New Media, Old Politics: Digital Media, Elections and Democracy Consolidation in Nigeria
Title: New Media, Old Politics: Digital Media, Elections and Democracy Consolidation in Nigeria
Author: Matthew Adeiza
Publication Type: Report
Date Published: 11/2014
Institution: Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS)
Research on democracy consolidation in Africa pays little attention to the role information technologies play in mediating political relations between individual politicians and citizens. On the other hand, media research has not done enough to account for how existing socio-political relations potentially define the use of media for political purposes. Drawing from a recent governorship election in Nigeria, this paper argues that local issues can determine how social media are framed and used in political campaigns. In the election central to this study, the incumbent seeking reelection boasted superior social media in both strategy and deployment. But the opposition candidate eventually won the race by framing social media as a tool of the elite meant to bypass ordinary citizens. Thus, by depicting himself as a “man of the street,” the opposition candidate galvanized aggrieved groups within the state to achieve an unlikely victory. The paper is based on two weeks of interviews with top campaign officials of the opposition campaign.