THE IMPACT OF RADIO IN PROMOTING POLITICAL PARTICIPATION
Political participation is a process through which individuals or groups of citizens get involved in designing representative decision- makers to enhance an effective governance and societal welfare. The participation can come in form of voting, rally, contesting, partnership, among others. To embark on this task of electing leaders, people must be mobilized in order to get enlightened via enlightenment campaigns, sensitization, information dissemination and advocacy programmes directed at Community Leaders, Age Grades, Development Associations, Opinion Leaders, Artisan Guides and other grassroots movements in order to increase their awareness and foster attitudinal change towards active involvement and participation in politics. (Ikelegbe, 1995).
According to one of the political activists, Anthony Gramsci (1891-1937), “the ruling class or party through agent of socialization ( eg radio) indoctrinated others, their beliefs systems and values towards politics”. This emphasize more on the need and advantages of radio in helping to educate people (rural people) on the aim of embarking on politics and the gain achieved from such in a persuasive and convincing mood to lure them into participation for such as it helps to build an organised and healthy and peaceful community, state, country and the world at large. It is also known that the impact of radio manifests in emergence of political movements by instant group with aim to achieve objectives. This implies that radio aim at reaching the diversified and heterogeneous people (rural dwellers) in their various destinations simultaneously and also in their different language for both old and young to partake. This is because in most rural areas, old and young women are in a greater number (non-educated ones) and with their votes, one wins any election.
There are various ways one can participate in politics. These ways could be through political rally, partnership, contesting, criticism, voting and so on. The above participation means are very crucial in our rural areas, especially where we have a large country (eg Nigeria). Because Nigeria consist of three major ethnic linguistics, therefore, the president will find it difficult to reach other people with odd dialect. Thus, they (rural dwellers) need a representative in government from their areas, who can reach government needs and demands to them in their languages. And, this can only be done when the people living in rural areas participate in political programmes and activities that is, in a democratic state.
From the above statement, Democracy stands as the most widely embraced system in politics and governance as means “Rule by the people,” which implies direct participation and representative terms of rule by the people. But, in most rural areas many people are still showing apathy, alienated, indifference to political participation especially cities populated by businessmen.
The more information and education even enlightenment on the importance of political participation are made known to the rural people, the more interest, sympathy and joy they derive from participating in it by the greater extent of the knowledge they acquire about it.
To enhance an effective governance and societal welfare especially in the developing countries of the world also known as Third World Countries, radio has taken the lead amongst the mass media as the cheapest (Transistor Radio) and portable medium, being most effective in relaying peoples’ matters to the government for problem solving and as well encourages and attracts development through mobilization, enlightenment and education by persuading them or inducing them to comply in the participation.
A democratic society without a mass media e.g radio, is referred to as deaf and blind man that neither hear or see what goes on in the society. That is to say, any man without a radio in his house to enlighten him about the happenings in the society is deaf while hearing and blind while seeing. For we have come to forceful believe and accept the assertion that without massive medium (radio) in a democratic state, that democracy is doom.
During election, mass media, in order to promote political participation, uses the issue or problem in the area to lure the people to actively participate. This could be a promise of establishing a Good Water Supply, Electricity, Building of Health Centers and others. According to the Agenda-setting function which states that people should not bother on what to think but act on what to think about. Thus, the provision of Electricity to a rural area helps the people to concentrate on the developmental aspect of the issue, mobilize and organize themselves on how to vote the person into office in order to achieve their objectives.
In most Third World Countries (rural community), Radio Broadcasting is the most effective mass communication medium in reaching the masses both in the rural and urban areas as it transcends geographical, linguistics and other traditional barriers.
DEVELOPMENTAL ERA OF RADIO.
Broadcasting in Nigeria through radio dates back to the year 1933. A Radio Broadcasting station was also established by the British colonial government
through its Public Relations Office in Lagos. Thus, the broadcast media (Radio) in Nigeria had their roots and the relaying of the British Empire Service (BES) from Daventry in England. This means that the British Broadcasting Service helps in relaying programmes and news to her Majesty’s Servant here in Nigeria.However, the radio station was not a full-fledged radio station, though, monitored and relayed programmes for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Programmes were originated and transmitted from London, to Nigeria subscribers by telephone wires.British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as an example of Public Radio Corporation that is autonomous and independent, relayed purely British programmes, though, sometimes they tailored the programmes to suit the taste of Nigeria listeners.
According to Nwanze I. (2003), “
The British Colonial Government initiated Radio Broadcasting to link colonial territories with Britain, to serve as a propaganda machinery.”
The word ‘propaganda’ as used in the above assertion, emphasizes on the relevant need of establishing radio for political reason as false ideas or exaggerated statements that the British Colonial Government used to dominate colonial territories for Britain in order to gain support for political leader, party etc.
In 1936, Nigeria Radio Broadcasting was established by the opening of Seven Radio Distribution Services(REDIFFUSION) in Lagos to disseminate news and programmes, which originated from BBC London to the Lagos studio.The programmes were disseminated to various diversified audience through boxes where they were received by subscribers who paid some amount of money in advance as subscription fees for the purpose of listening to the programme. (Nwanze 2003).
In 1951, the Nigeria Broadcasting Service (NBS) was established as an arm of the Ministry of Information, which served as a relay station, working closely with the BBC and relaying national news and other programmes from London. It also has every qualities of the past except the name that changed.Earlier in 1956, through an Act of parliament No 39 (of 1956), the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) was established on 1st April 1957. n 1957, Radio Broadcasting in Nigeria assumed some importance to the Nigerian audience, as programmes were made to suit the taste of the listeners in Nigeria. It was believed that the proper arrival of radio in Nigeria was as first Radio Distribution service (REDIFFUSSION) in Lagos.
In 1979, the Federal Military Government through the instrumentality of Decree No. 8 of 1979 (with retrospective effect from 1st April 1978) restructured the NBC and former Broadcasting Corporation of Northern Nigeria (BCNN) and this led to the establishment of the federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria(FRCN). The objective of which to be the promotion of orderly and meaningful development of broadcasting in Nigeria through improvement in programming, etc. (Nwanze 2003).
Since the emergence of radio in Nigeria, it has become a formidable force in Nigeria politics. No Nigerian politician, parties or government has carried any activity meant for the masses without employing the services of the radio.
Since second Republic, Nigeria has had sudden increase in the number of state owned radio stations. Some states, today, have two radio stations transmitting on AM and FM bands which government use for the dissemination of their policies, news and programmes.
In August 1994, Raypower 100 FM was established in Lagos as the first privately owned radio station in Nigeria by DAAR communications limited. In the year 1995, Minaj System, Obosi, in Anambra state, was granted license to establish and operate private radio station. Minaji became the second private owned radio station in Nigeria. Since then, several other private owned radio stations have been granted the privilege to operate in the country. (Nwanze, 2003).
THE IMPACT OF RADIO IN PROMOTING POLITICAL PARTICIPATION
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM.
This study is embarked on to discover what radio has contributed or how radio will help in mobilizing and enlightening the people of Ubakala community in Umuahia South Local Government Area (rural people) to participate in political programmes. But, there are some problems caused by communication and other social problems.
There are problems of apathy, indifference or alienated on the people towards political activities and programmes. Most citizens show no interest and do not contribute their opinions or information about political issues in general. Majority of the people show no interest, but few minority give attention to political issues that even concern them.
To solve the problem stated above, we need information campaign, which helps to breakdown any barrier to politics and as well win the acceptance and support of people. But at the side of Ubakala community, there is lack of this information campaign by the media operators. This information campaign involves Educating, mobilizing and sensitising the host community to fully participate in politics.
One of the problems was pre-project research. Pre-project research entails going down to the people, mixing with them and finding out their different characters, styles and the priority of their participatory need. ( Des Wilson, 2003).
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
There are many objectives for this study, that aimed at finding out the impact of radio in promoting political participation among the rural people.
These objectives are as follows:
- To discover how effective radio has been or will be in influencing political participation in Ubakala community in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State.
- To find out the effectiveness of radio in mobilizing the rural populace to participate in politics.
- To discover all the existing channels of communication in Ubakala community.
- To find out the most effective and accessible channels of communication among Ubakala people.
- To know whether there is preference for a particular type of media.
To find out whether the whole communities are resistant to radio message on political participation, or give their support to them