Conceptual Metaphors in President Muhammadu Buhari's Political Rhetoric

  • Zubairu Malah Department of English, Yobe State University, Damaturu, Nigeria
  • Dinyo Shadrach Taiwo Umar Suleiman College of Education, Gashua, Yobe State, Nigeria
Keywords: conceptual metaphors, delegitimization, forming legitimacy, ideology, persuasion, political discourse, political rhetoric, president muhammadu buhari


Conceptual metaphors continue to receive scholarly attention from discourse analysts taking political discourse seriously. Studies are often interested in the versatile discourse functions of metaphors; how political leaders deploy them as powerful weapons in their armory of political oratory. Therefore, this study extends the current knowledge by exploring conceptual metaphors in President Muhammadu Buhari’s political rhetoric. It was guided by two major questions: (1) What types of conceptual metaphors does President Muhammadu Buhari deploy in his political rhetoric? and (2) What rhetorical functions do the Conceptual Metaphors deployed in President Muhammadu Buhari’s political rhetoric perform? The study’s theoretical impetus was Lakoff and Johnson’s (1980) Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), and Charteris-Black’s (2009) Contemporary Model of Metaphor and Political Communication was also applied in the analysis. The speeches analyzed include: (1) Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Primaries Speech, (2) Muhammadu Buhari’s Acceptance Speech, (3) Muhammadu Buhari’s Victory Speech and (4) Muhammadu Buhari’s (First) Presidential Inaugural Speech. The results show that President Buhari, in his political rhetoric, mostly uses HUMAN metaphors (32%), WAR metaphors (21%) and JOURNEY metaphors (16%). Moreover, further analysis revealed that Buhari mostly uses conceptual metaphors to establish his ethical integrity, heighten emotional impact and communicate his anti-corruption and political ideologies. The study concluded that conceptual metaphors are vital resources for construction of persuasion in President Muhammadu Buhari’s political rhetoric.


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