Public Perception of the role of Facebook usage in Political Campaign in Nigeria
This study investigates the public perception towards Facebook usage in the 2015 political campaigns in Nigeria.
The utilization of online networking in political issues has kept on developing in late time, even though it was not at first recognized as a political apparatus, political aspirants and politicians at large have now understood its capability. Hence, it has turned into one of the fundamental platforms for political aspirants to propagate diverse campaign messages to their constituents who have an interest in their political career and aspirations.
The study made use of descriptive survey design with a questionnaire as the instrument for data collection. Data were analyzed using the 2016 Microsoft Excel statistical package with frequency counts and simple percentages presented in tables and graphs. The hypotheses generated in this study were tested via inferential statistical chi-square analysis at 0.05 level of significant.
Studies that investigate the public perception of the usage of Facebook in electioneering campaign in Northern Nigeria, notably Taraba State is in its embryonic stage. Therefore, this paper is an extension to such body of knowledge.
The study demonstrated that Facebook was used in the 2015 senatorial electioneering campaigns in southern Taraba, and this influenced electorate to vote a particular candidate. However, it is the perception of the respondents that there were dysfunctions such as deliberate distortions in the information about opponents, abusive speech, distortion of the facts about personal performance, and misinformation as a strategy for influencing on the Facebook pages of the electorates and candidates.
Reliability (e.g. message must be clear, focused, well conveyed, believable, credible, free from abusive speech and attacking of opponents) should be an essential concept in the posted political messages or promises of politicians so as to draw more fans to themselves.
It should be noted that this study centers on southern Taraba alone, therefore, in order to get a more generalized results, it is pertinent for further research to include other parts of Nigeria. Additionally, a combination of content analysis and interview will be helpful in examining the nature of the abusive words/speeches used on Facebook in the 2015 southern Taraba senatorial electioneering campaign.
Some of the limitations have to do with the nature of the questionnaires them-selves and the kind of variables and measurement models required. The measurements are perceptions rather than quantitative interval or ratio scale measures taken on the variable. Therefore, future research should adopt quantitative interval or ratio scale measures on the variable in order to obtain scientific results.
It should be noted that this study centres on southern Taraba alone, therefore, in order to get a more generalizable results, it is pertinent for further research to include other parts of Nigeria.