Resilience Discourse: A Critical Study of Nigeria’s Incumbent and Opposition Political Campaign Speeches

Felicia OAMEN

Abstract


Considering the challenges associated with visibility and intraparty disputes which confronted different categories of political parties during Nigeria’s 2019 electoral process, this paper examines the discursive means through which political actors expressed resilience in their struggle for power. Using a Critical Discourse Analysis approach, the paper investigates candidates’/parties’ expression of their abilities to cope, regain control and reduce vulnerability during the campaigns. The All-Progressives Congress Party, People’s Democratic Party and Allied Congress Party of Nigeria were selected for the study because they represented incumbency, main opposition and the third force parties respectively during the campaigns. Data comprising twenty-three election campaign speeches were purposively selected from some Nigeria’s media websites. Findings show that political actors deployed strategies of argumentation, categorization and criminalisation among others to (re)gain control and to minimise vulnerability during the campaigns. In addition, the research reveals Nigerian political actors’ predilection for character assassination of Others as a means of survival in the nation’s political arena. The results have implications for Nigeria’s power politics and, in addition, raise concerns for voters’ education and sustenance of democracy in the country

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