Pragmatic Analysis of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s Maiden Coup Address of January 1, 1984 And His Inaugural Address of May 29, 2015: A Comparative Appraisal


The quest for and exercise of power is characterized by ingenious use of language. Persuading and convincing the masses to obtain their support and acceptance, legitimizing political authority and policies, manipulating the citizenry towards accepting a particular ideology, etc, depends to a large extent, on the kind of language a political protagonist employs and its appropriateness to the context of use. The study is a comparative analysis of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Maiden Coup Address of January 1, 1984 and his Inaugural Address of May 29, 2015 from a general pragmatic perspective. Adopting the Speech Act theory of Austin (1962) as revised by Searle (1962, 1999 , the study was aimed at unveiling the ilucutionary forces of the speech acts employed in both speeches to manipulate and galvanize the populace into making the intended and desired inferences in the pragmatic contexts in which the speeches were made. The result showed that the speech acts used in each of the speeches, though used by the same protagonist, depend on the socio- political context in which the speeches were made. In a general term , our analysis revealed that President Buhari’s use of language in his maiden coup speech reflects his military disposition as  his utterances were seen to be authoritative, forceful, preemptory, and direct as he needed to exercise a solid control through commands, orders, firm request, and threats. In contrast to the above, his use of language in his inaugural address which was made in the context of popular democracy, was relatively  informative and persuasive ,and reflects ingredients of social relations and interactions.

Keywords: Comparative Appraisal., Inaugural Address, Maiden Coup Address, Pragmatics

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 47-64 (Download PDF)

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