Language Manipulation by the Spokespersons of the APC and PDP and its Effect on the 2015 Presidential Election in Nigeria

Published: September 2019

AuthorsAbdulmalik Adamu & Moses Joseph

About Authors: Department of Languages, School of General Studies, The Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa Nasarawa State Nigeria

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Politics has to do with the acquisition of power and politicians acquire power in order to control both human and material resources. Language then becomes an important agent of politics because it is the tool with which the people are mobilised for effective participation in the political process of a nation. Conversely, it is the tool with which people are manipulated and excluded from political participation. In effect, language shares an inextricable link with politics. Consequently, politicians manipulate language in a manner that accrues advantage to them. This in effect makes manipulation an important concept in politics. The subject of interest for this paper is to evaluate the extent to which language has influenced, shaped or reinforced political events in Nigeria, particularly the 2015 Presidential election where the opposition party for the first time in the political history of Nigeria defeated an incumbent president and candidate in the election. This paper was set to find out whether manipulation could be established in the press releases/statements of the spokespersons of the APC and PDP as well as determine those who were manipulated. The data collected were the press releases/statements of the spokespersons of the APC and PDP in the run-up to the elections. The data were analysed using van Dijk’s approach of Critical Discourse Analysis. Although the findings of this paper showed that the language used by these spokespersons is characterised by manipulation and that the political class as well as the literate and illiterate classes all suffer the effect of manipulation, it is however not enough to conclude that language manipulation by the spokespersons of the two major political parties, significantly affected the outcome of the 2015 Presidential election in Nigeria.

Keywords: Language, power, manipulation, politics, Language manipulation Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA),