1.1       Background to the Study

In today’s world of modern governance throughout the world, the issue of good governance has assumed the front burner as an essential necessity for social, economic and political advancements (World Bank, 1989, Nanda, 2006; Hout, 2007; Gisserlquit, 2012), yet better governance keeps on being a wellspring of stress and a major test to most nations including Nigeria. Strangely, Nigeria, government in an offer to guarantee good governance in the nation had in, the 1999 Nigerian constitution in Section 16 (1) a, b, c, and d, and Section 16 (2) dug in a portion of the standards of good governance as a potential criteria for governance in the nation. In spite of constitutional provisions, just as the monetary assets, and huge possibilities of the nation, including the social and economic policies that have been executed by progressive organizations good governance keeps on being subtle to Nigeria.

In another attempt to enthrone good governance in the country, recent democratic administrations, organized good governance tours, where officials of the federal ministry of information alongside Journalists from various media houses, inspect the progress of work on the projects executed by the different agencies of the federal and the state governments. The objective of the tour is for the media to assess the performance of elected public office holders at both the federal and state level. The Nigerian constitution in section 22 made arrangement for such an activity where it expressed entomb alia; "The press, radio, TV and other agencies of the media communications will consistently be allowed to maintain the essential objectives in this chapter and uphold the obligation and responsibility of the government to the general public".

The good governance tour organized by the Nigerian government identified two major issues. First, the Nigerian government’s concern and determination for better governance in the country. This concern possibly stems from the importance attached to the good governance concept as highlighted in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, which articulates that the Millennium Development Goals must be achieved through good governance within each country and the international level, as well as in this well- cited quote, from Kofi Anan, that, “good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development” (UN, 1998). Second, it identifies the symbiotic relationship between the media and good governance. The media are a critical link in the accountability chain between the government and the governed, providing information for the citizens to hold those in authority accountable and also articulating citizens’ voices and preference for government to use in policy formulation.

In Nigeria, the performance of the mass media in the democratic process at various phases of our history has been well documented (Yusuf, 2001; Nwosu, 2003; Oso and Pate, 2010). Arguably, the mass media have remained in the forefront in the struggle to promote rights of our people through a credible democratic process (Pate, 2012). Given this assumption, this paper argues that media’s contributions to good governance in the society is played out within the ambit of the principles of good governance and that media's potential to contribute to good governance depend on the extent the media reflect and enforce these principles as institution and sin the discharge of the fundamental roles of the journalists.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The media, in the Nigerian history have consistently been in the front line of the battle to promote good governance in the nation. Lending credence to this assertion, Obilade (1999:235), opined that the “press in Nigeria constitutes an active force in the realization of the goal of the evolution of good governance in the continent of Africa. This big achievement by the Nigerian media spanned through to the first, second, third, and fourth republics respectively. Even during the military era, the Nigerian media fought with all their efforts for the restoration of democracy. This struggle brought the nation to a new era of the fourth republic in May 1999. As part of their constitutional role, the mass media are expected to mobilize the people to participate in the democratic process. This was aptly demonstrated by the Nigerian media during the period under review. Take for example, as soon as the Abdulsalami Abubakar led government established the transition programme that ushered in a new democratic government, the media swung into action by creating awareness on the electoral process.

On the protection of the fundamental human rights of the people, the Nigerian Media fought vehemently well to ensure that those whose rights are violated are brought to face the wrath of the law. Furthermore, the mass media are the fulcrum of all forms of democracy. This assertion is on the claim that in any democratic society, the media is being termed as the market place of ideas for all political thoughts.

Nevertheless, the performance of the Nigerian media over the years could be regarded as a combination of both success and failures. This is because in promoting the hard earned democracy the media struggled and fought to reestablished, there are a plethora of encumbrances the media is facing which serve as impediments in stabilizing Nigerian democracy. The media is constantly receiving heavy pressure from the public, political parties, interest groups as well as the government. This pressure usually results in a situation where the media is forced to take side in reporting national events in order to promote the interest of a particular party or interest group

It is on this foundation that this study examines the role the media have played and continue to play in the socio-political and socio-economic reengineering of structures in a country faced with numerous challenges that limit the role of media in promoting good governance in Nigeria by using Vanguard Newspaper as a case study.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to analyze the impact of the media in promoting good governance in Nigeria by using Vanguard Newspaper as a case study. Other specific objectives include:

  1. To examine the roles that the Nigerian media has been playing in promoting good governance in the country.
  2. To explore the relationship between the media and good governance in Nigeria.
  3. To also examine the challenges faced by the media in promoting good governance in Nigeria.

1.4       Research Questions

This study is guided by the following research questions:

  1. What are the roles that the Nigerian media has been playing in promoting good governance in the country?
  2. What is the relationship between the media and good governance in Nigeria?
  3. What are the challenges faced by the media in promoting good governance in Nigeria?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

The study is guided by the following assumptions:

  1. There is no significant correlation between media and promotion of good governance
  2. There is a significant correlation between media challenges and promotion of good governance

1.6       Significance of the Study

Until recently, media and good governance is one critical area in Nigeria that has attracted little attention in the academics and development experts. Thus, literature on the role of the media and its implications on good governance are scanty, hence the few reviewed concentrated more on general, role of the media in a democracy as well its challenges. Hence, the overriding significance of this study is to add up to the growing literature on media and democratic relations. Thus the study is, therefore, both timely and significant. A detailed analysis of this phenomenon will reduce the dearth of knowledge in this area. Finally, this work will be useful to scholars and students who may wish to carry out further research on the role of the media and the challenges of good governance in Nigeria. 

1.7       Scope of the Study

The focus of the study is on the examination of the impact of the media in promoting good governance. The scope however limited to the Vanguard Newspaper as a case study

1.8       Limitation of the Study

The inability of the researcher to sample opinions from all the media practitioners in Nigeria limits the findings of this research. As a matter of fact, only a small population of data from the Vanguard Newspaper was sampled. Time constraints also pose a limitation for this study as the researcher is not able to cover more grounds that would have been insightful for this research. Also, finding media practitioners and convincing them to collect, fill and submit the questionnaires was a difficult task that poses a limitation to this study, not to mention the financial constraints in moving from one place to another within Lagos to sample opinions.

1.9       Definition of Concepts

The following concepts are keys to the study.

Democracy: is a form of government, which the supreme power of the political community rest on popular sovereignty. According to Oyovbaire (1987) democracy as a system which seek to realize a generally recognized common good through a collective initiation and discussion of policy questions concerning public affairs and which delegated authority to agents to implement the broad decisions made by the people through majority vote. The most popular definition of democracy was that of Abraham Lincoln, which sees Democracy as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. This definition is widely accepted.

Good Governance: this has much to do with the ethical grounding of governance and must be evaluated with reference to specific norms and objectives as may be laid down. It looks at the functioning of the given segment of the society from the point of view of its acknowledged stakeholders, beneficiaries and customers. Therefore, to describe governance as democratic requires the understanding of the essence of the state which is not only embedded in the constitution but also a function of religious ideals and the nature of the current problems confronting the state.

The Mass Media: for the purpose of this study, the conceptualization of the mass media in both developed and Third World countries are all encompassing. It embraces all communication outlets commonly called the mass media. Regardless of the size of the mass media in any polity, they can be mechanical device or mechanism, and (ii) presumed level or degree of impact on society (Uyo, 1987). Using the first criteria, all mass media can be grouped into two classes as Blanke and Harolsen (1975) did: (i) print media – such as newspapers, news magazines, pamphlets, direct mail, circulars, billboards, skywriting, and any technical device that carries a message to ‘the masses’ by appealing to their sense of sight. Print media communicate information through the publication of written words and pictures. There are then (ii) electronic media: (a) radio and audio recordings that appeal to the sense of sound, and (b) television, motion pictures and video recording that appeal to both the sense of sound and sense of vision. Broadcast media communicate information electronically through sounds or sights.