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The Role of Television in Electoral Education in Nigeria: A case study of NTA

The Role of Television in Electoral Education in Nigeria

Here in this post, we are going to conduct a well detailed expose on the role of television in electoral education in Nigeria using the Nigerian Television Authority  (NTA) as a case study.

The 2019 Elections: The Televised Learning

It’s the year 2019, the election year; the roads are filled with banners, billboards, posters and every advertising material displaying the candidates contesting for different offices in the Nigerian government from the Presidency to the office of House of Representatives.

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Read Also: 14 Functions Of The Nigerian Television Authority

The Role of Television in Electoral Education in Nigeria: A case study of NTA
The Role of Television in Electoral Education in Nigeria – Photo Source: http://www.radionigeriaibadan.org.ng

Television and Radio stations are not left out in these heavy campaigns and even the social media is agog with adverts, forums and different online events where these political parties engage their followers and synthesize them on the needs and benefits of casting their thumbprints beside their party logo on the big day.

Nigerians are expectant, Permanent Voters Cards ready, their choices made, it’s just a matter of days to head out to the polling booths and make that choice that would put the reins of power in the hands of the next man or have it retained, the question is; Are we ready?

The Electoral process is as complex as it can be straightforward and thus a vast majority of the Nigerian populace are not properly armed with the knowledge of the modus operandi, the nitty-gritty of the process and what is expected from every voter from their decision making all the way to the polling booths and even the post elections.

This is as important if not more as the manifesto from politicians that every voter is constantly exposed to on a daily basis.

So what and who is responsible in this task to empower the people with this great and very important weapon of knowledge that would in return ensure peaceful elections come March 2019? Let’s do a quick media exposure analysis.

Read Also: 12 Functions Of The Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation

The Social Media Angle

Social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc) is fast becoming the most popular tools and an avenue for information, entertainment and even business, all you need is a smartphone and you are all over the world in just a matter of seconds and clicks.

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Nigeria with her estimated population put at over 190 million, with approximately 55% of that population having access to a smart device, one would be tempted to hurriedly put the task of electoral education in the hands of bloggers, content writers, freelance online journalists, social media enthusiasts, etc.

The big question is, who are those in that estimated population that would be interested and thus expose themselves to such educational information? Social media is mostly used as the name implies, to socialize, make new clientele for business, expand networks and share ideas and this clearly explains why entertainers, businesses that give out freebies often, celebrities generate in a short while more followers and engagement than news related social media handles.

With also the level of poverty and literacy in the country, smart devices are seen as a luxury to most people and most of the vast populace that uses them are not literate enough to utilize the smart devices to even half it’s capacity to harness information that would benefit them therewith. So let’s put social media as a secondary means of electoral education.

Since the inception of the Newspaper in 1854 by Presbyterian Church missionary, Rev Henry Townsend, the newspaper has been a formidable force in the actualization and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.

They have managed over the years to keep a good balance between being objective, keeping the tabloids truthful and maintaining social responsibility.

Even with the many variations in styles, languages, and price the newspaper is still termed as the “Media for the Elite”. Most people do not buy newspapers either because of financial constraints or accessible newspaper apps on smart devices.

Read Also: History of Broadcasting in Nigeria

The Radio is clearly the most popular medium to reach people far and wide, it can be accessed everywhere; in public transports, offices, private cars, on virtually all mobile devices, with over 260 radio stations (government and private owned) in Nigeria, there is no question this medium would win the spot for the best choice in electoral education but for the limitation on the visuals as the radio is purely as audio-based medium.

For education to be fully fulfilled it must contain both audio and visual, this makes it easier to pass the message across to a heterogeneous audience with a 70% more chance of achieving better comprehension by the decoder of the message. This clearly introduces the aptest medium for election education in Nigeria; The Television.

Formerly called NTV {Nigerian Television} in the year 1976, the Nigerian Television Authority {NTA} inaugurated in 1977 has since been widely known as the authentic voice of the Nigerian government.

Although, some would see this as a biased stand on the part of the station being used as a voice to the only scream and applaud any government in power, but that do not stop it from being the most popular and trusted medium by the greater populace to be the voice of authority in matters of politics and electoral education.

Still holds the top spot for the biggest coverage in Nigeria, the Nigerian Television Authority is undoubtedly the best medium for election education.

With the various programs such as Good Morning Nigeria formerly called A.M Express, 2 hours 30 minutes show that runs from 6:30 am to 9 am Mondays to Fridays, Newline an incisive 1-hour human-related stories and reports show is also used most times to synthesize the general public on the electoral process.

The Network News is the 1-hour long news program that captures the day to day updates and reports on the government and the elections; it runs from Monday to Friday at 9 pm, except on Wednesdays that is called News Extra.

A couple of NTA programmes can be accessed internationally via Africast and TelAfric Television (USA & Canada), this makes it easy for Nigerians in the diaspora to be in the know of happenings in the country.

Television stations such as BEN Television, Africa Independent Television {AIT} frequently air news bulletins from NTA because of their deep reach into the corridors of power to bring all the news that matters to the esteemed viewers.

Read Also: 2019 Elections: Announce the real result or face legal action – PDP candidate challenges INEC

The elections are a big deal and thus all hands are on deck to ensure proper understanding of the process which would in return pay off as earlier stated, with a peaceful election come March 2019.

The role of the biggest network in Africa cannot be overemphasized in this quest to actualize this, so why not grab your remote control, sit back and locate the NTA and learn.

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Joseph Athanasius

Joseph Athanasius is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNIgeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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