Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Humanities

Advisor 1

Victoria Bergvall

Committee Member 1

Patricia Sotirin

Committee Member 2

Craig Waddell


What does “change” mean in the strands of discourse circulating in the Nigerian political discourse? In this study, I deploy the principles of Critical Discourse Analysis, particularly Discourse-Historical Approach (Reisigl and Wodak 2016) to examine how the “change” slogan was deployed in selected presidential and religious addresses. While Buhari presents himself an agent of "change" in his 2014 Declaration Speech, employing linguistic forms of positive nomination and predication to describe himself and his party as “transparent” and “credible,” he criticizes his opponent with negative formations of the same strategies: “unthinking government” and “oppressive”. However, faced with the complexity of governing a modern democracy, in a “Change Begins With Me” speech, Buhari exhorts Nigerians to themselves model change before they ask the government to deliver on the promise of “change”. Often deployed in political discourse, both the ambiguity of “change” and the contentious nature of political discourse also emerges in related media discourse, where a prominent Nigerian clergyman, Reverend Ejike Mbaka, invokes religious metaphors as discursive re-appropriation of the president’s campaign slogan, warning that Buhari risks being blown away by the “wind of change.” Thus, I analyze the intertextual re-contextualization of the “change” slogan in Nigerian political discourse in order to reveal how political tensions emerge through discursive formation.