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  • Background to the Study

For the press to play their basic roles, it must exercise fully its freedom.  In other words, for the freedom of the press to be fully appreciated, we must understand the implication of the citizen having a fundamental right to free access to facts in all matters that directly or indirectly concern him and also the right to express and publish its opinion thereon.

In describing the operation of the press in their book entitled four theories of the press, Siebert, Peterson and Schramn (1985) said that “The Press is not an instrument of government but a device for presenting evidence and argument on the basis of which the people can check on government and make up their minds as to its policy.  It is imperative that the press be free from control and influence so that truth can emerge.

On this premise, the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 14, 1946 declared, “freedom of information is a fundamental human right and is the corner stone of all freedom to which the United Nations is consecrated.

Worldwide condemnation has trailed Nigeria’s government the violent re-arrest of journalist and activist, Omoyele Sowore, on Friday (Dec. 6). It came less than 24 hours after Sowore and his co-accused, Olawale Bakare, were freed after 125 days in detention during which two courts had granted them bail. Government agents stormed the Federal High Court in Abuja, manhandled the journalist in full glare of world media.

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka slammed agents of the Department for State Security (DSS). He called on all civil society organizations in Nigeria to unite and give a coordinated response against the government of president Muhammadu Buhari for violating the rights of citizens.

The horrific way agents of the DSS manhandled Sowore in court had also drawn the wrath of US Senators representing New Jersey where Sowore is a resident. After weeks of behind-the-scenes pressure on the government of Nigeria to release Sowore, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) with Opeyemi Sowore, the wife of Omoyele Sowore, came out in front of the world media to rebuke Nigeria. Source: Sun Newspaper 6th Dec, 2019)


The United Nations has set aside May 3 annually as press freedom day in recognition of the contributions of the media to national development. Indeed, the challenge of development remains daunting for all countries especially Nigeria with the largest population of black people all over the world. With a population of over 140 billion people, going by the census figures of 2006, the country has a great human resource that many countries crave to have. Since the last census, it is possible that more than 20 million would have been added to the population. Besides its human resources, Nigeria has great material resources, with huge deposits of crude oil, gas, coal, etc. At the moment, the country is the 7th largest exporter of crude oil which was discovered in 1956 in a little town called Oloibiri in what is Rivers States, South-South, Nigeria. Despite the material and human resources available to the country, it seems obvious to keen observers that the country is not exactly doing well in development. Some scholars have attributed this state of affairs to the debilitating effects of the oppressive colonial experience. Such scholars as the Guyanese writer Rodney (1972) has described the relationship between the colonial administration and their colonies as unhealthy, insisting that “Europe underdeveloped Africa”. It would seem that the more developed a country, the more freedom is available to the media which is a reflection of individual freedom.

While there is a certain ambivalence concerning the freedom available to the press in Nigeria, the same cannot be said of the press in the United States. In granting freedom to the press in the United States, there is no ambivalence whatsoever. Another school of thought argues vigorously that the poor state of development in Africa is essentially the fault of Africans (nay Nigerians), who have been unable to harness local resources for the good of their countries. According to Igwe (2010) in his work How Africa Underdeveloped Africa , Africans should blame themselves for the poor state of affairs on the continent. As he put it: How Africa underdeveloped Africa enters to champion the cause for a change from the blame colonialism thrust of Pan Africanists’ beliefs to that of burning widespread internal contradictions whose fires have been continually fuelled by Africa’s leadership profligacy – in a word massive state corruption remains the singular vice upon which all Africa’s political and socio-economic problems are predicated, and the sole progenitor of all other forms of corruption altogether (p.6). Indeed, that Africa is underdeveloped is a widely appreciated fact. Development, as a concept, is a multifaceted idea. One of the issues involved in development is increased freedom – freedom of the individual, freedom of groups and indeed freedom of the press. It seems that freedom of different kinds is an inalienable human right.

Governance to the World Bank (1993) is a system through which ‘power is exercised in the management of a country’s political, economic and social resources for development’. The emphasis here, according to the World Bank, is ‘the use of power to control political and economic resources of the nation’. Thus, governance is about securing political power in order to control economic power for the purpose of nation’s development. Put differently, it is about using nation’s wealth for the benefit of the nation only. While the definition is true to the developed nations of the world, it is far from being true in the third world countries, especially in most African nations. Most African leaders cannot differentiate between private and public organisation; they run nation like their personal businesses and corner nation’s wealth for themselves and their cliques. To the IMF (2016) governance is seeing as ‘all aspects of the way a country is governed, its economic policies and regulatory framework’. It can be inferred from the definition that governance has to do with the totality of governmental actions and activities that are geared or directed toward making and realising effective economic policies.

The definition lays emphasis on ‘economic policies’ which is regarded as the backbone of the nation’s stability and development. Suffice to say a well-planned economic policy is a precondition for the survival, stability and development of the nation.

Good Governance, on the other hand, has been variously defined often to suit different purposes. The concept of ‘good governance’ came to prominence after the end of the Cold War around 1990 in donor discourse. Such that, the World Bank who was the first major donor institution even adopted ‘good governance’ as a condition for lending to developing countries (cited in Udo, 2004).

The former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan sees ‘good governance’ as ‘the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development’ (Annan, cited in UN 1998). To Annan, lack of good governance will continue to promote hunger and underdevelopment. It is through good governance that impact of governmental activities can be felt, particularly in the area of economic growth and development. To the UNDP (2002) ‘good governance’ is about striving for the rule of law, transparency, equity, effectiveness/efficiency, accountability, and strategic vision

These issues therefore make this study very important as we will in the following chapters discuss the operations of the media in the administration of President Buhari; the attempt will hinge on providing solutions to some of the startling issues posed in this background.


  • Statement of the Problems

The study under review has the operations of the press at its epi-centre in the democratic dispensation of President Buhari.  We are going to look at some of the policies that have undermined the social responsibility of the press, as well as policies that have favoured the activities of the press in the aforementioned administration.

Is the word “Press Freedom” in existence in the true reality of life and, if so, how does it function?  Or are they determined by the kind of government in operation from society to society or country to country?


  • Research Questions

This will aim at assessing the performance of the press, the atmosphere in which they operate, given this dispensation, which is President Buhari’s regime period.  They are as follows:

  1. To what extent did the press carryout its role as watchdog of the socit?
  2. Did the media (press) perform well under President Buhari’s Administration?
  3. To what extent was the press used as an instrument of good governance in President Buhari’s Administration?
  4. To what extent was the media gagged by the Buhari’s administration?


  • Purpose of the Study


  1. To find out whether the civilian rule fostered brighter prospect for the media?
  2. To determine whether the media (press) performed better under the dispensation of President Buhari Administration?
  3. To examine whether the press was used as an instrument of good governance in President Buhari’s Administration?
  4. To investigate whether the media was gagged by Buhari’s administration?


  • Significance of the Study

This research work is of great relevance to the society at large. This is applicable to the government, the readers of this research work and to the researcher.

The benefit of this research work to the government is that by the end of the research, the weak-points and short – comings of all the sectors of the nation would be pinpointed and displayed based on findings, thereby proffering solution to the problem.

To the reader, they will be upgraded intellectually and also will be highly informed of the up and doings of the formal administration. It will also give the reader’s insight on how the press freedom participate in politics and governance of the nation, also partake in the political affairs of the country geared towards the achievement of national development.




  • Scope of  the  Study

The scope of this study is Press Freedom And Good Governance In Nigeria. Using Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration 2015-2020).


  • Limitations of the Study

In the course of writing and carrying out this project work, the researcher encountered many difficulties; some errors in the results of the research and from external sources of data collection. These are factors  standing as constraints thereby limiting the effect of the research result.

Among these are, time finance , scope and use of wrong statistics in data analysis, due to time limit, the research work is a time consuming one. A lot of time is taken to observe the subjects.

Most  times the behaviour of the staff changes even when they are aware that they are being observed by the researcher, this is by taking their behavior. The researcher also observed that these senior staff some time give true and false information in order to cover their branches.

At sometime the research work lasted over two months due to large scope of area of the study.




  • Definition  of  Terms


Conceptual: This is the assessment of an expert opinion on the value of an issue such as press freedom.

Operational:    To determine the view and evaluation of experts on the value of freedom of press.

Press Freedom:

Conceptual: This is the fundamental right of every person to have free access to the fact in all matters that directly or indirectly concern him and, his equal right to express and publish his opinion and to hear and read the opinion of others.

Operational: To know if the press with these rights are free to gather news without obstruction, to publish the comment on it thereon.

Civilian Rule:

Conceptual: This refers to the exercise of power or authority over a given society or country which does not have its roots or foundation from armed forces.

Operational: To determine the effect of power under a society that is free from armed forces in its foundation.

Government Conceptual:   This refers to the exercise of political authority over the actions, affairs etc. of a political unit or people as well as the performance of certain functions for this unit or body.

Operational:    This is known as the body that have authority to rule a political unit of people including the press and how they go about it.

Good governance: The fond good governance is a six speed dual dutch semi-automatic gearbox produced by the ford motor command.


1.9  Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter.     Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study


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