Background of the Study
The contentions in Nigeria about the fort coming presidential election has become one of the debated issues among citizens of Nigeria in regards to the use of social media.It is currently possible to state that Mr. Peter Obi will easily win the 2023 presidential election if online support can win presidential elections in Nigeria. For instance, Nigerians who think Obi is the finest candidate for the job have expressed all kinds of support for him on all social media platforms in the nation (Daily post, 2022).In Nigeria, social media has become a powerful political tool. In January 2021, there were 33 million social media users in Nigeria, according to statistics. Nigeria's social media concentration is over 40% of the population, or nearly 90 million people, with mobile phone availability of over 48% and internet access of 36%. As of 2021, the country's overall registered voter population was 89 million. As a result, it is reasonable to infer that the vast majority of voters have access to social media, implying that social and internet media have nearly supplanted the combined mix of traditional media as essential routes of communication in social and political concerns (Premium Times, 2022).
Social media platforms have reshaped the global structure of human communication. The open and rapid flow of information, which is the primary indicator of social media technologies, has fostered liberty and accelerated the realization of man's intrinsic right to free speech and expression. These digital technologies have had an influence on global trade, culture, religion, and, most importantly, politics (Ashiekpe&Mojaye, 2017; Okoro &Nwafor, 2013). Many autocratic and tyrannical political administrations have been deposed and replaced with more democratic ones, as seen by the 'political tsunami' that swept through numerous African nations in the aftermath of the 2011/2012 popular Arab spring (Ufuophu-Biri &Ojoboh, 2017).
According to Okoro and Nwafor (2013), social media has created a situation in which people can easily express their opinions about government; empowered citizens to perform check and balance roles on public officers; made it possible and easy for ordinary citizens to demand probity, transparency, and accountability in government; and encouraged a higher level of political participation among users, also known as "netizens." The 2015 general elections were the first litmus test of the use of social media by political parties, political candidates, and civil society groups, leading to the view that social media had an impact on the just ended APC presidential election. The election was significant in that it was the first time that new media technologies like as Facebook, blogs, LinkedIn, and other social networks were used to assist political communication and participation in Nigeria (Dagona et al., 2013). Thus, these new media technologies have redefined contemporary techniques of political communication, resulting in a considerable change toward the use of these modern instruments in the electoral process, which has influenced the selection of candidates for suitable representation.
As we approach 2023, political players and political parties are embracing social media, and the environment of political communication in Nigeria has never been more diversified, fractured, dynamic, chaotic, inventive, and equally polarizing. Political actors are (re)branding themselves as serious political candidates at both the state and national levels by regular, amusing, and smart contact with audiences on social media. Some of their audiences are astute and can tell the difference between political glitz and actual political participation and education. Social media has emerged as a critical battleground for shaping public opinion and establishing an agenda. The judgment is still out on social media's role in influencing political results; nonetheless, social media's ability to influence and decide voting behavior may be limited yet substantial. In the 2015 presidential election, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) made extensive use of social media to de-market the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to exploratory research conducted in Nigeria during the 2015 elections, social media had a significant influence in shifting popular support among young voters against the then-incumbent Federal Government. By the 2019 presidential election, social media had matured, and instead of young millennials and young adults dominating the arena, we saw that even older people were relying on it for political information and conversations. Social media has enabled activists, whistleblowers, and opposition politicians whose voices had been silenced by the government in power to interact with the public. It became difficult to conceal potentially dangerous information (Premium Times, 2022). As has been extensively observed, the APC's overwhelming success in the recent elections was due in part to the complementarity of its online and offline campaign techniques, as well as its strong grassroots support base and organizational structure. Hence, it is logical to say that Peter Obi might just win the coming presidential election in 2023 due to his popularity in all social media platforms.
Given the serious consequences of unethical political communication during the 2023 election season, political players must reflect deeper and strive on restoring ethics to the table. Because routine dishonest political communication has serious consequences for politics, social cohesion, and national security, we must address the issue collaboratively. Political parties must reign in their proxies and followers while also collaborating with fact-checkers and civil society organizations to put ethical communication principles into effect in the age of social media. Social media might have a significant impact on the result of the 2023 elections. Hence, the present study is aimed at assessing the influence of social media on the PeterObi's candidature in 2023 presidential election.
Statement of the Problem
There are a lot of contentions as per if social media’s support for Peter Obi will be responsible for his victory in the fort coming presidential primary election. Despite the abundance of research on politics and social media use, there seems to be limited empirical studies on public perception of the much touted contributions of social media to democracy and political participation. It does not only create people’s experience of the world around them, but also allows them to act appropriately within a predefined environment. Studies indicate that there is an overlapping relationship between perceptions and technology use (Segard, 2015). It is based on this backdrop that the present study seek to assess the influence of social Media on the PeterObi's candidature in 2023 presidential election.
The general objective of this study is to examine the social media on PeterObi's candidature in 2023 presidential election. Other specific objectives of the study include;
From the objectives of the study, the following questions will be derived to give this study a direction;
The study will hypothesize the following;
H0: There is no significant influence of social media on the PeterObi's candidature in 2023 presidential election
H1: There is a significant influence of social media on the PeterObi's candidature in 2023 presidential election
H0: There is no significant relationship between social media and PeterObi's candidature in 2023 presidential election in Nigeria
H1: There is a significant relationship between social media and PeterObi's candidature in 2023 presidential election in Nigeria
H0: There is no significant influence of social media on supporter’s choice of Peter Obi as the next 2023 presidential candidateof Nigeria
H1: There is a significant influence of social media on supporter’s choice of Peter Obi as the next 2023 presidential candidateof Nigeria
H0: There is no significant influence of social media on the perceived political participation in the fort coming general election in Nigeria
H1: There is a significant influence of social media on the perceived political participation in the fort coming general election Nigeria
Scope of the Study
This study aims examine the influence of social Media on the supporter’s choice of Peter Obi as the next 2023 presidential candidateof Nigeria. Only undergraduate students of the University of Uyo from the ages of 15 years through 29 shall be polled.
This study will concentrate on undergraduate students at the University of Uyo, Uyo, with the goal of assessing how social media affects their opinion of the supporter’s choice of Peter Obi as the next 2023 presidential candidateof Nigeria. Undergraduates at the University of Uyo are students pursuing their first degrees in one of the institution's 15 faculties.
Significance of the Study
To begin, the importance of this study may be seen in the gap it fills by addressing its research questions.
Second, the research will be extremely useful to politicians, political parties, media consultants, electoral umpires, and governments at all levels because it will enable them to understand and appreciate the benefits and efficacy of using social media tools for projecting the image of their clients and increasing awareness of political candidates.
The outcomes of this study will help to ensure the long-term growth of democracy in Nigeria. Because kids are the future and drivers of any country, doing research/studies into their political and social behavior is critical (Adedeji, 2015).
Finally, this study will be very valuable to academic scholars and other information seekers since it will add to the existing literature on the effectiveness of social media in politics while also broadening the present expanding knowledge in it.
Operational Definition of Terms
Social Media: The phrase "social media" is frequently used to refer to new kinds of media that entail interactive engagement (Manning, 2014). They are internet-based technologies that allow individuals to communicate digitally with one another. Because of their popularity among University of Uyo students, this study focuses on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Political Participation: Political participation has been defined as “those activities by private citizens that are more or less directly aimed at influencing the selection of governmental personnel and/or the actions they take” (Enkman and Amna, 2012). This study looks at the level of political participation among University of Uyo students.
Undergraduates of the University of Uyo: These are University of Uyo undergraduates studying in various departments throughout the institution's fifteen faculties.
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