Critical Discourse Analysis of Selected Political Campaign Speeches of Gubernatorial Candidates in South-Western Nigeria 2007-2014

Critical Discourse Analysis of Selected Political Campaign Speeches of Gubernatorial Candidates in South-Western Nigeria 2007-2014.

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Previous studies on campaign speeches in Nigeria have tended to be a description and analysis of style, innovative and persuasive strategies of politicians, and manipulation of linguistic structures to champion individual interest in presidential election campaign speeches.

There is the need to investigate how texts reproduce and sustain power and unequal power relations in campaign texts and how ideological or political undertone was projected in gubernatorial campaign speeches.

The study uses Critical Discourse Analysis to examine the role of language in creating and sustaining power relations as well as ideological structures in South-Western Nigeria.

These power relations are created, enacted and legitimated by the application of certain linguistic devices. The researcher attempts to unravel hidden meanings and connotations of power in selected gubernatorial campaign speeches in South-Western zone namely: Ekiti, Lagos, Ondo and Osun states.

The data for the study were purposively sampled from gubernatorial campaign speeches made in the four states during the 4th republic precisely 2007 – 2014. A total of eight speeches (two from each gubernatorial candidate of Ekiti, Lagos, Ondo and Osun state) were sampled and analyzed.

The study drew from Fairclough‟s (2001) Members‟ Resources (MR), Van Dijk‟s socio- cognitive approach (2004), and principles from Halliday‟s system of mood and modality as theoretical bases.

The findings show that the South-Western gubernatorial aspirants deployed language as a strategy of domination and supremacy by exploiting lexical items and strong imperatives which allow them to impose their views on others.


Title Page     i

Approval Page             ii

Certification            iii

Dedication              iv

Acknowledgements                     v

Table of Contents                  vi

Abstract                              xii


  • Background of the Study 1
    • Ideology 18
    • Power 23
    • Language and Politics 25
    • Political Discourse 28
    • Context 29
  • Statement of Problem 31
  • Purpose of Study 33
  • Significance of Study 33
  • Scope of Study 35


2.1 Related Literature                       37

2.2. Summary of Literature Review            56


  • Theoretical Framework 58
  • Major Directions in CDA 72
    • Norman Fairclough‟s Approach to CDA 74
    • Wodak‟s Approach to CDA 78
    • Van Dijk‟s Approach to CDA 81
    • CDA and Functional View of Language 90
    • Connective Values 96
    • Deixis and Deictic References 96
  • Research Design 97
  • Population, Sample and Sampling Technique 99
  • Research Instrument 100
  • Procedure for Data Collection/Instrumentation 101
  • Method of Data Analysis 102


  • Ideology of Positive Self-Representation of „us‟ and Negative other representation of „them‟ 108
  • Ideology as Weapon of Persuasion 127
  • Ideology as Weapon of Negotiation 131
  • Ideology as Weapon of Isolation\ Personality Profiling 136
  • Figurative Expressions and Rhetorical Techniques as Ideological Tools 138
    • Metaphor as Ideological Tools 139
      • Metaphor of Religion 141
      • Metaphor of Journey 144
      • Metaphor of Economic Desire |Potential 145
      • Metaphor of Sports and War 146
      • Metaphor of Time 149
      • Metaphor of Animals 151
    • Hyperbole 151
    • Idioms 152
    • Parallelism 154
    • Rhetorical Question 156
    • Song as Ideological instrument of Persuasion 157
    • Adjectives as Ideological Tools 159


  • Power as Domination 161
  • Power as Liberalism 173
  • Power as Mind Control/ Manipulation 177


  • Summary 191
  • Conclusion 195

References    197


Discourse is all around us, whether we are looking at the esoteric language of a scholarly report, the imperative appeals to consumerism in advertising or the exchange of words performed in a dialogue.

In all of these instances of discourse, there are certain underlying rules, and each of these is in turn dependent on the social context in which the discourse takes place.

A dialogue between a parent and a child is different from a political speech, in terms of ideology, power relations and usage of words. Election campaigns and other types of political discourse are all fields of ideological battles which can be subjected to Critical Discourse Analysis.

This is not surprising because, as van Dijk (11) says, it is eminently here that different and opposed groups, powers, struggles and interests are at stake. In order to be able to compete, political groups need to be ideologically conscious and organized.

Discourse analysis challenges us to move from seeing language as abstract to seeing our words as having meaning in a particular historical, social and political condition.

Our words are politicized, even if we are not aware of it, because they carry the power that reflects the interest of those who speak.

Discourses can also be used for an assertion of power and knowledge, and they can be used for resistance and critique. One such occasion where discourse can be used to assert, sustain and legitimize power is campaign speeches.


Adedimeji, Mahfouz. A. “The Politics of Language in Nigeria: A Modest Proposal” A Paper Presented at a National Conference on Democracy and Development Organised by the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin. April 2005a 5-7 Print.

Akwanya, Nicholas A. Semantics and Discourse: Theories of Meaning and Textual Analysis. Enugu: ACENA, 2002. Print.

Althusser, L. Lenin and Philosophy and other Essays. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1971.Print.

Ajah, Anthony C. “Habermas on Ideology and Social Change” Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Department of Philosophy, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. June, 2010.

Amalsaleh, E. The Representation of Social Actors in the TEFL Textbooks in Iran. Unpublished Ph.D Dissertation, Shiraz University Shiraz, Iran… http// 2004. Web.25th October 2013

Aniche, Ohiri C. Gender Issues in Education: The State of Education in Nigeria.Nigeria: UNESCO Abuja office, 2000.Print.

CSN Team.

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