Conceptual Mappings and Face Management Strategies in Obasanjo’s ‘The Way Out: A Clarion Call For Nigeria Movement’ (Published)
Political text is a discourse in which language is employed for manipulation, deception, coercion, conviction and power construction. The existing linguistic studies of Nigerian political discourse focused on the genres of cartoons, campaign speeches, adversarial political interviews, newspaper adverts, inaugural addresses, and political slogans; with the exclusion of the text of letter to the president. Hence, this paper examines the conceptual mappings and face management strategies in Obasanjo’s open letter to Nigerian President Buhari titled ‘The Way Out: Clarion Call for Nigeria Movement(i.e CCNM)’ through the eclectic theoretical framework of Gerald Steen’s (1996) Deliberate Metaphor Theory, VanDijk’s(2006) Socio-cognitive Theory and Brown and Levinson’s(1987) Face Management Theory. The findings revealed that Obasanjo’s CCNM is characterised by the deliberate mappings of a nation as a horse and lice-infested clothes; governance as a horse; a political leader as a horse rider and poor performance in government as a lice. The text is equally characterised by bald-on –record face threatening acts used to condemn Buhari’s flaws in governance and face saving acts employed to convince the Nigerian political actors and populace about the need to form a ‘coalition’ to move Nigeria forward. The paper concludes that the audience needs to construe the participants’ generic and socially-shared cognitive models to decode the author’s intention in the text.