Processes and Circumstances in President Muhammadu Buhari’s Address to Nigerian Children on 27 May, 2016

Babatunji Hezekiah Adepoju


This paper focuses on processes and circumstances in the 2016 special address of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) to Nigerian children on the World Children’s Day which was first established in 1954 as Universal Children's Day by the United Nations and celebrated in Nigeria on May 27 every year. PMB and indeed the All Progress Congress (APC) were to celebrate a year anniversary of taking over power from another party, the People Democratic Party (PDP) that had ruled Nigeria for sixteen years of uninterrupted control of her economic and political affairs. PMB’s speech on the day was expected to be an appraisal of efforts and activities of the government in the past one year to alleviate the seemingly difficult conditions of the children. An online search yielded PMB’s speech consisting of 529 words of 40 lines and 15 paragraphs. Two concepts, process and circumstance, in Halliday’s Transitivity analysis of the Experiential function of the Ideational metafunction were applied to the speech. This was in the bid to determine the set of options whereby PMB encodes his experience of the Nigerian child and finds out the accompanying system of meanings as circumstantial elements. The findings revealed that PMB’s address chose the major processes particularly the Mental over the other two and ignored the minor ones. Out of the nine basic circumstances, five were employed, bringing out both the merits and shortcomings of the address. It is recommended that linguists and particularly, discourse analysts, should probe the hidden workings of political office holders through their speeches in order to confront them with such and demand societal expectations.


Circumstance, language function, meaning, political speech, process

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