The much-touted 2003 elections now belong to the past.  Nigeria did not break in pieces, at least, literally.  However, like every other significant event in a nation’s history, the 2003 general elections is just still present.  It left in its trail unrestrained outbursts, tantrums, violence, condemnations as well as commendations.  All the major actions had something to say – the aspirants, the political parties, the elections observers, NGOs, pressure groups and indeed, the electorate around whom, the whom electoral process revolves.
President Olusegun Obasanjo, shortly after his re-election, said in an nationwide NTA broadcast, April 21, 2003, that he was indeed humbled that he was still the choice of the Nigerian people for a second term.
The European Union observes noted that in ‘Thisday’ (2003:19) that the elections were though successfully rigged in many parts of Nigeria.  The National Newspaper, for the most part, were full of victory and reprimands for the re-elected aspirants, who they accused of massive rigging, very many other newspapers contents eulogized the conduct of the polls.  Furthermore, many Nigerians Lanproved the elections, vehemently unleashing consignments of invective on the PDP seeming conspiracy against defenseless Nigerians.
Now, whose words are apt to describe the elections?  Because the media are purveyors of mass information; the pivots of social communication and agenda setters, the electorate always turned to the mass media, especially the print media, for relevant information.  There are however, as many print media houses as there are editorial philosophics that underlie media operations.
This is why this research project is devoted to exploring audience perception of press coverage of 2003 Election.  The bedrock of democratic government is the people’s will.  This opinion is pronounced in elections through the electorate giving legitimate mandate to a crop of people to represent them in government milieu.  It is little surprise then why ascertaining the opinion of the people is very important at this point.  The people will be unhappy if they are convinced that their choices did not reign supreme eventually.  This is because they know that election provides the opportunity for them to censor their governors through the ballot box.  The electoral process is used to keep leaders within the rue principles of democratic institution.
Yet opinion is nor merely a question of just finding out how people feel or describe the elections.  Beyond the peripheral descriptions, there ought to be an analysis of the implications of people’s reactions to the elections especially in view of past occurrences in Nigeria’s political experiences.  People’s reactions come in form of acceptance, rejection, tolerance, (in the so called interest of peace rather than justice) praise, attack or total condemnation and abhorrence of the whole process.
We will situate our quest within some theoretical foundations, the views of pundits on various election matters, and give insights into Nigeria’s election past with focus on people’s perception of the past electoral processes.
Communication experts try to underscore the importance of the reporter in guiding audience actions and in actions before, during and after elections.  We are particularly interested here.  Given my course of study, and the place of the media in guiding public opinion formation, it becomes imperative that we look into studies on media and public opinion on election matters.
Umechukwu (2001:39) notes:
“The political reporter studies, comprehends, articulates and interprets relevant national issues.  He also has the duty of making an intelligent analysis of political activities and profiling the main actors in the p0olitical stage with the view of giving explanation of issues.  With the reporters profiling, the masses can make their choices among candidates to be voted for in election”.
In his own submissions, Nwozuzu (1999:75) makes our point sharper.  He posits that; 
The basis of democratic government is the opinion of the people, and opinion, which the free press helps to shape through information dissemination.  The media derive their importance partly, if not wholly by fulfilling, and supplying this information need of the electorate. 
In carrying out this obvious social responsibility the media not only inform but also help the people elect individuals or leaders who serve to safeguard public liberty
What we are labouring to clarity is that the opinion of the people should have been guided by the media.  The media have to see themselves as a conduit through which the people receive vital electoral information to help them in the contributing to the electoral process.  Paramount in this contribution ought to be assessment of elections.
After these analyses, we shall make projections as well as recommendations both to the people and all other political actions.  This is a veritable means of making our inquiry meaningful and in fact, useful.
One thing the media must note about the political process in Nigeria is that it (the process) goes on without one part of the most important actors – the citizenry.  And its minorities should be respected, I think nothing in political reporting should be considered ahead of the solution to the above malady in the Nigerian political life-alienation of the electorate.
How can the citizenry be launched into the mainstream of the political process?  How can they be made to be active and be the sole determinants of election results as well as the system of governance.  This is the crux of political reporting no more.
The starting point, I think is that the press should extricate itself from the strangle-hold of politicians and be public oriented, this will divest them of the same in difference and distrust with which the estranged citizenry treats politicians.  What I mean is that the media should start work of political reporting from its own house – eschew superficial reports, brazen bias and such acts that stifle effective elections.
All public activities must be analyzed see if they are underguarded by any political undertone.  A court ruling may indict school system in an area either to undermine or extol the effort of either a political foe or friend respectively.  The media, that fails to look beyond the judicial proceeding may fail to detect the undercurrents in the proceedings.
Hage et al (1976:193) gives the following as functions of a elections reporters.
Reporting and interpreting events 
Defining issues
Portraying personalities
Investigating support
Identifying trends
Checking and analyzing public opinion.
The media must understand the relationship between his political sources.  The media is a channel and the politician is a source.

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Ugwu, Anderson "MEDIA COVERAGE OF 2003 ELECTION (A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF AUDIENCE PERCEPTION)" Afribary. Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018, Accessed 26 May. 2024.


Ugwu, Anderson . "MEDIA COVERAGE OF 2003 ELECTION (A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF AUDIENCE PERCEPTION)". Afribary, Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018. Web. 26 May. 2024. < >.


Ugwu, Anderson . "MEDIA COVERAGE OF 2003 ELECTION (A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF AUDIENCE PERCEPTION)" Afribary (2018). Accessed May 26, 2024.

Document Details
Field: Mass Communication Type: Project 79 PAGES (8532 WORDS) (doc)