This work centered on Critical Discourse Analysis of Selected Inaugural Speeches of Nigerian Civilian and Military Heads of State. Critical Discourse Analysis is an indispensable tool in exploring opaque language uses that are assumed by writers as part of the background knowledge (Fairclough, 1985) and how the opacity of relations between discourse and society is itself a factor in securing power and hegemony (Fairclough, 1995; van Dijk, 2009). The practice of CDA in unravelling the opacity is also done critically by looking at the composite of the linguistic elements in the data.The study,therefore, is aimed at analysing the inaugural speeches of the Nigerian civilian and military Heads of State using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) with a view todetermining the pattern of the speeches of the Military and Civilian Heads of State; identify how the speeches convey the feelings/emotion of the Military and Civilian Heads of State; gauge the ideological inklings of the speakers in the speeches;establish how power is manifested in the speeches; measure how hidden meanings relate to social structure and identities of the Civilian and Military Headsof State in the speeches. Reviews of empirical and conceptual studies related to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) were conducted. The study adapted van Dijk (1993), Wodak (2001) and Fairclough (1989) as theoretical framework. In that regard, the research used Franklin (2000) method of essay structural layout,Johnson-Liard and Oatley‘s (1989) method of classification of language of emotion, van Dijk (1996) classification of ideology, Ng and Bradac‘s (1993) method of classification of power relations, Samovar et al (2007) classification of identityin analysing the data. On the structural pattern of the speeches, the Civilian Presidents were found to express gratitude using words denoting honour and elation to God and to the citizens through greetings. The speeches contained paragraphs that are narrative, expository, persuasive and promissory. The sentence types used included compound, complex and compound-complex sentences. In respect of the Military, the research showed that the Military Heads of State started also with greetings but entailing nerve racking and emotionally touching words and expressions. Their sentence types included compound, complex and compound- complex sentences. The tones they expressed were accusatory, abhorrence and gimmickry. The Civilian Presidents used Positive Basic Emotion and Positive Caused Emotion Expressions in their inaugural speeches. While the military used Negative Emotional Relations and Causative and Emotions Expressions in their speeches. Also, the research found out that Civilian Presidents expressed ideological beliefs of unity in diversity, fight against corruption and indiscipline and nation building. While the military expressed ideological beliefs of nation building and negative-other- presentation, the civilian presidents were found to express Positive-self Presentation, persuasion through personality and stance, persuasion through reasoning, persuasion through arousal of emotion, implicit threat and appeal as show of power in their speeches. While the military Heads of State expressed Positive-self Presentation, persuasion through reasoning, explicit threat and appeal as a mark of power. In relation to hidden meaning relating to social structure and identity of the speakers, the Civilian Presidents employed personification, irony, ellipsis, vague statements, deceptive statement, false promises etc. While the Military portrayed hidden meanings through negative-other presentation, hyperbole, euphemism, metonymy, adjective, conditional clauses, passivisation etc. in their inaugural speeches.The research recommends that the speeches should be appropriately documented and be subjected to linguistic analysis. More methods in Critical Discourse Analysis should be employed to conspicuously clear the opacity in the inaugural speeches. The inaugural speeches should be made constitutional because of the significance Nigerians attach to it.


  • Abstract       ix
  •             Background to the Study    1
  •             Statement of the Research Problem            12
  •             Research Questions 13
  •             Aim and Objectives of the Study   13
  •             Significance of the Study   14
  •             Scope of the Study  14
  •             Introduction            16
  •   Conceptual Review
  •             The Critical Discourse Analysis Framework           19
  •             CDA Framework by Hodge and Gunther Kress    21
  •             CDA Framework by Teun van Dijk            22
  •             CDA Framework by Theo van Leeuwen    25
  •             The Other Side of CDA      26
  •             The Strength of Critical Discourse Analysis           30
  •             Theories in Critical Discourse Analysis       32
  •             Language and Politics         33
  •             Inaugural Speeches 34
  •             Inaugural Speech and Antecedent  35
  •             Presidential Inaugural Speech         37
  •             Inaugural Speech and Nigerian Military Leaders    40
  •             The Structural Pattern of Inaugural Speeches         43
  •             Politics and Military Discourse       46
  •          Military Discourse      50
  •             Language and Emotive Use of Language   51
  •             Language and Emotion       53
  •             Basic Emotional Terms        54
  •             Emotional Relations            56
  •             Caused Emotions    58
  •          Causatives and Emotions       59
  •          Emotional Goals         60
  •          Complex Emotions     61
  •             Emotion in Politics  63
  •             Ideology in Political Discourse       65
  •          Types of Ideology      68
  •          Reality of Ideology    70
  •          Ideology in Linguistic Theory            71
  •          Language and Ideology         72
  •          Ideological Structures of Discourse   73
  •          Ideological Discourse Analysis          73
  •          Discourse Analysis of Political Ideology       79
  •             Power Relations in Political Discourse        80
  •             Theories of Power   83
  •             Political Power and Forms of Society         88
  •             Political Discourse and Power Relation      89
  •          Power Relations         91
  •             Persuasion as Element of Power Relations 92
  •             Persuasive Techniques in Power Relation   93
  •             Threat as Element of Power Relations        94
  •             Abuse/Insult as Element of Power Relations         95
  •          Appeal as Power Relation      97
  •            Manipulation as Power Relation      98
  •   Devices of Manipulation of Meaning
  •            Promise as Power Relations 99
  •             Language and Identity        100
  •          Identity Defined        101
  •          Multiple Identities      102
  •          Categorization of identity      103
  •          Identity Construction 107
  •             Linguistic Resources for Identity Construction      108
  •             Linguistic Identity  110
  •             Review of Empirical Studies on Language and Politics
  •             Theoretical Framework       123
  •             Introduction            127
  •             Research Design      127
  •             Population of the Research 127
  •             Sample for the Study          128
  •             Sampling Procedure            128
  •   Source of Data
  •             Method of Data Collection 130
  •             Procedure and Method of Data Analysis   130
  •            Introduction            132
  •            Structural Layout of the Inaugural Speeches          133
  • Inaugural Speeches and Emotions of the Civilian Presidents and Military Heads of State
  • Inaugural Speech and Ideological Beliefs of the Civilian and Military Heads of State
  • Power Relations in Inaugural Speeches of the Civilian Presidents and Military Heads of State
  •   Hidden meanings as Related to Social Structure and Identities of the Speakers Portrayed in both Speeches
  • Findings/Discussion
  •   Summary
  •   Conclusion
  •   Suggestions for Further Studies
  •   Contributions of the Research to Knowledge
  • References
  • Appendices


     Background to the Study

This researchcentreson Critical Discourse Analysis of Selected Inaugural Speeches of Nigerian Civilian and Military Heads of State. The researcher was prompted to undertake the research by some factors. Firstly, the significance Nigerians attach to inaugural speech despite the fact that it is not enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution for the Head of State to deliver any speech after Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office.Nigerians eagerly await the president to deliver the inaugural speech for it informs them the focus of the new government. Therefore, the speech is considered paramount and a reference material for gauging the government‘s performance. Secondly, the history of the role of military in the political scene of Nigeria seems to be unknown to upcoming generation.The military intervened in the Nigerian polity since the First Republic and as a result, there were more military heads of state than the civilian presidents. They have also made influenced on the Nigerian political, economic and social systems. The upcoming generation may be obscured of this influence with time. Therefore, it is not only history that should keep the records of the military role in the Nigerian politics but also linguistic research.And thirdly, extensive comparative research between the inaugural speech of the Civilian and Military Heads of State was not carried out. Most of the studies conducted were confined to inaugural speeches of either the military or the civilian heads of state. These factors provoked the researcher to undertake this study.
Inaugural speeches by headsof states all over the world have a long standing history. Historically, according to Williams (2017), inaugural speeches by world leaders date back to the 17th Century. In America, the first inaugural speech was presented by George Washington in his
first tenure in 1789. The speech contained 1, 430 words, seven paragraphs and23 sentences. In countries where monarchy is practised, inaugural speeches is referred to as ―a speech from the throne‖. It is an event in certain monarchies in which the monarch reads a prepared speech to a complete session of parliament, outlining the government‘s agenda for the forthcoming year (Government of Canada, 2015).
It has become a tradition the world over for newly sworn-in presidents to give a speech which is referred to as inaugural speech. According to Alimole (2004), inaugural speeches were given in America in the past before the president-elect took an oath.However, McKinley (1897) requested for change so that he could reiterate the words of the oath at the close of his address. Since then, inaugural speeches are delivered after the president-elect had taken an oath. So is the practice in African countries, particularly in Nigeria, which is the focus of this research.
Inaugural speeches in many countries of the world are justtradition: giving it is not constitutional. For instance, in the Nigerian constitution, the President is only mandated to take an oath of allegiance and oath of office. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 Section140(1) says:
A person elected to the office of the President shall not begin to perform the function of that office until he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed in this Constitution and he has taken and subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution.
Inaugural speechesgiven by presidents have become a tradition in Nigeria because the government‘s agenda are sometimes unveiled in such addresses. Millions of Nigerians get glued to their television, radio sets and social media to listen to the inaugural speeches of the new presidents. In some instances, the speech is used to gauge the performance of the government
after sometimes. To this end, the need for Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is imperative so as to reveal the hidden meaning encapsulated in the speech.
Inaugural speeches are loaded with hidden messages through opaque language use. So the most popular, accurate and suitable approach that uncovers the hidden meaning showcased in the opaque language, particularly in the domain of power, is Critical Discourse Analysis. It is useful in examining how events, practices and texts arise and have been ideologically shaped by power relations and power struggles (Wodak, 2001). Critical Discourse Analysis takes a look at the language and discourse pattern that are embedded in the text and what ittakes to achieve the desired goal in a political speech.Critical Discourse Analysis is relevant in this analysis because  it shares interest and methods with disciplines that study social groups and social structures such as anthropology, history economics etc. that are concerned with human cognition and behaviour. In other words, CDA is multidisciplinary in its approaches and methods in studyingtext and talk.
The inaugural speeches of the Nigeria‘s Heads of State have a lot of antecedents, i.e. they are engineered or influenced by historical, sociological, economic, psychological, religious, ethnological and linguistic factors. Hence, the need for the adoption of Critical Discourse Analysis for the analysis of this study.
Nigeria was under military rule for twenty-seven years through coups and counter coups. It has also been under epileptic democratic rule for thirty years. Both the military and civilian heads of State have had to deliver inaugural speeches on the assumption of power. Brief histories of these makers of Nigeria are provided below:

1.1.1 Brief Profile of the Civilian and Military Heads of State in Nigeria

Nigeria has been governed by civilian and military leaders since independence. These set of leaders are the makers and shapers of the present day Nigeria. Since this study focuses on these leaders, there is the need to provide short biographies of each of them. It is hoped that theirprofiles would serve as a springboard for understanding the basis of their linguistic behaviour in the inaugural speeches they delivered when they climbed the mantle of power. We will take them one after the other.


Nnamdi Azikiwe, (born November 16, 1904, Zungeru, Nigeria—died May 11, 1996, Enugu), first President of independent Nigeria (1963–66) and prominent nationalist figure. Azikiwe led the NCNC into the important 1959 federal elections, which preceded Nigerian independence. He was able to form a temporary government with the powerful Northern People‘s Congress. But its Deputy Leader, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, took the key post of Prime Minister. Azikiwe received the largely honorary posts of President of the Senate, Governor- General, and, finally, President.


Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, was born in 1912. He was from Tafawa Balewa area of Bauchi State. Before joining politics, he worked for the Bauchi Native Authority rising to the position of a Headmaster. He was a member of the Northern Region House of Assembly and the House of Representatives in 1947. He was appointed Prime Minister by the British Government in 1954-1960. He also became the first and only Prime Minister of an independent Nigeria, from
1960-1966. A great orator, Sir Abubakar was nicknamed the ―Golden Voice of Africa.‖ He died on 15th January, 1966 following a military coup.


Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi was born on 3rd March, 1924. He was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Nigerian Army. He was appointed by the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in 1965. He was the first Nigerian to be appointed the GOC. He became the first Nigerian Military Head of State in January 1966 as a result of a failed military coup led by some young army officers. Six months after, he was not able to solve the crisis caused by the coup. He lost his life during a counter coup that took place on 29th July, 1966. He was forty-two years old at the time of his death.


General Yakubu Gowon was born on 19th October 1934. He joined the Nigerian Army in May, 1954 after completing his secondary school education at Barewa College, Zaria. He played a very important role in the history of Nigeria. At the age of 32, he became Head of State following the counter-coup of 29th July, 1975. He fought and won the Nigerian civil war that took place from 1967 to 1970. He was a unifying factor. He was able to win the civil war by the strategic creation of twelve (12) States in 1967 to replace the four Regions of Nigeria. He was removed from office by a military coup on 29th July 1975. He is now actively involved in peace building and conflict resolutions across Nigeria.


General Murtala Muhammed was born on 8th November, 1938. He played an important role in the 1966 military crises. He also played an important role in the fight to keep Nigeria one
during the civil war period. He was appointed Federal Commissioner of Communications by General Gowon. He became military Head of State from 1975 to 1976. He is always  remembered as a key player that fought for the liberation of African countries from colonial rule and white settler domination in Southern Africa. He died on 13th February, 1976 as a result of an abortive military coup.


General Olusegun Obasanjo was born on 5th March, 1937. He served in various capacities in the Nigerian Army. He became Federal Commissioner of Works in the Government of General Gowon. He was the officer who received the surrender of Biafra in January 1970. Following the coup of 29th July 1975, he became Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters. Following the death of the Head of State, General Murtala Mohammed in a failed coup of 13thFebruary, 1976; Obasanjo was appointed Head of State. He served in that capacity from 1976 to 1979. He became the first military Head of State to hand over political power to democratically elected civilians. Thus, in 1979, he handed over power to President Shehu Shagari. He made history as the first former military leader to be elected as President of Nigeria. He served for two terms (1999-2007). He has been actively involved in many international organisations.


Alhaji Shehu Shagari,TurakinSakoto, was born on 25th February, 1925. A teacher turned politician, Shehu Shagari participated in the anti-colonial struggles prior to the formation of political parties in Northern Nigeria. He was a member of the Northern Regional House of Assembly and the House of Representatives. He became a Minister in the First Republic on the
platform of the NPC. He was one of the Ministers that were actively involved in trying to resolve the political crisis in Lagos caused by the military coup of 15th January 1966. He served as Minister in the Military Government led by General Yakubu Gowon. With the return to civilian rule in 1979, he contested election as President of Nigeria and won on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria, (NPN). He became the first executive president of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983. His government was toppled by the military on 31st December 1983. Since his release from military detention he has become an elder statesman, by refusing to join any political party. MUHAMMADU BUHARI
Major-General Muhammadu Buhari was born on 17th December, 1942. Buhari joined the Nigerian army on 9th April, 1962. He trained in UK, USA and India. He served in various capacities in the Nigerian Army. He fought in the Nigerian civil war. He was a Military  Governor and Minister of Petroleum Resources in the Murtala/Obasanjo government. He became the NigerianHead of State from 1984 to 1985. This was after the military coup of 31st December 1983, which removed the civilian Government led by President Shehu Shagari. He was democratically elected President of Nigeria on 1st April 2015. He made history as the second former military leader to get elected by the people as President. He also became the first person to defeat a sitting President in an election.


General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was born on 17th August, 1941. He is popularly known as IBB. Babangida joined the Nigerian Army on 10th December 1962. He was trained in India and the UK and took part in the Nigerian civil war. He held various commanding positions in the Nigerian Army. Babangida became known across Nigeria because of the role he played in
getting the 13th February 1976 coup defeated. He was Chief of Army Staff in the military government led by General Buhari. He became Head of State after leading a coup to remove Buhari on 27th August, 1985. He was head of state from 1985 to 1993. He has been actively involved in politics.


Chief Ernest Adekunle Oladeinde Shonekan (born 9 May 1936 in Lagos, Colonial Nigeria) is a British-trained Nigerian lawyer, industrialist, politician and traditional chieftain. He was appointed as the Interim President of Nigeria by General Ibrahim Babangida on the 26th of August, 1993. Babangida resigned under pressure to cede control to a democratic government. Shonekan’s transitional administration only lasted for three months as a palace coup led by General Sani Abacha forcefully dismantled the remaining democratic institutions and brought  the government back under military control on the 17th of November, 1993.


General Sani Abacha was born on 20th September, 1943. He joined the Nigerian Army early in the 1960s. He held many positions in the Army, including Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Defence. He became known during the regime of General Babangida. He led the military to remove the Interim President, Earnest Shonekan and then became head of state from 1993 to 1998. There are several human rights problems during his tenure. He tried to transform from military head of state into civilian president but he suddenly died on 8th June, 1998.


General Abdulsalami Abubakarwas born on 13th June, 1942. He served in several capacities in the Nigerian Army and rose to become Chief of Defence Staff in the government of General Sani Abacha. This position helped him to emerge as Nigerian‘sHead of state following the death of General Sani Abacha on 8th June 1998. He was Head of State from 9th June 1998 to 29th May, 1999. He organized a transition programme which ended with handing over of power to an elected President on 29th May 1999.


Umaru Musa Yar’Aduawas born on 16th August, 1951. Umaru studied Chemistry at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He started as a teacher, then became a businessman and later a politician. In 1999, he won the election as Governor of Katsina State. He served as Governor from 1999 to 2007. In 2007, he was selected by the PDP to be its Presidential candidate. He won the election and became the 13th President of Nigeria. He was the first university graduate to be elected President of Nigeria. He died while being President on 5th May 2010.


Dr Goodluck Jonathanwas born on 20th November, 1957. He started politics from the grassroots, i.e. at the Local Government level. He joined the PDP and became the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State in 1999. He later became the Governor following the removal of the then Governor. From Bayelsa State Governor, he was selected by Umaru Musa Yar‘Adua as his running mate in the 2007presidential election. He then became Vice President from 2007-2010. He later became the President of Nigeria with the death of President Umaru Musa Yar‘adua. He was the first Ph.D holder to be elected President. He served from 2010-2015. He made history as
the first President to concede defeat in a Nigerian election. Although out of office, he is still active in politics.
Surprisingly, even the military who got to power in Nigeria through coup de‘tat gave inaugural speeches to usher them into office. However, the first inaugural speech in Nigeria was delivered in October 1st, 1960 by Nigeria‘s first Prime Minister, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Other Headsof State that followed after him made it a tradition to offer inaugural speeches.
Despite the fact that inaugural speeches are considered part of inauguration ceremony that is mostly anxiously waited for by the populace, scholars like Bill Steigerwald ( see it pretty much more ceremonial than anything else. Robert Beard ( considers it  as ―the key indicator of the goals, tone and demeanor of in- coming administration or how they will continue or change in the case of multiple administration.  ―Therefore, there  is  a  good reason to  contend  that  inaugural speeches are  very vital speeches in which the direction of the new government is identified.
Critical Discourse Analysis is employed to analyse these speeches looking at the biography of each of the head of State. As their biographies differ in various respects so their speeches differ. The historical background of each head of State influenced his cognition, thought, practice, governance and speech. Critical Discourse Analysis has multifaceted approaches and methods that can be employed to conspicuously upturn the meaning hidden in the speeches.
The present research mainly focuses on Critical Discourse Analysis of selected inaugural speeches of Nigeria‘s Headsof State. Specifically, the research intends to compare and contrast the inaugural speeches of the civilian and military Heads of State. It is aimed at comparing how
the language used in the speeches reflected the true situation in Nigeria during the two regimes (civilians and military), how the contents of the speeches were used to manipulate the yearnings of the people, how the speeches reflect the power relations and ideological position implicit in the speeches. Also,the research intendsto study how the speeches reflected the social structure and identities of the speakers and the genuineness of the promises and their willingness to take responsibility for what they said in the speeches. The difference of the social structure and cognition of the two groups will be examined through the language used in the speeches.

     Statement of the Research Problem

Studies on political speeches have been carried outsuch as; Political Speeches of Some African Leaders from Linguistic perspective (1981 – 2013),(Faki, 2014); Political Discourse; A Critical Discourse Analysis of President Muhammadu Buhari‘s Inaugural Speech (Sharndam,2015) A linguistic –Stylistic investigation of the language of the Nigerian Elite, (Ayeomoni,2005), Power of Political Discourse of Barak Obama, (Sheyegh and Wabir, 2012), Linguistic Features in Political speeches –How language can be used to impose certain moral or ethical values on people, (Kulo, 2009)Language Use in Selected Nigerian Presidential Election campaign speeches: A Critical Discourse Analysis Perspective, (Abdullahi – Idiagbon, 2007), Analysis of Experiential Meaning in Selected Inaugural Speeches in Nigeria, (Chinwe, 2013), A Critical Discourse Analysis of Language use in selected political speeches of Dr Kayode Fayemi Ekiti State Governor, (Bamisaye and Omotunde, 2015); Nigerian Politicians, Linguistic Rascality and Security Implications, Daniel (2015), A Pragmatic Analysis of Political Discourse Using Cooperative Principle: A Case Study of Bashorun Abiola‘s Political Campaign, (Bdliya, 2012). The Speech Acts and Rhetoric in the Second Inaugural Address of Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo and American President, George Bush, (Adetunji, 2009) etc. The analysts
have lost sight of the political symbiotic relationship between the inaugural speeches of the heads of state that built the present Nigeria through linguistic manipulative strategies. None of them attempted to compare the speeches of the military headsof State and civilian presidents who shaped the presentday Nigeria with their actions and speeches.In Nigeria, inaugural speeches delivered by either executive presidents or military Heads of Stateare beyond mere ceremonial speeches. They usher in new governments and new agenda of the new government are sometimes mentioned in the speeches.
It is however, unfortunate that these speeches are only documented after the particular government would have completed its tenure. From time totime some historians take the pain of documenting these speeches. Many scholars like Alimole (2004), Idris (2009), Angwonye (2013), Epele (1993), and some government agencies have only tried to collect, collate and compile the speeches.However, few linguistic analyses have been carried out on those speeches.
Political speeches are significant data for linguistic analysis. According to Beard (2000), it is important to study the language of politics because it enables us to understand how language is used by those who wish to gain power, those who wish to exercise power and those who wish to keep power. Beyond this advocacy, the study of the inaugural speeches of the past and present Nigerian leaders and leaders from other countries and continents creates a marriage between history and linguistics, and that will help to shape the ideology and cognition of the citizens when the obscurity in the speeches are made clear by the linguist.
Presumably,language is used by the two groups of leaders to subdue and shape the cognition of Nigerians. Both the Military and the Civilian Heads of State achieved their political ideology manipulations through the language in their political speeches at various fora. In this sense, language has played a very important role in manifesting their political wills and
accompanying political actions. It is therefore, necessary to study the inaugural speeches of those Heads of Statefrom both sides to understand the role of language in shaping the Nigeria of the past and the present.
This is for the fact that language is not powerful in itself.Rather, it gains power by the use the powerful make of it. On the other hand, language gives power to those who wish to give it. It is this social roles of language that the research wishes to analyse the inaugural speeches of the Civilian and MilitaryHeads of State and make comparison between the two groups in relation to their social structure.

     Research Questions

The study will attempt to answer the following questions as we do a Critical Discourse Analysis of the inaugural speeches of the Civilian and Military Heads of State of Nigeria:

  1. What are the structural patterns of inaugural speeches of the Civilian and Military Heads of State?
  2. How do the inaugural speeches convey feelings/emotion of both Civilian and MilitaryHeads of State in Nigeria?
  3. What are the ideological inklings expressed in the speeches of both Civilian and Military Heads of State?
  4. How is power manifested in both speeches through language in both the inaugural speeches of the Civilian and Military Heads of State?
  5. To what extent are hidden meanings related to social structure and identities of the speakers engraved in the speeches of both sets of rulers?


     Aim and Objectives of the Study

This study aims at analysing the inaugural speeches of the past Nigerian leaders. The objectives of the study are to:

  1. determine the structural pattern of the speeches of the Civilianand Military Heads of
  2. identify how the speeches convey the feelings/emotions of the Civilian andMilitaryHeads of State;
  3. gauge the ideological inklingsof the civilian and military Heads of State in their speeches;


  1. establish how power is manifested through language in the speeches and


  1. measure how hidden meanings relate to social structure and identities of the military and civilian Headsof State in the


     Significance of the Study

Given the focus of this work, the research is intended to awaken the consciousness of scholars/readers of political discourse to read between the lines. Since politicians do not use language in vacuum. They use it to gain power, exercise and keep it.
Also, the study will be useful for researchers who would benefit from the analysis and findings of the research in the area of how language plays role in emotion, ideological manipulation, persuasion and power relations such as threat and appeal.
On the other hand, scholars in the field of Psychology, History, Sociology and Geography stand to gain from the insights of the research because of the multidisciplinary focus of the study. The study will also illuminate on the language of the Executive and MilitaryHeads of
State in Nigeria thereby uncovering hidden meanings in their inaugural speeches in relation to social structure, identities and power relations in the speech.

     Scope of the Study

This study is delimited to analysing Selected Inaugural Speeches of the Nigeria‘spast heads of State. There were sixteen Heads of State that have ruled Nigeria from independence to 2015. They include Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (1957 – 1966), General Aguyi Ironsi (1966 – 1967), General Yakubu Gowon (1967 – 1976), General Murtala Mohammed (1976 – 1977), General Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo (1976 – 1979), Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari (1979 – 1983), Major General Muhammadu Buhari (1983 – 1985), General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (1985 – 1993), Chief Ernest Shonekan (1993 – 1993), General Sani Abacha (1993 – 1998),
General AbdussalamiAlhaji Abubakar (1998 – 1999), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (1999 – 2007), Malam Umaru Musa Yar‘adua (2007 – 2010) and Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2011 – 2015).
However, only the inaugural speeches of eleven (11)Heads of State are the focus of the study. The Heads of State include: five (5) Executive Presidents and six(6) Military Heads of State. The Executive Heads of State include Prime-Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (1957), Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari (1979), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (1999), Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar‘adua (2007)and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2011). Themilitary Heads included, General Yakubu Gowon (1967), General Murtala Ramat Mohammed (1976), Major General Muhammadu Buhari (1983), General Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda (1985), General Mohammed Sani Abacha (1993) and General Abdulsalami Abubakar (1998).
The number of Military Heads of State outweighsthat of the civilian presidents studied in the research because there were more military Headsthan civilian presidents. The choice of Obasanjo‘s inaugural speech of 1999 was informed by the period of eight (8) years he spent as civilian President. The inclusion of Dr Goodluck Jonathan is to have a representation from other parts of the country because there were more leaders from the Northern part of Nigeria.


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