“…Mass media are often referred to as the fourth estate of realm because of the power they wield and the oversight function they exercise. The print media as a major player in democratic governance and development has been recognized since the late 17th century, and remains a fundamental principle of modern-day democratic theory and practice especially in educating, enlightening, mobilizing the electorates before, during and after elections. The mass media especially newspaper has reshaped the public opinion, but they are in turn influenced and manipulated by different interest groups in society.”. Aderibigbe (2014: 21).

The media promote democracy by among other things, educating voters, protecting human rights, promoting tolerance among various social groups, and ensuring that governments are transparent and accountable. Newspaper has been used to support democracy and development. The newspapers, for example, have exposed mismanagement in high office, resulting in the resignation or toppling of heads of state and in the enactment of governance reforms

According to Jideofor, (2014:12), “The 2015 presidential election in Nigeria, the fifth since 1999 when the military handed over power to elected civilians, will be the first time that the opposition will have a realistic chance of wresting power from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). All things being equal, it will be a two-horse race between the ruling PDP and the main opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC)—the party formed in February 2013 from a merger of three ethnically and regionally based political parties. Before the emergence of the APC, opposition parties were mostly fragmented along regional and ethnic lines, making it impossible for them to mount a credible challenge to the ruling PDP.”

In the same vein, Adibe, (2014: 11) posited that “The emergence of a viable opposition coincides with a period of great tension between north and south, arising from the decision of President Goodluck Jonathan to contest the 2011 elections, a decision that has made many northerners feel cheated of their turn in producing the president and that induced some violence. With President Jonathan, a southern Christian, contesting again and very likely facing a northern Muslim candidate, the elections will have implications not just for north-south relations but also for the survival of the country’s democracy.”

Similarly, The Guardian, (2014), revealed that with the number of internally displaced people from the Boko Haram conflict estimated at about 650,000 as of August 2014, a mismanaged election could trigger post-election violence that will exacerbate the refugee crisis both internally and at the regional level. Corroborating this, Baiyewu, (2015: 23) added “For instance, it has been estimated that the Boko Haram conflict has led to more than 100,000 Nigerians seeking refuge in Niger’s Diffa region since the beginning of 2014. It is also estimated that there are 44,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon and 2,700 in Chad. Ironically, the neighboring countries where Nigerians are seeking refuge from the Boko Haram conflict are already quite poor and have severe socioeconomic challenges of their own.”

Meanwhile, Jega has already been accused of planning to rig the 2015 election when he suggested creating more polling booths, most of which were to be put in the north (Nigerian Tribune 2014). According to Adibe, (2014: 22) “In all aspects of social life, the genesis of a new decade triggers to an effort to summarize and characterize what happened from the past years and to look forward to challenges – the genesis of a new era.  The press (newspaper) stands as link between old and new.  A regime that newly arrives into power can blame its predecessor for some economic problem and it uses the press (newspaper) to compare its records in funding popular services with past regime and reminds public the oppression they felt from the oppositions when they were in power, and to also praise government for the good work done when they were in power, all these tactics work effectively when they use the press.”

In the same vein,Adoyi et al (2015: 30) in their research work stated that “Nigeria political independence in 1960 had raised hopes of many that the nation was being set towards achieving a free and democratic society. In such a democratic society, it is expected that the press such as newspaper in particular should be the market place of political thought. The newspaper therefore, should exist mainly to serve the information need of the citizenry in politics.” Apparently, development should not be seized from being mentioned while discussing politics.

According to Ejike, (2014: 21), he says that development and politics are so intertwined that one cannot talk about or deal with one with the other, especially in a developing country like Nigeria. Having observed the above statement; it is rarely difficult to distinguish between politics and development especially as it relates to Nigeria politically. Newspaper could be seen as a more possible agent of social and political mobilizing in the country than television especially in mobilizing women towards participating in politics.

Basically in Nigeria, one cannot but say all is not well considering the nature of the country in term of population, ethnicity, religion, ideology, social, and economy, political and international perspective. According to Anaeto and Anaeto (2010:34) as cited in Adoyi et al (2015: 32) Africa countries are best with many challenges-social, political, cultural and economical development and transformation. Meanwhile, conflict is inevitable considering the nomenclature of Nigeria. Without mincing words, Nigeria media have come a long way in discharging the basic ethical standards. They don’t just; inform, educate and entertained as their traditional functions required but also persuade entire citizens of the country to maintain peace and live together as one entity irrespective of differences.


Past research works have identified some of the major challenges facing the print media in Nigeria to be: government control, censorship, advertisers influences, newspaper over reliance on government and corporate sources in sourcing for news as they actually provide veritable news sources whose authority and prestige help to enhance the reporters’ account, the effect and role of negative responses to media content and the role of ideology as a political control mechanism.

The incipient problem which has so far beset the process of nation building and political development in Nigeria of the print media is related to the fact that it is located in the crisis of political participation. This affected the credibility of media reports.

Another problem facing the print media is that the awareness created by newspaper in political matters has not been effective enough, owing to the conflicts of interest that exist between the newspaper proprietors and the politicians. For instance, The Nation Newspaper will not write any negative report on the activities of APC as it is said that he who pays the piper calls the tune, and The Guardian also will not write to portray Cecilia Ibru, the former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Oceanic Bank in a bad manner.

Though, the newspaper has been said to perform a watchdog role, according to Harold Laswell, as cited in Adoyi et al (2015), yet the quality of coverage that newspaper carry out on political matters are still affected by governmental influences, political influences, ethical influences and censorship and this has in one way or the other affect the political awareness created by the print media to rural dwellers. These problems are what the researcher wish to tackle in this research work.


The foremost objective of this study is to appraise newspaper coverage of 2015 general election. To achieve this, this research work will also be build up on the following objectives:

1.      To examine how credible newspaper reports of 2015 general election was

2.      To examine the significant role Nigeria newspapers play in the 2015 general election

3.      To examine the extent at which the print media contributed to the success of 2015 general election

4.      To ascertain the extent at which print media reports serve as a tool for sensitizing the masses


The research questions to be involved in this study include;

1.      Does the newspaper reports of 2015 general election credible?

2.      Is there any role the Nigeria newspapers play in the 2015 general election?

3.      To what extent did the print media contributed to the success of 2015 general election?

4.      To what extent did the print media reports serve as a tool for sensitizing the masses?


H0:  Newspaper reports of 2015 general election was credible

H1:  Newspaper reports of 2015 general election was not credible

H0: Nigeria newspapers played no significant role in the 2015 general election

H2: Nigeria newspapers played a significant role in the 2015 general election

H0: The print media contributed to the success of 2015 general election.

H3: The print media contributed to the success of 2015 general election.

H0: The print media reports serve as a tool for sensitizing the masses.

H4: The print media reports serve as a tool for sensitizing the masses.


This study will be a good reference work to political administrators in carrying out their political activities.  It will help them to know the roles print media (newspaper) can play in creating awareness in their political party ideologies and also educate them on the power the press has over them during the period of election.

It will also help policy makers and opinion leaders as it will show them that the (newspaper) is the link with the international community for foreign policy and news which help them in their policy making.

Students of Mass Communication and Political Science will also find this work useful as it touches their line of education.  It will help them know that print media (newspaper) is an inevitable tool in political activities and coverage of political activities in Nigeria, it will help them see how the government actors used the press as a great weapon in fighting for the independence. It will help Mass Communicator to know that their field of study requires objectivity and fair play not minding the circumstance surrounding the individual at any particular moment.  It will also help the political scientists on how to build up good rappour with the press and masses especially during the electoral process or period.

Furthermore, this study will be a useful guide for federal and state government in planning future programmes which relates to the print media and press as a whole.  It will educates them on the right the print media (newspaper) has in political matter so that when the print media reports some of the governmental activities which is part of the study, they will not fight and oppress the newspaper house by those drastic measures they inflict on the media and their media person.

Also, it will enlighten the government on how best to use the newspaper to disseminate their political activities to the people and also look forward on the press for the reaction and feedback of the people they are governing.


As mentioned earlier, the foremost objective of this study is to appraise newspaper coverage of 2015 general election, with focus on selected newspapers in Nigeria, but because the entire newspaper in the country cannot be studied as a whole, the scope of this study will be limited to The Punch and The Guardian Newspaper.

Also due to time, fund and other logistics, the publications of these media organizations from January 1st to March 31st will be the focus of this research work.


A study of this magnitude cannot be completed without hitches. There may a lot of limitations in the course of the study, ranging from problem of finance, problem of time, insufficient reference materials, difficulty in reaching the respondents and the likes of others. But notwithstanding, the researcher will try to overcome the challenge by way of abandoning other priorities and suspending most of the activities for the completion of this work.


Print Media: These are readable materials used in disseminating information to the people, such as newspapers and magazines.

Impact:  The powerful effect that the press has on the Nigerian political structure.

Politics:  The activities involved in getting and using power in public life and being able to influence decision that affect a society or country.

Role: The degree to which somebody/ something is involved in a situation or an activity and the effect that they have on it.

Newspaper: This is a printed publication of loose folded sheets containing news, advertisements, correspondence.

Mobilizing: To make people ready to pursue a particular cause.

Election: – is the process through which voters choose their representatives and express their preferences for the way that they will be governed.

Ballot: -Is a kind of voting method by which voters makes use of ballot proper in marking the name of their choice of candidate, which is dropped in a ballot box, that is counted manually.


Aderibigbe, E. (2014): “The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties”. Revised.

Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Adibe, J. (2014). “Did America Really Predict that Nigeria will Break-Up in 2015?”

Daily Trust, September 5.

Adoyi, A. (2015). “Nigeria is Bleeding” – Obasanjo accuses Jonathan of destroying the

country, PDP.” Daily Post, December 11. http://

Baiyewu,  L. (2015) “FORESIGHT AFRICA: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2015”, the

Brookings Africa Growth initiative.

Baiyewu, L. (2014). “Nigerian Refugees in Cameroon Triple in Two Months – UN.” Punch,

November 16. months-un/.

Ejike, S. (2014). “Additional Polling Units: INEC’s Plan to Rig 2015 Elections, Southern

Assembly Alleges.” Nigerian Tribune, September 10. http://

Joe, A (2014): “Elections Under Authoritarianism.” Annual Review of Political Science.

Jideofor A. (2014): “The 2015 presidential elections in Nigeria: the issues and challenges”,

African Renaissance.

The Guardian. (2014). “Refugees from Boko Haram.” November

13. haram.


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