Political Participation – The Impact Of Radio Promotions

Political Participation – The Impact Of Radio Promotions:  A Study Of Ubakala Community

Political Participation – The Impact Of Radio Promotions:  A Study Of Ubakala Community

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.

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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 democrat ic 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.


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.

In 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).


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).


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:

1. 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.

2. To find out the effectiveness of radio in mobilizing the rural populace to participate in politics.

3. To discover all the existing channels of communication in Ubakala community.

4. To find out the most effective and accessible channels of communication among Ubakala people.

5. To know whether there is preference for a particular type of media.

6. To find out whether the whole communities are resistant to radio message on political participation, or give their support to them.


This study will help to create awareness on the role mass media (radio) play during or before election to persuade and enlighten the rural people in the political activities and participation, and bringing to limelight the responsibilities of radio as an aid to government and electoral commission in integrating urban and rural dwellers into political process.

This study will help to know how effective radio can be when used in implementing political oriented programmes and other programmes meant for people living in rural areas.

The contestants and the electoral body will be opportuned to see and be convinced of the relevance of correct choice and selection of communication channels involving the whole community or rural dwellers in executing any political programme.

When this research study is readily made, it will serve as a point of reference or consultation for ;present and future study in terms of media strength and selection.

Finally, this study will ginger, encourage and motivate people of Ubakala to participate in politics and the media operators on how to channel their messages to reach their target audience in rural areas.


To actualize the objectives of this study, the following hypotheses are drafted thus:

H1: The role of radio is so important that compared to other media of communication in influencing people of Ubakala.

Ho: Radio has played no important role compared to other media of communication in influencing people of Ubakala.

H2 : People of Ubakala prefer radio to other media of communication.

H0: People of Ubakala do not prefer radio to other media of communication.

H3 : The effectiveness of radio made the people of Ubakala to have much access to it than other media.

H0 : Radio is not effective in Ubakala, thus, the people have more access to other media than radio.

H4 : People of Ubakala react positively to radio programmes on political issues.

H0: People of Ubakala react negatively to radio programme on political issues.


The theoretical framework of this research is based on the Agenda-setting theory of the mass media.

Agenda-setting theory of mass media argues that mass media may not always be successful in telling people what to think, but they are usually successful in telling people what to think about.

This theory was developed in 1970 by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw after their study of media role in the 1968 presidential election of the United states. The theory which confirmed that the power of the press to decide the agenda of public discourse and debate is quite potent. The amount of attention given to an issue in the press affects the level of importance assigned to that issue by consumers of mass media messages.

Agenda-setting refers to the way the media set the order or importance of current issues, especially in the reportage of news. When we say radio has an impact on agenda-setting, we mean that it has the ability to choose and emphasize certain programmes and issues, thereby causing the public (rural dwellers) to perceive these issues as important.

This process makes the mass media prepare and present their messages in the mood to set their agenda, by attaching importance to the issues at hand and arousing the interest of the target audience to the issues.

Thus, during political activities, the mass media pinpoint on the need for the masses to partake in politics and nothing else. Mass media (radio) for promoting political participation, concentrate on informing the people (rural dwellers) to make formal choice on whom they want and to contest or by inducing them to participate in any of the political activities of their choice.

Because of the importance people bestowed on mass media, they were able to reject their feelings on them (the masses). Lang and Lang (1959) were of similar opinion when they wrote :

The pledges, promises and information in the mass Media became the only contact many have with politics. The pledge, promises and Rhetorics in news, stories, columns and editorials contain much information upon which a voting decision has to be made.

Mc Combs and Shaw (1972) contributed that in choosing or displaying news stories, news room staff and Broadcasters play an important part in shaping political reality. Readers or listeners learn not only about a given issue, but show

much importance to attach to the issue at hand from the effect of the message in the news stories.

The Agenda-setting theory of mass media is supposed to explain the house style of Broadcast medium (radio) and emphasize on the event as the listening audience are influenced to see the message important.

This theory, while not denying that the media messages influence the audience, stress that the influence is more on the Cognitive level than the Affective and Behavioural level.

Walter Lippman asserted that “The world we have to deal with is “out of reach”, “sight”, “out of mind,” and that our acquaintances with this remote part of our world is established by the media. The media does more than familiarized us with our environment, immediate and remote”.

Mc Combs and Shaw (1972) and lang and lang (1968) said that “media emphasis is what attracts our attention in the first place before learning takes place”.

Benard Cohon (1963) summarizes the media agenda- setting role in this world. He stated Agenda-setting role as may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling people what to think about.

In other words, the media set the agenda for public thoughts and discussions. He also states that “The World looks differently to different people depending not only on their experiences and interests, but also on the map drawn for them by the medium they use”.

The media Agenda-setting theory is not, however, automatic, but it depends on certain facts which some researchers had called “Contingency Orientation”.

Inter-personal discussions, high level of media use, and uncertainty on issues in question were seen to facilitate Agenda-setting.(Wogu, 2004).


There are some outstanding terms in this work with their appropriate definitions given.


Conceptual definition:

It is defined as the main way that large or heterogeneous numbers of people receive information and entertainment, that is, radio etc.

Operational definition:

They are means through which political programmes and issues are disseminated or received in Umuahia (Urban ) and Ubakala (rural) communities.


Conceptual definition:

They are the sources of information and news such as radio, etc., that reach and influence large numbers of people.

Operational definition:

They are the agents of mass communication which help in reaching or disseminating information and influencing heterogeneous numbers of people in rural and urban areas eg. Ubakala community.


Conceptual definition:

A piece of equipment used for listening to programmes that are broadcast to the public.

Operational Definition:

The process of receiving and broadcasting messages through the air to listening audience in rural and urban communities using Electromagnetic waves.


Conceptual definition:

This can be defined as the part of a country that has not been developed.

Operational definition:

This is an underdeveloped or less developed areas of the countryside that made up of communities, but lack the needed facilities and infrastructural development like; Electricity, pipe-borne water, Hospitals, etc. eg. Ubakala.


Conceptual Definition:

This means the large number of people living in the areas that are connected with or like the countryside, that is less developed.

Operational Definition:

They are men and women who live in less developed part of the country like Ubakala.


Conceptual Definition:

This can be defined as the activities involved in getting and using power in public life, and being able to influence decisions that affect a country or a society.

Operational Definition:

This is the activity involved in by the people living in the areas as a direct participation in running government affairs of taking part in the exercise that will influence or affect the nation, state and community.


Conceptual Definition:

This is an act of organizing a group of people to work together in order to achieve a particular aim.

Operational Definition:

This is an act of organizing a group of people especially in a rural community like Ubakala to participate in political exercise in order to achieve needed development in the community and to change their wrong motives about politics.


Conceptual Definition:

This is the act of taking part in an activity or event in order to achieve a particular goal.

Operational Definition:

This is the act of taking part or being involved in political activities or events by the people of Ubakala in order to get their decision makers or representatives and development in the communities.


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A.S.Hornby, et al (2000), Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English. Sixth edition. London: Oxford University Press.

B.C. Nwakwo (1990) Authority in Government. Onitsha: Almond Publisher.

Des, Wilson (2003) The Mass Media and the Participatory Democratic Process: Mobilizing Nigerian for Election. Nigerian Journal of Communication, July 2003.

Egwu, U.E. and Egwu J.U(2003) Political Culture and Behaviour in Nigeria. Parck Publishers, Abakaliki.

McCombs and Shaw (1972), Lang and Lang (1968) and Benard Cohon (1963),’’ The Agenda –Setting Theory of Mass Media” in Wogu, E.O. (2004), Mass Media and Society. (Unpublished Material), Department of Mass Communication, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.

Nwanze, I. (2003) Broadcasting in Nigeria. Port Harcourt: Renaissance Communication LTD.

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P.U. Ineji (2003), Mass Communication Studies: The Basics. Calabar: Ushie Printers and Publishing Co. Ltd,



In carrying out a research work of this nature, it is pertinent to review available literature related to the topic whether published or unpublished. The materials to be reviewed would largely come from relevant Textbooks on Mass Communication and Media effects, and Political Science, Journals, Newspapers, Conference papers presented at Seminars, Symposia and other related Lecture notes and general experience of the researcher.


The literature which is used in supporting this study is gathered from the secondary source, which conform to the research questions and help in throwing more light on the research.


Political participation is the actual involvement of the citizenry in the process of governing their state affairs. In other words, political participation means the proposed or conscious act of involvement of the citizens to influence

the pattern, structure and composition of the government of the state. It also involves the citizenry participation in the formulation and execution of laws, policies and regulations for their governance, and their choice –making for decision-making representative or leader in their society.

Political participation involves all the political activities of citizens, either as individual or groups geared towards or designed to influence the political process. It is the citizen’s involvement, actually to influence directly or indirectly the ways, directions and methods of governance or more specifically, the output or outcome(results) of political process. It is a political activity which is directed at selecting rulers in influencing the decision of government and the way government governs.

Most of the activities involved in the political participation has the quality being voluntary. The voluntary activities are done by the community, both men and women, even youths in political participation of choosing their desired leaders and in forming the policy that guide such leadership.

The voluntary activities have the supportive attitudes of a sense of a political efficacy and sense of obligation to participation. The supportive attitudes which require the help or encouragement of the citizens concerned are associated thus: High level of Education, Acquisition of Wealth, High Status, Occupation or Profession, urban and rural residence, etc. The above factors contributes and enhance in motivating the individual capacity and providing opportunities of participation in political activities. (Ikelegbe, 1995).

Urban residence promotes interaction, exposure to more communication and more opportunities to participate in politics. This is because, the urban residence or dwellers are more educative, which also strengthens the political knowledge, self confidence, political competence, and sense of civic duty and political efficacy of its recipient.

The higher Social Economic Status in income, better contact and occupation enables the confidence access to political information.

People’s participation in political process is promoted by being a member of group (political party), involvement in community affairs, consideration of Sex, Age, Exposure to mass media, level of information available to the individuals in the society or community.


Political participation is very crucial because of its role as an element of effective governance and rural transformation. This could be true as a result of the participation for societal welfare and development.

Political participation enables the inputs citizens or the governed in governance. It creates opportunities for the citizens to share their views, ideas, demands, preferences, orientations, interests and judgments for political progress.

Political participation enables the citizens to express their choice of party, consent for and to reject or vote leaders and of public policies. Thus, through political participation, the citizens are able to share in and shape the exercise of power. Political participation is the principal means by which the citizenry share in the determination of their affairs. Through participation, Leaders are made responsible and accountable in the conduct of governance as the citizenry exert pressure on governments to conform with preferences and aspirations.

The collective wisdom arising from the inputs and competence of the severally involved could improve public decision-making. Political participation furthers communication and linkages between rulers and the ruled (rural people). To enhance the citizen’s self worth and dignity, participation should impact governance. Also, when the rural people participate in political activities, it helps to increase political learning, knowledge and understanding as well as sharpens political interests on rural dwellers and the responsibility and effectiveness of the participation in politics.

The heterogeneity on political participation legitimize the government in power and display public support as the interests people have for the political process is high resulting to high level of system responsiveness in terms of impact of participation on public policy. In democracy, for the active citizens to participate in politics, they have the power to vote their leader into power or vote out the government or the leader that is not to their expectations.


There are broad ways of involving in political participation by the citizens of the community, in an attempt to influence the political process. Political participatory activities can be categorized into Election and Non election. According to (Ikelegbe, 1995:81)

Elections and electoral activities provide enormous opportunities for political participation to a great number of the citizenry.

Political participatory activities could be classified as Conventional or Orthodox. He also stated that “Conventional participations are the legal, constitutional , permissible and acceptable modes of participation in a state, while Non conventional participations are those not sanctioned, permitted and acceptance such as; protests, riots, strikes, etc”.

He explained further by adding that the permissible and acceptable modes of participation are voting, campaigns, contacting political representatives expressing political opinion, etc. while those impermissible and unacceptable modes of participation are protests, boycotts, arson, war, terrorism, etc. (Ikelegbe, 1995 :81).

The points above revealed that there are various ways man can engage or involve in political activities. These various forms of political participation include;

RALLY: In every political society, there are often a large public political meeting and discussion. Every citizen of a particular state is requested to attend these political party rallies or campaigns to enable them realize the policies, programmes, and political party by registering in and identifying with a political party that will make them participate legally and legitimately in politics.

CONTESTING: This could largely be called running or vying for an election. Contesting is the means through which a contestant takes part in politics, vying to become a leader and either win the office or lose it. Adult citizens can stand for an election and succeed in holding a public office as the leader.

CRITICISM: This is the process or action of indicating the faults of somebody who is vying for an election and accompany it with useful suggestions or points. Purposely, some persons get involved in politics by objectively criticizing candidates for elections and government appointees. Sometimes, this could be done by writing of petitions against the politicians and government officials, and may suggest the alternative solutions to the problems or challenges facing the government in power.

VOTING: This is the action by one’s franchise of formally indicating one’s choice of action, etc. In a democracy, all adult citizens that are mentally sound, have the rights to vote for their choice the candidate who is contesting during election.

HOLDING POLITICAL OFFICES: Specifically, some persons participate in politics only to hold or occupy a political office. The office could be occupied through election or appointment. Example of such offices are office of the president, Governor, Minister, Commissioner, Secretary, etc.

In analyzing political issues, some people participate in politics by discussing and analyzing the major political events in society. The discussion may focus on personalities and manifestoes of candidates, and the political parties contesting the election and may take place in no formal situation or through the mass media. The essence of this analysis is to grant the citizens or the voters the opportunity of assessing the candidates vying for an election critically before casting their votes.

SUPPORTING CANDIDATES DURING ELECTION: Citizens of every state are expected to participate in politics for the reason of supporting the candidate of the choice to win election in order to control the machinery of government or to represent them at the Federal Government level in decision-making. This sponsorship in Nigeria has resulted to Godfatherism, which has brought problems in many states. For instance, Governor Ngige of Anambra state, there is also likely case in Oyo state recently in 2006, among others.

DISSEMINATION OF PARTY PROPAGANDA: So many people engage themselves in political activities to participate in party information and policy objectives to influence the electorates to vote for their candidate during elections, while others serve as polling agents for candidates at elections.

MEMBERS OF PRESSURE GROUP: For the purpose of influencing political events, some people form pressure groups. Pressure groups could be Women Organization, Youths, Students and Non Governmental Organizations, etc. that are formed primarily to influence political events in the society.

FINANCIAL AND MATERIAL ASSISTANCE TO POLITICAL PARTY: Most wealthy citizens of the country or a particular society participate in politics only to sponsor the political party’s ideas, programmes and objectives of the candidates as well with their wealth. In the case of political parties, such financial and material assistance helps them to secure a good party secretariat and other requirements that could be of help to them in winning elections. (Ikelegbe,1995).


There are so many factors that are hampering the success or progress of political participation in our societies.

Thus, most of the citizenry of several nations have no opinion and show little or no interest in many political issues. But, only a few proportion of the citizenry show interest as the larger majority are indifferent to political participation.

Research has revealed that only few citizens participate in politics, despite the rights and opportunities to do so and its importance and benefits to them. These attitudes is as a result of some reasons:

RELIGION: Because of some religious beliefs that condemn politics as an indecent activity for adherents to participate, the believers of such religion will find it as a taboo to participate in political activities and go further to hate the politicians and condemn everything about politics. For instance, some Christians call politics “A Dirty game”, and that it is not proper for a Christian who is fit for the kingdom of God to be involved in. They see politics as being against their beliefs and faith, and on the other hand, discourages them in participating in any political activity.

CUSTOM AND TRADITION: The generally accepted way of behaving or doing things by some people in a particular area or community and their beliefs from one generation to another discourage them from participating in one political activity or the other. They will not vote for a leader nor contest to be voted for in the society concerned.

This spectators’ behaviours may result from racial discrimination that emanate from people’s culture. Some cultures of a particular sex (male or female) to participate in a political activity. For instance, in Islamic religion, the Muslems do not allow their wives to go out freely eg. The “Akule” Women of Alhajis who always stay in-door both day and night, thus, are denied the opportunity to vote or participate in politics. In the eastern part of Nigeria, the women are not given the chance to be voted for in any political office, despite the Women Empowerment Programme going on in Nigeria and the world at large. During political campaign period, the women who register for a particular office may not be accepted to contest, here in Nigeria. But in most of African countries, women are taking the lead as Heads of State and Government. For instance, in Liberia, a woman won as a president in 2005, and was sworm into office in Monrovia in Liberia on January 16, 2006 in the person of Mrs Ellen Sirlear Johnson. (Daily Independent, 2005 : pg A10 and The Guardian, 2006 : January).

ILLITERACY AND IGNORANCE: Many people do not participate in political process or have no opinion on political issues and show little or no interest in political programmes because they can neither read nor write what will make the government attend to their needs or read out what is pasted on the walls about the political process. Also, the citizenry of several nations do not involve in political activities because they lack knowledge or information about the activity. Illiteracy, on the other hand, makes most of people, especially in the rural areas to ignore the political activities due to inferiority complex, as they think that they are ordinary people that cannot participate in politics, neglecting that both majority and minority, rich and poor, etc. have equal rights to vote and to be voted for in politics.

PAST EXPERIENCE: Because of people’s past experience or what they have witnessed about politics both in the Local Government level, State level, National Level and International level, recasting past and unpleasant events or incidents, they will refuse to give attention to any political event.

There have been series of unpleasant events in the country-Nigeria. For instance, in Abia state, there was a political crisis among parties by the Head of State, Governor Orji Uzor Kalu and his former Deputy, Mr. Enyinnaya Abaribe of P.D.P.

Mr. Enyinnaya Abaribe was the Deputy Governor to Orji Uzor Kalu’s first administration in PDP, later he left the party to ANPP-All Nigerian peoples party and turned against Kalu as an opponent towards their second administration campaign.

Governor Uzor Kalu was then known as “Onu Abuo”, which entails-second chance in their political conflict, while Abaribe’s party or group was known as “Otu onu,” which also entails one chance to partake or be a leader. Here, Abaribe was contesting as a governor of Abia State against Kalu by saying that they do not want the second chance to Kalu (“Onu abuo”), rather first chance (“Otu onu”).

The incident called for a serious hatred between the two parties (PDP and ANPP) as most of Kalu’s escort drivers left the party to join Abaribe. But, Kalu later won the second chance as Governor of Abia state in 2003 election.

Abaribe refused, but reported that Kalu is in secret cult, and was ready to give government Kalu’s secret cult number and other hidden things about Kalu in order to discourage the result, but all his efforts proved abortive.

Another political conflict in Abia State was the problem on flag-bearing, that is one who will become the flag-bearer in 1999 under the civilian first administration between Vincent Ogbulafor, the former PDP Chairman Eastern Region and Uzor Kalu, the present Governor of Abia State.

The 1999 Gubernatorial flag-bearer under the platform of PDP –Peoples Democratic Party raised the dust on political conflict between Ogbulafor during the primary election on who will represent them to face other parties as the flag-bearer in Abia State.

Later, Orji Uzor Kalu won the Gubernatorial election partially, because the election was rigged against the merited winner of the Gubernatorial election, Vincent Ogbulafor.

Governor Kalu fought for a Federal post for Ogbulafor as a compensation to what happened, and also paid him for settlement, the double of what he (Ogbulafor) spent during the primary election campaign. Later, Kalu published and broadcasted the issue that he had compensated Ogbulafor, stating all he did to settle him and claimed superiority over Ogbulafor which annoyed Ogbulafor and triggered off the conflict between them. But, the matter was calmly resolved by the aid of the State Government (Abia State Government).

In 2002, there was another political conflict between Chief Enweremmadu from Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area. Who was also the chairman of the traditional rulers council of a large Community in Isiala Ngwa, Abia state and the governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu.

Autonomy was shared or given to various communities to disintegrate them from a large community. Such creation led Chief Enweremmadu to concentrate on a smaller unit, that is, on one of the autonomous communities instead of the whole community. He perceived such act of creation by the Governor as a strategic means of depriving him of his leadership right, and then he frowned at the autonomy system in the state to various communities by keeping malice and hating the administration.

The incident, therefore, made the “Area boys” from Isiala Ngwa to gang up against the Governor, as they protested when he visited Isiala Ngwa, trying to kill him, but he (Kalu) escaped death, while two of his escort drivers were shot, though, they survived the trauma as they were immediately rushed to the hospital and others took to their heels. Such experience frightened some of his (Kalu’s) escort drivers and they resigned from his party to another for safety.

There are also other cases like that in my community in particular (Ubakala), between Governor Uzor Kalu and former PDP chairman, Chief Anthony Ukasanya, and other PDP members who were against Governor Uzor Kalu’s administration or leadership .

Because of allegations and rumours about some PDP members then in Ubakala, between Chief Anthony Ukasanya (Umuosu Village) Chief Neighbour Onwukaike (Laguru Village) and the Governor Kalu in his first administration. Thus, some tugs were sent to set these men’s houses ablaze and to shoot them to death if captured. But, those politicians (Ukasanya and Neighbour) were pre informed as they escaped before the arrival of those assassins.

The tugs stormed Chief Onwukaike’s house with bottles of fuel with fire both at his garage and on his roof, but fortunately enough, the villagers were alert at that hour (8 pm) and put off the fire. Some of these tug boys also went to chief Ukasanya’s house and exchanged bullets with his armed security men. Though they shot one of the security men, but were not allowed to enter into the Chief’s compound.

Therefore, when people rehearsed these past unpleasant and dangerous events in the political circle, they will decide not to involve themselves or engage in any political activity. Thus, they call politics “A Dirty Game”.


In carrying out research of this nature on rural area like Ubakala Community, radio has a reasonable advantage over other mass media.

In spite of this worrisome generalization that mass media can do more than creating awareness regarding any political activities, radio has continued to improve stronger as a medium of the people and has become sight in both urban and rural communities in Africa and other less developed countries of the world.

Particularly in rural areas, it is common to see the rural dwellers attach the transistor radio on their bicycles and put it in their bags while in their farm lands as to know what happens in a daily basis in their community or society. Also, the Fulanis move almost to every place they want both while rearing cattle with the transistor radio on their shoulders to listen to the happenings in their society and to know when the time is against them.

According to the farmers interviewed, they were able to say that without radio, they will over-labour themselves in the farm without knowing what the time states. Some were with the view that, though they are not educated neither have they gone to urban area, but that they are able to account on some political conflict in their society and the world at large. They also said that radio has contributed richly in letting them know the names of most political leaders and their impacts to the development of their community.

Onyekwere (1990:60) obviously agreed on this power of radio when he wrote that:

With the exception of radio which has been found to be effective in reaching the rural Nigeria masses, other channels of mass media communication have been found to be relatively less effective.

Among all the mass media generally available to Abia State, radio is the most widespread and accessible to rural dwellers. Obviously, radio has overriding advantages over the other mass media of communication. Some of these advantages are:

Radio Transcends Illiteracy: Radio uses spoken words as a natural way to communicate its message appeals to illiterate audience as political news and programmes beyond its normal limits. These political news and programmes can be broadcast to them not just in their native languages, but in their local dialects.

Pervasiveness: Radio has been seen as being universal in the spread of its appeal messages, especially on political issues to heterogenous and diversified audience in the rural areas. Radio is highly intrusive and has the capacity to shatter the walls of privacy the moment it is on. The beauty of radio lies in the fact that even if you do not know how to read and write, you can still partake in its programmes and enjoy it as well. Even when you do not have a set of radio, you will have access easily to your neighbors.

Immediacy: Radio gives immediate and timely information. It relates information to the target audience that are diversified immediately and simultaneously. The radio relays signals to its listening audience at a greater speed the event as it is happening (Live programmes in the studio) or newscasting. It helps the listening audience to picture the nature of the programme at the scene of action while still in their sitting room or at Home.

Flexibility: Radio permits choice of programme content. With radio, it is easy to change set plans to meet the exigencies of infolding events. This is very crucial to the political advertiser, for it is easy to replace one message with another at the last minute with minimum cost and inconveniences to the advertising agency and the station.

Presence: The power of the choice and the human warmth associated with the radio establishes a presence that is almost as real as physical presence and makes the listening audience to feel the messages.

Operate Without Electricity: Radio breaks the barriers of power outage as it can easily be operated using dry batteries. This is the reason why rural dwellers prefer radio (transistor) to other mass media.

Cheap: Radio is relatively cheap, especially transistor radio. Its cost is economical. Radio, for instance is relatively cheap both in programme production, airing and set maintenance.

Portable: The portability and highly mobile of radio makes it possible for the rural dwellers to carry it along as it is not fixed permanently at a place compared to other mass media. Radio has more strength in reaching the hinterland and the remotest part of the country.

Television medium of communication has not been effective as to reaching or communicating to the rural dwellers, the reason is that television has a limited outreach by not being capable of reaching large number of population in different areas as radio.

Television is regarded as a highly urban affair. It means that it is better used to reach people in urban areas because Power Holdings Company Nigeria PLC (PHCN), formerly known as NEPA, normally restore power in urban areas and to the few rural areas that have power supply.

In Abia State, about 80% of the population are rural dwellers and more than 60% of the rural dwellers do not have the huge amount of money to purchase a television set. That makes television ineffective in promoting political participation of the rural dwellers.

Film is not very much effective in promoting political participation in rural areas because of its cost that without the video machine put together with a television set it will not view what is inside of it, despite its ability to break literacy barrier to create feeling of empathy among the target audience, acquaint people with political skill and promoting spirit of oneness, peace and communalism among the rural communities and as well educate them.

According to Nwodu and Fab-Ukozor (2003:70) in their contribution to the weakness of films in promoting rural programmes:

Film, as a vehicle for publicizing and mobilizing support for development programmes has its own peculiar problems.

They further explained these problems as lack of Electric Power Supply, high cost of production, Distribution problem, foreign influence, and Obsolete equipment.

Another problem is that the producers hardly produce films on current issues or events; rather their films base on past events of people’s experience about a particular subject matter to educate or inform people about the consequences of such events. If they try to produce on current issues, the distribution will be very poor to the extent that ten percent (10%) of the major cities in the country will not get the film, let alone the rural areas or dwellers. But, radio messages and programmes to educate, inform, entertain, mobilize and so on, about the happenings in the society with its repeat broadcast get to all the country, even to the farmers in their farmlands and fishermen at the river banks.

Newspapers and magazines as being written in English Languages only, making it difficult for the illiterates in the rural communities of the country to participate, makes it ineffective and inefficient, because of the high illiteracy level in the communities (rural areas). Using Newspaper to relaying information to rural people means that the newspaper should be published for that particular rural people it is meant for, published by those rural people and issues or information of that particular rural people. It should be seen as a rural Based Newspaper that is suppose to be written in that Local audience (rural people’s) language.

These problems encountered by using Newspapers to communicate to the rural people is just the same with magazine that lacks Audio and Oral language, because it is elitist and takes time to package.

Though radio is transient, which calls for combination of media to some situations, it is popular and ubiquitous medium of mass communication.

Nnanyelugo (1995 :71), acknowledge the power or strength of radio, when he wrote:

Among the modern Advertising media, radio is the most pervasive in every part of the world. For now, no medium has the potential to reach so many people so efficiently for education, information, entertainment and cultural purposes.

Radio is characterized by its many stations, many formats and highly reach across virtually all demographic segments that give it the edge over other mass media.


In Nigeria, especially in almost the population in African countries and about 80% of the population in Nigeria made up by the rural people living in Ubakala area, and other rural areas in Nigeria, have been living very harsh with poverty, superstition and disease with ignorance. The only means of survival as the rural economy is the subsistence Agriculture that serves for only a man, his wife and children.

There can be no meaningful improvement on the above situation of the rural dwellers, if there is no basic information reaching the target rural group to draw attention to the economic, social, religious, education and political aspects of their lives as it concerns the improvement on those aspects, especially on a democracy, so that citizens will have access to information and participate in running the day to day affairs of the country (to control the machinery of the government) thus, information is a sine-qua-non for improvement of the problems being tackled to sensitize and galvanize the rural dwellers and get them readily disposed favorably towards the issue at stake. Politically, they should be informed so as to be voted for. Access to information will enable the citizens to participate in political process and to form correct opinions on issues of state, national or public interests.

Yo C. Siepman (1950:18) is of similar view when he wrote:

The glory of the democratic way of life derives precisely from the fact the as member of society, we commit ourselves to face all facts and to entertain all ideas that may be canvassed. Because we govern ourselves, we have the full and unrestricted access to all facts and ideas.

In the democratic setting, people are said to be mobilized, especially in developing societies such as ours bedeviled with poverty, ignorance and diseases. The media are needed to dismantle deep rooted traditional beliefs which constitute obstacles to development and promotion of political participation. Thus, the citizens are able to receive, internalize and apply information in such a way as can enable them participate fully in the political participation process.

With proper and adequate dissemination of information to the target public, be it urban or rural dwellers are to receive and take adequate of such information, especially when appropriate media are employed, which will form the basic ingredients of its political judgement and participation.

Mass media seek to explain political issues, trends and phenomena that the recipient has hitherto been uncertain or completely oblivious. Information dissemination is necessary to resolve matters of political involvement as it determines the extent to which we have been puzzled, thereby reducing our anxiety or ignorance.

In mobilizing people to participate in political process by mass media, it may be impracticable to generate total mass participation of the electorate in political process of any policy. Also, a greater percentage of the enfranchised citizenry exercise their political rights and obligations by holding public and party office, transitional activities, such as attending political meetings or rallies and spectator activities, such as wearing of party stickers, vests and face caps, and finally vote. (Nwodu and Fab-ukozor,2003).

It is a common saying that education liberates the mind from ignorance and slavery, as individuals are capable of being exposed and alive to political stimuli transmitted through the mass media eg. Radio. The political aspirants can expect to communicate with them in terms of selling himself and his manifesto in order to achieve mutual understanding, good will and patronage. By so doing, mass media can be said to have contributed in promoting political participation.

Mass media make information available to majority (the masses) of the people and by this satisfy the information need of both the urbanites and the ruralites. To achieve this goal, the desired target audience are supposed to properly select a medium base on their choice. Because radio has powerful strengths of giving information as sense of importance and legitimacy, and of reaching many people at the same time and of creating a bandwagon effect that can encourage and pressure people to join in, etc. it has to be generally accepted as they are the best media to use in passing information to rural dwellers. If media selection is not properly chosen in carrying the rural people along in political process, it will affect the people on the nature and requirements of participation as the deformed ones are not expected to participate in any of the political process categories already mentioned. (Umechukwu,2001).

P. Tichener, G. Dorwhue and C. Olden (1970) were of the same opinion when they wrote that:

With increased in-flow in information into a social system, segments of the population with highest level of education often tend to acquire this information at a faster rate than segments with low levels of education.

In –flow of information occurs when mass media information that is meant for large number of audience are channeled to a particular people among the groups the information is meant for. Such situation will bridge the gap in knowledge of these segments, which many a times lead to some problems.

Often times, voters are faced with the problem of bias for their participating in voting, because of some disappointments from the already elected ones by not fulfilling their promises while contesting for the power. Because of wrong choice of media and insufficient message, it makes the issue more complex, but by the use of radio as an information medium, the case will be made simple and clear.

Information remains a powerful tool in terms of causing the people to interact with one another and getting them involved to participating in political processes.

Thus, Nigeria electorates under the Electronic siege, struggling to maintain not only the National Independence, but also right to existence in multi-party system of democracy. Every necessary efforts are made in engaging in the service of electronic media, particularly the radio, to sell the party manifesto to the electorate and elicit their participation in political process and activities. That is, the contestants are revealed to the masses through the radio by mentioning their names and the office they want to vie for in order for them to make right choice for their leaders freely without a form of coercion.

In promoting political participation along rural areas, the rural dwellers are to be enlightened, lured and enticed on the important programmes to be done or performed by the contestants as they directly affect the ruralites’ lives or living, in the area of development strategies of pledging to establish good roads, pipe borne water, Electricity, School, Hospital, etc. Radio uses advertisement to bring to understanding of the masses, the attribute and the agenda of the candidates. The above pledges motivate the masses as to strongly participate in politics for the purpose of the good pressing need of the society concerned.

Radio can also help to promoting people’s participation in politics through news stories, news analysis, commentaries, personality interview, etc.

The mass media are veritable tools of political communication, no doubt. All other actors in the political communication since the audience of political communication is equally heterogeneous as the process depend on the mass media for mass political communication. (Chinedu, 2003).

Okunna (1994 : 54) quoting Golding (1977) writes:

In advanced industrial societies, the mass media are actually an integral part of political life, serving for most people as their major or only link with government, and providing for them the information which they require to make political judgments on which they base their political attitudes.

All these geared towards bringing political information and education to the masses to enable them have the knowledge of what is going on in their political arena for them to participate in political activities. (Okunna, 1994 : 54).

The effectiveness of radio in advancing political activities contributes to the elimination of fraudsters and at the same time focus the personalities (status conferral) or the political aspirants to the citizenry and expose the bad aspirants among them by educating the masses on the political agenda of each aspirant.

Campaign, as one of the forms of political participation has its major feature, mostly in our rural areas, as an advancement role on political trend and aspirants responsiveness to the media for public office at National, State and Local Government levels.

Radio appeals to illiterate audiences who constitute a large percentage of Nation’s populace, eg. Rural dwellers by the use of the people’s native languages and in their local dialects in order to simplify the issue about political programmes.

Mass media plays the role of catalyst for political change and participation. And to the participation, mass media should mount a sustainable campaign or political rally that geared towards eliciting people’s reactions to political issues and activities. (Umechukwu, 2001).


Instruction: Please tick (√) in the box provided against or for the most appropriate option of your choice.

E.g. Are you from Ubakala? Yes No

1. Indicate your age range: a. 18 – 28 b. 29 – 38 c. 39 – 48

d. 49 – 58 e. 59 and above

2. Sex: a. Male b. Female

3. Occupation: a. Student b. Civil servant

c. Unemployed d. Trader e. None of the above

4. You have access to Radio. a. Agreed b. Disagreed

c. Strongly Agreed d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

5. If ‘AGREED’, how often do you listen to Radio?

a. Frequently b. By chance c. Less Frequent

d. Not at all e. No Response

6. What time of the day do you prefer listening to Radio?

a. Morning b. Afternoon c. Evening

d. Late Night e. Not Decided

7. Evening is the appropriate time for listening to radio.

a. Agreed. b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly disagreed e. No Response

8. Which of the following media do you have much access to?

a. Radio b. Television c. Newspaper

d. Magazine

9. which of the following media do you consider most effective

in reaching Ubakala community on political programmes?

a. Newspaper b. Magazine c. Radio

d. Television e. None of the above

10 Which of the following Radio stations can be clearly received

in your village? a. Vision Africa b. Heartland FM

c. IBC Owerri d. BCA

11. All the Radio stations listed in number ‘10’ are appropriate

in accessing political messages.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. Not decided

12. You did not decide in number ‘11’ because you have no

interest in politics.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

13. To what extent do you believe on information you hear on

radio about political issues? a. Very much b. Average

c. Very little d. Not at all c. Not decided

14. Radio had enough time for relaying political programmes.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

15. There are more political programmes on Radio than in other

mass media.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

16. The sole aim of political programmes constantly relayed

through radio is to change our old beliefs and wrong motives

and to participate in politics.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

17. Political participation is mostly designed for the benefits of those at the grassroots level to choosing their representatives (Decision makers) to the state and federal level.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

18. Participation in politics by rural dwellers attracts their local government development.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

19. Radio relay political programmes and issues to the rural dwellers in Vernacular and in their respective dialects to benefit the less privileged ones.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

20. Constant Electricity, Good water, Roads and schools including health care centres have been initiated into so many rural areas through the help of their representatives at both the state and federal levels.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

21. Many ruralites express a strong preference for radio than other mass media in relaying political programmes.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. Not decided

22. Most ruralites react badly and dislike, the Radio stations or

programmes carrying political issues than other


a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

23. Radio has contributed immensely in shaping the thought of

participation in politics.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. Not decided

24. The non-use of electricity on radio has greatly contributed to its large and long range in circulation and coverage to all parts of the rural areas.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

25. Most states’ Radio stations have succeeded in educating people in the rural areas on the reason to participate in politics and the consequences of not doing so.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. Not decided

26. Some experiences found on political aspirants towards their opponents discourage the rural people from participating in political activities.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

27. ‘Politics: A dirty game’, as popularly said has made some believing or born again Christians in rural areas to withdraw themselves totally from participating in political activities.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. Not decided

28. You can be informed accurately and perfectly on political issues without Radio.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

29. You are persuaded more by radio on political programmes or issues than other media.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. Not decided

30. Radio is more credible than other media of communication.

a. Agreed b. Strongly Agreed c. Disagreed

d. Strongly Disagreed e. No Response

Political Participation – The Impact Of Radio Promotions:  A Study Of Ubakala Community

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