INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN ELECTIONEERING

The New Media, popular known as the Social Media, have greatly influenced the ways things are done all over the world, especially in Nigeria.

Such influence has also played out during electioneering as citizen journalists and conventional ones make both good and bad use of the social media in the discharge of their duties.

Those who spoke with Radio Nigeria ahead of the gubernatorial election in Anambra State were of the view that though the social media have a lot of benefits, users must be scrupulous to ensure that they would not do more than good to the society.

A blogger and journalist, Abuchi Onwumelu says the system of information dissemmination has improved reasonably.

“The electoral umpire now has even designed a medium to reach out to the electorate via the new media, unlike before they will ask you to go to a local government, the INEC office, the state office or even the headquarters.”

A Civil Society activist, Comrade Clement Igboanugo, described the social media as a double edged sword.

“The easiest way to get to the youth is the social media”

A Broadcaster Journalist, Adaora Arah, noted that ordinarily, the social media should help in checking electoral fraud.

“It should help to curtail rigging.”

Respondents highlighted the negative impacts of the social media on the electoral system to include: mudslinging, campaign of calumny while they can equally be used to smear the good image of political opponents.

“Some unscrupulous elements are now using it to pass across wrong information. You can kill a candidate in an election through the social media.”

As the governorship election in Anambra State draws nearer, it is hoped that people will relate with the new media responsibly to ensure that its negative influence does not undermine the electoral process.

ALFRED AJAYI

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