LEADERSHIP IDEOLOGY AS A FORM OF REPRESENTATION IN THE INAUGURATION SPEECHES OF OLUSEGUN OBASANJO
Presidents of nations have variously used their political speeches to express ideological nuances. Consequently, scholars have examined the various dimensions of language use by political leaders and the ends such use are meant to meet. As many as these studies appear to be, literature is scanty on how former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo deploys linguistic categories in his inauguration speeches to express leadership ideology. This study examines the way power and leadership are expressed in Obasanjo’s two inauguration speeches. It adopts Norman Fairclough’s discourse socio-cultural model of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to explain Obasanjo’s power consciousness which characterises his eight-year democratic government. From Obasanjo’s language repertoire, his two inauguration speeches are purposively sampled as they supposedly provide a blueprint for how he deploys power expressions in a democracy. Linguistic features such as pronouns, assertions, allusions and idioms are subjected to descriptive linguistic analysis to bring out the leadership rhetoric in the inauguration speeches. The study reveals that Obasanjo deploys linguistic features for self-assertion and to portray himself as the messiah needed to heal Nigeria of its ailments.