When disconnected institutions serve connected publics: subnational legislatures and digital public engagement in Nigeria

Citation:
Odeyemi, TI, Abati OO.  2021.  When disconnected institutions serve connected publics: subnational legislatures and digital public engagement in Nigeria. The Journal of Legislative Studies. 27:357-380., Number 3: Routledge

Abstract:

ABSTRACTIn this article, the authors argue that for Nigerian subnational parliaments to improve their public image, public understanding of their roles, and to be more transparent and inclusive, they must improve digital engagement practices. This is because the majority of citizens are active online, articulating political conversations on many issues, including the conduct and performance of public institutions and officials. Also, subnational parliaments are ‘closer to the people’ yet are still perceived to be ‘closed’ institutions, while exercising ‘power of the purse’ directly and indirectly over nearly half of all nationally generated revenue. Drawing on content analysis of parliamentary websites and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) accounts of the 36 houses of Assembly, and interviews of relevant officials, the authors show that although an online presence is largely mainstream, the depth of use for publishing information and citizen engagement is very low. The authors identify explanatory factors for this and draw relevant conclusions.

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