16. “NIGERIANS CAN BE VERY IMPATIENT”: THE CONUNDRUM OF POLITICAL RESTRUCTURING IN PRESIDENT BUHARI’S 2018 NEW-YEAR SPEECH – A CRITICAL APPRAISAL
Ajibiye, Samuel Olabode – Department of Languages
Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos State.
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This paper investigates the discursive strategies implemented by President Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria, in his 2018 New-Year national broadcast, with a view to deconstructing the ideological underpinnings of textual representations in the goodwill speech. Studies that strictly focused on the analysis of the President’s inaugural speech are numerous, but scholarly investigation into his speech on political restructuring is rare. The study, therefore, adopts van Dijk’s Socio-cognitive Approach of Critical Discourse Analysis as theoretical framework, focusing on his model of “Ideological Square”. President Buhari’s 2018 New-Year speech constitutes our data for this study. Our findings, thus, revealed how Buhari’s discourse configurations are intended to tacitly project, reproduce and maintain his ideological disposition–the inviolability of the centrist federation. He deployed preponderantly the other-inclusive pronominal “We” (33%) and “Our” (32%) approximately as in-group ideological impositions in the speech that serves a political necessity, giving Nigerians a sense of political inclusiveness in his own government. He emphasised the necessity of continuing patience among Nigerians by using hyperbolic constructions such as attributive adjectives and adverbs of degree as discourse mechanism of projecting his concealed ideological orientations. Contrary to his campaign manifesto, Buhari employed discursive tactics that depicted him as a patriot of centrist federalism. This paper, therefore, concludes that the President’s tacit discursive constructs to subtly dissuade the ubiquitous campaign for political restructuring clearly signalled that Nigeria is still under a de facto military regime.
Keywords: Muhammadu Buhari, New-Year Speech, Political Restructuring, CDA