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PROJECT TOPIC: THE ROLE OF RADIO IN THE POLITICAL MOBILIZATION OF WOMEN

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CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDYNigerian women make up of half the population size of the country, yet the constitutional policy of women getting one-third of seats remains a mirage. With only one-third of seats in politics, there is still that misrepresentation of the marginalized group. Statistics has it that only 6 percent of ministerial and sub ministerial officials in Nigeria are women (Population Reference Bureau, 1998). According to Gender audit and Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) Parline database (2003 and 2008) as cited in Agbalajobi, (2010); ?There was no seat for women in 2003 and 2008 for the governorship office and also the house of assembly with 990 seats; women got 36 and 54 seats in 2003 and 2008 respectively.? All these reveal that women participate in politics but there is still that under-representation of women in Nigeria even after women are only vying for one-third of seats to represent their group. Could this be as a result of paucity of knowledge or could this be a result of low level of sensitization by the media?The mass media in any society cannot operate in isolation. They must operate within a state. The mass media are usually regarded as the fourth estate of government which serves as the watchdog of the society. They see what is happening in the society and report back to the people as it is. Mass media could be television, radio, newspapers, magazines, radio, etc. That is any medium used to transmit large information to a large heterogeneous group of people. They report the happenings of the Executive, Legislative and the judiciary arm of government in any given state that practices democracy.The focus is on radio which is regarded as the most effective medium because it transcends the barrier of literacy and it covers a wide geographical region. The UNESCO reporters on Indian?s rural forum observe that in the developing countries, the greater part of the people live on the land, they are frequently isolated by illiteracy and lack of transport. Effective communication with rural people and their active participation in the life of their country is essential for developing societies. Thus, radio broadcasts, when skillfully used, have proven to be the most effective medium of communication with the population.Nigeria claims to be practicing democracy, but this practice does not seem to be absolute as it does not go according to the tenets of democracy. According to International IDEA (2000, p.46), A culture of democracy must reflect norms and values that place a premium on the freedom of the individual- freedom from state abuse and from infringements of rights by other individuals. It further guarantees equality before the law, as well as providing opportunities for all citizens to have equal access to the material and cultural resources that guarantee their basic livelihood. The essence of democracy is that citizens must be able to ventilate their views through unrestrained debates, from the lowest level and smaller unit, and that there should be active citizens? participation in governance as well as unrestricted communication between government and the governed.From the above statement, it is seen that Nigeria?s democracy is not ?true? democracy because not all citizens of the state have equal rights to the material and cultural resources especially for the women group where we still have all forms of stereotyping, Women who make almost half the population of the country are not able to air their views, leading to a low level of participation in governance. Therefore, there is a need to use the tool used for social change which is the mass media to effectively sensitize this group of people (women) so that their views can be aired without any restraints and encourage their participation in governance, and not leave government in the hands of the few, but many.


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