ANALYSIS OF THE PERFORMANCE OF MASS MEDIA IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NIGER DELTA REGION OF NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT


Over the years, the oil-producing areas of the Niger Delta have been engulfed in series of crises which is a major challenge to the development of the region. Efforts have been made to restore peace and engender development by various administrations at different times. Unfortunately, such efforts do not always go deep in pacifying or completely eliminating hostilities in the region, as such, development of the region has remained, at most, seriously glowed down. It is against this backdrop that this study undertakes an analysis of the performance of the mass media in the development of the Niger Delta region. Employing the survey research method, the researcher generated data using the questionnaire and in-depth interview. The study found among other things that, mass media agencies are mostly located in the cities where majority of the people who are rural dwellers cannot have access to; participate and contribute to development issues through the media. On the other hand, the mass media in the region are constrained in their performance by a wide range of factors, one of which is multi-lingual differences. In view of this, the researcher recommended among other things that, the mass media in the Niger Delta region should be more thorough, pragmatic and development-oriented in their programmes and coverage around the region.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Research Questions
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope of the Study
1.7       Definition of Terms
References

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Focus of Review
2.2       Empirical Overview of Development
2.3       Empirical Overview of the Mass Media of Communication
2.4       The Niger Delta: An Overview
2.5       Gap in Literature
2.6       Theoretical Framework
References

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1       Research Design
3.2       Population of Study
3.3       Sample Size and Procedure
3.4       Sampling Techniques
3.5       Measuring / Research Instrument
3.6       Validity of Research Instrument
3.7       Reliability of Research Instrument
3.8       Method of Data Analysis
References

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND INTERPRETATION
4.1       Data Presentation and Analysis
4.2       Discussion on Findings
4.3       Summary of Findings
References

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Summary
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendations
Bibliography
Appendix

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1        Background of the Study

According to section 22 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the press; radio, television and other agencies of mass media are to uphold the fundamental objectives of holding government responsible and accountable (Okoro and Okolie 2004).

The mass media are collectively regarded as the fourth estate of the realm complementing the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. In this elevated status, the media [are] charged to be the watchdog of the Nigerian democratic system of government concerned with the public awareness and preservation of the national ethics, discipline, integrity, dignity of person and labour, social justice, religious and cultural tolerance and patriotism.

It is the duty of the mass media in Nigeria to ensure that there is openness, accountability and transparency in governance. It is also the duty of the mass media to investigate issues properly in order to accurately analyze the issue for public hearing. In other words, it is part of the expectations of the Nigerian constitution that the mass media would or should educate the masses on national ideas, play the key role of addressing social ills in the nation, increase literacy level by sensitizing the populace on the need for basic education and also generate support for government programme and orientate the citizens towards nation building for the overall development of society, (Aguwa and Ehiodu, 2005, pp.113-114).

In view of the provisions and expectations of the mass media by the Nigerian constitution as stipulated in the aforementioned sections, it becomes, not only necessary but urgent to review the performance of the mass media in view of the deplorable and deteriorating condition of the Niger Delta Region.

Analyzing the performance of the mass media in the development equation in society is very crucial. Just as those in business world and those in government review, evaluate and re-evaluate their business decisions and governmental policies, it has become imperative for similar exercise in the field of mass communication.

The mass media system exists not in isolation, but within the human society and so can impact on the society in different ways. Due to this obvious truth, experts in the profession have, over time, propagated theories upon whose framework studies on mass media impact/influence on society have been based. Studies on how well the mass media can function to aid development in societies are not in short supply, and so, it does not really occur to the proponent of this study that a new ground is quite about to be broken. But the necessity of reviewing, evaluating and re-evaluating the performance of the mass media in aiding the overall growth and/or advancement of a nation has thrown up the urge to take a strategic look at the developmental roles of the mass media in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

The Niger Delta region of Nigeria comprises mainly of Akwa Ibom State, Bayelsa State, Cross River State; Delta State, Edo State and Rivers State. These states constitute what is presently called the South-South zone of the six geo-political zones in Nigeria, and they are all bearers of black gold.

Currently, the Niger Delta Region is characterized by series of issues ranging from poverty, lack of access to good water and roads linking up the rural areas, and general lack of social and economic infrastructure, to militancy and armed attacks. Some writers describe the Niger Delta as “a populous area inhabited by a diversity of minority ethnic groups”. These diverse ethnic groups have had to contend with extensive environmental degradation and pollution from oil activities that occur in the region since the late 1950s, (Aaron, 2005, pp.1-3).

This frustrating environmental and social condition has provided the basis against which the youths in the area have directed their grievances. It is this factor that gave rise to conflict, and the concomitant rise of plenty of ‘conflict entrepreneurs who derive enormous political and social capital, hence the place has been rendered a war zone where beneficiaries engage in economic opportunism and military adventurism, (Idumange, 2011).
In response to the deplorable condition of the region wrought by oil explorations, and the confrontations by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), and other militant groups, the federal government created the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the Niger Delta Ministry and the Amnesty Programme were created by Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

These efforts are frantic measures taken to address and resolve the problems of the Niger Delta Region. But what puzzles the mind of the researcher, however, is the place of the mass media in the realization of the development objectives in this region.

1.2      Statement of the Problem

Due to the growing economic and developmental issues, resistance seems to have been most vigorous in the Niger Delta. Violent resistance (or what some analysts call criminality) has been directed against both the government and oil companies in the region. The motive force of this resistance is the severe condition of poverty worsened by the havoc done to their environment as a result of oil exploration. Consequently, their means of livelihood are seriously and adversely affected.

The initial resistance by the people took the form of verbal agitations, written petitions, protest delegations, vigils, mass rallies, demonstrations, boycotts, trespassing, threat etc. Later on, other forms of struggle (resistance) such as the sabotage of oil operations, destruction of company and public property, vandalization and looting of equipment, kidnapping and various other acts were adopted Nnoli (2001, p.234).


These actions have always had adverse effect on both the people and the Federal Government as the activities cause instant drop in the GNP of Nigeria. In view of this, the Federal government of Nigeria established the Niger Delta Development Commission to assist in responding to the development needs of the people in the year 2000 under President Olusegun Obasanjo. In 2009, due to persisted resistance, President Yar’Adua initiated the Amnesty Programme and created the Niger Delta Ministry to address the same conditions of underdevelopment in the region.

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