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Discourse Strategy On President Buhari’s Address On The Extension Of Covid’19 Pandemic Lockdown




Background of the Study

Language plays an important role in human communication. It is a powerful tool used by political leaders in the discharge of their duties. The role of language in communication cannot be underestimated. The English Language is an indispensable tool for national unity, integration and global communication.

The attention to the ways political actors formulate messages to proclaim their interests or legitimize their position has been central to political discourse analyses. Analysts, especially those oriented to CDA approaches, examine how political messages may be encoded using linguistic strategies of nomination, predication and nominalizations, in some cases to delete or deflect agency, and to make discrete, concrete goals relating to specific social events and practices Machin and Mayr,( 2012). When actors discursively construct messages these ways, they seek to orient an audience to their viewpoints see to accept the perspective of the speaker” . Therefore, language remains a crucial resource in the hands of those whose goal is to sway an audience to accept their position, or gain political influence while critical discourse analyses is particularly motivated by how language use serves ideological goals. Herrick (2017).

This implies that regimes, whether totalitarian or democratic have to communicate so as to inform, persuade, advertise, issue rules and regulations, legislate, and so on Gunta and Karapetjana (2009). Sharndama (2015) gave an insight into political speeches when he affirms that: political speech is associated with either struggle for power or maintenance/control of it. It is diverse because it encompasses the different forms of speeches that the politicians deliver at political forums. Chilton (1998) affirms that politics is “the art of governance and power” while language is “the universal capacity of humans in all societies to communicate”. Okoro C. N (2017) subscribes to this view when she asserts that politics is concerned with power to make decisions, control resources, and control other people’s behaviour and, at times to control their values. In this process, language plays a crucial role, for every political action is prepared, accompanied, influenced and played by language. Language, therefore, plays an important role in politics because its main function in different political situations is to enable politicians to form structurally stable social relationships

The Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari employed language while exercising his authority during the coronavirus pandemic which is shortened as covid-19.

The name “coronavirus” comes from the crown-like projections on their surfaces. “Corona” in Latin means “halo” or “crown.” Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is defined as illness caused by a novel coronavirus now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2; formerly called 2019-nCoV), which was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. It was initially reported to the WHO on December 31, 2019. On January 30, 2020, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global health emergency. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, its first such designation since declaring H1N1 influenza a pandemic in 2009.

At the time of writing this paper, it was observed that the Nigerian president had addressed his nation twice. Buhari addressed the Nigerian state when the world was facing the problem of the virus in March and April 2020. His aim was to notify Nigerians of the virus and the measures the government and the general populace can take to curb its spread.

It is against this background that the researcher embarked on this study to investigate the Discourse Strategy on President Buhari’s Address on the extension of covid’19 pandemic lockdown.

Statement of  Problem

Countries are ramping-up effort to combat COVID-19, leaders are giving daily briefings to their people, but President Buhari  was out of public view for nearly 30 days creating unease in Nigeria.During the early breakup of Covid-19 in Nigeria ,Nigerians eagerly waited for  President Buhari to address the nation on the efforts of his government on COVID-19 to curtail the disease. Finally on March Buhari breaks mum and delivered a historic speech. A month later, he made another historic appearances on national television where he addressed Nigerians in a follow-up speech. The second speech is what the study will dwell on discursively.


Research aim

The aim of this study is to investigate the discourse Strategy on President Buhari’s Address on the extension of covid’19 pandemic lockdown

Research objectives

  1. To describe the structure and organization of the content of president Buhari’s Address on the extension of covid’19 pandemic lockdown
  2. To critically examine how Covid-19 is depicted by president Buhari’s Address
  3. To identify the discursive features of the president Buhari’s Address and relate same to the socio-political context of its discourse.

Research questions

  1. What are the structure and organization of the content of president Buhari’s Address on the extension of covid’19 pandemic lockdown?
  2. How is the COVID-19 depicted in president Buhari’s Address?
  3. What are the discursive features of the president Buhari’s Address and relate same to the socio-political context of its discourse?

Significance of the Study

Language use, especially the spoken language, has been studied, in many domains including sociolinguistics, anthropology and text interpretation. These studies have been motivated by the need to investigate the characteristics and interpretation of discourse texts. This study contributed to the understanding of discourse strategies and the semantics of Covid-19 by way of linguistic analysis and interpretation.

Available literature shows that only little attention has been paid to the critical language use of Covid-19 which forced world economy to a standstill. It is hopeful that this study contributes to and expand the knowledge of Covid-19 discourse; and also as a proof that CDA is an empirical tool for the analysis of the Covid-19 discourse



Scope of the Study

The discourse approach adopted in this research focused on such parameters like linguistic forms occurring as functional entities in President Buhari’s Address on the extension of covid’19 pandemic lockdown, the input of contextual cues and paralinguistic features in meaning analysis and interpretation,.


Definition of Terms

Discourse: This is used to refer to the spoken/sung and written material (Faighclour, 1989).

Discourse Text: ‘Discourse’ in this sense is used adjectivally to modify ‘text’in order to realize the meaning: the text in the discourse. In this sense, the text is the visual representation of the song.

Discourse Mode:A passage of text with certain analysable discourse features such as Narrative, Description, and Argumentation.

Modal verb: is a type of verb that is used to indicate modality – that is: likelihood, ability, permission, request, capacity, suggestions, order, obligation, or advice.

Modality ;is an aspect of the interpersonal meaning. It is “the area of meaning that lies between yes and no—the intermediate ground between positive and negative polarity.

Transitivity; is the realization of the experiential component. It refers to the way meanings are encoded in the clause and to the way different types of process are represented in language


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