Digital Media and Campaign Practices in Nigeria: Ekiti State Governorship Election
Adeiza, Matthew Ohiani
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This is a study of the digital campaign practices of a winning opposition candidate in a governorship election in Ekiti state, Nigeria. The study was conducted through i) qualitative content analysis of news reports and digital artifacts, and ii) interviews with campaign staffers of a winning candidate. The study found that the winning candidate framed digital media use as elitist and anti-people but nonetheless discreetly used same for campaigning. In addition, the campaign engaged in two main practices: informing and involving. Informing practices include using SMS to coordinate meetings and spread rumors about the opposition, as well as for debunking opposition’s allegations. The campaign delegated rumor-spreading tasks to proxies, and thereby saving itself the pain of proving accusations against the opponent. Involving techniques include sharing information about financial and food inducements to vote, which people shared widely. The combination of these two practices allowed the challenger to frame the incumbent as elitist while defending portraying himself as a “man of the people.” The findings suggest that digital media’s most important role in the election was amplifying existing sociopolitical relationships between elites and voters.
- Communications