President Muhammadu Buhari Sixtieth Independence Anniversary Speech: A Discourse Analysis




Independence Day celebration in Nigeria usually features an address of the President on socio-economic and socio-political issues. The choice of the appropriate language to address such sensitive issues needs careful considerations. The sixtieth independence anniversary speech of the President constitutes the data for the study. The objective of the study is to investigate how President Muhammadu Buhari manipulates language to convey his message to the citizens. The study employs both qualitative and quantitative method in the analysis of data. In the qualitative analysis, the transitivity component of Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistic is employed as theoretical model while frequency and percentage distributions of data is used in the quantitative analysis. Findings show that President Muhammadu Buhari’s address is an action-oriented speech as a cursory look at the transitivity system in the text clause by clause indicates how the President encapsulates his mission to re-build Nigeria and solicits for the co-operation of the people to achieve this laudable objective. The high-level number of material processes is an indication that the analyzed text is an action-oriented speech. A cursory look at the transitivity system in the text clause by clause shows how President Muhammadu Buhari encapsulates his mission to re-build Nigeria and soliciting for the co-operation of the people. The study concludes that resourcefulness of language is very significant in human society as language and discourse will continue to play central role in communication, interaction and the establishment of a sustainable democratic society.


Language, linguistics, discourse, independence anniversary speech, democratic society.


Human communications basically rely on the use of language in an organized way. According to Stork and Widowson (2013:208), 'every language comprises sophisticated and highly developed systems which can meet up with the needs of the society where they function and that of the individual to express emotions and transmit information. Therefore, society and language are inseparable because an individual needs language to function and fit in properly into the society. As a potent tool in the hands of the one who has the oratorical skills, language can achieve the unexpected positive outcome. Osisanwo (2017:272) citing Edom (1965) believes that “language is the key to the heart of the people, if you lose it, you lose the people, if you keep it safe, it unlocks the people’s heart”. According to Yule (2017:190), to be able to interpret the messages we receive and for our messages to be meaningful is beyond structure and linguistic form because there are discourse rules which the users of the language are familiar with. When speeches are made in politics, political leaders are able to stay connected to the masses. They usually manipulate language to convince the masses logically and appeal to their emotions.


Theoretical Framework Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) The framework for describing and modeling language is suggested by the Systemic Functional Linguistics. This framework helps to determine choices and meaning. That is, it emphasizes on semiotics, the way utterances and texts show the meaning potentials and the code of language. Halliday (2004) states that the functions of language are expressed through three types of meaning or meta-functions which reflect in the structure of the clause. According to him, ‘‘the cluse is considered as multifunctional construct in the grammar, one that realizes three different semantic units, one for each meta functions: ideational, interpersonal and textual (2004:588). For the structure of the clause to make meaning, the three kinds of meaning must be considered


The conclusion can be found in the main file..


References are available in the main file..

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