A STUDY ON THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON THE LIFESTYLE OF YOUTHS Mass …
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Political participation refers to ‘citizen’s rights to influence public affairs (Hans Klein 2005). In line with this thought, political participation can be identified as those actions taken by the citizens of a country either to influence or to support government and politics. It derives from the freedom to speak out, assemble and associate; the ability to take part in the conduct of public affairs; and the opportunity to register as a candidate, to campaign, to be elected and to hold office at all levels of government.
In Nigeria, women play a minimal role in politics. Just few women are found in political leadership positions although the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Chapter 4 sections 30 and 40 guaranteed rights to all citizens of Nigeria- both male and female- rights that are basic and fundamental to all without discrimination between both sexes.
Poor participation of women in politics and governance has been a major concern at global level. In Nigeria, women participation in politics is not proportionate to the 50% of the nation’s population which they represent and has not translated into equal representation in political leadership positions. The global issue of goal 3 (to promote gender equality and empower women) of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other international clarion calls for bridging the gap created by long-term discriminations against women and making women visible in politics made Nigeria to recognize women in the political sphere, and include them in both appointive and elective positions. Yet, there persists poor participation of women in politics and the number of women in political positions in Nigeria is growing at a slow rate despite efforts to change such trend by Nigerian women groups/ advocates/activists, civil society organizations, Nigerian government and International agencies and to increase women active participation in both politics and public life. This situation persistently falls below the recommended 30% of the Beijing Platform of Action and 35% recommendation of National Policy on Women in Nigeria.
Also, Nigerian women have the guaranteed rights to participate in active politics and governance by virtue of Section 42(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states that: “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person be subjected to any form of discrimination. This further confirms that you can go to court to seek redress if as a woman your franchise is violated and that the constitution as a whole prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex”.
However, over the years, there has been a remarkable increase in women participation when measured with certain standards like the number of women who vote in elections; the number of appointive and elective positions held by women; number of women related policies implemented by government; and so on. Yet, there is observed extensive discrimination against women and under- representation of them in politics and governance in Nigeria when compared with their male counterparts in actual practice.
Women have been actively engaged in political struggle since the 19th century. Women like Amina of Zaria, Madam Tinubu of Lagos, Olufunmilayo Ransom Kuti of Abeokuta, Margaret Ekpo and Hajjia Gabon
Swabia among many others have fought to give Nigerian women a pride of place in Nigeria’s history. In the areas of politics, these women amongst others contributed immensely to the mobilization and sensitization of women with a view to ensuring that women participated actively in politics. According to the former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Professor Attahiru M. Jega, ‘Women should not be reduced to only voting and supporting male candidates win elective positions’. Therefore, the focus of this study is to examine the role of the media in mobilizing women for politics in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
According to the claim of Luka (2011) that, “the importance of politics is too sensitive and serious of a business to be handled solely by men, the low level of women’s participation in politics has become a major concern in the society”. In 2011, out of 109 senatorial seats available in Nigeria only 20 seats were occupied by females, same goes for the House of Representatives as only 24 seats out of 362 seats were occupied by women. In addition to the above, with vacancy in 36 states in Nigeria there are no female governors in the country neither has there been any female president or vice president. Ogun state which is the focus of this study, had 20 available local government chairmen seats out of which only one was occupied by a woman. (Honorable Funmi Efuwape is the only female chairperson elected in the 2011 polls in Ogun state. She occupied the Sagamu Local Government chairman seat).
The statistics above provide strong evidence to the fact that the participation of women in politics is still very low in Nigeria. There has been and still instances of women holding high political positions of leadership in countries like, Britain, Philippines, Brazil, Liberia, Germany etc, but in Nigeria reverse is the case. Women are also called to be leaders and not mere followers because they have equal rights as provided for in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria. The mass media especially the radio has an important role to play in mobilizing women for political participation, as this is one of the primary functions of the mass media.
The fact that the media is not helping in influencing the participation of women in politics in Nigeria has been a major concern because the media has a very strong power in influencing the perception of its audiences. Most women have a fear of getting involved in politics because of the political media content that does not support the participation of women in politics. The political media content is expected to trigger an interest of women in politics and help them to get over their fear of participating in politics by airing programs that supports the claim that involvement in politics is not gender-specific. These problems make it glaring that there is a need to carry out a study on the role of the media in mobilizing women for politics in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to carry out a study on the role of the media in mobilizing women for politics in Nigeria, the specific objectives are:
1. To ascertain if women in Nigeria have interest in politics.
2. To find out if women are part of the top executives in broadcasting stations in Nigeria
3. To determine if the political media content create fear in women towards politics.
4. To examine how effective is the radio political programs in mobilizing women in Nigeria towards political participation.
5. To know how adequate the political media content will propel women to get involved in politics in the future.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The relevant research question related to this study include the following:
1. Do women in Nigeria have interest in politics?
2. Are women part of the top executives in broadcasting stations in Nigeria?
3. Does the political media content create fear in women towards politics?
4. How effective is the radio political programs in mobilizing women in Nigeria towards political participation?
5. How adequate the political media content will propel women to get involved in politics in the future?