THE IMPACT OF RADIO ON POLITICAL PARTICIPATION
1.1 Background to the Study
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. 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, 2005). According to one of the political activists, Anthony Gramsci (2010), “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). 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 community 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 people, the more interest, sympathy and joy they derive from participating in it by the greater extent of the knowledge they acquire about it.
Therefore, mass media particularly radio play a crucial role in fostering an environment of good governance and political awareness in society. As the watchdog and interpreter of public issues and events, the media has a special role in every society. In information-based society; the media have a disproportionately visible and influential role says International Foundation for Election Systems,(2011).