensely this is due to fact that political awareness by political parties and their candidate on the usefulness of advertising in making the electorates better aware of the patties manifestoes and brand. According to Olujide, Adeyemi, Gboyega (2010) advertising have become the commonly used technique to create a favorable image for the candidates and a negative image for the opponent. . Opeibi (2004) argued that before now, political parties and candidates channeled most of their recourses into political rallies speeches and direct contact to gather the support of electorates”.
The dimension of the political advertisement varies. It include the bill boards, press kit, television, radio, internet, newspaper etc. these medium have their peculiarity in attracting and holding the attention of the mass towards a political party and their candidate. The bill board of political advertisement of chief Great Ogboru, chief Emerhe Otega and senator Okowa were flooded in all major and minor town in delta state all drawing attention.
The Guardian is an independent newspaper, established in 1983 by Alex Ibru for the purpose of presenting balanced coverage of events, and of promoting the best interests of Nigeria. It owes allegiance to no political party, ethnic community, religious or other interest group. Its primary commitment is to the integrity and sovereignty of the Federation of Nigeria, and beyond that to the unity and sovereignty of Africa.
The Guardian is a liberal newspaper, committed to the best traditions and ideals of republican democracy. It believes that it is the responsibility of the state not only to protect and defend the citizen, but also to create the conditions, political, social, economic and cultural, in which all citizens may achieve their highest potential as human beings. It is committed to the principle of individual freedom, but believes that all citizens have duties as well as rights. The Guardian does not, in principle, object to the ideology of free enterprise, since this would be inconsistent with its commitment to individual liberty and freedom. But it believes that the state must intervene judiciously in the economic life of the nation, in order to minimise the adverse effects of free enterprise and ensure that less privileged citizens have reasonable and fair access to the basic necessities of life. The Guardian will at all times uphold the need for justice, probity in public life, equal access to the nation’s resources, and equal protection under the laws of Nigeria for all citizens. The Guardian believes that Nigeria is a legitimate member of the international community, but holds that she can best fulfil her international obligations only if her own security and integrity are assured. The Guardian’s logo is the ancient Egyptian symbol for Conscience. The motto, “Conscience, Nurtured by Truth” is inspired by Uthman Dan Fodio’s saying: ‘‘Conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it.’’ Vanguard Media Limited was established in 1984 by a renowned and veteran Journalist, columnist of the the Sad Sam Fame in the person of Mr Sam Amuka. From the stable of the company are other publications which includes Mr and Mrs Magazine (compilation of comic cartoons on the vanguard newspaper frontpage), Vanguard Yellow Pages( a business directory), Lagos Mirror (an evening paper), Lagos Law Directory and Sports Now(a weekly publication mainly focus on sports). All these was started between 1988 and 1995.Mr sam Amuka is a veteran Jounalist and a renowned columnist, hails from Itsekiri land in Delta State, Nigeria. He is the columnist of the popular Sad Sam Fame. sam Asuka has alot of experience has an editor, he was once an editor of Sunday Times and the First Managing Director of the Punch Newspaper
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Political advertisement has recently gained popularity in Nigeria political environment. This is because of political awareness and participation by the people during the previous general elections. According to Owuamalam (2014), the frequent nature of elections in human societies makes the subject of political advertisement as a case of relevancy because of its content and context in influencing the voters’ behaviours. ,
These political advertisements are targeted at the people especially newspaper political advertisement. Readers are influenced to make voting decisions. What the readers of newspaper advertisement do with political advertisement determines it efficacy in achieving the desired objectives in politicl communications. However, political advertisement is viewed by newspapers readers as a mere political propaganda which is for the interest of the sponsors and for the revenue generation for the newspapers. Some newspapers discard objectivity reporting for revenue generation as such play partisan politics. This study, therefore evaluates the perception of newspaper readers towards political advertisement.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives to the study are:
- To examine the frequency of the Guardian and Pointer newspapers publication of political advertisement.
- To determine the frequency of readership of political advertisement of the Guardian and Pointer newspapers.
- To find out the perception of Abraka readers of the Guardian and Pointer newspapers to political advertisement.
- To find out the factors affecting the publication of political advertisement in the Guardian and Pointer newspaper.
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the frequency of the Guardian and Pointer newspapers publication of political advertisement?
- What is the frequency of readership of political advertisement of the Guardian and Pointer newspapers?
- What is the perception of Abraka readers of the Guardian and Pointer newspapers to political advertisement?
- What are the factors affecting the publication of political advertisement in the Guardian and Pointer newspaper?
1.5 Significant of the Study
The study is significant to the field of mass communication and political science as issues of mass communication and political science are discussed in this research work. The study reveals how newspaper advertisement provides politicians with political campaign channel for winning election. The findings from this study shall provide academic resources and knowledge for any researcher on this topic or its equivalent. It shall also proffer assistance to newspaper organization and political scientists in understanding the uses and contributions of newspaper in political campaign.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study is founded around the perception of newspaper readers towards newspaper political advertisement. The study highlights the basic intent of politicians for advertising their political manifestoes through the newspaper. The scope of the study covers the two well-known Nigeria newspapers; which are the Guardian and Vanguard newspapers. The period of the study is from April 2014 to April 2015, which is twelve months that covers the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Advertisement: This is a persuasive message that is sponsored by an identified person, organization in other to win favourable attitude.
Political Advertisement: It is political communications that seek to persuade the electorate to have favourable behaviour towards the sponsorer.
Newspaper: This is a periodic news publication that carries array of events for updating the people of happenings in their locations.
Election: a periodic democratic exercise to select political leaders through cast of votes by the electorate.
Perception: The feelings and belief towards a particular thing. It is the candid opinion of people on some certain issues.
Newspaper Readers: people who read newspapers for news updates and other features in the newspaper.