Friday, 7 November 2014

The Social Media: Amplifying Engine for Deliberative Democracy in Nigeria by Sesan Michael JOHNSON

No doubt, the Social Media as a communication model is a phenomenon that can never be denied considering its infinite usage all over the globe. Its usage in African states is increasing at an alarming rate, particularly in the areas of politics and process of democratisation. The New Media or Social Media have proven beyond doubt that they have the capacity to trigger over-communication, not only as a push media but also as pull media particularly within the frameworks of its strong interactivity attributes. It is evident that both traditional and New Media offer opportunities for political interrogation, nonetheless, in Nigeria Internet use and penetration in the political engineering processes is drastically increasing. Reportedly, by June 2012, there were about 48 millions of Internet users in Nigeria. Internet World Stats credited Nigeria with a total of 45 percent of Africa’s Internet users by December 31, 2011.

In January 2011 when President Goodluck Jonathan removed the Fuel Subsidy, which led to increase in fuel prices, the agitated political reactions that greeted this government policy became accentuated through the aggressive political advocacy that characterised the mainstreams Social Media sites such as the twitter and facebook.

In Nigeria, not long ago, the use of the Social Media for political reporting during the Osun State Governorship Election was overwhelming and phenomenal. Likewise, the campaigns of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and President Goodluck Jonathan for 2015 Presidential Election are aggressively exploring the use of the Social Media platforms.

The Social Media and technologies are promoting political participation in Nigeria, thereby serving as catalysts for the amplification and accentuation of deliberative democracy, political dialogue and yellow journalism.  The ever emerging politically based Social Media sites and blogs are seriously promoting censorious analysis of burning political issues in Nigeria

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