This research is on discourse analysis of the Independence Day speeches of President Goodluck Jonathan during the celebration of Nigeria’s Independence in 2012, 2013 and 2014. It studies the structure of these speeches, the ideologies of the President reflected through them, their information strength and their contemporary relevance. The work adopts Grice’s co-operative principles, which incorporate the maxims of quantity, quality, relation and manner, for analysing its data.The study observes that the Independence Day speeches of President Goodluck Jonathan are structured into five sections, which include greetings and introduction of the occasion; incorporating every Nigerian as contributing to Nigeria’s history and current status; highlighting the achievements made, the challenges facing Nigeria and efforts being made to handle them; messages of hope and promises and call for collective responsibility; conclusion with compliments.It observes that these five sections fulfil the co -operative maxim of quantity but have some statements which do not fulfil the maxims of quality, relation and manner.The ideological analysis shows that the President gradually realised the extent of his power and autonomy. He prefers collective responsibility of the nation’s affairs. The speeches are contemporarily relevant during their delivery. Finally, the research observes that the speech in 2014 is more informative than that of 2012 and 2013. The research recommends the use of discourse analysis for the President for analysing and assessing his speeches before delivery and that Nigerians should pay attention to the Independence Day speeches in order to take adequate advantage of the information in them.


Approval Page
Table of Content

1.1. Background of the study
1.2. Statement of the problem
1.3. Purpose of the study
1.4. Research Questions
1.5. Scope of the Study
1.6. Significance of the Study

2.0. Preamble
2.1. Theoretical Studies
2.2. Empirical Studies
2.3. Summary of Literature Review
2.4. Theoretical Framework

3.0. Preamble
3.1. Research Design and Procedure
3.2. Area of Study
3.3. Population for the Study
3.4. Sampling
3.5. Instrument for Data Collection
3.6. Method of Data Collection
3.7. Method of Data Analysis

4.1 Analysis of the sequence/Structure of the speeches
4.2  Ideological Analysis
4.3  Analysis of the contemporary relevance of the speech
4.4  Analysis of the Information Strength of the Speech

5.1. Summary of findings and conclusion
5.2. Recommendation



1.7. Background of the study

Every country is defined by its history. All past and current events taking place within a country accumulate to make-up its history. These, therefore, follow that there is no country, be it an American country like the United States of America, a European country like England, an Asian country like China or an African country like Nigeria that does not have its own peculiar history. The history of a country, sometimes, dates back to its official recognition as an independent group or its official recognition as collection of people with a given or identified political structure. The history of Nigeria however, predates her independence which she won from her British colonialists on 1st October, 1960. This history, indeed, defines Nigeria.

It is in this regard that the researcher wishes to state that the success of every country involves building upon its own peculiar history. Countries come together to celebrate their history during certain days or periods of the year in the forms of national celebrations. For countries that had experienced colonialism (the forceful taking-over and control of a country by another superior country, especially, politically), the date they earn their independence/freedom from their colonial master(s) often becomes the greatest and most remarkable of their national days. Nigeria is not left-out in the practice of celebrating their independence day, which has now become an annual ritual.

On 1st October, 1960, Nigeria gained her independence from her colonial masters; and so, October 1 of every year is the most remarkable of all national day celebrations of the country. On this day, usually, the incumbent president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria delivers a speech to all the citizens of the country. In the speech, issues relating to or affecting the country are highlighted and homage is paid to its famous freedom fighters and leaders, who inspired the country’s independence struggle. This equally serves as a veritable opportunity for the president to make promises of good governance and creation of a better country for the citizens, as well as making maximum effort to win the confidence and support of the masses. To achieve this, the immense power of language is greatly employed and systematically used.

There is always the incidence or need of one to talk to a group or crowd of people just as there is equally the incidence or need to listen to a group or crowd of people (the public). In the end, what matters is the result obtained from each speech delivery. A speech is, thus, measured by its relevance or value. This is because every speech is delivered with an aim and, so, when the aim of a speech is achieved, the speech is said to be effective. Conversely, a speech that fails to achieve its aim or purpose is regarded as lacking in value; thus, it is ineffective. Consequently, the value of a speech can be viewed from two angles. The first angle is the intention of the speaker who delivers the speech while the second angle is the impact on the party being addressed.

From the first angle, which is the angle of the speaker, a delivered speech should be able to convey the thoughts and ideas, which the speaker possesses in his mind. Any other message(s) conveyed by the speech that falls short of these thoughts and ideas of the speaker cannot, in any way, be adjudged to have served its purpose. From the second angle, if the speech delivered evokes from the hearer, the kind of response anticipated by the speaker, the speech is said to possess value. It is, therefore, important to note here that the response exhibited by the hearer can be in certain forms. It can be in the form of possessing and believing in the words/message of the speech in the form of expressing or performing an intended or anticipated action.

It is, therefore, necessary to critically study and analytically discuss the language employed in the delivery of Nigeria’s Independence-Day speeches by President Goodluck Jonathan, the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in 2012, 2013 and 2014, in an attempt to manipulate the opinions of the Nigerian citizens in his favour, and to equally win their support. How meaning is conveyed through these speeches in order to create the desired effect for the president, is a concern of discourse semantics which is a branch of linguistics concerned with the study of meaning. So, it is expected that every word/utterance uttered within a linguistic context must not be devoid of meaning. Based on this, the extent of......

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