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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In all aspects of social life, the onset of a new decade triggers an effort to summarise and charactrised what happened 2-5 years ago, and to look forward to changes. The onset of a new era. The press stands as a bridge between the old and the new (History). The experience of the past in relationship to the new events. When a new regime arrives in power, it can blame its predecessors in government for many economic problems. The newly arrive uses press to compare its record in funding popular services with the previous regime and reminds the public in periods of time and unpopularity about how much worse off or more dis-granted they felt when the current opposition themselves held power. All these tactics cannot work effectively without the press. Even at this period of time.
The periodic Nigerian press has been on important source of government policy news for opinion leaders and decision makers or takers within a political structure as well as for the public at large. Since most people in decision making position of this country never come into direct contact with international communities that are the basis for foreign policy, they most rely on the press information about the particular issue.
This chapter surveys a segment of the Nigerian press during a series of related national policy decision made by Nigeria in the period of loss of sovereignty and company rule in Nigeria to the present civilian rule. (1999-Date). However, citing when as one country, Nigeria came into being in 1914 as a result of amalgamation of North and South protectorates under the governorship of Lord Fredrick Lugard. This means that the political units that came together to form this nation were the old kingdoms whose people had a complex system of interaction (communication) before they ever made contact with the Europeans. Though comparing this old political history with the present, one can deduce that more political units are in vogue now than that of the old political units.
Moreover, the how and why the Nigeria press defines situations as it did and some possible implication of the behaviour of the press for rational national policy decision making influences the political structure. The press a surveyors of information can easily influence or control the behaviour of the society politically. In this regard, any political institution that under-estimates the power of the press does so at its own peril. In the frame work of the institution of the press freedom, the media must be so regulated and guarded especially in this democratic period that the desired judicious application of their power is assured. The press council must be given appropriate legal status and power to impose sanctions and fines on media houses that erred. The council also should be given emergency power to regulate media activities in all election period. The aim of such emergency power will be to assure that press do not become tools in the hands of politicians to the detriment of the concept of free press and fir play in the time of elections.
The dilemma and challenges facing Nigeria today after her Military handover are many. The elite Nigerians must be an active participant in the democracy o our nation. They should not wait for the war class before they join in restructure of our socio-economic and political systems. History has taught us that both human and natural resources alone do not make a great nation but by development and utilization of these resources are responsible to achieving greatness. To any dispassionate observer, this country is endowed with greatness but appears to be at war with each other. Money and wealth appear to be the only recognized value in our society whose elite citizens are one of the most unproductive in the world. So many educated Nigerians has cost hope today despite their skills. They are not inspired by any hope and should not be a tool of enslavement, inequality, and corruption against the poor deprived masses of this great country. The mobilization of our resources and constructive forces must be a creative contribution of these elites in the life and growth of our country. In our new Nigeria, men must refuse that bank of justice and opportunity is finished. Public enlightment system in this regard must be utilized effectively informing appropriate authority of any need for cleaning environment of jungle discord and transforming our nation into a symphony of brotherhood and love.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEMS
Information available indicates that Nigerian press was born in freedom. When Rev. Towsend established “Iwe Irolin”, he “said that his objective was to get people to read and cultivate the habit of reading and seeking for information through newspaper. The appearance of the newspaper started the first phase of History of the Nigerian press which graduated and lasted up till today. Then, the government us control of the press until about 1930’s, which still exist. (Government ownership). The 1930s saw the emergence in Nigeria of political parties and the beginning of creating mass awareness in political matters. Private ownership began to emerge with the return of Nnamdi Azikiwe from the gold coast and realizing the impact of the press in political mobilization, established the Zik’s press limited, a newspaper chain that is all over the federation in Nigeria.
The problem now is to investigate the impact of Nigeria press in shaping the political structure of Nigeria. With this period as a case study. This period is selected because of the unique role the political Actors played especially in pioneering the press as a great weapon to fight for the benefit of the country. The appearance of Enugu metropolis of Eastern Nigeria outlook and Cameroon star which are the oldest newspaper in the East of the Niger and therefore is expected to lead the rest of Nigeria press in the coverage and interpretation of political issues. Eg. The sun, Guardian, vanguard etc.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are:-
i. To ascertain the political structure of this period in sensitizing and creating awareness among people towards press information as it relates to political programmes.
ii. To find out the extent the political period played in highlighting issues of political importance in the country.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This study will be a useful reference work to our political administrators, policy makers, students of mass communication and political science in polytechnics and universities in Nigeria. It will also guide the federal and state government in planning their future political programmes.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTION
What is the magnitude of impact the press has on shaping the political structure of Nigeria especially in this period. The scientific problems there include preempting of the historical data etc.
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The investigation will be based on the following hypothesis:
Ho: The present political period did not play an impact on shaping the Nigeria political structure through various information material.
Hi: The present political period played an impact on shaping the Nigeria political structure through various information material.
Ho: That our people did not highlight problems, roles and impact encountered by the press on shaping the country’s political structure in this present period.
Hi: That Nigerian citizens highlight problems, roles and impact encountered by the press in shaping the political structure in this present period.
When the chips are all down, the assumptions made in the research work are as follows.
1. The research assumes that the press has a very important role to play in the political structure of Nigeria.
2. Also the research, assures that without the press the political structure of Nigeria is left dead – and – alive.
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