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THE ROLE OF TWITTER AS A TOOL FOR POLITICAL EDUCATION A STUDY OF THE END SARS PROTEST

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The advancement of modern technology, combined with the ever-changing complexity of the world’s societies, has revolutionized the way information is gathered and disseminated. Citizens have taken advantage of the opportunity provided by modern technologies to keep up with what is going on around them as a result of this development. The internet has become the most significant technical revolution of the twentieth century, with a large portion of the world’s population having access to it. It is currently the world’s largest marketplace, with products, services, information, ideas, and knowledge available at the touch of a button. The employment of these technologies allows for the efficient, cost-effective, and convenient dissemination of critical information to the public via online media platforms.

The thirst for power and the agitation for change have been recurrent elements in every democratized country. Politicians who want to be in charge try to achieve their goals by forming political parties that share their ideologies, visions, and goals. Those who want to challenge the current quo and support revolutionary ideas join organisations to make their goals a reality. Both parties, however, will be unable to realize their goals and ambitions without the backing of the general public.

The target supporters, on the other hand, require persuasive information before they can join the train. This is where the media, as a true tool for political socialization, comes into play. Globalisation’s entry into world politics has altered the socio-political landscape of global politics. Globalisation has tentacles in all facet of human activities and interactions, like an Octopus. Globalisation’s strength, on the other hand, is based on changes and technological developments in the nature, timeliness, and efficacy of the internet. The internet, which supports various social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram, Telegram, and many others, is faster and more open to response than traditional media forums such as print media, television, radio, and telephony, and has thus become a veritable information gathering, dissemination, and evaluation instrument. One is prone to agree with Friedman on social media (2007),

As a result, in this age of globalisation, the internet plays a critical role in forming political attitudes, increasing political activity, and influencing voting behavior around the world. “The new information network and information technology, using a form of communication leveraging interactive and user-produced content, and interpersonal interactions are developed and maintained,” according to the definition of social media (Sanatokeskus TSK: Sosaalisen median sanato. Helsinki 2010).

As a result, Twitter encourages discussion and public participation on a variety of human issues. As a result, Twitter’s unrestricted participatory nature has provided a wealth of chances for the public to engage in discussions about a variety of Nigerian issues. There was a dispute regarding online action between “cyber-enthusiasts” and “cyber-skeptics” during the Twitter revolution (Gadi et al, 2013, p.1). The web offers people a misperception of political engagement and stops them from participating in actual protests, according to cyber-skeptics, but cyber-enthusiats regarded the internet as a means to mobilize and inform people for larger social reform. However, the cyber-enthusiasts have won the debate over the years, as online activism, particularly hashtag activism, has been used to achieve social transformation, as evidenced by #OccupyWallStreet, #BlackLivesMatter #BringBackOurGirls #Ferguson, #ArabSpring, and most recently the #Endsars campaign in Nigeria, which has had a lot of success.

Nigerian online activism dates back to 2009, when former Nigerian rapper eLDee turned to Twitter to vent his dissatisfaction with the country’s intermittent power supply. This came after his friend’s procedure was postponed due to a power outage. He invited four other young Nigerians, Sheile Ojei, Amara Nwakpa, Seyi Kuyinu, and Banky W, a Nigerian singer, to join him in a public conversation about the country’s bad electricity condition (Odewale, 2014). The term “Light Up Nigeria” came up during their internet conversation.

Nigerian politicians and political parties now use Twitter to give critical information and education to the public about their programs and/or manifestos at various times.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

The issue is that Nigerian political activists have struggled to mobilize their political acts and communicate with large audiences and potential supporters through mainstream media. The issue stems from the nature of traditional media. In Nigeria, mainstream media businesses are either owned by the government or by profit-driven corporations. Alternative political or anti-government beliefs have a hard time finding a home in the mainstream media in either instance. The project investigates “whether Twitter can be used as an alternative to mainstream media by political activists to freely and efficiently promote their views and generate political protests.”

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The major goal of this research is to assess the utility of Twitter as a medium for political education in Nigeria, with a focus on the #EndSars protest. The following are the specific goals that this research study aims to achieve:

To see if Twitter has any influence on people’s political education in Lagos State.

To determine how effective Twitter has been in providing political education to the people of Lagos State.

To determine how Twitter has aided the people of Lagos State in their political education.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following research issues will be addressed by the project.

Is Twitter having an impact on people’s political education in Lagos State?

 

What is the extent to which Twitter has offered political education to Lagos State residents?

 

What are some of the ways Twitter has helped people in Lagos State learn about politics?

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study will provide extra understanding on the subject issue because it is a relatively new field in Nigeria’s ever-dynamic sector of communication. Because social media techniques have yet to be thoroughly explored for political campaigns in Nigeria, it is intended that the study would educate politicians and political parties on the role of Twitter in current political communication. In addition, the findings of this study will assist the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and civil society organizations in developing programs to promote the use of new media technologies in Nigeria’s electoral process. Finally, the outcomes of this study will serve as a springboard for future political communication research.

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The recent EndSars protest will be the focus of a study on the utility of Twitter as a tool for political education. It will concentrate on Twitter’s effectiveness during Nigeria’s peaceful protests, utilizing Lagos as a case study.

LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

Financial constraints – A lack of funds impedes the researcher’s efficiency in locating relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data gathering procedure (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint: The researcher will be working on this subject while also doing other academic tasks. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

 

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