This research work is geared towards finding out the Role of Independent Television in Political Mobilization of Rural Areas in Nigeria with special reference to Uziare Local government area. For this study, five rural towns in Uziare local government area were studied. The important of Television as the mobilization media, mass communication is universally acknowledged. The use of television utilization, such a high cost of television maintenance and poor power supply, most rural communities are not connected to the electricity. This project used Survey research and is primary source of data collection for the study is the self-administered questionnaire which is formed from three main research questions. Data collection were analyzed and interpreted. The finding revealed that the impact of television is not yet fully enjoyed by many in Uziare zone because the high cost of Television and electricity supply for those who own Television sets. In this democratic era, rural dwellers need political, educational awareness and enlightenment. The government should therefore do something to improve the economy of the nation to enable many people to own television set. Television stations should have more programmes to carry rural dwellers along. The researcher hoped that the suggestions would enhance political mobilization and public enlightenment. The study was conducted using the purposive sampling technique, simple percentage and Chi-Square to infer meaning to the data in each table.
1.1 Background of study.
The Nigerian electorate in recent years has been intensely individualistic groups. Hence political parties usually confront pro-found cultural differences given the cultural structure of the Nigerian electorate.
Independent Television Benin is an electronic media with visual and audio sounds. It is an effective spontaneous messages carrier of our time. On 27th of March 1997 when Independent Television started transmission of programmers‟ on channel 22 with its slogan certainly the Best, the station radically changed the horizon of broadcasting in it coverage area. Independent television came with a new millennium. The zeal of the founding father Sir Chief (Dr) Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion the Esama of Benin kingdom, who after a careful study of the broadcast media yearned for an enhancement of the choice available to viewers to a level comparable to what is obtained in developed countries. Chief Igbinedion‟s dream culminated in the approval and subsequent presentation of a license by the formal Head of state General Ibrahim Babagida on 36th June 1993, at the Ladi Kwali hall of Sheraton Hotel and Tower Abuja. It goes down in history that Independent Television was the first private owned broadcasting station in Nigeria to receive a private license No.001 on that memorable day.
Having obtained the Franchise, Sir Chief (Dr).Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin Kingdom went straight to work by rendering standard skeletal services under the umbrella of Independent Television Network plans were known for the birth of fully fledged Independent
Television, which resulted in the sitting of the station at Igwsa because of the high attitude of the location A 1000 feet mast was erected by ALLAN DICK, a reputable firm based in London. An Italian company TECHNO SYSTEM, with its team of highly qualified Engineers delivered and installed Independent television a pair of its best transmitters of Ten kilowatts capacity, transmitting on channel 22UHF. Independent Television which commended fully transmission on the 27th March, 1997 watts stronger with fans growing in leaps and bounds by the day.
On the first of September 1997, the management and staff paid courtesy visit to the Benin monarch, HRF OMO N‟ Oba n‟ Edo UKU Apolokpolo Oba Erediawa. The royal father lauded the station and enjoined members to keep the flag flying. Also the then Edo military administrator Group Captain Baba Adamu Iyam played host to the management and staff of Independent television.
Nigeria broadcasting code is the compass that directs the affairs of Independent Television and Radio under the supervision of the National Broadcasting commission NBC. The commission also approved channel 42UHF for Independent Television to transmit its program in the federal capital territory. The license was presented to the investor, the Esama of Benin kingdom, on the 17th of December 1999. Independent Television Benin satisfies curiosity by allowing one to hear for oneself and view for one‟s self and that it is not just an overstatement. Again its ability to disseminate information in various dialects also serves as a tonic to language barrier. Independent television Benin, as integral part of the fourth estate of the realm, is expected as usual to play its traditional role on political trend inspires responsiveness to the medium and has become a major feature of campaigns for public office seekers at national, state and local government levels. Most rural dwellers are known to be financially poor because of their low educational status and cannot afford a television set. This has also been a problem of efficient
and effective use of Television in achieving political mobilization in the rural areas. The term Independent Television Benin political services rendered to the populace to bring about information, education entertainment and influence in rural dwellers. Apart from those general roles, it enhances and encourages through its various programs the acquisition and pursuit of knowledge, thereby promoting national consciousness and acts as a powerful means of social mobilization.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The potency of mass media in political aspect cannot be over-emphasized. The role of television in mobilizing the masses for electoral activities is very obvious in the sense that it uses audio-visual methods to transfer message to the electorate.
Due to the centralization of media organization in the urban areas in Nigeria, rural dwellers are sometimes left in the hand of the opinion leaders who sometimes use propaganda techniques to lure the rural dwellers into voting blindly. However, Independent Television Benin‟s signals reaches the rural dwellers especially those in Uziare local government and some programs are developed by the station to mobilize the rural dwellers on political activities especially during elections, thus, the question this study seeks to unveil is how successful are the programs by Independent Television Benin in mobilizing the people of Uziare and surrounding rural areas during political activities
1.3 Research Objectives
This study has the following objectives:
I. To know the extent to which the independent Television Benin Programs have gone in mobilizing voters in rural areas during elections.
ii. To find out the responses of the rural areas surrounding ITV and programs of Independent Television Benin that promotes political mobilization.
iii. To examine the strategies employed by Independent Television Benin to achieve political mobilization in Uziare and surrounding areas.
1.4 Research Questions
1. How can exposure to Independent Television Benin on Political programmes change the minds of audience towards their choice of candidate?
2. Have Independent Television Benin, programmes been able to create any positive impact on the political life of the people?
3. To what extent does exposure to Independent Television Benin programmes affect people‟s voting pattern?