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This research work entails an undisputable detailed view on how the print media can serve as a viable tool to provide successful general elections.











History of Nigeria mass media

Forms of media

Characteristics of media

Functions of media



2.1 The concept of democracy and political parties

2.2 The process of election

2.3 The concept of election



3.1 How elections are organized in Nigeria

3.2 How elections are rigged in Nigeria

3.3 Better method of organizing election

3.4 Problems of election in Nigeria

3.5 The role of media in election campaign.



4.1 Summary

4.2 Conclusion

4.3 Recommendation






In all aspects of social life, the genesis of a new decade triggers to an effort to summarize and characterize what happened from the past years and look forward to challenges – the genesis of a new era. The press (newspaper) stands as a link between the old and new. A regime that newly arrives into power can blame its predecessor for some economic problem and it uses the press (newspaper) to compare its record in funding popular services with past regime and reminds the public the oppression they felt from the oppositions when they were in power and to also praise government for the good work done when they were in power, all these tactics work well when they use the press. And this research work is focusing on newspaper as a print medium.


Obiakalusi Lynda et al (1991:43) in their research work stated that Nigeria political independence in 1960 had raised hopes of many that the nation was being set on towards achieving a free and democratic society. In such a democratic society, it is expected that the press such as newspaper in particular should be the market place for political thought. The newspaper therefore, should exist mainly to serve the information need of the citizenry in politics. Akpan (1985:35) mass communication in Nigeria: book of reading (Nwuneli) says that the public is entitled to all facts in a political situation and that on the basis of these facts; it can make its decisions.


Apparently, development should not be seized from being mentioned while discussing politics. According to Nwosu 1985, he says that “development and politics are so intertwined that one cannot talk about or deal with one without the other, especially in a developing country like Nigeria”. Having observed the above statement, it is rarely difficult to distinguish between politics and development especially as it relates to Nigeria politically. Newspaper can be seen as a more possible agent of social and political mobilizing in the country than television especially in mobilizing women towards participating in politics.


The press must remain ever vigilant to protect and enforce people’s freedom of thought and expression and citizens’ right to all information relating to the various aspects of their life and future. In the same vain, Thomas Jefferson in his word to G.K Van Hogendorp, Oct 13, 1785, he posited that: “The press is the only toxin of a nation. When it is completely silenced, all means of a general effort are taken away. The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary to keep the water pure. The most effectual engines for (pacifying a nation) are the public papers….. (A despotic) government always keep a kind of standing army of news writers who, without any regard to truth or what should be like truth, invent and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper”.


According to the reports by the Human Rights Watch (April and May 2007-2011, p 12) virtually all elections held in the past since independence till the last elections in 2011 have been approached by politicians and political parties with violence, fraud, assassination, ballot stuffing and kidnapping by political thugs.


Basically in Nigeria, one cannot but say all is well considering the nature of the country in terms of population, ethnicity, religion, ideology, social and economy, political and international perspective. According to Anaeto and Anaeto (2010:34) Africa countries are beset with many challenges – social, political, cultural, economic development and transformation. Meanwhile conflict is inevitable considering the nomenclature of Nigeria. Without mincing words, Nigeria media has come a long way in discharging the basic ethical standards. They don’t just; inform, educate and entertain as their traditional functions required but also persuade entire citizens of the country to maintain peace and live together as one entity irrespective of differences.


Perhaps, in 2011 General Election in the country, the Nigeria media did perform their roles diligently, before, during and after the election. They (Media) gave wider coverage of the 2011 election to every nook and crannies of the nation. Even when the situation turned violent and the foundational structure of the country became threatened as a result of numbers of life that were lost and unestimated cost of property that went -the drain. Media, indeed, remained resolute and continued to advocate for peaceful co-existence among the politicians who have turned apart as a result of political ideology differences. This study among other things will vividly look at the level of coverage giving the political violence that engulfed the nation after 2011 general election.


Information available indicates that Nigeria print media was born into freedom in 1895; Rev. Townsend established “Iwe Irohin” newspaper with the objective of getting people to read and cultivate the habit of reading and seeking for information through the newspaper. The emergence of this newspaper paved way for others. Ogunsiji (1989:6) classifies the development of Nigerian press into four segments. These are; the era of Missionary journalism, era of the alien-dominated press, emergence of the indigenous press and the dawn of modern Nigerian newspapers. However, the research work will end with the researcher’s proposed further direction in the area of study and implications for management, politicians and academicians.










The history of the Nigerian mass media can be traced to Henry Townsend, who in 1859 established a newspaper called “Iwe Iroyin”. His purpose of establishing a newspaper was to inculcate reading habit among the Yoruba people and also to create awareness or a platform whereby business men would publish their advert on the papers. Prior to that time, Hope waddel had established a printing press in Calabar where people can come for publishing jobs.\


Also, during the colonial era, the newspaper were established for the purpose of fighting the colonial masters, Nigeria were enlightened on their right for freedom and the need to vehemently reject colonial laws and polices, also in 1959, the first television called western television was established by Obafemi Awolowo.


It can be said that the independence of Nigeria in 1960 can be traced to the press. This is because the press used their weapon which was the newspaper to fight their colonial masters.


Radio broadcasting was first introduced to Nigeria in 1932 as a relay of the British Empire service. It operated with the establishment of a relay station in Victoria Island, Lagos which disseminated broadcast information to major towns in Nigeria via the wired-wireless otherwise known as radio fusion.


Broadcasting started per-se in Nigeria in 1956 with the establishment of what came to be known as Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) incorporated under law, the policies of the Federal Ministry of Information.


In May 1959, Western Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation went on air and was followed by Western Nigeria Television (WNTV) on October 31, the same year. In 1963, Eastern Nigeria followed suit by establishing its own radio and T.V stations. Each of the stations functioned under the strict control of the regional governments that owned them. In effect each of the regions had access to two broadcast voices. One was regional and the other was federal but was in control of the owner that is in the region.


Presently, there are thirty six (36) states and a Federal Capital Territory. Almost all the states have their own Radio Stations although; there are more state owned Radio

stations than TV.











Mass media refers to communication devices which can be used to communicate and interact with a large number of audiences in different languages. There are different types of mass media that we are accustomed to in this day and age which are:

– Print Media

– Electronic/ Broadcast Media

– Internet





The print media is a medium that disseminates printed materials or matters. Print media encompasses mass communication through printed materials. It includes newspapers, magazines, outdoor media and books.


Newspapers: A newspaper is a publication containing news, information and advertising, usually printed on low-cost paper called newsprint. It may be general or special interest, most often published daily or weekly. Newspaper enjoyed the position of the most proffered medium to reach a wider audience until electronic communication emerged on the media scene. In the early days, newspapers were the only medium that masses at large depended on for daily news. A newspaper carries all kinds of communication related to a variety of topics like politics, socialism, current affairs, stocks, entertainment, finance e.t.c. Apart from this it also includes topics which are in lighter vein like cartoons, cross words e.t.c. This captivates the imagination and interests of readers, from all age groups.


Magazines: A magazine is a periodical publication containing a variety of articles, generally financed by advertising and/ or purchase by readers. Magazines are typically published weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, with a date on the cover that is in advance of the date it is actually published. They are often printed in colour on coated paper, and are bound with a soft cover. Magazines cover a plethora of topics like beauty, fashion, travel, entertainment, luxury e.t.c.  Magazines can be classified as:

General Interest Magazines: (Frontline, The Week, The Sunday Times e.t.c.)

Special Interest Magazines: (Women, Sports, Business, Scuba Diving e.t.c.).


Outdoor Media: Out door media is a form of mass media which comprises billboards, signs, placards placed inside and outside of commercial buildings/ objects like shops or buses. Many commercial advertisers use this form of mass media when advertising in sports stadium.


Books: A book is a collection of sheets of paper, parchment or other material with a piece of text written on them, bound together along one edge within covers. A book is also a literary work or a main division of such a work. A book produced in electronic format is known as an e-book.






Electronic media is the kind of media which requires the user to utilize an electric connection to access it. It is also known as Broadcast Media. It includes television and radio.


Television: Television appeals both the auditory and visual senses and hence is an important communication device as it beholds the attention of the audience. It is a popular means of communication which provides both information and entertainment. This category also includes electronic media like movies, CDs and DVDs as well as the electronic gadgets.


Radio: Radio concepts describe two major technical activities. It involves the transmission of sound through the electromagnetic spectrum as carrier waves- Owuamalam (2006; 195). Radio remains one of the favorite means of electronic communication. Moreover, it is an interactive means of communication with all the dial-in programs which give the listeners an opportunity to feature on radio.


The ability of radio to reach a great number of people at comparatively small costs has a distinct advantage over other broadcast medium like television. Similar companies and organizations with small advertising budgets easily rely on radio to reach their target markets.




The Internet also known as “the Net” is a more interactive medium of mass media, and can be briefly described as “a network of networks”. With the advent of internet there is a wide range enjoyment of the benefits of high technology mass media, which is not only faster but also has a wide spread range.


Internet has opened up several new opportunities for mass communication which include e-mail, pod casts, Websites, blogging and many others which are booming today. It is the most important device of the new age media. The discovery of internet can be called the biggest invention in mass media. In earlier days, news used to reach people only with the morning newspapers. But today, live updates reach us simultaneously as the event unfolds. Internet has inspired interaction and connectivity through its social networking medium. It has become one of the core means of mass communication.


Computers: With the invention of computers the impossible has become possible. We virtually get information about everything from “pin to piano” with the help of computers. It has added speed and multimedia to the information which was earlier available only in the print format. Computers have added a new breakthrough in the mass media by combining human intelligence with the cutting edge technology.


Blogging: A blog is a space on the internet where a single person or a group of people record their information, opinions, photos, videos etc. It is an interesting and free platform to talk about any topic. Interaction happens in the form of comments or feedback.


E-mails: Electronic mails have drastically reduced the time use for drafting and sending letters. It facilitates lesser usage of paper.


Websites: Internet has a plethora of websites dedicated to various people, office, brand, activities e.t.c The most significant utility of these websites is for providing information, search engines, downloads and interaction through the social networking sites.


Pod casts: Pod casts are medium of mass communication that includes short videos or audio files. It is a series of digital media files which are distributed over the internet using syndication feeds for feedback on portable media player and computers. They are engaging devices of communication.





Five characteristics of mass communication have been identified by Cambridge University’s John Thompson


  • Comprises both technical and institutional method of production and distribution. This is evident through out the history of the media from print to the internet, each suitable for commercial utility.


  • Involves the “Co modification of symbolic form” as the production of materials relies on its ability to manufacture and sell large quantities of the work. Just as radio stations rely on its time sold to advertisements, newspaper rely for the same reason on its space


  • Separate contents between the production and reception of information


  • Its “ reach to those ‘far moved’ in time and space , in comparison to the producers”


  • Information distribution – a “One too many form of Communication whereby products are massed produced and disseminated to a great quality of audiences.


Also other characteristics of the media include;


  • Communication is mostly one way
  • Audience has a great deal of choice
  • Reach large and vast audience
  • Aim messages to attract large audience possible
  • Influence society and are, in turn, influence by society.




  There are six main functions of the media and these are:


  • Surveillance of the environment: this is the collection and distribution within and outside a particular environment. The information flow is necessary for utility and coherence if we live in the society of collectivity.


  • Correlation of the parts of the society: this include the interpretation of the information, the prescription of conduct and the comment of social value


  • Transmission of social heritage: by communicating information through the mass media we are transmitting social and cultural values which aim at sustaining the society.


  • Educating the masses: education on the policies of government and on the rights and responsibilities can be carried out through the mass media.


  • Entertainment Function: the mass media also entertain the public by providing emotional relaxation, intrinsic and cultural enjoyment


  • Mobilization function: this function of the mass media is very important to developing communities everywhere. It seeks to bring the people and helps to advance national development


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