Critical Metaphor Analysis of Political Discourse in Nigeria

  •  Isaiah Agbo    
  •  Goodluck Kadiri    
  •  Blessing Ijem    


Metaphor is an important figure of speech copiously deployed in political discourse. In this study, we adopted the framework of Charteris-Black’s (2004) Critical Metaphor Analysis (CMA) which derives from Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA).This framework is interested in exploring the implicit intentions of language users, the ideological configurations and the hidden power relations within socio-political and cultural contexts. It captures the ideological and conceptual nature of metaphor, and transmits truth alive into the hearts of the people by passion. The thrust of this study is the identification, analysis and interpretation of the ideological and conceptual metaphors in the speeches we studied that create a particular linguistic style, conceptualize the speakers’ experiences and transmit their ideologies for rhetoric and argumentation purposes. The corpus of this study is limited to the political speeches of Brigadier Sani Abacha in 1984 and 1993, General Ibrahim Babangida in 1985 and 1993, M.K.O. Abiola in 1993 and 1994, and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2013. The study reveals that the speakers use metaphors as tools to enact power and wield influence on their audience. There is further the use of metaphors for the purpose of argumentation thereby promoting self-ideologies and power asymmetric. Furthermore, the study shows that the speakers in the speeches we analysed use metaphors as a strategy to identify with the people so as to create a bond between them. Finally, our speakers use metaphors to manipulate their audience both mentally and conceptually, polarize between them and the conceived enemies, and dominate their audience; and conceal and conceptualize experience in order to reframe realities to suit their interests.

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