Published on International Journal of Social, Politics & Humanities
Publication Date: June 18, 2019
S. A. Shaibu
Mass Communication Department, Bingham University
Karu Nasarawa, Nigeria
This paper takes a look at the plethora of conventional broadcast media/ social media attempts at mobilization and lost opportunities in social mobilization of Nigeria towards democracy and good governance in Nigeria with a view of getting our acts right for a better Nigeria that is set for progress and development in a democracy.
Definition of terms: Cataloguing Conventional Broadcast Media – has to do with ex-raying or documenting or inventory of convectional public and private media organization in Nigeria.
Social and Mass Mobilization has to do with the conscious, systemic packaging of News and Programmes on Radio and Television with a view of educating, informing entertaining and cultural promoting or provoking the audience – i.e viewers and listeners towards some specific actions and inactions in line with the agenda – setting objective or the media. Shaibu (1996)
Mission and Vision – has to do with the objective and reasons for existence.
Abortion – in this paper refers to the many missed opportunities for Nigeria to birth a greatmedia for the Nationin search of progress prosperity and development.
Democracy and Good Governance – has to do with government of the people, for the people, and by the people that provides dividends of democracy such as education, rule of law, equity, justice, protection of lives and property, water, power, transport, agric etc.just to mention but a few.
If there is a symbiosis between town and gown, between Government and Academic Institution and the Media in Nigeria, most of the problems bedeviling our Nation in a cyclic one-step-forward-two-steps-backward movements would have been dealt with long before now.
2. Why do we say so?
We say so because the Academic Institutions in Nigeria are the think-tank of ideas for development while the media is the engine room for the development of such idea in practical ways in the different people’s contributions in Programmes and News for the actualization of such ideas.
Shaibu (1996) postulated “a conscious, systemic packaging of News and Programmes of our conventional Radio andTelevision Stations at Federal, State andPrivate broadcasting levels, with a view of educating, informing, entertaining and culturally promoting and provoking the audience i.e listeners and viewers towards specific actions/inactions in line with agenda-setting objective of the media”. But the Station Managers and the different Governments of our land do not listen. This also gravitated into some satirical drama series titled Zuma Echoes meant to talk to the people and their Leaders for action towards a greater Nation, but all these were campaign promotions in drama and jingles formats that fell on deaf ears. The result is the trial and error Governments that continue to do, rule, and execute policies the same old way and expecting, like mad men and specialists, apology to Wole Soyinka, different results,rather what we do is the abuse and misuse of the media of social and mass mobilization for personal and ulterior motives of he-who-pays-the-piper-dictates-the-tune at kith and kin journalism, bread and butter journalism, journalism of man-know-man, narrow identity media practice, yellow-journalism, jaundiced Journalism and lately media terrorism as enunciated by Shaibu (Sundry works) Akinfeye (1990, 1982), Ayandele (1974) Ekwensi (1993) et al.
By extension of knowledge, the researchers believe that in line with Willis (1967) postulations that the media is to expose the ills of society with a view of charting a new course for positive future growth of society.That was the reasons in the minds of the founding fathers of:
a. Empire broadcasting of the redifusion era in Nigeria
b. Nigeria Broadcasting Service (NBS)
c. Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC)
d. Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN)
e. Nigeria Television Authority (NTA)
f. Many Independent Radio and Television Station in Nigeria
g. State Radio and Television stations in Nigeria
It should be noted that there is an avalanche of Radio and Television Stations in Nigeria since the Empire Broadcasting days as indicated in appendices.
The Vision and Mission of these radio and television station can be summarized according to Shaibu et al as follows:
d. Cultural Promotion
The implication of all their operations should be that they operate in line with Lasswell (1984), Shannon and Weaver (1949) Mathematical Theory of Communication as well as Scramm’s model that emphasizes Communication for a change to a better society. (Quoted in Shaibu 1996).The model could be the 2 step-flow-model where target of the leader is the direct hypodermic-needle-flow-model which sees media as a hypodermic needle, directed at a passive and harpless audience consisting of a atomised individuals. Ekwensi (1993) or the multi-flow-step model “which targets a veritable but multiple number of relays- in the communication flow from source to a large audience” Ekwuazi (1993)
Conventional Broadcast media has been replete with one problem or the other that has been endemic and graduating to a systemic problem over time.
These problems include the following:
a. Broadcast media as colonial masters voice during empire broadcasting. Shaibu (1996)
b. Nigeria Broadcasting Service (NBS) and Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) as quasi colonial new Independent Leader’s voices. Shaibu (1996).
c. Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) as the Mega-phones of Government. Shaibu (1996)
d. Nigeria Television Authority as “His Master’s voice” of Government. Shaibu (1996)
e. Independ Radio/ Television Station as the voices of their Founding Owners or the Government or Opposition the founding owner(s) are supporting or owner’s are paying allegiance to Shaibu (1996).
f. State Radio and Television Station as the voices of the State Governors that fund their operations. Shaibu (1996)
These lack of social mass mobilization agenda has cause Nigeria Monumental failures in these areas:
a. Deralling Nationalistic ideals into Regional or Narrow-Identity Policies of the First Republic
b. Inability to capture our civil war innovations in technological breakthrough e.g Ogbunigwe bombs.
c. Loosing out our mobilization strategies in the movement from left hand driving to right hand driving.
d. Failure to force unity in our diversity to achieve collective National goals or Agenda
e. Failure to build unity out of our diversities in religion and tribes
f. Loosingout completely in Federalism
g. Not coming with a formula out of our amalgamation without integration.
h. Not channeling our religious and tribal aggressiveness to productive naturalistic ends or goals.
i. Inability to use media in general and broadcast media to promote literacy as done in Cuba.. towards making Nigeria a non-illiterate society as Cuba did.
All efforts by Professional Practitioners within the cul-de-sac of these operations have met over time with the strong wall of resistance, intimidation, threats and deprivations that are meant to brow-beat these Professionals to toe the lines of the paying masters.
The paper attempts to find out the way out of these operational hurdles with a view towards objective practice that is rooted in projection of truth while the search for the way out is on, the coming of the New Social Media, that has democratized media operation as a whole and broadcast media as in this case has introduced a new warning on subservience of practice and Practitioners – to either change or be changed out of relevance.
The limitation of the scope of the present focus notwithstanding, a new vista of the use of Conventional Broadcast Media and New Social Media shall be opened for greater in-depth and further studies.
While we do this, it must be stated, that the NigeriaBroadcasting Commission, the regulating authority in term of policy control and regulations have no clear-cut-formula for Broadcast Media on the specific areas of National Agenda-setting formula for broadcasting media practice.
Therefore, in the area an agenda or blue-print for national ideological and political/social mobilization goal for broadcast media cannot be gleaned for specific direction.
But the Ibrahim Babangida Social Mobilization as defined by the Political Bureau team has clear-cut vision and mission for Nigeria as captivated by shaibu (1997) Radio Drama and Social Mobilization: A case study of Zuma Echoes on Radio Nigeria, Abuja being Ph.D thesis submitted in Partial fulfilment for the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts of University of Ibadan.
In other words, according to Political Bureau Report (1987: 210)
Social Mobilization must be seen in terms of involving the people in taking part actively and freely in discussions and decision affecting their general welfare. In other words, Social Mobilization and Political Education should aim at increasing people’s level of awareness and recognition of Political and other issues so that they can apply their energies positively and participate actively in social and Political life of the Country.
The foundation was to create an enabling environment for Social Mobilization and Political Education programmes on Radio and Television and by the extension of the New Social Media to aim at creating a wholly New Political culture that will transcend the multitude of negative factors that have hitherto characterized the Nigeria Nation but we bungled these in our numerous Socio-Political and economic abortions.
For an example, nobody needs to preach via sermon jingle and exhortations, clichés etc to an American or Israelites on the virtues of patriotism – by the time we pass them through the policiesof the “American Dream” and the “Israelite Holocaust Museum” you have a man or woman that is ready to die or be killed for his or her country. In our time and clime there is no such conscious, systemic culture as most of the bases in early curricula of education as in civics, history and religious instructions have since been destroyed by our narrow-identity, non-strategic-planning military or civilian politicians in Government of Nigeria. Shaibu (2010)
Right from Independence to the present time, our Political Leaders do not seem to understand the power of social mobilization that can give birth to a new Nation. They are beret of the ideas behind Communist, Socialist ideologies that birth Nations!
They do not know how Fidel Castro, Lee Kwan Yu, Mao Tsetung, and great American Leaders were able to socially mass mobilize their people/citizenry to achieve new directions and new orders in their different countries. President Ibrahim Babangida seems to be near it when he established the Political Bureau that postulated in the political bureau report (1987:210), without sounding repetitive. For we must repeat for emphasis:
that social mobilization must be seen in terms of involving the people intaking part actively and freely in discussion, and decision affecting theirgeneral welfare. In other words, social mobilization and political educationshould aim at increasing people’s level of awareness and recognition ofpolitical and other issues so that they can apply their energies positively and participate actively in social and political life of the country.
The report went on by adding, again, we repeat:
In short, our social mobilization and political
education programmes should aim at creating a
whole new political culture that will transcend
the multitude of negative factors that have
hitherto characterized the Nigerian Nation.
If there was synergy in our country, with the Political Bureau acknowledgement of the power of the media in general and Broadcast Media in particularthere would have been an implementation plan and guidelines that would have forced the media to key into these processes. But no! as it has always been and will always continue to be these sporadic social engineering efforts were solo shadow-boxing like tales told by idiots in the isolated social islands of non-implementations of significant policies.Mabogunje (1987) echo that operational mobilization is….crucial to collective action fell on deaf ears of the collective stakeholders of the Nigeria Nation.
And the result today, to our shame, is everybody does that which was right in their own eyes in the areas of Government policy implementations without directions as there were no guidelines or mobilizing mechanism of implementation of Government Policies and Programmes. And these opportunities flew into the garbage bins of history and passed away like other policies whose first mundane significant aim is job for the boys to keep Nigeria and Nigerian away from thinking instead of continuity of good programmes and projects of predecessors.
If there was order in Nigeria’s disorderlyGovernance, these guidelines then would have graduated into a working plan for the Media as a whole and Broadcast Media in particular in:
a. Establishing an appropriate framework for the positive mobilization for development and a new social and political order.
b. Awaking the consciousness of all categories of Nigerians to the right and obligation as Citizens of Nigeria.
c. Inculcating is all Nigerians the value and spirit of civil responsibility, commitment to social justice and economic self-reliance through mobilization and harnessing of their energies and natural resources into productive use.
d. Sensitizing, inducing and equipping all Nigerians to fight against internal and external dominating of our resources by a few individuals and groups.
e. Re-orienting all Nigerians to shun waste and vanity and to shun all pretenses of affluence in their lifestyles.
f. Promoting pride is the consumption of home-produced commodities and in self-reliance
g. Preparing the framework for creating the basic institutions and norms of democracy at all levels of our society. Shaibu (1996)
From all indications, most great Nations that have shot into limelight in this century did not have such robust framework but our penchant for change of Government that have no culture of continuity in the previous have made us toLoose many golden opportunities for our greatness at progress and development.
Compounding the problem of Conventional Broadcast Media of Radio & Television is the coming of the New Social Media that has broken the strongholds and monopolies of the Conventional Radio and Television Media.
The New Social Media created a new terrestrial, aerial and amphibial paradigm shift as well as shocking and jolting bombardment on the Conventional Media to the point that the Conventional Media discovered that if they do not use the new tricks of the New Social Media they will die in installment.
The new social media not only broke the conventional media’s carmel’s backs, it destroyed old myths created new standards of practice and set new rules of broadcast engagement toward the necessity of media convergence that is becoming the-in-thing now! They had to do the needful having seen the mass of our youths holistically embracing the New Media to their detriment and neglect.
Shaibu’s (1996) study indicated that the youth then constituted over 82% of significant listeners of the broadcasting media. The New Media youth migrations after that study should and must frighten the Conventional Media to change their production and steps for new relevance.
It is along these lines of reasoning that the following are recommended:
a. The New Social Media and digitization have made many equipment and transmitters outmoded, irrelevant and out of fashion. The Nigeria Broadcast horizon should as a matter of urgency decommission most of these equipment and clear our space of these junks
b. Digitization and the New Social Media have made many of the old monitoring devices obsolete for the new digital equivalents at audio and video level – to the point that if we buy old transmitter and produce programmes in the old way via them, where are we going to monitor such programmes.
c. Production styles have since changed from the Conventional long duration method to the new “keep it short and simple” (KISS) capsuled productions of lesser durations because there are no more captive audience – listeners and viewers of long duration programmes for Mass Mobilization.
d. Stereo-type, corridor production that are peripheral in content must give way to well researched and packaged programmes and news that can attract audience ie. Listeners and Viewers for Social and Mass Mobilization.
e. ICT and New High Tech innovations have killed Conventional Manpower establishment rooted in specializations to a lean and fit establishment of multi-tasking by one professional. The Conventional Media must embrace this in order not to perish.
f. The New Social Media has to learn rooting of all the News and Programmes in veritable sources for credibility.
g. Effectively packaged programmes,Shaibu (1996) et al State that they must be rooted in themes of: