The book, written by Omoniyi P. Ibietan, is officially making its way to physical and online bookshop Monday morning in a unique alignment with the symbolic rituals of June 12, Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
In 460 pages spread over 12 chapters, Cyber Politics: Social Media, Social Demography and Voting Behaviour in Nigeria gives expression to a critical phase within the distinct trajectory of Nigerian democracy through its elections.
Like June 12, which created a watershed in the country as Nigerians sought to rupture the yoke of military rule through the ballot, this book by Omoniyi P. Ibietan engages with another national watershed moment, as the nascent digital culture involving Internet use, and particularly the social media, converges with the articulation of voter choice, ultimately impacting Nigeria’s electoral fortunes in the process.
Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election is utilised as the sounding board from which analyses that offer great insights into the future of voting behaviour in the country are made in this new title, that is both skilful in its rendition and ground-cutting in its intellectual approach.
In an Introduction he wrote for the book, Dapo Olorunyomi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Premium Times Group, said “The universe of this new book is intriguing in its exploration of the “digital effect on elections.”
He also pointed out how Mr Ibietan’s work demonstrates “clearly that social media systems do enrich electoral democracy by expanding access to registration, participation, voting and organising at a scale we have never contemplated.”
He further observed that, “In the context of the Nigerian market framework, we also get to appreciate, through his lenses, the comparative appeal of each of the social channels. WhatsApp is the battle axe, while Twitter, hysterical though it is, remains limited.” Also, “Ibietan demonstrates how Facebook appeals to age and its abstract commitment to attention and community makes its credentials for advancing democracy a suspect.”
Equally, in his Foreword to the book, Umar Danbatta, a professor and executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, noted that: “the author situates the historical context of Nigerian politics and democracy” and more so “…the nexus between social media and voting behaviour, and the influence of the social media ecosystem among others in the electoral process.”
Importantly, as Professor Danbatta put it: “The book is a compelling narrative, a scholar’s guide and companion on the various political communication themes it interprets. It is difficult to put down this work once you are drawn by its alluring and free-flowing prose and incisive analysis.”
For a prominent commentator, who is also a former Minister of Information and Communication in Nigeria, Frank Nweke II, “the book represents an uncommon body of work by an intellectual visionary”, and he is of the conviction that the “extrapolation of the lessons and recommendations of this book will find perfect expression in other climes beyond the 2015 Nigerian general elections scenario.” Nweke thus commends “Dr Ibietan for this remarkable work, and…recommend(s) this book for practitioners and academics in the fields of strategic communications, new technologies, and social change.”
The author of this new book, Omoniyi P. Ibietan, holds a doctorate in Political Communication from North-West University in South Africa, and earlier degrees in Communication Arts from the Universities of Uyo and Ibadan.
With a career spanning journalism, stints in the civil society and academia, he is presently a directorate cadre staff in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), where he heads the media relations management unit.
Over the past two decades, Mr Ibietan has researched deeply in the emergent interface between communication studies and psephology, which explains his richly nuanced understanding and far sight into issues involved.
Cyber Politics: Social Media, Social Demography and Voting Behaviour in Nigeria is available as physical copies both in the hard back and soft back versions in bookstores across the country from today, 12 June.
The electronic copies of the book can also be purchased on online platforms, including Amazon.