The Impact of the Press in Shaping Nigerian Political Structure


This chapter reviews literature that is connected to the themes and sub-themes of this study. To enhance charity, major ideas in this section are group under the following sub-headings.

  1. The origin of the area
  2. Schools of thought within the subject area
  3. The school of thought relevant top the problem of study.
  4. Different method of studying the problem
  5. Summary of literature review.

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2.1     The origin of the area

          There is no lot of doubt that the press had bequeathed a valuable blue private for Nigeria in the area of information disseminations on political matters especially. That is to say the press had stood unrivalled on the side of justice in political relations. It has also resolutely defended the principle of equality of all men and their right to say determination in support of democracy, which is an undoubted principle by which transition an take place now in all aspect of political system for according to peter galliner, he points out that the role of the press is not only meat to polices and the government itself.

Nigeria became independent in October,1 1960 and gained republic status three years letter the relationship between political structure and press during this period speaks volume of the fact that majority of newspapermen are connected with the time major political then (Akpofuse and crowter, 1966).

The Nigeria youth movement, the first political movement in the country started in 1936 and later metamorphosed into a broad political party-the national council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) when Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe it’s Chairman in 1944. Emulating his promises, Chief Obafemi Awolowo formed the Action Group in 1951 with the sole aim of controlling the west in the future elections. To achieve their political aspirations both the NCNC and AG had between ten and fifteen newspaper across the country respectively to court the attention of the citizens toward their diverse political programmes the northern peoples congress (NPC) which as formed in mid 19so’s was not left behind in channeling its political programme through it own newspapers. Tow years before independence, political parties uncrowned by their prospective candidates in the first general election in 1959 owned about 90% of Nigeria newspapers. These political agitations made for vigorous competition between the papers for according to (Omi, 1987) without privately owned press, the Nigeria independence could have taken a much longer period to arrive. The early newspaper in Nigeria leaded the down of political articulation, rallying the general public and teaching them what it meant to be sovereign in ones homeland the more the early nationalists jailed for lied and sedition, the more popular and charisma they become incensed (Uche :1987).

Before independence, most of the Nigeria press was owned either by Nigerians or by missionaries that cater for the citizens, according to Barton the African of the press of must Africa was never to cheque and had never dome so unlike almost all other parts of Africa form Shara to Cape” in his book renascent Africa, Azikiwe wrote “theme is no better means to arouse Africa people than that of the power of pen and tongue (Azikiwe): 1986)

Notwithstanding, the press picked up after independence and started serving the publics with political delicacies. To substantiate our claim, in 1962 population census, the announcement of provincial figure for the eastern and western Nigerians was delayed for political reasons and it was the press the tribute of October 27th, 1962 that seriously called for urgent action as the country cannot wait indefinitely for figures, which may or may turn out to be time.

The morning post, government sponsored newspaper attempted in persuading its readers that no harm should be expected form the extra-ordinary delay in the census figure announcement (Taringer, 1991).

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  • School of thought within the subject area

The ability of the Nigerian press to carry out it political coverage centers mainly on the degree of its freedom. Freedom of the press is mainly determined by the freedom of the people. Press does not clamour for freedom because it want salience to ride on amorous side but as a servant of the people, it needs to be free in order to be an effective watching of the society. It is only when the press is free that it can tell the king that he is naked “(Elias, 1983)

However the Nigeria press has continued to report proficiently political matters notwithstanding government oppression. Before the independence the literate population was still small, the early newspapers served mainly the intelligent. The first and most constructive attempt to reach broader audience surfaced in the1940’s who Nnamdi Azikiwe stepped into Nigerian Journalism by publishing the west Africans pilot, which met the peoples demand and desire. He built up the first west Africa chains of newspaper known as Zik group after establishing the pilot. These papers, were great successful.

There are some important events about political activities that were covered by the press even before the independence.

  1. June 1919, the official pronouncement of high Clifford as the Governor General of Nigeria. The Lagos weekly record observed that Cliford James has presented his arrival and that his brilliant record in the Gold Coast had won our admiration and respect. It however warned that Clifford should not experiment on his predecessor’s dangerous legacy of the Nigerian System then we will excite a determined opposition that will be none rehement than that of Lugard.
  2. January 1922, Nigerian received constitution that provided for election of Nigeria natives into the Legislative council of Lagos. The press hailed the constitution and washed the colonial office in Lagos well in it effort to involve more Nigerians in the governance of its country.

A cursory work on issues shows that during the above mentioned period, press coverage was quite in general light. The government was making and reinforcing a major economics and political commitment that will usher in self-government by 1960.  the personnel and manpower for the take over the country administration were the central issue at the time. All that the newspaper readers could find was the agitation of impendence and tribal sentiment.

However there were differences among the prominent press.



The paper admonished the British administration for being too hesitant to vacate the seat of power to the wishes of the governed (Edition of 9th August, 1942)


Declined in its opening statement that it has limited ambitions in politics and found expression in mandatory role. It stimulated patriotism and independence and pointed out that the press was a philanthropic effort not inspired with the aim of making profit.


The papers policies arouse the wrath of the opponent because of its pro-government stance. It played down on the preparedness of Nigeria to take art in self government. It contended that democracy was a tragile mechanism, which worked effectively in the had of elites the paper further on sided administration on the colony by the British as a satisfactory one and edged Nigerians to continue to embrace the rule. (Omy, 1991).



The press is refined as the watching of the society because it watches over the society warning of impending dangers and against aberration. Its fundamental function includes informing, educating, interpreting and entertaining. The press reports on government activities, policies, programme and informs government about the perph’s aspiration fees. (Onuorha 1985).

The press therefore serves as an indispensable link between the government and the people. By this means, the press elements individuals and group opinion to the marked place of public discussion. As pointed out by emery, Amt and Agee (1`974), among the opportunities enjoyed by the communicators, none is more important than the opportunity to help shape public opinion.”

The impact of the press in shaping Nigerian political structure requires a total mobilization of the people, the majority who are illiterate mobilization is incensement in the under developed countries when government own most of the newspaper and through the organ strive to capture public opinion. According to Anibeze, the most outstanding role of the press in the under-developed countries today must be that mobilization for developing.

Mobilization as stressed by peter codling (1977) is indicated by the press in stressing the general educate function of news either about specific pieces of information or by arousal of general awareness of events and their implications.

NnaEmeka (1981) in his opinion breaks information dissemination in development programmess in time Viz; mobilization stage the activities under each according to him are as follows:


Hence, the press stresses the mobilization of literate members of the society, propagating, lively individual and national benefits.


In this dimension, the press calls for moral and financial support giving information on the on-going projects, activities, needs and requirements. It directs especially the rural populace on what to do and how do it giving them encouragement and oral support and sustaining their enthusiasm.


The press sustains the gain made, gives encouragement forward higher activities building up a spirit of self-help and propagating the benefits of the rural development.

In each stage, the press uses a lot of information materials such as features, articles analysis of issues, news and box announcement comparative analysis, supplements and short stories.



The functions of mass media are not a dingle one and are supposed to cover all parts of the country.

Those who promote development journalism in the thirds world countries are most often urban and western educated schools who read a daily newspaper all their lines and whole knowledge about the world is to a large extent formed by mass media. Therefore they are not representative of the great majority of the people in third world for them to determine the media needs and desires of the great masses and of the newly liberate peasants might be considered irrelevant at best, unless such determinants were based on empirical investigation.

The rural dwellers always the silent majority need to know that what it has to give them, they need to know how and here to get governments supplies, how to use them and what benefits to desire (Omu,1991) According to Nwaneri (1986), for an average Nigerian to surveying and function in our modern and developing society, he needs information about the government and about the economic state of the nation”.

Theme is in fact no obvious reason why rural citizens in black Africa would not have the same need or intersects in the enlightening and informative aspects of modern journalism. Independent news reports should optimally be presented in the form adjusts to their present educational level, yet maintaining the same critical approach in news coverage, investigative reporting and political debate as the western world consider an integral aspect of democracy.

A participant in an 1p1 seminar expressed it this way:- just because the rural people like a much less materialistic life than people are the urban area does not mean that they do not think about other things than how towards the baby and whether the maize will grow year”.

Moreover, the main leader-namely to be a means for political and national integration is venue if ever mentioned today by advocates for development journalism. Although the existence of modern mass media is an obvious prerequisite for the modern integrated and enlightened  society to developed (Omu 1991).

The literature on development journalists is also permeated with romantic ideas about mass notes in the tradition of songs, dramas and media  such as talking drums. It proposes social evils such as alcoholism, discrimination against women, and various archaic, taboos as well as to promote improvement in farming, nutrition and the like as (Francis Ochola, 1990) have it, the mass media in the western world still remain meaningless too to a large majority of rural African masses. It has become increasingly apparent that in recent years, traditional pattern of communication must be interned with the modern mass media system”.


2.5        Summary of Literature Review

By and large, the press has most especially maintained a legitimate effort to communicate truth and influence favorably the opinion of the people through the process of propagation.

Through the ideas of propaganda has greatly changed and is presently considered as an unworthy and unguided effort to influence public opinion.

In political structure, the press is used as a laudable instrument of war. Press propaganda now employs various measures, which the public considers unpleasant. It contravenes ethical values and it hinges mainly on selfish interest in concept and approach due to fact distortion falsification and manipulation to actualize the desired goal.

In modern sense, press propaganda depicts lies and stunts executed to work on the emotion. It aims at exploiting mans ignorance to the usefulness of the propaganda st. however persuasive and subversive propaganda exist in the former, theme is no omission of relevant fasts while the latter, the basis is on the suppression of the truth and fast distortion, an approval that lack a place in free press the press uses the former to reports it political coverage of the nation and reports fact undistorted.


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