Analysing the Conceptual Metaphors In Yar’Adua’s 7-point Agenda
Catalogue Vol.26 No. 1 Analysing the Conceptual Metaphors In Yar’Adua’s 7-point Agenda



This paper is an exploration of the conceptual metaphors embedded in Yar'Adua's 7-point agenda. Although writers have x-rayed Yar’Adua’s 7-point agenda from different perspectives, no such studies have mirrored it from the angle of conceptual metaphors. Therefore, this paper examines the use of metaphors in comprehending and interpreting the 7-point agenda. The conceptual metaphor theory (CMT) and its principles, as propounded by Lakkof and Johnson, is used as the basis for analysis.

The employment of conceptual metaphors in this paper will help the read- ers to construe the underlying meanings in Yar' Adua's 7-point agenda by delineating the agenda. Also, the application of structural metaphors has revealed the critical issue of poverty prevalent in the Nigerian society together with the issues of incompetency, sentiment and indifference demonstrated by the Nigerian political leaders. In all, the paper showed that Yar' Adua's 7-point agenda is laced with the intended frantic rebirth of the Nigerian economy and infrastructural development of the Nigerian nation

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This paper is a study of the conceptual metaphors in Yar’ Adua’s 7-point agenda. It analyses the writer’s communicative power through the employment of metaphors. Its method of analysis is qualitative and interpretative because it analyses the underlying metaphors in the excerpts and demonstrates how they enhance the transmission of ideas to the governed. Politics is majorly concerned with civil government, the state, public affairs, human conflict and its resolution as well as the source and exercise of power. It is power and a springboard with which politicians display power through the language they employ and the way language lends support to their opinions. Moreover, most of the administrative activities of the government are done by speeches, and metaphors are pervasive in almost every human speech

Language is a veritable tool for communication. And every human communication ostensibly potends meaning and cognition. Ahumaraeze Innocentia remarks that “communicators engage through various acts to impact on their audience or readers. Thus, information, meaning construction, cognition and meaning deconstruction become the link or binding force between those that generate and those that receive the communication events’ (326). Every communication carries a message whose meaning must be deciphered by the receiver.

The decoding is often done through conceptual metaphor. Metaphor is not merely an instrument of language but exists in human thoughts and actions. Also, language may appear empty if metaphor is not explored in the language of communication. Moreover, conceptual metaphor is one of the instruments that polish the language with which speakers project their messages or ideas. Nikolina Borcic et al. note that:

…scientists who deal with language policy and conceptual metaphor in a language find the subtle expression of emotions through the use of metaphor, one of the essential characteristics of a successful persuasive political communication. Conceptual metaphors in that way shape the themes of a certain society and also affect social reality by emphasizing certain parts of the theme or approach to the theme. The use of conceptual metaphors makes it possible to point out that part of the target domain to which one wants to direct the attention of the recipients (87)

The above expression reveals that conceptual metaphor can be used to address any political or socio-political matters. The pervasiveness and the role of metaphors in human communication informed politicians that they can easily be misconstrued, by the electorates, through the application of conceptual metaphors in their messages. Furthermore, Kovecses Zoltan describes metaphor as ‘a cognitive process in which one domain of experience (A) is understood in terms of another domain of experience (B). Metaphor consists of a source (B) and the target domain (A) such that the source is a more physical and the target a more abstract kind of domain. Examples of source and target domains include the following: source domains: WARMTH, BUILDING, WAR, JOURNEY; target domains: AFFECTION, THEORY ARGUMENT and LIFE'. (355). By the above domains, speakers or politicians x-ray myriads of abstract and thorny economic, political events, social activities and other areas of life. In this manner, politicians and their messages become better understood as a result of the projection of things already known by the people. Relatively, Chikogu Ray remarks that ‘metaphor reproduces a vivid picture of the content and intents of the mind’ (14). The above explanation echoes the fact that conceptual metaphor can resonate with realities and illuminates one’s comprehension of complicated issues.

Again, most democratically elected presidents, like Yar’Adua, transmit their policies using conceptual metaphors. Zoltan opines that ‘…we make use of a relatively small number of cognitive processes in making sense of our experience’ (372). Every man tries to make sense of the world in which he lives and structures his knowledge in organizing domains. Cynthia Taylor and Bryan Dewsbury note that

...“metaphors are crucial in the production of knowledge in that they allow us to make concrete connections between abstract concepts and everyday experiences”

The Position of the above authors indicates that metaphors enable humans to create an interconnection between two distinct domains of life. The creative power of metaphor has placed most users of language, especially politicians on the path of restructuring the knowledge of others in construing complex socio-political issues.

Much has not been done metaphorically considering the 7-point agenda of late president Yar’adua though it invokes myriads of issues relating to the rebuilding of the Nigerian economy and infrastructural development. The agenda has been examined from various perspectives. Despite the huge criticism of the agenda from the human social sciences, minor attention has been linguistically paid to it. The late President Yar’Adua’s 7-point agenda was birthed in a bid to sail with the opportunity engendered by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for salvaging the globe from the problems orchestrated by absolute poverty. The 7-point agenda was indeed in line with the objectives of the MDGs. However, this present study seeks to lend a boost to the paucity of the linguistic works on Yar’Adua’s 7-point agenda. This is achieved by focusing on conceptual metaphor, an aspect of cognitive stylistics

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