Factors in Mass Media, Third-Term Agenda and Governance in Nigeria

OLAIYA, Taiwo A., APELOKO, D. Olubunmi, AYENI, O. Oluwadare


There are plethora of contending reasons for the failure of the third-term agenda embarked upon by the erstwhile President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo to elongate his term of office from the constitutional two terms to a third term. Although no single account is sufficient to explain the failure and its implications on the festering governance crisis in the country, one key point of convergence is that the media played a pivotal role in ensuring public education on the contentious issue. The study therefore assessed the influence of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s policies on the role of mass media against the Third Term Agenda. It also attempts to verify the actual nature of the role of mass media in the Third Term Agenda and investigated the influence of ethnicity and media ownership on the role of the mass media in the Third Term Agenda. It further examined the efforts of the mass media in the emergence of the Fourth Republic in Nigeria. This was with a view to assessing the roles of the mass media in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Third Term Agenda.

The study utilized both primary and secondary data. A total of 170 copies of questionnaire were distributed among members of political parties, academia, journalists, pro-democracy groups and relevant NGOs. The selected respondents were: two members of five major political parties; twenty scholars from recognized academic institutions in Nigeria; three journalists each from three dailies and two weekly newspapers; one member of staff of FRCN in five States as well as National Television Authority staff members: and two members of staff each from state owned radio and television stations in the sampled states; five members of staff each from Private radio stations; five members of staff each from two private television stations; five members of five pro-democracy Non Governmental Organisations across Nigeria; and five members of staff each from National Broadcasting Corporation and Ministry of Information. The secondary sources included books, journal, dailies, among others. The primary data were analysed using the descriptive and inferential statistics while the secondary data were subjected to content analysis.

The results showed that 37.2% of the responded clearly that government’s policy did not impact the role of the mass media on the third term agenda. It also, the study showed that the mass media played agenda setting role upon which other actors based their agitations in the third term agenda (54.3 per cent) and that ethnicity did not condition the role of the mass media. Furthermore, the result showed that privately owned media outlets provided a quantum of agitation against the third term agenda. Finally, the mass media were major actors in the race that birthed the fourth republic and in the quest to ensure the preservation of the democracy.

The study concluded that the mass media, maintained an approach and strategy that were largely encapsulated in aggressive attack and criticism rather than an educative effort that is capable of nurturing a democracy.

KEY WORDS- Mass Media, Democracy/democratization, Third-Term Agenda, Tenure Elongation.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3267 ISSN (Online)2224-3275

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