Thoughts on Cyberpolitics and the Re-engineering of Political Communication in Africa

Dr. Ibietan’s book speaks to the reality of how the demographics of voting is now in favour of digital natives, whose engagements are set to upend the traditional media approaches

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Thoughts on Cyberpolitics and the Re-engineering of Political Communication in Africa by Omoniyi IbietanDr. Omoniyi Ibietan’s book on Cyberpolitics has been receiving rave reviews. below is a spotlight on some incisive reviews and thoughts on his great prodigious work.

Without any doubt, the Internet and its associated technologies and tools, including software applications, have created some of the most radical possibilities in the human experience, particularly in the last decade.

These have certainly extended the frontiers of human freedoms and expression, while similarly enabling innovation across different forms of utilisation, and more so serving as catalyst to the ability of citizens to engage with political processes – for good and for bad.

 

Despite an earlier period in which there were deliberations on the possible roles and impacts of digital platforms, such as the social media, on political participation and elections, the increased access to the Internet and broadband, alongside the wider uptake of social media as essential to human reality, have made the interface between these platforms and elections a lot clearer. This has especially been evident in the last few electoral cycles, whether in the United States, Europe, or Nigeria.

Danbatta lauds Ibietan: “Cyber Politics” encapsulates hard work, literary prowess, activism

The 2008 presidential election in America could be considered as the watershed moment for a new form of voting behaviour, evolving with the widespread usage of platforms like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, podcasting and mobile messaging in the communication of political interests with citizens.

 

Omoniyi Ibietan – Author

Dr. Ibietan’s path-breaking book, Cyber Politics: Social Media, Social Demography, and Voting Behaviour in Nigeria, broaches a radical new territory in bridging psephology (i.e. the study of elections) and communications scholarship through an examination of the interface between social media networks and voting behaviour in the country. It draws its insights from a deeply methodical study of Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election, unearthing the intersections of social and demographic factors, digital social mediation and the remarkable impact of these variables on the voting behaviour of the electorate.

 

It is worthy of note that the referenced national polling presented one of the most significant evidence of how social media use can shape the course of an election, having the then political opposition gaining huge mileage from its ability to deploy social media platforms towards shaping and controlling public debates, and hence triumphing at the ballot.

 

These days, the preponderance of data more easily reveals the impact of social media on political engagement and elections, both in emergent and evolved democracies. It requires little clairvoyance that with the spike in upheavals instigated by economic dysfunctions across the world, social media will certainly play more consequential roles in driving electoral choices going forward.

 

Dr. Ibietan’s book speaks to the reality of how the demographics of voting is now in favour of digital natives, whose engagements are set to upend the traditional media approaches, hence the great value in seeking an understanding of the growing interface across cyber politics, social media networks and social demography. Specifically, the author utilises tested theoretical models and research methods to scrutinise the impact of social media on contemporary politics.

 

Most significantly, the cutting edge of this vibrant scholarly endeavour is its proposal of a bold new methodology and approach to communications, described as the Channel-Factor Model, which situates the relationship among social media and other variables within a political environment. It is a framework for re-engineering political communication in Africa that is as radical as it is innovative.

 

Cyber Politics: Social Media, Social Demography and Voting Behaviour in Nigeria is an absorbing and persuasive book that adds huge insightful value to an understanding of the interactions between politics, social media networks and other variables that influence the behaviour of voters in a democracy. Therefore, we particularly appreciate Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan,  a staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission, for this contribution to political communication scholarship.

Aminu Maida, Ph.D.

Executive Vice Chairman/CEO

Nigerian Communications Commission

Presented at the special Book Reading and Further Reviews of “Cyber Politics: Social Media, Social Demography and Voting Behaviour in Nigeria” held at the University of Ibadan on 19th April 2024

 

Remarks On Dr Omoniyi Ibietan’s Book On Cyber Politics In Nigeria

On behalf of the Communication Studies family and specifically the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN), I congratulate Dr Omoniyi Ibietan on the successful publication and presentation of his book on cyber politics in Nigeria.

 

As an active member of the ACSPN, I am glad that he is in the frontline of promoting some of the Association’s objectives of promoting innovative communication education through publications and other knowledge sharing platforms.

 

Without a doubt, the academic community and communication scholarship require a deeper understanding of the evolving trend, influence, and impact of cyber politics in the country. I am glad Dr. Ibietan has been able to undertake intensive and extensive research in the area. Happily, the study has been transformed into a textbook for wider circulation.

 

A cursory reading of the book indicates that the author has been able to achieve the objectives of contributing to the conceptual and empirical dimensions of the subject in the context of political communication.

 

Personally, I am enriched by the arguments and conclusions in the book. The book has increased my understanding of the relationship between the ever-growing social media and politics in the country. This is very important for obvious reasons, some of which relate to the popularity and influence of the new media, particularly among the most active components of the population.

 

While welcoming the book as a positive addition to the growing body of literature in the area especially as it gives the Nigerian context, I am strongly recommending it as a worthy book for all students of communication studies, political science and allied fields. Our political tacticians and gladiators and other scholars of the interface between society and information and communication technologies will find the text appropriate and generously useful in helping them to deeply understand the strategies and impact of the social media in Nigerian politics.

 

Definitely, the author’s effort is clearly manifested in the quality of the content in the book, its appropriate theoretical grounding, and sound conclusions that are reliably valid in the Nigerian context.

 

Once again, I congratulate Dr. Ibietan and enjoins interested individuals to get copies of the book for increased understanding of the relationship between social media and politics in Nigeria.

Thank you

Umaru A. Pate

Professor of Media and Society;

President, Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN);

Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State.

 April 19, 2024

 

Remarks at Dr. Omoniyi ibietan’s special book of reading 

Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan’s book Cyber Politics: Social Media, Social Demography, and Voting Behaviour stands out among the numerous publications on strategic communication in contemporary times. It offers a scholarly exploration of how social media platforms shape electoral behaviour in the intricate Nigerian electoral landscape. This book is a significant addition to the ongoing discourse on the influence of technological advancements on societal progress.

 

The book proposes the Channel-Factor Model of Communication. This model articulates the key influences and variables that impact effective communication in a political and socio-economic environment. The book clarifies the role of changing population dynamics in the developed and developing world and its implications for social media utilization in bringing about political change. These demographic trends’ impact on society and adopting new and innovative technologies imply broader political, social, and economic imperatives for all nation-states.

 

It is well-known that technological innovation redesigns the global geopolitical and socio-economic landscape while enabling unfettered access to information and possibilities in real-time. While the internet and, by extension, communication platforms have provided the foundation for most of these possibilities, it is essential to be conscious of the potential impact of other emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Big Data,  Block Chain and Advanced Analytics on societal trends. Important foundational lessons can be learned from the impact of social media on societal outcomes, as demonstrated by Dr. Ibietan’s book.

 

The author, Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, is a renowned scholar known for his intellectual prowess and activism. His work has consistently been commendable, and this notable Book of Reading is a testament to his innovative thinking and scholarly contributions. The book is wholeheartedly endorsed for reading.

Prof. Peter Esuh 

Dean, Faculty of Communication and Media Studies

University of Uyo

 

Excerpt from the first review of Cyber Politics – Social Media, Social Demography and Voting Behaviour in Nigeria, at the public presentation in Abuja on July 25, 2023 by Azu Ishiekwene, journalist of over 35 years and Editor-In-Chief of LEADERSHIP

“In parts of Cyber Politics, but in far greater detail in Chapters One, Five and Six, the author not only examines earlier studies on the impact of social factors, including peer, opinion leader and family influences on voter behaviour, he also sets out the broad objectives of the book, raising issues that are both specific and contemporaneous in value.

 

“In other words, instead of leaving the reader wondering what happened on the streets of North Carolina in Lazarsfeld’s studies decades ago and how that affects him in Gwagwalada, Abuja, Cyber Politics uses Nigeria’s 2015 general elections as anchor.

 

“It explores, among other things, the question of whether political conversations amongst Nigeria’s estimated 33 million active social media users, especially the influencers as of 2021 had any significant impact on the outcome of the 2015 election…

 

“Cyber Politics helps me as a voter to ponder if the social networks I belong to or the influencers I follow have any potential effects on my political behaviour either in terms of mobilisation or my actual voting decisions. Sometimes we think we’re our own man, until we realise, like Pavlov’s dog, that someone somewhere might be pulling the strings.”

The text is available online at: www.azuishiekwene.com

*Ibietan: A testimonial on scholarship and commitment.*

I had the privilege of supervising the PhD thesis from which this book by Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan emanated.

It was a pleasure supervising Omoniyi’s thesis as he was very conversant with the literature of the study. I must say that I learnt from the literature he used.

Another of his strength was that he was able to do effective academic writing. This made reading his work not tortuous but exhilarating.

 

He was dedicated to the work that he took a year leave from his place of work to come over to Mahikeng in South Africa to exclusively focus on the study. I can say that the study was effectively done within this one year.

With the thesis turned into a  book, I believe the ideas, findings and recommendations contained therein are now made available to a wider readership.

 

Congratulations to the author.

 

By:  *Prof. Abiodun Salawu.* 

North-West University, South Africa.

(Salawu supervised Omoniyi Ibietan’s doctoral thesis in North-West University, South Africa)