Manipulative Character of Political Communication in Nigeria and Implications for Constitutional Democracy in Africa
What patterns of doublespeak characterise discourse samples of some Nigerian politicians and how the discourse samples account for the rhetorical strategy? To what extent are members of the Nigerian electorate and ESL students aware of the politicians’ misleading language? In what ways does such deceptive political communication strategy violate the statutory provisions of the Electoral Act of Nigeria?
This research work investigates the incidence of doublespeak as a rhetorical strategy in political communication and its pragmatic manifestations in the Nigerian media political discourses. It addresses the research problem of public ignorance of hidden agendas and power plays disguised in political speeches, and the apparent lack of critical reading skills of English as Second Language (ESL) students to recognise misleading language in political discourses used to deceitfully influence the citizens’ opinions against their best collective interests. It adopts the socio-cognitive grid of critical discourse analysis in exploring the ideological character of doublespeak and hopes to achieve critical awareness about this rhetorical strategy as a tool of choice when public opinion has to be manipulated to serve the interests of the elitist class.
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