A Critical Discourse Analysis of the State of Emergency Speech Declared by Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004

Adebomi Oluwayemisi Olusola


Several studies have analysed the way presidential/political speeches are deployed to capture the ideologies of the speech maker. Many as these studies are, scholars have not attempted a critical discourse analysis of the State of Emergency speech declared by former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo, in May 2004. This study examines the State of Emergency speech with a view to examining the way various linguistic categories are deployed to achieve different functions in the speech. The study deploys Norman Fairclough’s model of critical discourse analysis as theoretical framework. This model is adopted because it provides a platform for the description, interpretation and explanation of text and talk. The data is sourced through the purposive sampling method. This is because the speech is considered as one of those in which Obasanjo’s power consciousness, through his linguistic choices, is enunciated. The study revealed that Obasanjo used nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, collocations and assertions to achieve three main purposes in the text: to justify his decision to declare a state of emergency in Plateau State, to castigate purported culprits and to delegitimise, unequivocally, violence/terrorism. The study reveals that Obasanjo uses language to underscore the need to chart a new course for good governance in the war-torn Pateau State.


Discourse strategies; Democracy day; CDA, Political speech; Muhammadu Buhari

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/11634


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