Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Lisa M. Saye


AbstractMillennial participation in voting has been low since democratic governance was restored in Nigeria in 1999, after 26 years of military rule, constituting a grave threat to democratic consolidation and electoral legitimacy. Little is known about how Nigerian millennials were mobilized to participate in the 2015 presidential elections using Twitter as a major tool. Research questions focused on how Twitter as a social media platform define participation of millennials in promoting voter turnout in Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election. The study was sited within the theoretical framework of democratic participant theory and the uses and gratifications theory. A qualitative phenomenological research design was employed, using individual telephone and video interviews of 16 participants, selected from media professionals and youth graduates of tertiary institutions in all the geopolitical regions of Nigeria. The study used hand-coding for analysis, and NVivo 11 software for data storage and management. The findings showed that Twitter was a digital equivalence of Habermas’ conceptualization of the public sphere and that Twitter account holders are sentient, active, value-optimizing media users that seek to gratify communicative and psychosocial needs. Results confirmed the capabilities of Twitter to foster political education and engagement, civic discourses, voter mobilization. The implications for positive social change include informing policy makers of the importance of education and youth empowerment, to prevent coercion and manipulation by politicians, eradicate poverty and improve the quality of their lives.