Political Advertising and Its Influence in the Electorates Choice of Candidate (a Study of Lagos Electorates)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Human beings have always had the need to communicate to aid decision making, because the only way to share the ideas that would eventually result in the decisions and policies is through communication. “Communication has been variously defined as the passing of information, the exchange of ideas, or the process of establishing a commonness or oneness of thought between a sender and a receiver.” (Belch & Belch, 2004)
In African societies, Chiefs would seat and meet to talk about the goings of their communities. Families would come together to discuss the right action to take in the face of conflict. Communication soon became an essential element in forums for decision making. These forums would discuss all sorts of things, especially those things that would involve decision making.
“Communication has become a primary forum for the debate about our culture. Logically, then, the most powerful voices in the forum have the most power to shape our definitions and understandings.” (Baran, 2014)
Communication media evolved and policy making systems evolved with it. As communication evolved it became a concern to ensure that the communication process was effective. This would mean that every element involved (namely Sender, medium, receiver and feedback) were effective enough. Every available medium would be utilized until the one that allowed for effective communication for sharing of ideas would exist.
The challenge to find the media that would allow for members of a society to be aware of their governing events would continue for years, and Africa would not be exempted. Cultural innovations for political awareness in Nigeria would begin with the town criers and slowly move on to the newspaper. Newspapers were the first major medium involved in sharing of accounts of political events and ideas. The newspapers were created in order to give citizens the information they required to be involved in policy making. Henry Townsend established the first active newspaper system in 1859 titled ‘IweIroyin fun Awon Ara Egbaati Yoruba’
“From its debut in November 23rd 1859 with “IweIroyin fun Awon Ara Egbaati Yoruba” (Newspaper for the Egbas and Yorubas) the press has taken centre stage in matters affecting all spheres of individual life and collective existence including religion, education, economy and politics among others. The newspaper was actually noted to have educated the growing publics about history and politics of the time.” (Alawode & Adesanya, 2016)
The impact that newspapers had on the political awareness of Nigerians was astounding. Individuals were duly informed about events that had taken place far out of their reach. Information that may have been garbled during hearsay was now clearly described for every individual who could afford it.
The radio and Television soon followed closely behind. Each medium appears more potent than the last. News of economics, business, politics, elections, appointments, removals and all other things in the socio-political spectrum were readily available. Unfortunately, every one of those mediums soon began to be weighed down by their own shortcomings. Excessive regulations, complicated technologies, delay in message delivery and gate keeping errors were just a few of the challenges that faced these media.
“The media (print and electronic) in Nigeria especially the privately-owned ones have always been strong instruments of sensitization and mobilization of people towards democracy even in the dark days of brutal military dictatorship. However, their reach was limited by such factors as government intimidation and harassments, logistics, limited resources and their elitist ownership and control.” (Chinedu-Okeke & Obi, 2016)
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Since the 21st century, the mass media have played a significant role in communicating information on political activities to citizens in Nigeria about the government, electoral parties’ political candidate, manifestoes and other activities of concern to the people. Communication is necessary for every society to progress and in the political society; communication is equivalent to the passage of messages from political elites to electorates, where feedback is given through the electorate’s voting of their choice of candidate. Political advertising is an expedient avenue for political parties to connect with their large audience via various media platforms.
Based on research by Ezewegu, Etukudo, &Akpan (2015), not every political elite that exist today employ political advertisement for a just cause, they often utilize this platform to talk exclusively about misinformation, lies, misrepresentation, spreading of unproven assertions and pufferies to give out persuasive information that will reinforce the decisions of those loyal to them, change the perception of the ambivalent and hone the decisions of the apathetic.
In the field of political advertising and electorate choice of candidate, several studies have been conducted to assess the role of political advertising in fostering electorate’s choice of candidates.
However, there is a paucity of research that have examined political advertising and the electorate’s choice of candidate in Nigeria. Therefore, this study sought to find out the extent to which Lagos state electorates were exposed to this political advertisement and the most effective channel used to influence their choice of candidate
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The primary aim of this study is to focus on political advertising and its influence on Lagos electorates’ choice of candidate. Thus, the following objectives;
- To identify the media platforms commonly visited by Lagos electorates for political adverts.
- To determine the extent to which Lagos electorates are exposed to political advertisements.
- To examine Lagos electorates’ perception of political advert messages in selection of candidates.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions guide this study;
- What media platforms are commonly visited by Lagos electorates for political adverts?
- To what extent are Lagos electorates exposed to political advertisements?
- What is Lagos electorates’ perception of political advert messages in selection of candidate?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be significant as it will bring to the fore an awareness on the imbued prowess of political advertising in inculcating a push in electorates to vote for a particular candidate. It will be relevant to the government as it will allow for them to take the necessary steps to campaign properly. It will also be significant to other researchers as it would serve as relevant material to be inputted in their research.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will only cover the Lagos state electorates, thus excluding other electorates in other states. Only political advertising was researched on, all other forms of advertising were not looked into.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
During the course of this study, the researcher was limited by insufficient funds and time to undertake in depth this study.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
- POLITICAL ADVERTISING:Political advertising includes any advertising displays, newspaper ads, billboards, signs, brochures, articles, tabloids, flyers, letters, radio or television presentations, digital or social media advertising, or other means of mass communication, used for the purpose of appealing, directly or indirectly, for votes
- ELECTORATE:Constitutesall the people in a country or area who are entitled to vote in an election.
- CANDIDATE:A person who applies for or is nominated for a position. In this study, candidate refers to an individual who has been nominated for an election.