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Title Page
Dedication II
Acknowledgements III
Certification IV
Table of Contents V
List of Tables VI
Abstract IX
Background to the Study 1
Brief History of AUN 3
Brief History of APC 4
Statement of the Problem 5
Purpose of the Study 5
Research Questions 5
Scope of the Study 6
Significance of the Study 6
Limitations of the Study 6
Definition of Terms 7
Introduction 8
The Concept of Social Media 8
Evolution of Social Media 9
Social Media and News 13
Social Media Politics 14
Theoretical Framework: 15
 Media Dependency Theory 15
 Agenda-setting Theory 16
 Relevance of Theories to the Study 16
Introduction 17
Research Design 17
Population of the Study 17
Sample Size and Sample Technique 17
Research Instruments 18
Method of Data Collection 18
Method of Data Analysis 19
Introduction 20
Data Presentation and Analysis 29
Discussion of Findings 32
Summary 34
Conclusion 34
Recommendations 35
Table 4.1 Awareness of APC Use of the Social Media in the 2015
Nigerian Presidential election 20
Table 4.2 Sex of Respondents 21
Table 4.3 Age of Respondents 21
Table 4.4 School of Respondents 22
Table 4.5 Academic Levels of Respondents 22
Table 4.6 Social Media Platform(s) Respondents Use 23
Table 4.7 Description of Specific Campaign Messages the APC Sent on
the Social Media 24
Table 4.8 Role of APC Use of Social Media in the Party’s Victory 25
Table 4.9 Possibility of APC Winning the Election without Using the
Social Media 26
Table 4.10 Social Media Platform(s) APC Used Most 26
Table 4.11 Respondents’ Opinion on Whether the APC used the Social
Media More than the PDP Used it 27
Table 4.12 Thoughts on the Social Media as an Addition to the
Traditional ways of Campaign for Votes 27
Table 4.13 Recommending the Use of Social Media to Other Political
Parties in Subsequent Presidential Election 28
Table 4.14 Reason(s) for Recommending or Not Recommending the Use
of the Social Media to Political Parties 28
Table 4.15 Awareness of APC use of the Social Media to Campaign for
Votes in the 2015 Nigerian Presidential Election 29
Table 4.16 Role of APC’s use of Social Media in Party’s Victory 30
Table 4.17 Social Media Platforms the APC used More 31
Table 4.18 More User of the Social Media between the APC and PDP 32
The study examined AUN students’ awareness of the All Progressives Congress, APC,use of the
social media in the 2015 Nigerian presidential election. The study sought to gauge how much
AUN students know about APC’s use of the social media in the 2015 Nigerian presidential
election. The study is anchored on two relevant theories: Media Dependency and Agenda-Setting
theories. The researcher used survey method,with questionnaire as the instrument for data
collection. The data gathered from the closed- and open-ended items of the questionnaire were
analyzed using simple percentages and frequency counts. Findings show that majority of the
students know enough about the party’s strategic use of the social media in the 2015 presidential
election to state that doing so made the party popular, publicized its manifestoes, as well as made
it to emerge victorious at the poll. Therefore, political parties should embrace the social media
wholly as a veritable toolfor carrying out electoral campaigns.
1.1 Background to the Study
The Meriam-Webster dictionary (2008) defines social media as “forms of electronic
communication (as websites for social networking and blogging) through which users create
online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other contents (as
video)”. The same source defines networking as “the exchange of information or services
among individuals, groups, or institutions, specifically the cultivation of productive
relationships among young adults.”
In the 21st century, the means of communication has risen to many platforms; technology has
created new templates of communication everywhere — from person to person, person to
mass media and vice versa. As computer technology increases, the coming of social media
has become so popular that it is completely changing the way people view, send, respond to
societal issues and, is opening up new ways for people to interact with one another and across
the world at large without having to step a foot out of their homes or beyond the shore of
their countries (Alysse B. 2010).
Social media arrival has greatly changed human way of communication. Marshal McLuhan
in 1964 predicted that the world would someday become a “global village” where things that
happen in some part of the world would be instantly known worldwide. People can stay
directly in their homes and get latest events, information and entertainment happening around
the world and enjoy full interaction with the world by pressing that single button.
Individuals, groups, organizations and even political parties are taking advantage of the
opportunities which is provided by social media to mobilize millions of people to support and
advance their course in many parts of the world today.
In the political sphere the social media have become a veritable tool for mobilizing citizens
towards active participation in the political process and democratic projects, hence, the use of
social media in politics has experienced a tremendous growth. Since Barack Obama broke the
world record in the history of social media use for political purpose during the 2008 US
presidential elections, many nations and politicians across the globe have continued to
embrace the platform to mobilize their citizens and candidates towards active participation in
the political process (Pew Research Center, J&M 2012).
On the African continent, the power of the social media is being felt during political crisis
and elections among others. For instance, social media played a significant role during the
Arab Spring crisis. The Arab Spring was referred to as Twitter or Facebook Revolution as
modern technologies were used for communicating and interacting between participants in
political protests. Social media played a central role in spreading awareness and shaping
political debates about ongoing events all over the world. According to Policy and Legal
Advocacy Centre (2012), the 2011 elections in Nigeria witnessed a remarkable use of the
social media as a tool for political communication. Personal websites, blogs, and many social
media platforms were used for campaigns. Aside from this, the social media was equally used
as a weapon to undermine and even destroy the image of other political parties, especially the
ruling party at that time, the People‟s Democratic Party, PDP.
In the 2015 general election, the social media became more potent tool and even a more
lethal weapon. There were releases in the form of videos, voice notes, headlines, and
broadcasts that made and marred many political parties and individuals. For example, a
publication on Senator Buruji Kashamu, an Ogun State aspirant to the Nigerian Senate,
almost marred his political ambition and eventually his swearing- “some people after me for
political reasons” (Benameisigha, 2016). A hate video was broadcast on both General
Muhammadu Buhari and the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator
Bola Tinubu.
The impacts of the social media were mostly recognized in the 2015 Nigerian presidential
elections. In the election, the opposition APC, used different social media platforms to
disseminate ideas or information to targeted audiences, especially during the presidential
Brief History of the American University of Nigeria
The American University of Nigeria, AUN, was founded by His Excellency Atiku Abubakar,
a former vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. AUN is located in Yola,
Adamawa State, Nigeria. The university offers American-style education at undergraduate,
graduate and professional levels. Its mission is to pioneer service and learning and transform
them into Africa‟s tomorrow leaders equipped with skills to tackle continental concerns:
economics and social difficulties. Since its establishment, the university has produced
problems solvers at different societal levels. Some of AUN‟s products have launched the
software that are being utilized by the university today, including OpenERP, Quest, and
NHIS PATEXP for Federal Medical Centre, Yola (Orakpo, 2016). This is goes to show that
AUN is technology-driven and its students are technology-savvy. Thus, the social media is
widely used in the institution.
In this information age, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace,
Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp seem to be growing in popularity and at a fast rate,
especially among young adults (Pempek, Yermolayeva, & Calvert, 2009). The new social
media have become an important part of our lives because they promote the social
networking and independence of our culturally diverse world, and this includes the fact that
interconnectivity and social interaction is used as a platform for education, information, and
Brief History of APC
After some decades of military rule in Nigeria, a successful transition from the military to a
democratic system of government took place on 29 May 1999. After the death of General
Sani Abacha in 1998, General Abdulsalam Abubakar took over and handed over to the 4th
republican president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who defeated Chief Olu Falae of
Alliance for Democracy, AD, in 1999. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had been in
power since the regimes of Obasanjo, Umar Musa Yar‟adua and Dr. Goodluck Ebele
Jonathan, who became president after the death of Yar‟adua in 2010. The PDP had been in
power for 16 years. Because Nigeria was a young democracy, some opposition political
parties felt that 16 years was too much for only one political parties to be in power; chief
among these political parties were the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the All Nigeria
Peoples Party, ANPP, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and All Progressives
Grand Alliance, APGA. These parties later merged to form the APC in February 2013, and
wrestled power from the PDP in the 2015 general elections.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In the build-up to the 2015 general elections in Nigeria, social media provided a platform that
amplified the voices of APC members, taking ordinary voices and making them extraordinary
by bringing them to a good number of homes, offices, and places most of them would not
have probably reached under different circumstances across Nigeria.
The study sought to know how much the students of AUN are aware of the APC‟s use of the
indispensable means provided by the social media, especially for electioneering in the 2015
presidential election.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The objectives of the study are:
1. To gauge AUN students‟ awareness of APC‟s use of the social media for
electioneering in the 2015 presidential election.
2. To ascertain, through AUN students‟ lenses, the role(s) the APC‟s use of the social
media played in the party‟s eventual victory in the 2015 presidential elections.
3. To determine the predominant social media platforms the APC deployed in the 2015
presidential election.
4. To know who used the social media better in the 2015 presidential election between
the two prominent political parties in the poll, the APC and the PDP.
1.4 Research Questions
The study sought to provide answers to the following research questions:
1. Are AUN students aware of APC‟s use of the social media for electioneering in the
2015 presidential election?
2. What roles do AUN students think APC‟s use of the social media played in the
party‟s eventual victory in the 2015 presidential election?
3. What are the predominant social media outlets the APC used in the 2015 presidential
4. Did APC use the social media better than the then ruling PDP?
1.5 Scope of the Study
The study is limited to AUN students. This is because the social media appeal more to the
youths, and AUN is technology-friendly, hence the widespread technology-savvy among its
quite receptive students, who are mainly between ages 16 and 30. It is the researcher‟s belief,
therefore, that findings drawn from the students‟ views on the APC‟s use of the social media
in the 2015 presidential election will be fairly generalizable.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is significant because it has practical implications for the now opposition party,
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP The research work serves as a guide for a range of social
media activities that an opposition party can carry out for effective electioneering.
The findings of the study are also significant to policy makers. The study will ensure proper
management of social media through appropriate formulation of policies that will better the
use of social media communication in the country. Furthermore, this study will aid
stakeholders understand that keeping a healthy and good profile online (social media) with a
pleasant relationship between the party and masses can influence people‟s ideological
1.7 Limitations of Study
The study focuses on AUN students‟ awareness of the APC use of the social media in the
2015 Nigerian presidential election. The main challenge to this work was the unavailability of
enough literature on the topic, thus the researcher had to use the few resources on the subject
matter to write the second chapter of the study.
Another limitation was the nonchalant attitude of some students towards the researcher,
especially when they were requested to fill out the questionnaire, as some of them eventually
failed to return their copies of the questionnaire to the researcher.
Finally, time was another constraint because the researcher had to work relentlessly to meet
the deadline for submission of the study.
1.8 Definition of Terms
a) Social Media: Interactive forms of media having a global reach that allows users
to interact with each other on the internet.
b) Social Networking Sites: Applications that enable users to connect by creating
personal information profiles, inviting friends and colleagues to have access to
these profiles, and sending e-mails and instant messages to each other.
c) Facebook: A social networking website that enables users to create personal
profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic
notifications, photos and comments when they update their profile.


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