Samples of Seminar Papers (Part 11)

Sample four (Content Analysis/quantitative study)

NEWSPAPER FRAMING OF BIAFRA AGITATION UNDER BUHARI’S ADMINISTRATION AND ITS INFLUENCE ON PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR                                                                   THE STRUGGLE                                

 

Abstract

This study examined newspaper framing of Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration and its influence on public support for the struggle. The thrust of the study was to assess how Nigerian newspapers framed the upsurge of the Biafra agitation since the inception of the Buhari administration and whether this manner of reportage influenced public support for the struggle. Specific objectives of the study are, to assess the patterns of news framing of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration; to know whether there is a difference in the patterns of news frames used by the pro-Igbo/pro-Biafra City newspapers and other national dailies in covering the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration; to ascertain readers’ perception of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration; to find out whether news stories on Biafra agitation influenced public support for the struggle under Buhari’s administration. The study reviewed related and relevant literatures with the agenda-setting theory as its theoretical foundation. The survey and the content analysis methods were used as the research design. Findings from the study show that seven patterns of frames were used by the four selected newspapers in covering the Biafra agitation. The frames are:  economic frame, political frame, ethnic frame, response frame, religious frame, human interest frame and attribution of responsibility frame. The study also found contrasting patterns in the frames used in the coverage. The pro-Igbo/Biafra (Daily Sun and Biafra Times) newspapers used frames that highlighted copiously the deprivation, marginalisation and oppression the Igbos are suffering under Buhari’s administration thus lent support to the Biafra agitation. The other two national dailies (This Day and Guardian) used frames that tend to denounce the agitation. Finally, the study found that news stories on the Biafra agitation have had great influence on public support for the struggle. Based on the findings, it is recommended among others that the Nigerian press should use frames that are not sensational in reporting crisis situation to stem the tendencies of causing national disaffection in a country like Nigeria that her unity is being threatened.

Keywords: Newspaper framing, Biafra agitation, Buhari’s administration, Influence,                                        Public support.

 

 

 

 

Introduction

A fact of Nigeria’s democratic experience in the last 16 years is that every new political administration springs forth a new uprising from disenchanted interest groups (Nwankwo, 2016). Such seems to be the case of the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and the  series of protests by youths of Southeastern extraction seeking secession from Nigeria and demanding the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu, the detained director of the pirate Radio Biafra (Ugorji, 2016). But contrary to the position of some informed commentaries denouncing the ongoing agitation for secession or self-determination as a rally of miscreants, the obviously expanding Biafra factions are gradually crystallizing into a global clamour for the actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (Musawa, 2016).

The underprivileged background as well as the feelings that these inhuman treatments are inflicted on them by an unfortunate and forced marriage becomes a spur to seek a divorce and /or a redress (Uddin, 2016).

The new resurgence of Biafra sentiments in the Southeast especially among youths born in the post-civil war era truly captures, as Attoh (2015) observes, the critical juncture of the faulty foundation hurriedly and myopically nailed together by the British without recourse to commonality, cultural homogeneity and religious congruity. The present agitators must have found the concept of Biafra as an expression of true identity, self actualization, equal opportunity and freedom from marginalization, which to them the Nigeria nation could not offer (Ezebuenyi, 2016).

Whether a coincidence or premeditated, the upsurge in the Biafra agitation under President Buhari’s administration has received greater attention and wider coverage from the Nigerian media. Both the social and the mainstream media have demonstrated great zeal and adeptness in reporting the renewed Biafra agitation, which Nwaiwu (2016) has described as part of the surveillance function of the media.

Journalists rely on media frames to decide what to include in a story and what to leave out, a process that may be conscious, instinctive or culture-bound (Goffman, 1974; Papacharissi and Oliveira 2008). Just as a picture frame may draw attention to certain details and relegate other elements to the background, a media frame may draw a reader’s attention to specific parts of a journalist’s news story, de-emphasize other parts, and leave out some aspects completely (Popoola, 2012). In news media, news frames serve as journalistic tools through which journalists recount a story in a limited amount of space and place an event within its broader context (Hallahan, 1999) cited in (Okoro and Odoemelam, 2013). This study therefore seeks to evaluate newspaper framing of the renewed Biafra agitation under Buhari administration and its influence on public support for the struggle.

 

The Problem

In spite of having substantial information on news coverage of the Biafra agitation all over Nigeria, especially in the Southeast geo-political zone, available literature shows that the frames employed by the media in such coverage have not been established. It has also not been established whether news stories on the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration are capable of influencing public support for the struggle. A scan of empirical studies on news coverage of political issues, agitations, insurgency, militancy etc., in Nigerian newspapers revealed that the categories constantly examined were prominence, depth of coverage, direction and frequency (Nwammuo, Edegoh and Iwok, 2015; Abubarkre, 2015; Okoro and Odoemelam 2013). This tends to limit the categories that could enhance a more robust and broad based attempt at dissecting media contents and highlighting their salience to the readers. This limited scope does not provide for the examination of other categories which will help in revealing the role of the media in the selection, interpretation and communication of perceived reality–a role which Goffman (1974) termed “framing”.

This study therefore examined how Nigerian newspapers framed the Biafra agitation and whether the news stories on the Biafra agitation led to public support for the struggle. Can it therefore be said that the way Nigerian newspapers frame the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration influences readers’ perception and/or understanding of the agitation and support for the struggle? This is the problem that underlies this study.

 

Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study is to evaluate newspaper framing of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration and its influence on public support for the struggle. Specifically, the study looked at the following objectives:

  1. To assess the patterns of news framing of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration.
  2. To know whether there is a difference in the patterns of news frames used by the pro-Igbo/pro-Biafra City newspapers and other national dailies in covering the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration.
  3. To find out readers’ frequency of exposure to stories on Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration.
  4. To ascertain respondents’ preference of newspaper categories on the Biafra agitation.
  5. To ascertain readers’ perception of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration.
  6. To find out whether the news stories on Biafra agitation influenced public support for the struggle under Buhari’s administration.

Research Questions

  1. What are the patterns of news framing of the Biafra agitation under Buhari administration?
  2. Is there a difference between patterns of frames used by pro-Igbo/pro-Biafra City newspapers and other national dailies in covering the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s         administration?
  3. What is respondents’ frequency of exposure to stories on Biafra agitation under Buhari’s                  administration?
  4. What is respondents’ preference of newspaper categories on the Biafra agitation?
  5. What is respondents’ perception of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration?
  6. Do news stories on Biafra agitation influence public support for the struggle under   Buhari’s administration?

 

 

Theoretical Framework 

This work is anchored on the agenda setting theory. The theory states that the menu of news and other information made available to the public by media decision-makers ultimately defines what is considered significant. The theory provides that there is a correlation between the level of importance ascribed to issues in the media and the priorities of the public (Weaver, McCombs & Shaw, 2004). The question for researchers then arises as to how agenda setting influences the importance subsequently attached to the images and events presented by the media. Shaw and McCombs (1977) observed that “Agenda setting refers to the ability that the media have to not only reflect reality but also determine reality”. The media determine reality by how much attention they pay to any particular issue. For instance, if the news media “cover” violent crime extensively, the public and policy makers will respond accordingly with fears of being victimized despite real world risk of violent crime having dropped.

Agenda-setting is the role played by mass communication media in establishing the salient issues and images to which the public reacts. It is a process by which issue proponents work to gain the attention of media professionals, the public and public policy makers (Ricke, 2010).

Communications research provides evidence that the news media are the primary agenda-setting agents (Gonzalez, 2013). An issue that is covered by the news media will set the agenda for how the public reacts as measured in public opinion polls and how policy makers will respond through legislation. In relation to this present study, it becomes clear that the various attempts and frames the Nigerian newspapers have employed in reporting the Biafra agitation amounts to setting agenda for the readers.

 

Brief Historical Overview of Biafra

Nearly 50 years after the Biafran/Nigeria War (July 6, 1967 – January 15, 1970),  agitators of the break-away Biafra republic seem not to have left the struggle. This struggle by some Igbo people to secede from Nigeria started when on May 30, 1967, late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, a military officer and politician announced a breakaway of the Eastern Region under the new name Republic of Biafra (Vanguard, 2015 August). This subsequently sparked the Nigerian civil war also known as the Biafran war. The war was between the then Eastern Region of Nigeria and the rest of the country. The war was fought to reunify the country.

According to local and foreign war historians the immediate causes of the Nigeria civil war in 1966 included: a military coup carried out by Maj. Nzeogwu and a number of army officers of Igbo extraction, leading to the death of Tafawa Belewa, Ladoke Akintola,and Mai Malari,  among other Nigerians from the Northern and South Western parts of the country. This created an impression that it was an Igbo coup leading to a counter-coup led by Gowon, which led to the death of Aguiyi Ironsi, Fajuyi, etc;; and the 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom in the north (persecution of Igbo people living in Northern Nigeria). The war, which lasted for 30 months, took the lives of more than one million people. Some died in the battle while others were lost majorly through famine, and hunger. There were over 50,000 casualties among Biafran and  Nigerian army (Vanguard, 2015).

The Contending Issues Underlying the Renewed Agitation under Buhari’s Administratrion 

Though, the greatest argument against the current Biafran agitation is that the agitation is not coming from the constitutional governors of the Igbo States, who have rather taken a stand to condemn the movement, yet the agitation has continued to attract the attention of meaningful individuals, institutions and the international community (Agbodo, 2015). Notable Nigerians have been expressing their support and solidarity for the agitation especially with regards to the contending issues, one of which is the alleged marginalisation and deprivation of the right of the Igbos to protest under the Buhari government.

Furthermore, the Igbos probably feel they have been treated with disdain and contempt by the Buhari administration than any other government in the nation’s entire history. The attack by Fulani herdsmen on some farms in Enugu state is perceived as one of the worst criminal features of disdain to the Igbos (Agbodo, 2015). Igbos see the Federal Government as displaying, what Ogbeche (2016) describes as great reluctance to protect the indigenous people and farmers of Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria from the killing and raping allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen. It is also instructive to note that the political leaders of the Igbo nation appear to have been so intimidated by this trend of events that most of them have not spoken out against the abduction of the Enugu farmers or condemned the action of the Fulani herdsmen that raided their farms (Ogbeche, 2016). It is important to note that the Fulani/Herders crisis primarily affects the Northern part of Nigeria (Searcey, 2018) but what is referred to here, in the statement by Ogbeche (2016) is the spillover of the crisis into the Southern part of the country.

The perceived constraints of their political leaders and elders may have informed agitations by the younger generation of the Igbo for the establishment of Biafra. This is especially so given the fact since inception of President Buhari’s administration in 2015, cases of violence in Southern Nigeria, including violence against people from Southern Nigeria living in the

There were wide-spread protests nationally and internationally about the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu; the self-acclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and director of the Pirate Radio Biafra by Buhari’s government. Members of Parliament of the European Union (EU) wrote a protest letter to the leadership of the Union requesting it to prevail on the Buhari government to stop the continued incarceration of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and other IPOB members being held (IPOB, 2016). These are pointers to why the agitation for Biafra became pronounced during the administration of President Buhari.

Newspaper Captions on the Biafra Agitation under Buhari Administration

The framing of the Biafra agitation under Buhari administration has been widely covered and reported in the four selected newspapers (which include: Daily Sun described in this study  as pro/Igbo newspaper, The Biafra Times, a City pro-Biafra newspaper, This Day and The Guardian newspapers seen as other national dailies). In its front page headline, the Daily Sun has one of its titles as: No tactics can scuttle agitation for Biafra (Daily Sun, 2016). The text reads: The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday said no amount of divide and rule tactics could scuttle the struggle for the restoration of Biafra State. Other titles include: Biafra: No going back, says IPOB;  Restructure Nigeria to stop agitation, cleric tells Buhari; Pro-Biafra group petitions international community; Biafra: Uwazuruike’s group releases names of killed members- 100 nations enlist for protest-IPOB; Biafra: Judge surrenders, hands off Nnamdi Kanu’s case over complaint; Biafra: MASSOB, BIM defy police, shut down South-East celebrating anniversary, disagree with security over casualty figure; Sit-at-home order: Onitsha, Nnewi shut down, Aba, Owerri, Abakaliki, others defy IPOB; Biafra: IPOB goes for referendum – Says Abuja can’t decide our fate , MASSOB warns Igbo against Obasanjo Daily Sun, ; We fought civil war to keep Nigeria one- Buhari- President tells Igbo youths to shun agitation; Nnamdi Kanu: Mystery man behind Biafra- The Sun editor speaks with him, My son will rather die than back out of struggle-Father (Daily Sun, 2015).

.

            From the Biafra Times are the following titles: We are not seceding from Nigeria – Nnamdi Kanu. The text reads: Detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has stated that his group is not seceding from Nigeria as some erroneously believe. “We are not trying to secede from Nigeria. We are older than Nigeria. You can only talk about seceding if Nigeria is the one that colonized Biafra. But we are older than that contraption. So we can’t secede rather we just want to go back the way we were before the British came. Other headlines read: It is Biafra or nothing; Is the Federal government killing Biafrans?; Kanu’s prolonged detention will cause crisis OYC; Biafra not negotiable, can’t be denounced – MASSOB replies Re-IPOB; Leaked: Classified Nigeria-US document on Biafra Embassy; Another militant group seizes ship, demands release of IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu; Biafran secession: Treason or right?; Buhari hates Igbos – Former Governor; Tears as Igbo women mourn murdered IPOB members; The Jew who burnt himself to save Biafra; Buhari against Ekweremadu because he’s Igbo – MASSOB; I support Biafra – Wole Soyinka (Biafra Times, 2016); Why Radio Biafra must not be banned; Buhari wants Nnamdi Kanu dead – IPOB; Army launches manhunt for pro-Biafra publishers in Aba; How Biafra was betrayed; We didn’t betray Biafra MASSOB tells IPOB; Who exactly are Biafrans?; Nigeria enslaving Igbos – Monarch; Biafra idea will never die – Wole Soyinka; Britain working with Nigeria to frustrate Biafra freedom Biafra Times, 2016 ; We will declare independence with Biafra – Avengers; Only our members were killed on May 30, IPOB insists. Attempt to Islamise our country and suppress the practice of Christianity uncovered- MASSOB, Buhari sponsoring herdsmen attacks – CLO, Biafra will uphold  UN laws- Uwazuruike (Biafra Times, 2016).

            From This Day are the following headlines: Is Biafra the Igbo Boko Haram?; Ojukwu’s son seeks support for Biafra agitators; Pope greets pro-Biafra activists, sues for patience. From the Guardian, the following headlines were documented: Reps collate details of killings in Southeast with a rider – MASSOB, IPOB factions brief panel at night; Delta is not part of Biafra Republic; Kanu can’t renounce Biafra, says wife with a rider – Movement faults purported agreement on his release.

Types of Frames used in Reporting the Biafra Agitation under Buhari Administration

The type of frames examined in a media content analysis is often times influenced by the event under investigation. This study is on a crises situation in Nigeria and will examine the following frames: response frame, political frame, economic frame, religious frame, ethnic frame, human interest frame and attribution of responsibility frame. These measures were developed by Semetko and Valkenburg (2000); Scheufele & Iyengar (1999) and Kuypers (2002), for analyzing frames in media coverage issues.

The response frame focuses on the approach adopted by the government in a crisis or security threat situation like the Biafra agitation movement. This style of coverage puts government’s response on the spotlight of public scrutiny and provides an understanding of how the people would place their trust on the government. The political frame emphasizes escalation of political tension. It points at conflict of interest for power and scarce means among geo-political regions, party and groups. In Ethnic framing, the crisis situation is portrayed as being targeted at a particular tribe. The economic frame relates to the economic consequences of events on an individual, group, institution, region, or country. (Semetko & Valkenburg, 2000). The upsetting impact of the Biafra agitation on the political, religious, ethnic, social and economic life of Nigeria, and the limited number of studies on the subject matter provides sufficient justification for this research.

Methodology

The triangulation method was used as the research design. The method was quite apt in the study as it entails using both the survey and content analytical methods in obtaining an authentic and dependable result. The two methods complemented each other so that a more reliable result was achieved by the study (Owuamalam, 2015). The essence of using survey method for the study is because it lends itself to the application of samples as a way of studying very large populations (Nwodu, 2006; Osuala, 2005). Also, the essence of using the content analysis method was to analyze the manifest content of communication to discover the extant patterns used in the coverage of the Biafra agitation.

For the survey research method, the population for the study is 4,177,828 population of Anambra State (NPC, 2006). However, it is expected this population has increased since the last census exercise which took place nine years ago. In this situation, Owuamalam (2012, p.107) posits that the research is expected to use an annual increase rate of 2.28% to work out the new projected population figure. He provided the formula thus:

Pp     = Gp x Pi x T

Where:

Pp        = Projected Population

Gp       = Given Population (as at last census)

Pi         = Population increase index

T          = Period between the given population and year of study.

therefore          Gp       =4,177,828

Pi         = 2.28%           = 0.0228          = 0.023

T          = 2015 = 2006 = 9

therefore          Pp        = 4177828 x 0.023 x 9

= 864810.396 = 864,810

It means that 864,810 persons were added to the actual or given population (4,177,828) to obtain a projected population of 5,042638.

For the content analysis the population of interest were the 240 editions of the four newspapers (The Sun, The Biafra Times, This Day and The Guardian) purposively selected for the study within a period of 15 months. These 15 months include all the days the Buhari administration came into existence to the month this paper was first scheduled for presentation (i.e 1st June 2015 31st September, 2016).

 

A sample is a representative unit of a population (Asekun & Oluwa, 2010). According to Owuamalam (2012) it is a faithful representation of a specific population. The essence of

sampling is to obtain external validity (Osuala, 2005). In addition, sampling serves the practical purpose of making possible the study of a problem, which otherwise could not be undertaken due to cost, time, personnel, scope and other logistics.

For the content analysis, the sample was drawn from the copies of the pro-Igbo/pro-Biafra City newspapers (which Daily Sun and Biafra Times represent) and other national dailies (which This Day and the Guardian represent). Because the Biafra Times is a weekly newspaper, the researcher decided to purposively select one edition per week from all the newspapers for the study.  The period of the study covers June 1st 2015 to September 31st 2016, making a total of fifteen (15) months (x 4 weeks each = 60 weeks). This means that each of the newspapers under review contributes 60 editions making a total population of 240 editions. The 240 editions purposively selected from the four newspapers under study were all sampled using the census sampling technique. The qualitative content analysis method was used in presenting the results.

For the survey research method, 400 samples were selected from the 5,042638 population of Anambra State using the Taro Yamani’s sample size determination formula. The formula is stated as follows:

n =      N

1 + N (e)2

Where:

n          = Sample size

N         = Population

1          = Constant

e          = Error margin

The detailed computation of this formula is expressed below:

 

S            =               5,042,638

1+5,042,638 (e)2

 

S          =          5,042,638

1+5,042,638 (0.05)2

 

S          =          5,042,638

1+5,042,638 x 0.0025

 

S          =          5,042,638

1+12606.595

S          =          5,042638

12606.595           =   399.

Also, both the purposive and multi-stage sampling techniques were used in selecting the actual samples for the survey method. The purposive sampling technique was used to ensure that the samples were people who read newspapers especially the newspapers purposively selected for this study. Also, the multi-stage sampling technique was adopted to ensure that all the segments constituting Anambra State were selected and studied. Therefore, the first stage sampled was Anambra State, the second stage was the three senatorial districts of the state (Anambra Central, Anambra North and Anambra South), and the third stage was one urban centre each from the three senatorial districts of Anambra State. These were Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi. 133 samples were disproportionately allocated to each of the three cities representing the three senatorial districts of the state.

Validity refers to the authentic nature of the measuring instrument in being capable of eliciting the necessary information applicable to the study (Owuamalam, 2012). To determine validity of any instrument, the pre-testing approach is very necessary. After producing questionnaire as the measuring instrument for this study, the researcher gave out 20 copies in a survey to a group of selected persons in Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria. The exercise was repeated the second time after an interval of three weeks using the same number of measuring tool to the same number of respondents. This is referred to as the post-testing approach. It was found that results of the first and second (pre and post-testing) were similar. It implies that the measuring instrument was valid.

             When a valid measuring instrument is used, it makes for reliability and capable of producing the required result from the study. Owuamalam (2012, p. 129) holds that reliability assures the researcher of the competence of the measuring instrument.

Data Presentation and Analysis

            The results of the content analysis were qualitatively presented and the analysis made based on the content of newspapers selected for the study. According to Kuypers (2009) and Mortman (2004) content analysis are achieved qualitatively through examination of written text,  transcribed speech, verbal interactions, visual images, characterizations, nonverbal behaviors, sound events, or any other type of message” (p. 24).

First, the researcher sought to find out the patterns of news framing of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration?

 

Research Question One:

What are the patterns of news framing of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s             administration?

From the headlines and titles of the editions of the newspapers selected and content analysed for the study, it was discovered that seven frames were used in reporting the Biafra agitation activities under Buhari’s administration. They are: the ethnic frame, response frame, ‘economic frame’, political frame, religious frame, human interest frame and attribution of responsibility frame. Among the headlines that reflected patterns of ‘ethnic frame’ are as follows: Is the Federal government killing Biafrans? Buhari against Ekweremadu because he’s Igbo – MASSOB, Nigeria enslaving Igbos – Monarch, Buhari hates Igbos – Former Governor. For ‘response frame’: Sit-at-home order: Onitsha, Nnewi shut down, Aba, Owerri, Abakaliki, others defy IPOB. For ‘economic frame’: Kanu’s prolonged detention will cause crisis OYC; Another militant group seizes ship, demands release of IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu; For ‘political frame’: Biafran secession: Treason or right? Agitation for Biafra independence rising steadily; Army launches manhunt for pro-Biafra publishers in Aba; For ‘religious frame’: Attempt to Islamise our country and suppress the practice of Christianity uncovered- MASSOB, The Jew who burnt himself to save Biafra. For human ‘interest frame’: Restructure Nigeria to stop agitation, cleric tells Buhari; Pro-Biafra group petitions international community. For ‘attribution of responsibility frame’: How Biafra was betrayed; We didn’t betray Biafra MASSOB tells IPOB.

Research Question Two:

What is the difference between patterns of frames used by pro-Igbo/pro-Biafra newspapers and other national dailies in covering the Biafra agitation under      Buhari’s administration?

From the headlines and titles of the selected editions of the newspapers under study, it was very glaring that differences exist in the patterns of the frames used by the two categories of newspapers under study. The pro-Igbo/pro-Biafra City newspapers used the ‘human interest frame’, ‘economic frame’, religious frame and ‘ethnic frame’ more often in their reportage while the other two national dailies used ‘response frame’, ‘political frame’ and ‘attribution of responsibility frame’ more. Among the headlines that reflected the use of ‘ethnic frame’, ‘economic frame’, ‘human interest frame’ and ‘religious frame’ more by the pro-Igbo/pro-Biafra City newspapers are as follows: Nigeria enslaving Igbos – Monarch; Buhari hates Igbos – Former Governor; Restructure Nigeria to stop agitation, cleric tells Buhari; Attempt to Islamise our country and suppress the practice of Christianity uncovered- MASSOB; Kanu’s prolonged detention will cause crisis OYC.

Presentation of Results from the Survey Research Method        

The results of the survey research method were presented in frequency tables and percentages. The questionnaire was the instrument used in collecting data for the study. The research question sought to know readers’ perception of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration. Out of the 399 questionnaire distributed to the respondents, 386, were filled, returned and found useable for the study yielding to 96.7 percent return rate and 3.3 percent mortality rate.

 

Research Question Three:

What is respondents’ frequency of exposure to stories on Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration?

Table 1:    Assessment of respondents’ frequency of exposure to news stories on the Biafra                                  agitation under Buhari’s administration

Respondents Frequency  Percentage
Very frequently     109       28.2
 

Frequently

 

125

 

32.4

 

Sometimes

 

Seldom

 

Low

 

Total

 

86

 

41

 

25

 

386

 

22.3

 

10.6

 

6.5

 

100

 

Analysis of data in Table 1 above shows that 109 representing 28.2 percent of the respondents answered ‘Very frequently’ when asked to indicate their frequency of exposure to stories on Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration, 125 or 32.4 percent answered ‘frequently’, 86 or 22.3 percent answered ‘sometimes’, 41 or 10.6 percent answered ‘seldom’, while 25 or 6.5 percent answered ‘low’. This is an indication that more than two-thirds majority of the respondents have high frequency of exposure to stories on Biafra agitation.

 

Research Question 4:

What is respondents’ preference of newspaper categories on the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration?

Table 2: Assessment of respondents’ preference of newspaper categories on Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration

Response Frequency Percentage
Pro-Igbo/pro-Biafra

City Newspapers

               203    52.6
Other National Dailies       96     24.9
Can’t say       87     22.5
 Total     386     100

 

Analysis of data in Table 2 shows that 203 representing 52.6 percent of the respondents answered Pro-Igbo/pro-Biafra City newspapers when asked to indicate their preference of newspaper categories on Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration, 96 or 24.9 percent indicated Other National Dailies while 87 or 22.5 percent answered can’t say. This means that majority of the respondents prefer the Pro-Igbo/pro-Biafra City Newspaper category.

 

Research Question 5:

What is readers’ perception of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration?

Table 1:    Assessment of respondents’ perception of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s                                administration

Respondents Frequency  Percentage
Wide acceptance     129       33.4
 

More intense

 

105

 

27.2

 

Fairly passionate

 

Apathetic

 

Very apathetic

 

Total

 

86

 

41

 

25

 

386

 

22.3

 

10.6

 

6.5

 

100

 

Analysis of data in Table 4 shows that 129 representing 33.4 percent of the respondents indicated ‘wide acceptance’ when asked their perception of the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration, 105 or 27.2 percent said ‘more intense’, 86 or 22.3 percent said ‘fairly passionate’, 41 or 10.6 percent said ‘apathetic’ while 25 or 6.5 percent said ‘very apathetic’. What this means is that majority of the respondents actually perceived the Biafra agitation as very important and having great impact on them.

Research Question Four:

News stories on Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration influenced public support for the struggle

Table 2: Assessment of whether news stories on the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration influenced public support for the struggle

Respondents Frequency  Percentage
Strongly agreed     119       30.8
 

Agreed

 

115

 

29.8

 

Neutral                                            

                   

Disagreed                                         

                   

Strongly disagreed                                                                                   

                  

Total                                                                                                                          

 

86

 

41

 

25

 

386

 

22.3

 

10.6

 

6.5

 

100

 

Analysis of data in Table 2 shows that 119 representing 30.8 percent of the respondents answered ‘Strongly agreed’ when asked to indicate whether news stories on Biafra agitation influenced public support for the struggle, 115 or 29.8 percent answered ‘agreed’, 86 or 22.3 percent had no opinion on the question, 41 or 10.6 percent answered ‘disagreed’ while 25 or 6.5 percent answered ‘Strongly disagreed’. This is an indication that more than two-thirds of the respondents accede to the fact that news stories on the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration have influenced public support for the struggle.

Discussion of Findings

From the data presented and analysed, it was found that seven frames were used by the four selected newspapers in reporting the Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration. The frames are:

‘Economic frame’ highlights the economic implications as a result of the agitation on individuals and the nation at large.  This can be found in both the Daily Sun and Biafra Times newspapers which decry the deplorable economic condition of the Igbos in terms of economic deprivation, marginalization in the scheme of things etc. Also, the other two national dailies: This Day and Guardian equally used the economic frame in their highlight of the implications of the agitation on the national economy (Semetko and Valkenburg, 2000).

Political frame’ used by all the newspapers in highlighting the quest by both the Biafra         agitators and the Nigerian government in scheming in trying to do one another in a bid to control power and resources. The ‘political frame’ emphasizes escalation of political tension. It points at conflict of interest for power and scarce means among geo-political regions, party and groups. The call to restructure Nigeria is now a common feature in every Nigerian newspaper. All the newspapers under study used the political frame quite well (Scheufele & Iyengar, 1999).

Again, all the newspapers under review used the Ethnic frame’. However, the pro Igbo/ pro Biafra City newspapers used it in highlighting that the Igbos were singled out by the Buhari administration and schemed out of relevance. The Daily Sun and Biafra Times used ethnic frame to portray the Igbo nation as endangered species under Buhari’s administration (IPOB, 2016). This Day and Guardian newspapers also used it in highlighting the ethnic nature of the Biafra agitation. By this, the two national dailies portray the agitation as having ethnic coloration.

Response frame’ was used mostly by This Day and Guradian newspapers to focus on the approach adopted by the government in defending its handling of the Biafra agitation movement. This style of reportage puts government’s response on the spotlight of public scrutiny and provides an understanding of how the people would place their trust on the government (Kuypers, 2002).

Religious frame’ was mostly used by the pro-Igbo/Biafra newspapers in their bid to show the world that the agitation is about freedom from the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy that wants to Islamise the whole country using the armed herdsmen to achieve their goal (Uwazurike, 2015; Fayose, 2016).

Further finding showed that more than two-thirds majority of the respondents have had a high frequency of exposure to stories on Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration. This finding draws support from an earlier submission made by Weaver, McCombs & Shaw (2004) that there is a correlation between the level of importance ascribed to issues in the media and the priorities of the public.

Again, the study found that the respondents prefer the pro-Igbo/pro-Biafra City newspapers (represented in this study by Daily Sun and Biafra Times) to other national dailies (represented in this study by ThisDay and Guardian). This finding explains the principles of uses and gratifications and the importance attached to a particular source as enunciated in Nnaemeka and Ezebuenyi (2016).

The study also found that respondents perceived news stories of the Biafra agitation as very important and having great impact on them. This finding is supported by an earlier observation by Ezebuenyi (2016) who noted that the way information is transferred to its recipients comes through various forms of communication, all of which is framed to meet the goals of the providing source.

Finally, findings from the study showed that more than two-thirds of the respondents indicated that news stories of the Biafra agitation  had great influence on public support for the struggle. Showing its support for the finding, Aaroe (2011) observed that media frames provide boundaries around a news story and determine what is and is not newsworthy or notable.

Conclusion

The study sets out to evaluate newspaper framing of Biafra agitation and its influence on public support for the struggle. Findings from the study show that seven patterns of frames were used by the four selected newspapers in covering the Biafra agitation. The frames are:  economic frame, political frame, ethnic frame, response frame, religious frame, human interest frame and attribution of responsibility frame. The study also found contrasting patterns in the frames used in the coverage. The pro-Igbo/Biafra (Daily Sun and Biafra Times) newspapers used frames that highlighted  alleged the deprivation, marginalisation and oppression of the Igbos under Buhari’s administration thus lent support to the Biafra agitation. The other two national dailies (This Day and Guardian) used frames that tend to denounce the agitation.

Further finding showed that respondents had a high frequency of exposure to stories on Biafra agitation under Buhari’s administration and that they preferred the pro-Igbo/pro Biafra City newspapers to other national dailies. The study also found that respondents perceived the agitation as very important and having great impact on them. Finally, the study found that news stories on the Biafra agitation have had great influence on public support for the struggle.        

Therefore based on the findings of the study, it can be concluded among others that newspaper framing of the Biafra agitation   influenced on public support for the struggle. A significant contribution of this study is the analysis of the way frames could contribute to the understanding of the role the media play in audience perception of phenomena. The study has also stressed the fact that framing has the ability to influence audience perception of a particular event.

Recommendations

Based on the findings from the study, it is recommended that the Nigerian press should use frames that are not sensational in reporting crisis situation to stem the tendencies of causing national disaffection in a country like Nigeria that its unity is being threatened. This has the benefit of causing the polity to trust the media in times of crisis. It is also recommended that the media should as a matter of professionalism apply the social responsibility ethics of journalism in reporting crisis situation in Nigeria. This recommendation is premised on the fact that since this study established a link between framing and participation in Biafra agitation, the press could use non-sensational frames to create an atmosphere that will not heat up the polity. This means that the press should be conscious of the fact that what they write about socio-political issues such as the Biafra agitation influences public perception of and participation in the issue; so caution should be exercised in reporting soci-political struggles, particularly the Biafra agitation.  The study also recommended that further studies be done to include more framing categories and the other forms of the media to also provide an understanding on whether the way the media report an issue can influence the readers’ perception of such issues. This is because most of the previous studies have limited their analysis of manifest content categories to, frequency, prominence, depth and nature of coverage. This study notes that these categories are not exhaustive.

 

References

Aaroe, L. (2011). Investigating frame strength: The case of episodic and thematic

frames. Political Communication, 28(02), 207-226.

Abubakre, F. (2015). Media coverage and influence of 2015 presidential election campaigns on    voting behaviour of members of staff of the University of Ilorin, Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, University of Ilorin

Agbodo, J.A. (2015, June 14). Uwazuruike alleges plans by APC government to Islamise Nigeria. http://www.Vanguardngr.com/news.  (June 5, 2016).

Goffman E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Cambridge:        Harvard University Press.

Gonzalez, M.J. (2013). Media propaganda:  A framing analysis of radio broadcasts from   the       U.S. to Cuba. A Master of Arts Thesis, Department of Mass Communications           College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Florida.             http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/etd/4494

IPOB (2016). More foreign countries drum support for Biafra agitation.     http://wwwpunchng.com/news    (August 6, 2016)

Kuypers, J. A. (2002). Press Bias and Politics: How the Media Frame Controversial Issues.          Westport, CT: Praeger.

 

(This is Abridged references. Most of them were removed to protect the paper from copyright infringement).

 

Sample four (Survey/qualitative study using Focus Group Discussion method)

 

Assessment of Reading Habit of Secondary School Students In Anambra State

 

Abstract

This paper investigated reading habits of secondary school students in Anambra State. The main objective was to investigate the influence of home culture, school culture and access to ICTs on reading habit of secondary school students in Anambra State. The basic focus is on leisure reading habit. The researcher adopted a qualitative phenomenological approach for the study in order to get an in-depth understanding of how these three variables influenced reading habit. Participants from four secondary schools in Anambra State were interviewed. Major findings indicate that school culture and home culture influenced reading habit of students while access to ICTs did not influence their reading habits. It was also found that most participants were initiated into reading by use of force at home. This study provides a unique contribution through empirical evidence that secondary school students had access to ICTs but did not utilize it for reading books on relevant materials. The study recommended that teachers should encourage students to read by including reading as part of the teaching process. Secondary schools should also equip libraries with current literature and also give students access to the library. Secondary schools should also have functional e-libraries to encourage use of ICTs in reading.

Keywords: Information and Communication Technology, Home culture, School culture, Disposable income, Reading habit, Uganda

 

 

Introduction

Black people have rhetorically been known to have a poor reading culture. Lewis H. Michaux (a black American activist and book seller who lived between 1884- 1976) once said “the best way to hide something from a black man is to put it in a book.” A person’s reading habit is developed over time; it therefore goes beyond the ability to just read and write to play a very crucial role in a person’s day-to-day life to a point when it evolves into a habit and eventually a culture. According to Jönsson and Olsson (2008:27) “a reading culture means that reading is part of a specific culture and a habit that is shared and valued highly by that particular society.”

The African culture is “an oral society” where people do more chatting than reading (Jönsson, & Olsson 2008; Mulindwa as cited in Nalusiba 2010). Research on reading culture in the African context has been conducted in the recent past by many researchers (Aliyu & Bilkisu 2012; Doiron & Asselin 2010; Ifedili 2009; Jönsson & Olsson 2008; Kaberia 2012; Nalusiba 2010; Ogwu 2010; Otike 2011; Owusu-Acheaw, 2014; Ruterana 2012a, 2012b). These studies have attempted to assess the reason for the continued poor reading culture of Africans and proposed ways of improving it. This poor reading habit has been attributed to factors such as the colonial education system, limited access to reading materials, effect of the mother tongue (Ruterana 2012a), poor government policies, (Aliyu & Bilkisu 2012; Otike 2011), poor parental training and nurturing, limited disposable income, reluctance by teachers to nurture it and the rooted use of oral communication (Doiron & Asselin 2010; Kaberia 2012; Nalusiba 2010). Jönsson and Olsson (2008) purported that we are faced with two cultures; the home culture that is dominated by oral communication usually in a local language and the school culture that is based around colonial education system centred on reading and writing. Even though the oral culture of Africans allows for interaction within their society, reading and writing is a global and dominant culture that must be adopted for interoperability with other cultures (Samali, Sabi, Tsuma, & Kehbuma, 2015).

Previous research studies on whether ICT has impacted reading culture have mostly been limited to the Western context (Liu 2005; Nicholas, Huntington, Jamali, Rowlands, Dobrowolski & Tenopir 2008). Africa has tapped into ICT with a lot of public and private sector reforms to benefit from it; however has ICT had any effect on the reading culture of Africans? Bradford (2012) establishes that technology has rewired the brain infrastructure and hence impacted our reading habits, specifically looking at deep reading. This notwithstanding, the reading culture has seemingly not significantly changed. In many cases, students in Africa only read classroom materials whenever there are assignments but do not engage in leisure reading (Kaberia 2012; Nalusiba 2010). Ifedili (2009) emphasizes the importance of good reading culture that succinctly includes improvement of individual’s welfare, social progress and international understanding.

In this study, the researcher investigates reading habits of secondary school students in terms of leisure reading. Leisure reading is any reading done by choice for pleasure. It has been found to improve “fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, cognitive development, verbal skills, content knowledge”, among others (Covert, 2009:1). The extent to which secondary school students use these ICTs for reading may be linked to their home and school culture; whether they were exposed to them at an earlier time and disposable income; their ability to afford the ICTs. This study further attempted to make the connection of the home culture, school culture, access to ICTs and reading habits of secondary school students.

Statement of Problem

Information is power and a key enabler for personal and societal development (Ifedili 2009; Ogwu 2010; Ribeiro as cited by Nalusiba 2010; Ruterana 2012a). This implies that failure to generate or tap into information leads to a retarded growth of not only the person but the country at large. The importance of literacy is demonstrated by the annual World literacy day celebrations commemorated on 8th September every year.

Reading habit is best formed at a young impressionable age in school, but once formed it can last one’s life time (Green, 2001). A reading culture can be best explained as a learned practice of seeking knowledge, information or entertainment through written words. Such practice can be acquired by reading books, magazines, journals, newspapers etc. (Arogundade, 2018). The reading culture among Nigerians, particularly the youth and students, has waned significantly and reading zeal amongst Nigerian students is fast declining (Samali, Sabi, Tsuma, & Kehbuma, 2015; Arogundade, 2018). An early reading culture fosters life-long learning and enables children to grow into innovative citizens. Studies carried out indicated that about 40% of Nigerian adults have never finished reading a fiction book after formal education. While another study carried out shows that about 30 million Nigerians graduated secondary schools with poor reading abilities, contributing to the poor habit cultivated during their stay in school (Arogundade, 2018).

Most advanced economies have undergone significant structural changes in recent years. One of the key characteristics of the changes is the growing importance of knowledge in all sectors of economic activities. These economies have developed from an agricultural economy in which land is the key resource, then to an industrial economy in which natural resources and labour are the main resources, and now to a Knowledge-Based Economy (KBE), characterized by ICTs in which knowledge is the key resource (Ariyo,1999; Imiefo, 2012). Several countries in Africa, including Nigeria, have set up policies with plans to become a middle income knowledge-based economy by the year 2040. This however may remain a far cry if the persistent problem of poor reading is not first addressed.

It is against this backdrop that this study investigates the reading habit of secondary school students in Anambra state. The gap in knowledge which this study intends to fill is revealing based on empirical data, the connection between school culture, home culture, and access to ICT to reading culture among secondary school students in Anambra State.

 

Objectives of Study

1) To investigate the reading habit of the secondary school students in Anambra State.

(2) To ascertain if home culture influences the reading habit of secondary school students in Anambra State.

(3) To investigate if school culture affects the reading habits of secondary school students in Anambra State.

(4) To ascertain if access to ICTs influences the reading habit of secondary school students in Anambra State.

Research Questions

1) What is the reading habit of the secondary school students in Anambra State?

(2) Does home culture influence the reading habit of secondary school students in Anambra State?

(3) Does school culture affect the reading habits of secondary school students in Anambra State?

(4) Does access to ICTs influence the reading habit of secondary school students in Anambra State?

Theoretical Framework

This study was anchored on the Behaviourism theory of learning. This is one of the major theories of learning which are conceptual frameworks that describe how students absorb, process, and retain knowledge during learning. They explain the cognitive, emotional, and environmental influences, as well as prior experience, which play a part in how understanding, or a world view, is acquired or changed and knowledge and skills retained(Phillips & Soltis, 2004).

The behaviourism theory states that new behaviours or changes in behavior are acquired through association between stimuli and response. Behavior theorists define learning as nothing more than the acquisition of new behavior based on environmental conditions (Phillips & Soltis, 2004).

In relation to this work, it is possible that home culture, school culture, and access to ICTs could constitute the stimuli that prompt behavioural change in terms of reading habits of secondary school students.

Reading Habit: A Conceptual Explanation

Reading habits are well-planned and deliberate pattern of study which has attained a form of consistency on the part of students toward understanding academic subjects and passing at examinations (Bashir & Mattoo, 2012). Academic achievement means how much knowledge the individual has acquired from the school (Bashir & Mattoo, 2012). Reading makes way for a better understanding of one’s own experiences and it can be an exciting voyage to self-discovery. “Reading habit is best formed at a young impressionable age in school, but once formed it can last one’s life time (Green, 2001).

Habits enter our lives at a slow pace and become established after a certain period. If habits are not quitted, in time they become needs (Aksaçlıoğlu, 2005). When reading, which is the basic manner of acquiring information, is transformed into a habit, another notion called “reading habit” comes into being. Good reading habits act as a strong weapon for the students to excel in life (Bashir & Mattoo, 2012).

Palani (2012) is of the opinion that, effective reading is important avenue of effective learning and reading is interrelated with the total educational process and hence, educational success requires successful reading habit. He believes reading is the identification of the symbols and the association of appropriate meaning with them. Palani (2012) further added that, nowadays, reading habit has lost its importance as both the young and the old are glued to the television. As far as educational institutions are concerned, coaching students for the examinations seems to be the be-all and end-all of our educational system.

Ogbodo (2010) further identifies three main types of reading habits. These are Hobby, Recreational and Concentration. A hobby is an activity one does because one derives some joy and satisfaction from doing it. After formal education’s attainment, some people like reading as their hobby. Its purpose is to widen the reader’s horizon areas like educational, religious, political, economic, current affairs, fiction and non-fiction. The practice of reading as a hobby helps one to be versatile in knowledge in many areas and the person can discuss issues knowledgeably with others. Fundamentally, reading for recreation or relaxation is very common among the educated elite.

Studies On Reading And Academic Performance

When it is considered that a significant proportion of acquired knowledge is acquired through reading, the importance of reading in adapting to this changing age can be better understood (Erdem, 2015). Reading, which has been defined as “the process of the brain evaluating and making sense of signs and symbols perceived through the eyes” (Özbay, 2007:4), is a complex process that consists of various stages of development. Above all, it is a process of perceiving where symbols are recognized (Bamberger, 1990:10). Having reading become a habit and sustaining it throughout life is among the basic objectives of education.

Singh (2011) examined academic achievement and study habits of higher secondary students. The study was conducted on hundred (100) higher secondary students randomly from two higher secondary schools. The result indicates that girls and boys differ significantly in their study habits and academic achievement. Bhan and Gupta (2010) on the other hand examined study habits and academic achievement among the students belonging to scheduled caste and non-scheduled caste group.

The results revealed that sex has no significant impact on the study habits and academic achievement of students. Higginbotham (1999), examined the reading interests of middle school-sixth, seventh, and eighth grade-students in a metropolitan, public school located in a southeastern state Atlanta, Georgia. The result of this study showed differences in interest by gender, which are congruent with many society’s stereotypes, and females reported a stronger interest in Romance, Friendship, Animal Stories, Adventure, and Historical Fiction, while the males reported stronger preferences for the categories of Sports and Science. Also, the male respondents had a stronger preference for non-fiction than did the female respondents. Gallo (2007) said “books, yield their best to you, if you read them at the age at which each particular masterpiece can ideally be chewed and digested”.

The quality of the interest in reading and habit of reading of teacher candidates among university students is of critical significance in terms of them being examples for children and young people (Saracaloğlu et al., 2003:150). Studies indicate that with a proportion of 70.7%, teachers are the ones who influence children the most in acquiring the habit of reading. Similarly with a rate of 33.0%, teachers are the ones who give their first books to students (Tosunoğlu, 2002:556-558). Teachers continue to be models even after they have acquired children with the habit of reading. As it can be observed, as it is in all areas of education, in this area it is also teachers who have the role of being a model, laying foundations, and formalizing the new generation. Another department among university students where reading habits are perceived to be important is history (Tosunoğlu, 2002:556-558).

 

Home Culture, School Culture and Reading Habit

Their poor or bad reading habits could partly be held responsible for general poor performance that the school systems usually record in both internal and external examinations (Issa, Aliyu, Akangbe, & Adedeji, 2012). Perhaps, due to lack of good reading habits among students, academic performance with respect to their examination result has been dismal nowadays creating a great source of worry and concern for all stakeholders in the educational sub-sector (Issa et al, 2012). The setting of “crashed programmes,” quite prevalent in the school systems today has not been supportive in the development of the good practices of reading.

Africans fall under the high-context culture group that is characterised by long-lasting relationships, exploitation of context, spoken agreements, insiders and outsiders clearly distinguished, cultural patterns ingrained, collectiveness, belongingness, patience and slow change (Gamsrieglar 2005; Hall 1976). The African culture is also an oral culture or society where people prefer talking to reading which is considered solitary (Jönsson & Olsson 2008; Kaberia 2012). People come in contact with home culture (Jönsson and Olsson 2008) that affects many aspects of their lives. A study by Yoke, Anuar and Vasuthavan (2008) establishes that the society is the most contributing factor or enabler of lifelong reading among Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Johor students. The theme “home culture” was developed to cater for all activities, influences, interests, motivations and resources out of school that may influence reading habit. The negative impact of poor parental training and nurturing on reading is supported by other researchers (Doiron & Asselin 2010; Kaberia 2012; Nalusiba 2010).

Studies have confirmed the relevance of ICTs to reading culture (Liu 2005; Nicholas et al. 2008; Pew Research Center (PRC) 2014). ICT also presents many new positive effects on reading (Ofstad 2005). ICT motivates pupils in schools to gain more interest in school work (Passey, Rogers, Machell & McHugh 2004). The web has been used increasingly as a reading source (Hassan 2007) therefore expending on ICT resources may also increase reading. Bradford (2012) however puts forward that using technology presents dynamic interactions that require multitasking which in turn robs a reader the ability to concentrate on one thing, something that is necessary in deep reading.

 

Poor Reading Culture Among Nigerian Students

Thus, the enthusiasm associated with the urge to engage in reading practices voluntarily, pleasurably and extensively is almost nearly absent among the greater number of students in the schooling system today (Issa et al, 2012). According to (Ogbodo, 2010), parents send their children to school to learn. In the school, children are exposed to various experiences which influence their behaviour.

Reading in the African culture is thought of as solitary, antisocial, abnormal activity that is reserved for school (Machet 2002 as cited in Jönsson & Olsson 2008).

According to recent developments, it has been revealed that the reading culture among Nigerians, particularly the youth and students, has waned significantly. In fact, to state that the reading zeal amongst Nigerian students is fast declining is basically just stating the obvious. This unhealthy trend is glaring at everyone in the face (Arogundade, 2018).

Studies carried out indicated that about 40% of Nigerian adults have never finished reading a fiction book after formal education (Arogundade, 2018). While another study carried out shows that about 30 million Nigerians graduated secondary schools with poor reading abilities, contributing to the poor habit cultivated during their stay in school (Ogbodo, 2010; Arogundade, 2018).

This problem is further compounded by insufficient reading materials in most public schools in Nigeria and lack of well-stocked libraries to give children a chance to embrace the reading culture. Some people argue that technological advancements has a role to play in the poor reading culture, as children would rather spend time on social media than read (Ogbodo, 2010; Arogundade, 2018).

It is said that a reading nation is an informed nation but Nigeria cannot be regarded as a reading nation because the younger generation of Nigerians do not consider reading a leisure activity (Arogundade, 2018). Poor reading habits amongst younger Nigerians affect their performances at school and during examinations. Children/students with poor reading habits may engage in anti-social behaviours such as school violence, bullying, and examination malpractice. (Arogundade, 2018). Reading habits can be improved through access to ICTs if the user is willing to read.

 

Methodology

The study focused on select secondary schools in Anambra State. The researcher selected two government secondary schools and two private secondary schools for the study. The selection was based on researcher’s discretion and convenience (the schools gave easy access to researcher for the study). The selection of two of each category (government and private schools) was to ensure balance in representation of students that attend such schools. The schools are Igwebuike Grammar Schools (Boys’ school – government owned), St. John of God Secondary School (Girls’ school – government owned), Bishop Crowder Secondary School (Boys school – Private-Missionary), and National Comprehensive Secondary School (Mixed school – private).

The Focus Group Discussion (FGD) research method was adopted for this study. It is a qualitative research method (Oliveira, Jenkins, & Popjoy, 1998; Liamputtong, 2011) which gives respondents opportunity freely say how they think, feel and act about a particular topic in a group interview with the researcher. The focus group method is sometimes referred to as a focus group interview, a group interview, or a group depth interview (Liamputtong, 2011). The strengths of the focus group method are that the researchers are provided with a great opportunity to appreciate the way people see their own reality and hence ‘to get closer to the data’ (Ivanoff & Hultberg 2006: 126). The method allows the intended individuals and groups to be more involved in the research project.

The population of study is 335comprising of SS3 students in the four schools studied (source: Form Teachers). The specific numbers for each school are Igwebuike Grammar Schools (104), St. John of God Secondary School (109), Bishop Crowder Secondary School (64), and National Comprehensive Secondary School (58). A sample size of 134 was used for the study. The sample elements were purposively selected for the study.

Purposive sampling was used to select participants from these secondary schools. Purposive sampling method was selected in order to identify participants who are already have experienced home and school culture in term of reading habit and who have access to ICTs and hence able to offer valid insights into how these variables impacted their reading habits. The unit of analysis was secondary school students in SS3. The selection of SS3 students was based on the fact that they are in their final year in secondary school and by assumption should have more home and school culture experience in respect of reading culture. These students are also ready to move into higher education so studying their reading habit with give an impression of what their performance could be at university level. The participants are chosen because they are able to provide valuable contributions to the research questions.

For ethical purposes, the participants were requested to participate at their own volition. Permission was sought from the participants before proceeding with the group discussion sessions. The management of each school gave permission for the FGD sessions with the students to go ahead. The venues for the interviews were selected by the participants to suit their comfort in order to reduce bias presented by the environment surrounding them. This is because for FGD to be effective must be conducted in a conducive environment (Crossman, 2018). A successful focus group discussion relies heavily on ‘the development of a permissive, non-threatening environment within the group’ where the participants can feel comfortable to discuss their opinions and experiences without fear that they will be judged or ridiculed by others in the group (Hennink 2007: 6, cited in Liamputtong, 2011). For confidentiality reasons, pseudonyms were used to disguise the participant’s identities and the participants were duly informed.

Two FGD sessions were conducted in each of the private schools while three sessions were conducted in the government schools basically because of the larger number of SS3 students in the schools. The allocation of numbers was based on researcher’s discretion. This gave a total of 120 participants in the discussion sessions. Each session was made up of 12 participants. Apart from the male-only and female-only schools, each session had equal number for girls and boys in the FGD sessions.

Findings

The first research question; what is the reading habit of secondary school students in Anambra state? The research investigated the reading attitudes and habits of the secondary school students. Findings revealed interesting titles that some participants used to describe their reading habits; Ronald defined himself as a reading hater, Vivian as a teachers’ child hence is accustomed to reading, Suzanne as an ardent reader and Nnneka as a lazy reader. The findings basically reveal poor reading habit among participants.

A good number of the participants indicated that they spend most of their leisure time on the Internet especially social media sites. They also indicated that they spend time watching TV and listening to music, visiting friends and family, reading literature and newspapers, praying, reading class materials, sports and any other social activities such as drinking. The question was multivariate in nature therefore participants indicated more than one activity.

Some of the participants agreed that they actually enjoy reading even though it’s not in preparation for an examination; very few said they do not like reading at all. They were asked if they find time for leisure reading, almost all the participants responded in affirmative just that they preferred to use that time to browse the internet and engage in social media activities.

To further investigate their reading habit especially among those who agreed that they read books to some extent, another question was asked on what motivates them to read and they indicated that they read for self-growth and inspiration, to gain information and knowledge, to keep up with trends for entertainment, for spiritual growth and for pleasure/relaxation. For example John responded, “I am a dynamic person but it comes with a price. When I am talking with other people, I don’t like to seem ignorant. I have a lot of friends from different countries so when I am interacting with them, I want to be articulate and talk with confidence to sensitize the ignorant ones, and exchange ideas with intellectuals like you. You know, so that they see that you actually know what you are talking about. I read to gain knowledge and information so that I can hold constructive conversations with friends”.

The second research question was; how does one’s home culture influence their reading habit? The findings indicate that there is a strong influence of home culture on the secondary school students’ reading. Most of the participants agreed that their parents actually ensured to provide them with books to read at home, while a significant number of them had friends with books that they could share.

A good number of the participants stated that their parents encouraged them to read at home. Many of the participants who indicated a semblance of encouragement to read by parents however stated that it was more like “forcing” them to read. For example Linda said “Yeah, my dad mostly. At first it was more like forcing but with time we got accustomed to it. My dad was doing his Masters [degree] so he would actually wake us up to read with him”. Adora said, “Yes, especially my mother. She would actually sometimes force us to read. Things like awaking us at night to read for an examination. I remember my father was so against it and also us reading class work during holidays but my mother always got her way. You know; orders from above [laughs]. But I appreciate it now; I guess I would be worse”. Another participant, Emeka, said his reading was sometimes enforced by use of a cane. He said “not encouraging me but more like forcing me to read. I didn’t really like reading then, so my mother would just force me with a cane besides her. But I would actually read only when I wanted to”. Some few participants like Vivian and Suzanne showed total encouragement without much force from their parents. Vivian exclaimed “as a child of teachers my parents taught me how to read. I actually learnt how to read and write before I started school”. Daniel on the other hand mentioned that in his childhood there were lots of house chores that didn’t leave time for reading. He said “My parents only encouraged me to read class work. There wasn’t even much time to read things like story books, there was a lot of work at home”.

One outstanding response was that most of the nurturing into reading was done by mothers. Most of the participants specified that they were nurtured into reading by their mothers. Martin’s response was “My parents did nurture me to read. My father is a teacher by profession but he joined politics, you know how politicians are [smiles], they don’t have much time for their family. My mother who would have maybe encouraged me is illiterate, she can’t read herself”.

Even though half of the participants said they have read books written in vernacular before; with the exception of Ronald, all of them said they would rather not read it now mostly because they believe they would be too slow in reading since they are more proficient in reading English. Ronald said, “Not all the books I read were written in English, some of them were written in Igbo both those ones were class materials for specific subjects.

The third research question was; how does one’s school culture affect their reading habits? The researcher investigated activities and resources available right from lower school that may have influenced participants’ reading habits. The participants were asked if they had libraries in their primary and secondary schools, whether they actually had access to the books, whether they used to read them and whether they had computer resources.

Most of the participants indicated they had a library in Primary school while all of them had libraries in Secondary school. However, some of the participants said they didn’t have access to the books. Obianuju said “Yes, we did have a library, but we would never be allowed into the library. Our teachers selected the books they brought for us to read during prep periods”. This shows how hard it was to get the books. Martin stated that “For me I saw a library for the first time in secondary school. We used to just read our teachers’ notes. After school, I mostly spent time fetching water and other house chores so reading was not really something I had time for then.” He gives a twist of how house chores deterred him from reading and this was the same sentiment got from Daniel and Nneka. Nathan mentioned that going to a boarding school afforded one more time to read. He said “Yes, definitely, at least they go for preps [preparations is the time when students are expected to do personal reading] and don’t have a lot of housework to do. In my Primary school I was in a day school and after school I would have a lot of house work to do, there wasn’t enough time to read. So the little reading time would be spent reading class work”.

The fourth research question was; does access to ICTs influence reading?

All the participants agreed that ICT though ICTs gave them access to reading materials online they hardly read those materials. The participants said ICTs improve access to reading materials. For example Jane said “ICT has made access to reading materials 100% cheaper. It helps when you are constrained by time or money. The print books are always very old so at least what I find online is preferable to read.” Elaine also said “To me ICT really has helped improve my reading. I wouldn’t read even a quarter of what I read now if not for ICT…. printed materials are too expensive compared to reading on the computer screen”

In this case, ICT is seen as an enabler of reading; something that makes access to reading materials more affordable and easier.

 

Discussion

The first research question; what is the reading habit of secondary school students in Anambra state? The findings basically reveal poor reading habit among participants. The finding shows that not as much time as was given to reading classroom textbooks to pass examinations was spent in leisure reading. Studies by Ifedili (2009) and Owusu-Acheaw (2014) found that students read prescribed textbooks only during examination period in order to pass the examinations; very few students buy novels to read for knowledge and pleasure. The finding supports the view above because participants indicated that they engage in leisure reading more often than prescribed textbooks after class hours. However, this may be the case because they consider reading class materials something done at school and not during their leisure time.

The second research question was; how does one’s home culture influence their reading habit? The findings indicate that there is a strong influence of home culture on the secondary school students’ reading. The African home culture is deeply ingrained in many aspects of our lives. According to Gamsrieglar (2005) and Hall (1976) Africans fall under the high-context culture group that is characterised by long-lasting relationships, exploitation of context, spoken agreements, insiders and outsiders clearly distinguished, cultural patterns ingrained, collectiveness, belongingness, patience and slow change. The African culture is also an oral culture or society where people prefer talking to reading which is considered solitary (Jönsson & Olsson 2008; Kaberia 2012). People come in contact with home culture (Jönsson and Olsson 2008) that affects many aspects of their lives. A study by Yoke, Anuar and Vasuthavan (2008) establishes that the society is the most contributing factor or enabler of lifelong reading among Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Johor students. The theme “home culture” was developed to cater for all activities, influences, interests, motivations and resources out of school that may influence reading habit. The findings also agree with the behaviourism theory which says external stimuli could influence action. Here the way a student is encouraged to read at home could influence his reading habit.

It was also found that most of the participants were nurtured to read by their mothers. In the African culture, most of the nurturing of children is left for the mothers in most families. The negative impact of poor parental training and nurturing on reading is supported by other researchers (Doiron & Asselin 2010; Kaberia 2012; Nalusiba 2010).

The third research question was; how does one’s school culture affect their reading habits? The findings show that school culture did not encourage reading as did home culture. Studies have indicated the relevance of school culture in encouraging reading. Most of our reading is thought to be done at school or due to school (Kaberia 2012). Reading should not be taken merely as a school activity but a life activity because of its ability to enhance the chances of success at school and beyond (Ifedili 2009; Jönsson & Olsson 2008). However, reading in the African culture is thought of as solitary, antisocial, abnormal activity that is reserved for school (Machet 2002 as cited in Jönsson & Olsson 2008). It is also something that is concluded with the end of formal education as people do not see its need and prefer to use oral and performing arts thereafter (Tötemeyer as cited in Nalusiba 2010). Worse of all, there is reluctance by teachers to nurture reading among students in school (Doiron & Asselin 2010). Just like the home culture, school culture lends the environment in which individuals make their decision either to read or not. As supported by Kabeira (2012) and Owusu-Acheaw (2014), many people read prescribed text books in order to pass an examination.

The fourth research question was; does access to ICTs influence reading? This finding revealed that ICTs gave improved access to reading materials but students hardly read the material they found online. They instead preferred to engage the social media and browse the internet using the ICTs.

A number of researchers such as Liu (2005), Nicholas et al. (2008), Pew Research Center (PRC) (2014) have conducted research on ICT and reading. PRC (2014) conducted research specifically on e-reading (reading from e-resources) and also found that as devices increase, e-reading has also increased among Americans, unlike the many connotations placed by some authors on the negative influence of technology such as television, video games and the Internet on reading claiming that with the rise in technology, leisure reading has constantly declined in America. ICT also presents many new positive effects on reading (Ofstad 2005).

 

Conclusion

This study investigated the reading habit of secondary school students in Anambra State, specifically looking at three variables that could influence the reading habit of the students in Anambra State. It was found that the reading habit of the students was poor, home culture had a strong influence on reading habit, but school culture and access to ICTs did not.

The highcontext culture group under which Africans fall is characterised by long-lasting relationships, exploiting context, spoken agreements, insiders and outsiders clearly distinguished, cultural patterns ingrained, collectiveness, belongingness, patience and slow change (Gamsriegler 2005; Hall 1976). Subsequently the reading habit may continue to improve with collective effort.

Ofstad (2005) posits that in the future, reading will move from paper and ink to screens and possibly render the traditional physical books obsolete without necessarily shifting the leisure reading culture but only the medium of reading. The shift towards technology is inevitable and therefore getting accustomed to it is something of a necessity. Ofstad maps out the shifts which came with resistance from spoken words, to written words, to printed words and now to screened words but remarks that it’s natural for people to resist change and to also inevitably adopt the change. He recommends that instead of fighting technology, we should use it to popularise reading. ICT motivates pupils in schools to gain more interest in school work (Passey, Rogers, Machell & McHugh 2004).

Despite the many articles on reading habits of the African people, (Aliyu & Bilkisu 2012; Doiron & Asselin 2010; Ifedili 2009; Jönsson & Olsson 2008; Kaberia 2012; Nalusiba 2010; Ogwu 2010; Otike 2011; Ruterana 2012a, 2012b), few have been done to investigate the relationship between home culture, school culture and ICTs access to reading habits; this underscore the main contribution on this study subject to literature on reading habit. The importance of reading is placed on its ability to foster personal and national growth (Ogwu 2010:102, Ribeiro as cited in Nalusiba 2010).

Based on the findings, we recommend that teachers should do more to encourage leisure reading among students. Teachers could make leisure reading part of their class activities and grading by making it compulsory for students to read a number of materials not related to class work such as novels, articles in the media and other such literature.

Regular seminar should be done in secondary schools encouraging students to use ICTs for leisure reading not just accessing the social media. Guidance counselors in schools should do more in this respect to encourage students to read materials online.

This study further recommends that further research be carried out on other factors affecting reading habits of Africans, since this study was limited to only three variables. Among the limitations of this study are that it focused on only four secondary schools in Anambra state and it studied only SS3 students. This is why it is recommended here that other classes in secondary schools should be studied and such studies should be expanded to include more secondary schools, especially those not included in this study.

 

References

Aliyu, A., & Bilkisu, M. (2012). ‘Promoting reading culture in our society’. Paper

presented at the Reading Culture Promotion Programme of the National Library of Nigeria, May 27, 2012. Available from: http://kubanni.abu.edu.ng:8080/jspui/bitstream/123456789/3206/1/ reading%20culture.pdf [Accessed: 20 June 2018]

Arogundade, A. (2018). Nurturing a solid reading culture among children.

Accessed June 25, 2018 from

http://redcarehmo.com/2018/03/28/nurturing-solid-reading-culture-among-children/

Creswell, J.W., (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed

methods approaches. 3rd edn, Sage Publications Inc. USA.

Deavers, R. (2000). The Effect of Instruction on Early Non-Word Reading

Strategies. Journal of Research in Reading. No.23, pp 267-286.

Doiron, R., & Asselin, M., (2010). ‘Building a Culture for Reading in a

Multicultural, Multilingual World’. Paper presented at the World Library and Information Congress: 76th Ifla General Conference and Assembly held on August 10-15, 2010, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Ellingson, L., (2008). Engaging crystallization in qualitative research: An

introduction, United Kingdom: Sage, London.

Erdem, A. (2015). A research on reading habits of university students: (Sample of

Ankara University and Erciyes University) Journal of Social and Behavioral Sciences 174 (2015 ) 3983 – 3990

Nicholas, D., Huntington, P., Jamali, H.R., Rowlands, I., Dobrowolski, T., &

Tenopir, C., (2008). ‘Viewing and reading behaviour in a virtual environment: The full-text download and what can be read into it’, School of Information Sciences Publications and Other Works. Available from: http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_infosciepubs/6 [Accessed: 15 June 2018]

Ofstad, A., (2005). ‘America’s Decline in Literary Reading: Grappling with

Technology’s Effects on the Print Culture of Literature’. Available from: https://twp.duke.edu/uploads/assets/ Ofstad.pdf [Accessed: 15 May 2018].

 

Ogbodo, R.O. (2010) Effective Study Habits in Educational Sector: Counseling

Implications. Edo Journal of Counseling, Vol. 3, No.2. pp. 1-11

 

Ogwu, M.F., (2010). ‘Reading culture as a tool for promoting educational

development in Nigeria’. Journal of Communication and Culture: International Perspective, 1(3):23-34.

Otike, F.W., (2011). ‘Reading culture, cultivation and its promotion among pupils:

a Kenyan perspective’. International Research Journal of Library, Information and Archival Studies, 1(1), 001-005. Available from: http://fieldmarshamfoundation. org/wpcontent/uploads/tumblr/ References/Otike%20Reading%20Culture%20Kenya% 202011.pdf [Accessed: 20 March 2018].

(This is Abridged references. Most of them were removed to protect the paper from copyright infringement).

 

 

 

 

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in a Nigerian University.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *