An investigation by the Consortium of Nigerian Communication Scholars (CONCE) has indicted some government regulatory bodies, including the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), of undue bias against some media organizations before and during the just concluded Nigeria general elections.
According to a statement released by the CONCE, undue interferences from the government, particularly in states where access to the public space for Billboards and broadcast time was made extremely difficult for the opposition.
However, it noted that the 2023 Elections presented opportunities for increased use of creative communication as social media platforms dominated the traditional media outlets as obtained in the previous elections in the country.
“In terms of advertisements and access to broadcast media spaces, it appeared that the financial muscle of the political parties played a key role in determining which parties had access within the media space.
“While for the outdoor advertising, most of the advertisements for outdoor for instance did not go through vetting with only 30 per cent going the regulator, the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON),” the 2023 General Elections audit revealed.
CONCE noted that the election was the most keenly contested election in the history of the country, due to the high confidence and expectations placed in the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS) introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the electronic transmission of results for the 2023 General Elections.
The CONCE is a non-partisan umbrella network of academic and professional communication associations and individual patriotic Nigerians who are committed to the purposeful uses of communication in all its aspects and ramifications to promote sustainable social development through research, education, capacity building, and advocacy.
The research teams include Newspaper, Radio/TV Journalism, Broadcast Advertising, Outdoor Advertising, Public Relations, social media, Political Action Committee, Media Effects, and Opinion Poll.
Team Leads for the Consortium that submitted the interim report were: Newspaper Journalism – Prof Nuhu Gapsiso, Radio/TV Journalism – Profs Samaila Mande and Ladi, Print and Broadcast Advertising – Prof Rotimi Olatunji and Outdoor Advertising – Omo Abunene.
Others are Public Relations – Prof Emmanuel S. Dandaura, Social Media – Dr. Osita Aniemeka, Communication Effects – Profs Ezekiel Asemah and Charles Okigbo, Political Action Groups (PACs) – Ambassador Aminu Wisdom and Public Opinion Polls – Dr. Ubadire Agua.
The research which lasted eight months, from September 2022 – April 2023, was moderated by US-based Nigerian Scholar, Prof Chinedu Afigbo-Mba and had contributions from thought leaders, public relations practitioners, academia, and students from across the country and beyond.