1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Politicians all over the world aspire to gain control in order to rule the people, and in order to do so, they use a variety of methods to communicate with the electorate. These messages can be found on the internet, especially on social networking blogs like Facebook and Twitter, which post information about candidates’ electioneering campaigns. Propaganda, also known as advertisement or political marketing, is the method of selling candidates.
Man is a political animal by birth. This means that man is gregarious as well as solitary. Politics is all about who gets what, when, and how. It defines the mechanism by which power and influence are used to promote specific values and interests (Lasswell, 1977). As a result, being interested in politics is demanding and certain factors must be considered. This is the use of propaganda language in politics as a persuasion method, which has a direct impact on voter behavior and is the focus of this research. This is also regarded as ‘propaganda.’
Perhaps the most valuable of our democracy’s rights is the protection of our freedom to talk and publish whatever we want (with-in the limits of decency and the libel laws). However, those who are unscrupulous enough to misuse this freedom of expression for their own ends will use it to spread propaganda.
Propaganda was once known as a respectable term, denoting the distribution of positive news. Propaganda fell out of favor when Goebbels, Hitler, and other Fascists started to use the term to describe their promotional activities.Propaganda is a form of political advertisement that helps politicians to express their views on important issues and introduce themselves to voters. The communicator, the sign of persuasion, the media of communication, and the target audience are the four elements of propaganda defined by Holsti (1974). Propaganda satisfies or includes any of the elements of this description in terms of relationship. Qualter describes propaganda as “a deliberate effort by some individuals or groups to form, regulate, or change the attitudes of other groups through the use of the instrument of communication, with the intention that in any given situation, the reaction of those so influenced will be that desired by the propagandist…” The secret to understanding propaganda is found in the expression “deliberate attempt”… As a consequence, any type of promotion can be called propaganda… when it is used as part of a planned campaign to compel action through the manipulation of attitudes (Qualter, 1962:27). Propaganda for distinctly political reasons, like ads, has a long history, and the two words, advertising and propaganda, are frequently used interchangeably because they have the same meaning. Seninacherib, the Assyrian king, is said to have used threatening propaganda to frighten the kingdom of Judah into surrendering (II Kings 18-19 KJV) (Childs, 2019).
Nowadays, propaganda is synonymous with insidious and subversive strategies of persuading citizens to achieve predetermined objectives (Danziger, 1998). News reports, government reports, historical reconstruction, junk science, books, leaflets, movies, radio, television, and posters are all common means of disseminating propaganda messages. Propaganda may appear on news, current-affairs, or talk-show segments, as commercial or public-service announcement “spots,” or as long-running advertorials on radio and television. In order to indoctrinate the target audience, propaganda rhetoric is commonly used in campaigns in a strategic transmission pattern.This could start with a simple transmission, such as a leaflet or an advertisement dropped from a plane. In most cases, these messages will include instructions about how to access more information, such as via a website, a hotline, or a radio show. Via encouragement, the strategy aims to turn the person from information receiver to information seeker, and then from information seeker to opinion leader through indoctrination. The ‘message’ that is delivered to the electorates seems to be quite critical in any election campaign. Through the use of propaganda jargon, politicians use a political message to express their views and feelings to the public with the goal of reshaping and redirecting the electorate’s opinions to conform with their own. The argument should be a straightforward point that can be repeated many times during the campaign to convince the target audience or influence voters to behave in favor of the candidates, and it should paint the opposition in a negative light.
The salient ingredients that the candidate wants to share with the voters should be included in the propaganda letter, and they should be repeated often in order to leave a lasting impact on the voters. Propaganda is the intentional voicing of opinions or behavior by individuals or organizations with the intention of manipulating the opinions or actions of others for predetermined purposes through psychological manipulations (Jacque, 1965). It is typically replicated and disseminated through a variety of media in order to stimulate and sensitize electorates and, as a result, aid in the harming of an opponent. As a result, political campaign language, such as propaganda and rhetoric, is convincing, because most politicians use these linguistic instruments to persuade voters to vote for them and their political parties by portraying themselves as the only qualified candidates for the job (Omozuwa and Ezejideaku, 2017).
Elections in every country around the world are not anything to be taken lightly. It decides how and where the country will go in terms of education, economy, and infrastructure, to name a few areas, since it is the process of electing capable and knowledgeable leaders to steer the nation’s ship for a set period of time.It is a crucial tool that determines a country’s fate. Nigeria is a diverse nation in terms of politics, religion, and ethnicity. This is one of the reasons why the country’s elections are still tense and contentious. Many elections have been held in the country, all of which have been marred by one or more negative factors, such as election irregularities, crime, propaganda, and a slew of other issues.
The Edo state gubernatorial elections of 2020 have come and gone, but the numerous events and issues surrounding the elections cannot be overlooked by commentators, observers, and scholars. Many propagandas were used by politicians in the state during the election campaign period. The majority of these negative speeches and advertorials were delivered by representatives of the country’s two most powerful political forces, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC). Numerous propagandas were sent out by members of these two political parties in the state, according to the media. By capitalizing on the fault-lines, propaganda takes on more terrifying dimensions online through social media, especially Facebook (Oyero, 2013), Twitter, and YouTube, ethnicity and faith‟.
Political messages, according to communication experts, help to represent the battle to change voters’ lives, and if the messages are credible, voters are more likely to believe the politician (Feyipitan 2015). In other words, voters are more likely to trust candidates whose messages address their basic needs rather than candidates who focus on their personal accomplishments. However, the same experts argue that voters’ personality, appearance, and language usage all play important roles in their voting behaviour. The effectiveness of propaganda in persuading voters to vote in every election is still being debated.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Propaganda as an instrument for reaching the electorate has both negative and positive impact on the society. Every four years, the political parties bombard and deface the environment with different forms of propaganda tool without any recourse to the aesthetic value of an unsightly effect on the environment and people they are proposing to rule and protect. There is a dearth of scholarly work on the impact of posters on the environment and the long-term effect even after the politicians have been elected into their various offices. It looks into the political paradigm shift that gave rise to its conception, production and the various means employed for its display. The impact of political propaganda on the aesthetic of the environment and the economy, and the effect of its propaganda messages on the electorate will be discussed. Voters are, therefore, bombarded with advertising, jingles rather than cogent issues or the candidates’ position on topical issues in the society. Thus, apart from defacing the environment, these are harmful to good government and is a distortion of political process, as issues are neglected, while the candidates are ‘packaged and sold’ much like any other consumer product.
The language of propaganda in politics has been described as a language of ridicule, and reproach, pleading and persuasion, colour and bite permeated. It is a language designed to exult some men, destroy some and change the mind of others (Omozuwa and Ezejideaku, 2017). The point is that the phenomenon of persuasion is an integral part of politics and a necessary component of the pursuit and exercise of power. Politicians use a variety of techniques to ensure they captivate voter’s attention and establish credibility and trust amongst the electorates.
All forms of political propaganda seek to persuade target audiences by managing the message communicated to them through the media. Political propaganda also seek to communicate their messages via all channels consumed by the target audience or electorates (Egan, 1999; Areo and Eyitayo 2011; Achumba and Ogbechi, 2014), e.g. in newspapers, radio, television, billboards, transportation, handbills, internet and the posters. However, the researcher seeks to examine the effect of propaganda and voters behavior in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine propaganda and voters behaviour in Nigeria. Other general objectives of the study are:
- To examine the extent voters in Edo state were influenced by propaganda in 2020 gubernatorial election.
- To examine the impact of propaganda on voters behaviour in 2020 gubernatorial election in Edo state.
- To examine the effect of propagandistic speech on the contestant and electorate.
- To examine the relationship between propaganda and effective voting in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
- What is the extent voters in Edo state were influenced by propaganda in 2020 gubernatorial election?
- What is the impact of propaganda on voter’s behaviour in 2020 gubernatorial election in Edo state?
- What are the effects of propagandistic speech on the contestant and electorate?
- What is the relationship between propaganda and effective voting in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of propaganda on voter’s behavior in 2020 gubernatorial election in Edo state.
H1: There is a significant impact of propaganda on voter’s behavior in 2020 gubernatorial election in Edo state.
H0: There is no significant relationship between propaganda and effective voting in Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant relationship between propaganda and effective voting in Nigeria
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is necessitated by the urge and the need for the research, reader and organizations in general to understand the effect of propaganda on voter’s behavior in Nigeria.
The following are the significance of study to the researcher:
1. This study will be of benefit to the general electorate on the influence of propaganda used by political leaders on their behaviour. It will also educate the stakeholders in the politics on the different types of propaganda and its effect in persuading voters.
2. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied, it will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on propaganda and voters behavior in Nigeria using 2020 gubernatorial election of Edo state as a case study.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Propaganda: According to Oyeneye (2018) professor Calvin Coolidge (1964) as saying that propaganda seeks to present part of the facts, to distort their relations , and to force conclusion which could not be drawn from a complete and candid survey of all the facts.
Political Messages: Information on the candidate’s attributes that resonate with voters needs. They also contain attributes of politicians that relate with constituents through the media.
Election: Is represented as a process by which the electorates of a country vote directly to elect their leaders in either legislative or executive arm of government, or choice of selecting a leader by people vote. Democracy entails the notion of election as the means of selecting political decision makers. Election is described as the pillar of democracy. Election is the back born of democracy and there is no democracy without election.
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