ELECTIONS 2023: The Practice of Coercive Metaphor in the Nigerian Media and the Need for a Critical News Reading Strategy



The Independent National Electoral Commission has published the list of candidates presented by political parties for executive and legislative posts. Many political parties and candidates had spoken informally with the public and potential voters before the list was released. Their interactions and movements have been and continue to be reported by the media through various frames and perspectives. Coverage largely focused on post-election issues and assessing the candidates’ skills, credentials and previous political roles.

In all of these cases, the media has successfully shaped the public’s perception of candidates and their political parties. The result has also been that some people have not yet been convinced, despite the media’s use of a legitimating framework, because media sources are not only used to make decisions about trait commentary. X-rayed personality and candidate acceptance. There are opinion leaders in various communities who wield more power and authority than traditional and new media. Some people prefer to get more information about candidates and political parties from the leaders of their respected community and sociopolitical organizations.

As stated earlier, the media does not necessarily influence people’s opinions through its reporting; rather, they highlight certain aspects of a problem or a person to the point where the subject of the discourse is seen as important and worthy of concern. To do this, various forms of linguistic communication must be used. One of the forms is metaphor, which has several classifications. In this article, the coercive metaphor is examined in light of the continued coverage of political needs and issues in Nigeria ahead of the 2023 general election.

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When media simplify, animalize, delegitimize, emotive, and dramatize issues or people in relation to specific objects, situations, or conditions, it is called coercive metaphor. Although the information in this article is drawn from the actions of the media and political actors before the 2023 general elections, our analyst notes that it will remain relevant in the future because the attitudes, behaviors and norms governing the actions studied probably won’t change. significantly.

A review of media coverage of specific issues and political actors reveals that all five types of coercive metaphors have been widely used. Since the emergence of presidential candidates for the dominant political parties (All Progressives Congress, People’s Democratic Party and Labor Party), the media, especially newspapers, have made extensive use of these forms. The forms have been used to confer status and destabilize the image of candidates and political parties.

Let’s look at some examples of coercive metaphors from some newspapers. With the intention of impressing upon Nigerians that focusing or believing in the Messiah for the issue of leadership is no longer tenable, September 20, 2022, This day wrote that Kukah: Nigeria doesn’t need Messiah in 2023. The news stated that “The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Reverend Matthew Kukah, has said that Nigeria does not need a messiah in 2023, but a true leader who will give the whole country what regardless of tribe, language or faith, a sense of belonging and right direction Kukah said Nigerians could not afford another mistake of pinning their hopes on some messiah-like figure.” The title and the introduction that follows fall within the metaphor of simplification, which aims to impress on Nigerians that hanging their hope on a messiah-like figure (the key part of the metaphor) would be catastrophic in 2023. and beyond.

Although this case is positive, the title of The Guardian which was developed from an interview with a journalist creates fear in the minds of the public. The newspaper wrote that “preparing for the 2023 elections gives no cause for optimism that things will go well.” He tries to simplify the current state of political activity, which the reporter says is not positive enough, but he ultimately expects the public to panic during the election.

As the election approaches, our analyst also notes that public and potential voters should be wary of metaphors of animalization. These metaphors are created specifically to bully the personalities of individuals, groups and organizations ahead of elections. For example, the use of earthquake in this title: PDP trembles as Wike’s group pulls out of Atiku campaign in The nation is an example of an animalization metaphor. With the approach of the presidential election, the newspaper wants readers to see the party eroding under the effect of internal crises.

Using the same metaphorical approach, Daily Trust wrote Primaries: Despite generating billions, APC faces a cash crunch. This headline paints the party as a failure in terms of managing the massive revenue generated from forms sold in its primary elections. These titles are also good for the metaphor of dramatization, establishing that certain people or groups should be seen as enemies and demons in both situations.

The emotionalism metaphor approaches human angles or interests in such a way that readers see the actors or stakeholders who are supposed to provide the necessary solutions to the problems identified as demons. For instance, Avant-garde reported that Gumi laments injustice and poverty in the run-up to the 2023 general election. of groups. For example, although the title (Abiodun, Amosun exchange hot words on the 2023 elections) hides elements that identify the title as containing a metaphor of delegitimization, referring to Senator Ibikunle Amosun’s statement by The punch that Governor Dapo Abiodun won the election through rigging points aimed at destroying his image and authority (Dapo Abiodun). Tinubu will be a sleeping president – National Chairman of NNPP, a title of Daily Trust is another example of a delegitimization metaphor.

Critical news reading strategy

According to reports, Nigerians, especially potential voters, who look to the media as a source of information about political parties, candidates and their platforms, need to improve their critical thinking in order to effectively understand the implications of the nuances embedded in the new. stories. News stories, in particular, should not be read by their titles alone. Full stories should be given top priority. Not only the messages should be considered when reading news, but also the characters and their positions on the objects (topics) of the discourse.

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