1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Man by nature is a political animal. This suggests that man is
both gregarious and solitary. Politics focuses on ‘who gets what’,
‘when and how’. It determines the process through which power and
influence are used in the promotion of certain values and interests
(Lasswell, 1977). To be involved in politics therefore is demanding as
certain things must be put into consideration. This is the use of
language of propaganda in politics as a persuading tool which do have
significant effect on voter’s behaviour and is however the centre-piece
of this study. This can also be termed ‘political Language.
Political campaigns are an organized effort which
seeks to influence the decision-making process within a specific group
or environment. It can also be viewed as the mobilization of forces
either by an organization or individuals to influence others in order
to effect an identified and desired political change. It shows people
and particularly, political candidates’ ability to sensitize the
political community in relation to making the community see them as
potentials and better representatives of the people. At any rate, every
campaign is unique, and the ultimate goal of almost every political
campaign is to win election (Lynn, 2009).
The priceless rights of our democracy are perhaps
the dearest to all is the guarantee of the freedom to speak and
publish what we want (with-in the limits of decency and the libel laws).
However, this freedom of speech provides a scope for propaganda for
those unscrupulous enough to exploit it for their own ends.
The word Propaganda itself used to be a
respectable term, originally meaning the spreading of good news. When
Goebbels, Hitler and other Fascists began to use the word to describe
their promotional activities, propaganda started its slide into
disrepute. Today propaganda is associated with the insidious and
subversive means of moving a person to predetermined ends (Danziger,
Common media for transmitting propaganda messages
include news reports, government reports, historical revision, junk
science, books, leaflets, movies, radio, television, and posters. In
the case of radio and television, propaganda can exist on news,
current-affairs or talk-show segments, as advertising or public-service
announce "spots" or as long-running advertorials. The uses of language
of propaganda in campaigns often follow a strategic transmission
pattern to indoctrinate the target group. This may begin with a simple
transmission such as a leaflet dropped from a plane or an advertisement.
Generally these messages will contain directions on how to obtain more
information, via a web site, hot line, radio program, etc. The
strategy intends to initiate the individual from information recipient
to information seeker through reinforcement, and then from information
seeker to opinion leader through indoctrination. What seems to be very
important in any political campaign is the ‘message’ that is sent to
the electorates. A campaign message is an important and potent tool
that politicians use to express views and feelings to the public with
the intention of reshaping and redirecting the electorates’ opinions to
align with theirs with the use of language of propaganda. The message
should be a simple statement that can be repeated severally throughout
the campaign period to persuade the target audience or influence
voters’ act in the candidates’ favour and describes the opposition in
bad light. The campaign message ought to contain the salient ingredients
that the candidate wishes to share with the voters and these must be
repeated often in order to create a lasting impression on the voters.
Propaganda is the expression of opinions or actions
carried out deliberately by individuals or groups with a view to
influence the opinions or actions of other individuals or groups for
predetermined ends through psychological manipulations (Jacque, 1965).
It is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide range of media in
order to stimulate and sensitize the electorates and by extension,
assist in harming an opponent.
Persuasion is a process by which someone, usually
by reasoned arguments or logic, appeal to sound judgment in order to
attain his set goals. A persuasive language soothes the voters
particularly, when topics or issues that revolve around problems that
affect voters are repeatedly mentioned in the course of the campaign.
It also follows that the language of political campaign embodied in
propaganda and rhetoric, is persuasive because most politicians adopt
these linguistic devices to cajole the electorates to vote for them and
their political parties by presenting themselves as the only capable
individuals for the position (Omozuwa and Ezejideaku, 2007).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The language of propaganda in politics has been described as a
language of ridicule, and reproach, pleading and persuasion, colour and
bite permeated. It is a language designed to exult some men, destroy
some and change the mind of others (Omozuwa and Ezejideaku, 2007). The
point is that the phenomenon of persuasion is an integral part of
politics and a necessary component of the pursuit and exercise of
power. Politicians use a variety of techniques to ensure they captivate
voter’s attention and establish credibility and trust amongst the
electorates. However, the researcher seeks to examine the effect of
language of propaganda on persuading voters in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine the effect of
language of propaganda on persuading voters in Nigeria and the
following are the specific objectives:
- To analyze the effect of language of propaganda on persuading voters in Nigeria.
- To identify different types of political propaganda strategies in Nigeria.
- To identify how politicians benefit from the use of language of propaganda as a persuasive tool.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the effect of language of propaganda on persuading voters in Nigeria?
- What are the different types of political propaganda strategies in Nigeria?
- How does politicians benefit from the use of language of propaganda as a persuasive tool?
HO: Language of propaganda cannot be used in persuading voters in Nigeria.
HA: Language of propaganda can be used in persuading voters in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- This study will be of benefit to the general electorate on
the influence of the language of propaganda used by political leaders
on their behaviour. It will also educate the stakeholders in the
politics on the different types of propaganda and its effect in
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other
scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in
this field subsequently, if applied, it will go to an extent to
provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study on the effect of language of propaganda on
persuading voters will cover all the strategy of propaganda in the
politician speeches during the course of electioneering campaign. It
will also cover the benefits of the use of language of propaganda in
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to
impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant
materials, literature or information and in the process of data
collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will
simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This
consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Politics: the activities associated with the governance of a
country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.
Propaganda: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.
Language: the method of human communication, either spoken or
written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and
Voters: a person who votes or has the right to vote at an election.
Danziger, R. S. (1985). Speech communication: Fundamentals and practice. Englewood cliffs: Prentice- Hall Inc.
Jacque, E. (1965). Propaganda: The formation of men’s attitude. New York: Vintage Books.
Lasswell, P. (1977). Foundations of science. London: Hutchinson and Co. Publishers.
Lynn, S. (2009). Political campaign planning manual: A step by
step guide to winning elections. Retrieved from www.ndi.
Omozuwa, V. E., & E. U. C. Ezejideaku (2007). A stylistic
analysis of the language of political campaigns in Nigeria: Evidence
from the 2007 general elections. Retrieved from