Social Media and Elections in Nigeria: A Case Study of Kano State, Reflections from 2015 Elections

Mukhtar Bello
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The 21st century has witnessed the advent of the Internet technology which greatly transformed the mass media and method of political communication globally. Information can be disseminated at high speed with accuracy and relatively low cost; and as a result, there is increase in individuals or groups’ usage of information access for electioneering purposes. New media technologies such as the mobile and smart phones, the Internet, and variant of social media are proliferating rapidly and widely. Social media, including Twitter, Face book, YouTube, What`s App and host of other platforms, has emerged as effective electioneering tools. This paper therefore examines and assesses the impacts of social media on electioneering process in 2015 general elections in Nigeria with particular reference Kano State. The paper is anchored on the Uses and Gratifications Theory. Whereas, documentary and survey research methods were employed in conducting the study. The paper finds out that majority of Kano residents from the sample used agreed that social media have influenced their level of engagement with the electoral processes (especially voting) in the state as a result of the contents they read from the platform. The paper recommends that the use of Social Media platforms should be encouraged and all the stakeholders have to be enlightened on capitalising it ethically so as to minimise the penetration of dubious and false information.

Keywords: Social media, elections and electioneering

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