The aim of this study was to determine The role of Nigerian Television Authority in the mobilization of the electorates for political elections (A study of 2011 general elections in Makurdi Local Government Area). The study adopted the survey design using the questionnaire as the research instrument. The study addressed three research questions. The findings revealed among others that television has a major role in mobilizing citizens for political elections. The study recommended that the masses should be much more involved in electoral processes to enhance good governance and a better democracy through network participation that is, through election call centers for complains.
1.1 Background of study
Election as a Mass Mobilization and participatory activity usually start when an electoral system is put in place and serves as a mechanism for shaping political competition, power sharing and resource allocation by definition, election is the act of choosing or selecting one or more persons from a greater number of person to serve as representatives in the taking of decisions that affect public interest and the allocation of national power and resources in acceptable manner (israel2009, p.113).
Robert and John (1974) in Ntete-Nna (2004,p.289) report that the essential role of election is to act as a mechanism whereby leaders are circumscribed and made aware that there is a contingent one at least where there is real possibility that they may be outside from office.
Television plays different roles in the lives of its audience, to many; it could be an educative, informative as well as an entertainment medium. Although the use of television alone may not create total awareness to individuals as a result of its restraining factor such as expensiveness, irregular power supply and so on. It is believed that the television will create more sensitized atmosphere for information on issues affecting the society at large, this is where Nigerian Television Authority (N.T.A) Makurdi comes in as a mobiliser of the electorate for political elections.
BRIEF HISTORY OF NIGERIAN TELEVISION AUTHORITY (N.T.A)
In 1976, more states were created and the number of the states increased from 12 to 19 states, this witnessed the emergence of state owned television stations and prompted the federal government to take over the television stations in 1977 establishing the Nigerian television authority (N.T.A). One of the roles of Nigerian Television Authority (N.T.A) is to inform the citizens about the importance of elections and why they should vote. N.T.A should also educate the masses on the codes of conduct as stated by the Nigerian electoral act and brief them about candidates of the competing parties as well as their party manifestoes.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The incessant problem of electoral malpractices associated with godfatherism, for instance snatching of ballot boxes, political thuggery, rigging and so on was often caused by little or no enlightenment on the choices we make as electorates. Poor political education of the procedures involved in the election such as the process of registering, obtaining a voters card, accreditation, the right pattern of voting have constituted serious problems in our voting activities. The Mass Media as the voice of the people play important roles in the entire political activities.it is part of the duty of the Media to sufficiently mobilize the electorate for the electoral activities the question this research seeks to answer is: how has the N.T.A Makurdi effectively mobilized the electorate for successful electoral activities during elections in Makurdi local Government Area of Benue state.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study were as follows:
1. To find out whether N.T.A Makurdi was a choice of medium for the people of Makurdi local Government Area.
2. To find out if N.T.A Makurdi political messages satisfied the people’s political desires.
3. To determine the extent N.T.A Makurdi effectively mobilized the people’s participation in the electoral process of 2011 election.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. To what extent was N.T.A Makurdi a choice medium for the people of Makurdi Local Government Area?
2. How did N.T.A Makurdi political messages satisfy the people’s political desires?
3. To what extent did N.T.A Makurdi effectively mobilize the people’s participation in the electoral process of 2011?