This research work examined the impact of radio on voters mobilization with Enugu North municipality as a case study. The survey method was used for the study, this method was done to enable the researcher discuss findings especially as there is a widespread variables. In this research, the random sampling technique was used to draw a sample of 100 respondents from ten(10) wards in Enugu North municipality and 12 items questionnaire were used for data collection. Data was analyzed based on 100 returned copies of the questionnaire. Finding has revealed that radio has effectively mobilized voters based on the findings in table 7 reveal that at of 100 respondents 84 percentage of the sample population agreed that radio message gas great impact on them while 16 respondents disagreed that radio has no impact on them. Findings also shows in table 9 that 20 percent of the total sample population agreed that the radio has not been alive to the responsibility. In the conclusion from findings, radio is supposed to be a very effective tool for voters mobilization but until radio become alive to its social responsibility to the public by adopting better and effective strategies that will enhance effective mobilization of voters during election.
1.1 Background of the Study
The electronic media began with radio transmission services. According to Agba (2006), radio began between 1887 and 1888, a German scientist Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894) and a scientific breakthrough to demonstrate the liberation of electric curren6t into space in the form of waves like beams. He was laying the foundation for the transmission of sound through radio waves.
Marconi successfully proved Hertz’s theory of electromagnetic waves by making a compass needle turn at the same time a spark jumped between two wires on the other side of the room, constructing a more elaborate transmitter, Marconi sent signals across the hillside outside the family home near Bologna (Bitnner 1989:93). So in 1906 it was possible for the Canadian immigrant to USA, Reginald Hessenden to broadcasr human voice and music over the air waves, which could pick up by crystal set receiver, (Agba, 2006) thus the birth of radio station in the world.
Radio as a means of mass communication has become one of the most effective means of communication in the world since its discovery, especially because of its reach as its transcends geographical linguistic and traditional barriers Odo(2008). Radio is part of the mass media and so outside its traditional role of educating, informing and entertaining
the public it has other salient responsibility to the society. One of which is to mobilize the populace in the times of need. Today, Nigeria is among the third world countries with practicing democracy.
Elections in the country have always been married with irregularities which have gone a long way to vote for candidates of their choice during elections as they believe that whether they vote or not, a predetermined winner will still emerge and so this has given greater responsibility to the mass media as an agent of social change to double its efforts in mobilizing and sensitizing voters on the need to come out massively to vote for candidates of their choice, which would help in strengthening democracy and bring development to the society.
The social responsibility theory of the mass media as propounded by Siebet, Peterson and Scram (1963) propose a functional model for the analysis of the function of media in political evolution and maintenance of a genuine democracy. They are as follows:
a) Enlightening the people on the need and importance of democracy.
b) Creating an enabling environment for the economy to grow strong especially through advertising.
c) Adhering strictly to the code of ethics laid down by the press council of Nigeria as this will motivate the journalist sufficiently enough to withstand the pressures of government interest and other special interest.
d) Entertaining the public with information and other well packaged programmes.
This responsibility has placed on the shoulders of the media, an enormous task in democratic regime as ours and efficient mobilization of voters is part of that responsibility.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The electronic media as part of the mass media has a role to play in any democratic process. Part of its function includes mobilizing effectively the Nigeria populace to come out and vote massively for the candidate of their choice who will be accountable to them. This role makes the radio a key player in any democratic process and so it is expected that it carries out this responsibility with all amount of dedication so as to strengthen and entrench democracy in the country. Especially the 2011 general elections in most polling units, only twenty or thirty percent of the registered voters actually came out to vote.
This situation has forced many to ask if actually the media especially the electronic media has actually performed its function of mobilization.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are to:
i. Ascertain the impact of radio messages on voters especially for the purpose of political mobilization.
ii. Examine the role of radio as a tool for social mobilization.
iii. Establish strategies that will effectively help in improving voter mobilization during elections using radio.
iv. This work is set out to study this development.
This project therefore seeks to find out how effective has (E.S.B.S) radio carried out this responsibility of mobilizing the electorates during election especially in Enugu North municipality where it signals are received by most of the residents.
1.4 Research Questions
For the purpose of carrying out this research, the following questions have been formulated to serve as guide to this study.
i) What impact does E.S.B.S radio message have on voters especially for the purpose of political mobilization.
ii) How does radio serve as a tool for social mobilization.
iii) What strategies is ESBS radio using to mobilize voters?
1.5 Significance of the Study
In a country with a nascent democracy like Nigeria this study is significant because it will reawaken the consciousness of media practitioners to their responsibility to the public which will in turn help to strengthen the democratic system in our country, Nigeria. This work will also help in the formulation of policy recommendations that will help the ESBS radio and other radio stations to have sustainable impact on their listeners especially as it concerns mobilization during elections.
1.6 Limitations of the Study
This work will explore thoroughly the impact of the electronic media on voters’ mobilization in Enugu North and the radio station selected is ESBS radio Enugu, it was selected because of its proximity to the researcher which helped to save cost and time. ESBS radio is a government owned media which broadcasts twenty four hours everyday and the 2011 and Enugu North municipal council was used as a case study because of its population proximity to the station. The major limitations in the course of carrying out this research were finance, time and high demand of other academic work.
Also, the seeming difficulty of some respondents to give adequate and relevant information to help in carrying the research was also a major limitation to the study. Finally the difficulty that encountered in getting relevant materials to elicit information was also a major limitation.
1.7 Definition of Terms
To aid proper understanding, the following definition of terms were undertaken in the work.
Radio: Radio can be defined as the process of sending and receiving message through the air using electromagnetic waves. It is also a cheap, portable device that can be carried around.
Voters: Voter can also be defined as a person who votes or has the right to vote especially in a political election. It is also a group of individuals that elect their representative.
Mobilization: Simply means the process in which people work together in order to achieve a particular aim.
Impact: According to chambers dictionary, impact means strong effect or influence. It also means the striking of one body against another collision.
ESBS: Enugu State Broadcasting Service “an electronic media that transmits message through airwaves based in Enugu State, Nigeria.