Journal of
Media and Communication Studies

  • Abbreviation: J. Media Commun. Stud.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2545
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMCS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 201

Article in Press

ABUSE AS LANGUAGE OF POLITICAL CHANGE: A LEXICAL STUDY OF POLITICAL CAMPAIGN TEXTS IN NIGERIA’S 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS

Ngozi Uduma

  •  Received: 15 June 2018
  •  Accepted: 15 June 2018
The political climate in Nigeria towards the build-up to the 2015 presidential elections were charged with language of hate and abuse. The definition of political communications in Nigeria was re-evaluated within the contexts of the elections. Language is a potent tool of engagement in political communication. This study thus examine the intent and content of hateful words as language of political change, the framing of campaign messages within certain contexts and content-analyze their lexical features. It based its argument on the social constructivist approach, media and message effects planks of political communication theory. Relying on content analysis, the study used Fairclough’s three-part model in contextualizing the ‘texts’ from select national newspapers, the study contend that most of the texts used during the period were symbolic and extant in abuse. When subjected to Fairclough multifunctional perspective, every single text was laced with hate and found mainly in headlines and leads. This became the dominant narrative for the time. Abuse was deployed as language for political change. Nevertheless, as hateful as these texts were, the meaning that was ascribed to them during the campaigns ensured a wave of orientation exists. These texts were used as unfancied political weapons and they endured beneath the larger plane of decency. Within the lexical discourse, hateful and abusive language did not provoke the desired change, but the sociological contexts within which they were uttered drove the change mantra.