What is it about?

The paper explains how the media can assist African leaders to conduct free and fair elections. This is because most of the problems in African Continent are traceable to the inability of the governments to conduct credible elections. The Nigerian previous republics failed due to the unresolved issues emanating from the conduct of elections. Therefore, the media being the Fourth Estate of the Realm should be able to hold African leaders accountable to the people regarding the conduct of elections in the region, explaining the reason for reviewing the role the media played in the 2007 Nigerian elections.

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Why is it important?

The study is important to African leaders, media practitioners and the general public because, the outcome of elections largely determines the quality of the political leadership that will be provided by the ruling party. If the government was elected by the mandate of the people, then, it will be most likely that the executive will formulate policies meeting the needs and expectations of the people. But if the ruling party in any society was not elected by the majority of the citizens, it will be most unlikely that the government will meet the needs of the citizens, alongside contribute to the socioeconomic development of society. So, with the information contained in the study, everyone that reads this paper will know his or her role in the conduct of free and fair elections in Africa.


The author believes that the major problem in Africa is the lack of willingness by leaders to accept that the sovereignty which creates the basis for the legitimacy of any government belongs to the people. Otherwise, politicians will not be happy to rig election, or impose their views on the people. The essence of democracy is in the application of the rule of law. Unfortunately, some political leaders now find it difficult to relinquish power having served their tenure even in the more established democratic societies, which is why this study recommends that the media adopt a more effective approach in their news coverage on elections to make it relatively difficult for politicians to rig elections.

Professor Godwin Ehiarekhian Oboh
Benson Idahosa University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Reflecting on the Nigerian Media, Elections, and the African Democracy, SAGE Open, September 2016, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/2158244016666886.
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