Comparable Political Ideologies in Linguistic Metaphor Usage by Some Nigerian Politicians

Peter Ochefu Okpeh, DURO-BELLO, OLAOLUWA


Studies on metaphor usage in political discourse have focused on its rhetoric and conceptual relevance in cognition, leaving out its ideological essence. The foregoing results in underestimating the discourse value and implications of politically motivated metaphors in national politics. This study examines select campaign speeches of two presidential aspirants in Nigeria to determine their choice of metaphors and to comment on their perceived implications for Nigerian politics. Four campaign speeches of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential aspirants were collected from their respective official websites. A collapse of Lakoff and Johnson’s Conceptual Metaphor Theory and Chateris-Black’s Critical Metaphor Theory is appropriated for a critical examination of the derived metaphors. The conceptual metaphors in the text encapsulate two politically motivated ideologies: the supremacist ideology which is expressed as THE NATION IS A PERSON and the sacrificial ideology which indicates that LEADERHIP IS A SACRED RESPONSIBITY. These conceptual metaphors are expressed via sentences in the active voice which are preponderantly used in the text. The study shows that some Nigerian politicians advocate virtually the same ideology- the nation first. Thus, a critical study of metaphors in political speeches provides insight on Nigeria politics.

Full Text:



Primary Sources

APC official website

PDP official website

Adeyanju, D. (2006). Pragmatic Features of Political Speeches in English by some Prominent

Nigerian Leaders. Ife Studies in English Language, 2(6), 48-55.

Aduradola, R. R. &Ojukwu, C. C. (2013). Language of Political Campaigns and Politics in Nigeria. Canadian Social Science, 9(3), 104-116.

Alo, M. (2004). Lexical Choices and Values in Political Manifestoes in Nigeria. Ibadan Journal of English Studies, 9(3), 229-243.

Ayeomoni, M. O. (2005). A Linguistic-Stylistic Investigation of the Language of Nigerian Political Elite. Nebula, 2(2), 153-168.

Bhatia, A. (2006). Critical Discourse Analysis of Political Press Conferences. Discourse and Society, 17(2), 173-203.

Charteris-Black, J. (2004). Corpus Approaches to Critical Discourse Analysis. Basingstoke Palgrave-Macmillan.

Ehinen, T. O. (2014). A Critical Discourse Analysis of Modals in Nigerian Political Manifestos. International Journal of Linguistics, 6(3), 109-117.

Ezejideaku, E. &Ugwu, E. (2007). The Rhetoric & Propaganda of Political Campaigns in Nigeria.JOLAN, 10, 9-26.

Fairclough, N. (1995) Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language. New York: Longman.

Jones, J. &Peccei, J. S. (2004). Language and Politics, in Thomas, L.(ed),

Language, Society, and Power. New York: Routledge.

Kamalu, I. &Agangan, R. (2011). A Critical Discourse Analysis of Goodluck Jonathan’s Declaration of Interest in the PDP Presidential Primaries. Language, Discourse and Society, 1(1), 32-54.

Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors We live by. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Group, P. (2007). MIP:A Method for Identifying Metaphorically Used Words in Discourse. Metaphor and Symbol,22(1), 1-39.

Schaffner, C. (1996). Editorial: Political Speeches and Discourse Analysis. Current

Issues inLanguage & Society,3(3), 201-204.

Weatheral A. &Wallthon, M. (1999). The Metaphorical Construction of Sexual Experiences in a Speech Community of New Zealand University Students, in British Journal of Social Psychology,(4), 479-498.

Wilson, J. (2008). Political Discourse in Schiffrin, D., Tannen, D., & Hamilton, H. E. (Eds.) The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. John Wiley & Sons.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Peter Ochefu Okpeh, DURO-BELLO, OLAOLUWA