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This study investigated the impact of social media on political advertising during the 2015 governorship election in Delta State. The research objectives include to determines the political message aspirants share on social media, to ascertain the challenges of political advertising on social media. The survey method was employed while the questionnaire was research instrument. A total of 120 respondents who were randomly selected were used. Data were analyzed using simple percentage and frequency tables. The findings show that many people are political inclined to use the social media often to source for political information. This emphasized that political advertising on social media is trusted by the electorates. Political advertisement using the social media provides opportunities for Nigeria politicians to have a wider coverage of the electorates. The study recommends that political advertising agencies should ensure that the advertisement on the social media reflects the basic need of the people so as to draw public attention and motivate them to make favourable voting decision. Politicians should use political advertisement as a way to highlight their unique selling points as it is the most captivating message in advertisement.
1.1 Background to the study
In the political environment the impact of political advertising is paramount. Owuamalam (2014) states that political advertising refers to messages which contents are political and presented to influence voters behavior through its perceived persuasive impact. It harasses the guard of the electorate as it seeks endowment from voters at election period. Political advertising target the audience for supporting the candidate through the articulate display of manifesto. According to Ozoh (2013), unique selling proposition is based on an identifiable, highly competitive advantage inherent in one brand and which can be asserted over and above competitor Kaid (1981) avers it represents the offer which a candidate , as a brand in the political market, makes to the electorates as reason for seeking votes at election.
The message is to motivate the electorates and encourage them to make meaningful electoral decision. Omuamalam (2014) posited that the message with a large favourable move a consideration voters, who relate the proposal to their respective need satisfaction within the political constituency, we the Nigeria situation in 2015 presidential election.
Owuamalam (2005) also opined that the fulcrum serves a major plank for attracting voter’s attention, arousing voting disposition and facilitating favorable patronage at the specific election. Political advertising provides information which voters need to assess candidate’s capability in satisfying their needs. Its content is an express of candidate, objective for seeking votes from electorates.
The channel for reaching the audience has changed due to the fact that new media of communication has taken the centre place of social interaction. It is through this interaction the political information is exchanged to the electorates. The social media or the have been useful in political advertising. The emergence of social media in political advertising came during Barrack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Carr (2008) “like a vote of web innovators, the Obama campaign did not invent anything completely new. Instead, by bolting together social networking application under the banner of a movement they created an unforeseen forces to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then John McCain and the Republicans. According to Graber (2010) Obama’s success can be attributed to an array of new incredibly speedy and Cheap internet tools- e-mail, social networks, Twitter, and the like (and enable Him) to run a grassroots campaign that contacted individual voters in personated encounters on a near daily basis”.
The new changes in political communication in the era of new media have brought about the engaging of the electorate from the physical campaign ground to their smart phone at the comfort of their closest. The need for political advertising is to win the mind of the electorates in voting for a particular candidate in a general election. The word influence is important in political communication. Olalekan (2003:229) avers “persuasive communication at this stage is mainly focused on the public opinion leaders, social critics and various pressure groups form the top to the grassroots. The aim is to carry the favour of these influential elements in the society to support the party’s programme, ideological preferences and manifesto”. The new media are an important set of communication techniques that share certain features apart from being new, made possible by digitalization and being widely available for personal use as a communication device. The media are not only or even mainly distribution of messages, but at least, mainly concerned with the protection exchange and storage. The new media are as much as institution of private. Asemah and Edegoh (2012:54) described new media as “digital having characteristics of being manipulated, networkable, dense, compressible and interactive”. Wikipedia (2011) “New media is an interactive forms of communication that use the internet, including podcasts, RSS feed, social networks, text messaging, blogs, wikis, virtual worlds, and more. New media can help to connect people with information and services, collaborate with other people, including those within your organization or community and create new contents, services, communities, and channels of communication that help you deliver information.
Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa entered into politics in the year 1991 when he served first as secretary, Ika Local Government Area and later as Chairman, Ika North East Local Government Council, until 1993. Before the return of democracy in 1999, he served in capacities which include Delta North coordinator of the Grassroots Democratic movement GDM, Delta North coordinator of James Ibori Campiagn organization 1998 and secretary of the Transition Committee which ushered in the James Ibori administration in 1999. Dr. Okowa enjoyed 8-unbroken years of service in the James Ibori-led administration. During the period, he excellently excelled in serving as: Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources (July 1999 to April 2011), Commissioner for Water Resources Development (April, 2001 to may 2003), Commissioner For Health (September 2003 to October 2006). Dr. Okowa resigned to contest in 2007 people’s Democratic Party Gubernatorial primaries where he came out second. He was consequently appointed as the secretary by the newly Delta State government by newly sworn-in governor Emmanuel uduaghan. He resigned to contest for the delta north senatorial district election which he won.
On the 8th of December, 2014 he emerged the flag bearer of the people democratic party in the states gubernatorial primaries with a landslide of 406 voters. He won 21 local government of Delta state to be declared the governor of Delta state.
Chief great came on board in delta state political environment in 2003 when he contested for gubernatorial election under the platform of action congress against Chief James Ibori. He came all out to threaten the popularity of Chief Ibori, however, he was defeated. At the wake of 2007, Chief Great Ogboru surfaced as the governorship candidate of DPP, a new political party in Nigeria especially in Delta state. The second coming was forceful and he became a big threat to dr. Emmanuel Uguaghan victory of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan was cut short in November 2010. Great ogboru lost the re-run election to Dr. Emmanuel effort to turn the victory to his favour in the court proof abortive. In preparation for 2015 general election. Chief Great become the flag bearer for labour party for governorship election he won local government areas out of the 25 local government in the state.
Chief Otega Emerhor is a known business man who in 2013 contested his political post for Delta central senatorial seat, a void left by late senator Ewherido. He contested the governorship election under the APC but fail to win a local government.
1.2 Statement of Problems
According to Kaplan and Itaenlein (2010) attribute the challenges of social media in political advertising or marketing to the disparity in the usage of social media compared to opportunity. It avails the challenges be attributed to the lack of understanding on how to deal with issues such as negative publicity that can arise from user generated contents, a loss of absolute control of their brand, legal and security issues. There has been an argument that during the government election in Delta state, as other parts of Nigeria that political parties made use of political advertising to sell their parties and the candidate on their platform. That the introduction of the social media in political advertising did not affect the electoral political behaviour as many people hold little trust to social media as compared to conventional media.
In addition, some believed that due to the lack of credibility of social media stories from political aspirants cannot be viewed with trust and accountability at a time in Nigeria political trust has been stained.
1.3 Objective of the Study
This study has the following objectives.
1. To determine the impact of social media on political advertising in 2015 governorship election in Delta State.
2. To find out the numbers of electorates that seek political information from the social media.
3. To determine the political message aspirants share on social media.
4. To ascertain the challenges of political advertising on social media.
1.4 Research Questions
1. What is the impact of social media on political advertising in 2015 governorship election in Delta State?
2. How many electorates seek political information on social media?
3. What are the political messages shared on social media by political aspirants in Delta State 2015 governorship election?
4. What are the challenges of political advertising social media in 2015 governorship election in Delta State?
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study will largely be beneficial to the media community and relevant to political actors in Nigeria, where government is unable to win the heart of the electorates. The findings from this study will serve as a handy material for reference. The finding will go a long way in equipping the electorate through the use of social media to access information in political domain. It will also encourage the use of social media on political advertising during elections.
1.5 Scope of the Study
In examining the impact of social media on political advertising in 2015 general election in Delta State, the scope of this study will cover electorates in Abraka, Ethiope East Local government of Delta State.
1.7 Definition Of Terms
New Media: New technology for communication and networking
Politics: the act of playing political advertisement in winning election through the voting support of the people.
Political advertising: political message that influence and peruse the people to make favourable
Election: the periodic selection of candidate through voting by the electorate.
Electorate: These are individual that vote during election. They are the target of political advertising.
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