Nigerian Newspapers Coverage of the 78 Days Presidential Power Vacuum Crisis under President Umaru Yar’adua: Managing or Manipulating the Outcome (Published)
The Nigerian press has always been accused of manipulating political crisis to the gains of their owners or the opposition. This accusation was repeated during the long 78 days (November 23 2009 – February 9 2010) that Nigerian late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was incapacitated due to ill-health. In fact, observers believed that the kind of media war, power play and intrigue that hailed the period almost cost Nigeria her hard-earned unity and democracy. Eventually, Yar’Adua and his handlers irrefragably lost to ill-health and public opinion. However, the late President’s ‘kitchen cabinet’ believed that he lost ultimately to public opinion manipulated by the press. How true was this? How far can we agree with the kitchen cabinet bearing in mind that this type of accusation came up during the scandals of President Nixon of the United States and the ill health of late President John Attah-Mills of Ghana. Based on these complexities, the researchers embarked on this study to investigate the kind of coverage newspapers in Nigeria gave the power vacuum crisis during Yar’ Adua’s tenure in order to establish whether they (newspapers), indeed, manipulated events during those long 78 days. In carrying out this study, four national dailies (The Guardian, The Sun, New Nigerian and Daily Trust Newspapers), were used. Using five units of analysis (news, features, editorials, cartoons and opinion articles) and seven content categories, findings revealed that Nigerian newspapers gave the presidential power vacuum crisis prominence. The results also showed that the issue was adequately covered and took a positive direction. However, it was, also, discovered that Nigerian newspapers frequently covered the power lacuna in their reports which were influenced by regional and ownership factors. Based on these, it was recommended that ownership and regional affiliations should not impact on media reports. And that the media should provide leadership in times of national conflict by setting and consolidating agenda.
This paper focuses on the media reportage of the Ebola Virus Disease which has ravaged parts of West Africa, particularly Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Although the disease found its way into Nigeria through the Late Patrick Sawyer, Nigerian authorities quickly arrested the situation, for which they are getting well deserved commendations across the globe. The presentation derives its theoretical relevance from the agenda setting perspective which says that even though the media may not succeed in telling people what to think, they are stunningly successful in telling people what to think about. Information and perspectives were obtained from secondary sources of books, newspapers, magazines, and the electronic media. Interestingly, the research found a high success rate of communication efforts as it concerns the Ebola scourge, across cultural and geographical boundaries. The paper recommends among others, the immortalization of Late Dr. Stella Adadevoh for her sacrifice while ensuring that the war against Ebola is sustained through a further enhancement of public enlightenment.