INFLUENCE OF DREAM FM “POLITICAL VOICES” ON POLITICAL AWARENESS AND PARTICIPATION AMONG THE YOUTH IN SOUTH-EAST, NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

The aim of this study was to examine the influence of Dream fm Political Voices on the political awareness and participation among the youth in South-East, Nigeria. Four research questions were raised to guide the objective of the study. The study used survey research method using questionnaire as instrument of data collection to study 385 respondents in the five states of the South-East. The results analysed from 380 returned copies of questionnaire show a high level of listenership to Dream fm and Political Voices. Awareness among youth in the South- East on political issues is equally high just as political participation though limited to mainly discussing politics is high among respondents who listen to the programme. Respondents’ political awareness corresponds accordingly with high exposure to the informative, educative and objective political content in the programme. The study reports a high confidence level of respondents about the way and manner political issues are treated in Political Voices. In view of the findings from the study, further research using larger number of participants who are not young people in different geopolitical zones is recommended. It was found that political participation of respondents was limited mainly to discussion of politics. At a time when there are increasing agitation for more political engagement and participation of the youth, media organisations and other public enlightenment agencies should design and sustain programmes that have the capacity to instil in the youth, the drive to attain the highest level of political participation-which is seeking elective position.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
1.1.1 Overview of Dream FM, Enugu and Political Voices
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 Limitation of Study
1.8 Definition of Terms
References

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 The Concept of Political Awareness
2.2 Exploring Related Political Concepts
2.3 Political Participation
2.4 Youth, Political Awareness and Participation
2.5 Mass Media, Political Awareness and Participation
2.6 Theoretical Framework
2.7 Summary of Review
References

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

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1 Description of Sample
4.2 Presentation of Data
4.3 Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
5.1 Summary
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendations
5.4 Suggestions for Further Studies
BIBLIOGRAPHY
APPENDIX

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study
Political participation has become very popular in recent years. Youth participation, in particular, has gained importance because politicians pay more attention to the participation of the youth. Merely, the youth’s role is restricted to voting (Demircii, 2013, p. 339). In Nigeria, citizens appear to be apathetic with regard to political participation (Obingene, & Okonkwo, 2008, p. 266). Apathy is a universal characteristic in political life (Raymond & Shapiro, & Fred, 1980, p. 189).

According to Rossi (2014, p.1), for young people “there is an increasing rejection of institutional politics and its classic actors which has led to the assertion that youth are apathetic”. Over the last decade, youth have gained increasing prominence on the global development agenda. In some African countries, those under 35 years comprise up to 70

%   of the population, making them a constituency difficult to be ignored. Increasingly, governments, donors and civil society are recognizing the specific needs and vulnerability of youth as well as their huge potential to contribute positively to development (Restless Development, 2013, p.4).


Globally, there is increasing recognition that young people not only have the right to determine how resources are used, but that they bring unique value experiences and viewpoints to the debate. Agenda 21, the declaration following the Rio Summit of 1992, first gave the issue of youth participation in politics and governance a global exposure. Since then, several international conferences have drawn attention to the issue’s importance and it has been highlighted in many prominent legal instruments including the African Youth Charter, which obliges state actors to among other things, ‘facilitate the creation or strengthening of platforms for youth participation in decision-making at local, national, regional and continental levels of government’ (African Youth Charter, 2009, p. 7).
The issue of youth participation in governance has particular strong resonance in Nigeria as the country has recognised the link between the political and social disenfranchisement of the young people. Having recognised young people as ‘the most important and valuable resource of the nation’, the policy objective of the Nigerian government as espoused in the National Youth Policy document is therefore to ‘ increase youth involvement in decision-making, leadership, community based and other development programmes’(NYP,2009,p.10). Based on the socio-economic and political realities existing in the country and global best practices, the National Youth Policy, (2009) recognised ‘youth participation in politics and decision-making’ as one of the priority themes and critical concerns facing the Nigerian youth (NYP, 2009, p.30) and calls for efforts to widely disseminate relevant information to the youths, and also facilitate access to them for the promotion of greater and more effective role in the political process (NYP,2009, p.44).

A politically active and informed youth are what any nation needs to fast track development effort and such information in the main are provided by the mass media. Chen (2003, p.2) observes that the media can be considered as windows through which we can view the landscape of politics within a nation. Shanghnessy (1991, p.4) sees the mass media as technologically developed and economically profitable forms of communication held in public or private ownership which can transmit information, ideas and entertainment across time and space to a diverse group of people.
The mass media provide political information. Political events and news are learnt from the mass media. They express opinions which ultimately influence people’s political behaviour. Umechukwu (2004, p. 14) noted that the mass media are great political and social force and have proven to be veritable instruments for political mobilization.

It is the mass media obligation as enshrined in Section. 22 of Chapter 2 of the 1999 constitution which provides that, “the press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter, and uphold the accountability and responsibility of the government to the people.” As observed by Umechukwu (2004,p14), this can be done by digging deep and explaining the policies and programmes of government as well as government failings and successes of government to enable the citizenry better understand the workings of government.

Among media of political communication and mobilization, the radio occupies a prime place as it can be used to reach the voting public because of its capacity to inform, educate and entertain its audience. Radio informs through its broadcast of news and commentaries on political events and current affairs. It is therefore used accordingly to stimulate the political interest of the electorate by the information it gives.

Realising their critical role in raising political awareness and inspiring the populace to participate in politics, many radio stations have introduced series of political programmes aimed at addressing political events, issues, policies and programmes of government. Some of these programmes include: Raypowers Political Platform, Democracy in Action of Radio Nigeria, Enugu Zonal Station, Issues of the Moment and Platform on Radio Nigeria Network as well as Political Voices of Dream 92.5 Fm which is the focus of this study on how it has influenced the youth in the South-East to be aware and participate in politics......

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