Human nature is made up of his beliefs, cultures, environment, social interactions etc. belief may be defined as the mental acceptance of a claim as true. Beliefs embody an important part of human nature. It moulds our decision, actions, forms our phobias and also stands to perform several unprecedented actions. Belief serves as a means to exploit other people and control their mental state. Man as a social animal exists and interrelate with his fellow human being and also the environment at large. Politics on the other hand may be defined as a methodology and activities associated with running a government, an organization, or a movement. Politics have served as a form of unification among the human race. Every human society has some classification and level of politics inherent in its environment. Though politics takes different forms, then politics is ultimately politics. What then influences people’s political beliefs? What serves as a ground for the people to hold onto beliefs firmly even at the expense of their lives? This articles positions to answer those questions.
Social media have served as a means of influence on peoples beliefs. In a world of global technology and advancement, the influence of social media on people cannot be overemphasized. Social media serve as a means of communication and as a means of sharing updated information both authentic and fake. Social media now serves as the sun, air and water into people daily lives. Mass media changes our way of thinking and perception, it also promotes the change of new beliefs system through the dissemination of knowledge. Nigeria as a case study, fake and poisonous information has served as a basis of certain people political beliefs. The trust in tribalism and ethnicity among Nigerians has increased drastically over time as a result of the information gotten from social media. Media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and telegram have influenced people political beliefs to a large extent.
Also, Religion and culture have effects in establishing and influencing people political beliefs. Man naturally follows a path of solace and reliability. This factor is the reason why religion and culture influence people’s political beliefs. Occasionally, political parties, political movements and ideologies are formed along the standard of religion and culture to bring about a sense of belonging among the people of a particular nation. Religion and culture also structure our political choices. Misinformation, ignorance and the appeal to our emotions continue to be the reasons for this specific influence. A Yoruba Christian man would preferably play politics and vote for a fellow Yoruba Christian than any other tribe. He tends to be attached to people who share the same religion and culture because he gets a sense of belonging and security. Citizens in Nigeria would rather vote for a candidate or political party that they share common ties and relationships and not with a competent person. This dogmatic reason forms the majority of the political beliefs of the poor, uneducated, educated and misinformed.
International news and political standard also serve as a way of influencing people political beliefs. Foreign policies, nations and political ideology also influence our political beliefs. We often provide a comparison between our own current political state to that of other progressive and regressive states. People are quick to build assumptions that policies in other developed and developing nations should be adopted and practised in their nation. First world nations like China, France, America, Britain etc serve as a standard in the formation of people political beliefs. This standard has positive and negative effects but nevertheless, it shapes and influences people political beliefs.
It is also consistent to say that the current political situation also influences people political convictions. In times of recession, poverty, inflation, insecurity, religious tensions, kidnapping; people will begin to develop a new political belief considering what they perceive as the outcome of the trust placed on the ruling class. The immediate actions of the political class influence the political beliefs of people. Political crisis influences faith in politics and shakes political beliefs. Over time, large numbers of people continue to develop political apathy as a result of the influence of the political situation in the country and vice versa.
Conclusively, popular individuals, leaders and organizations also influence people political beliefs. Leaders of private organizations, religion, the entertainment industry, economic and other organizations possess the ability to influence the political conviction of people. They employ social media, culture, religion, poverty, and even the current political situations to ensure they control people political beliefs to favour them. It is worthy to note that not only do political and popular individuals or organizations impact people political beliefs; they also position to control them for their own concern.
It is important that we must begin to checkmate our political convictions and see the dangers they possess. We must begin to scrutinize anything that aims to influence our political convictions if it is aimed at attaining good of the society and humanity at large. Political knowledge and credence must be held tentatively.
Opinion by Oladimeji Animashaun