A Discourse Analysis of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo's Letters to President Muhammadu Buhari
Linguistic analyses of open letters have received much scholarly attention. However, literature on a discourse analysis of former President Olusegun Obasanjo's open letters to Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari is scanty, leaving a lacuna in scholarship in respect of the way linguistic choices are deployed to expose social, political, religious and economic problems within the Nigerian society, especially under the Muhammadu Buhari presidency. The present study, therefore, seeks to carry out a discourse analysis of two open letters written by Obasanjo to Buhari with a view to identifying the way linguistic categories are deployed to expose the perceived social problems associated with the Buhari government. As theoretical model, the study deploys Ulrich Oevermann's Objective Hermeneutics Theory of discourse analysis, which allows the analyst to break their data down into individual linguistic units in a bid to elicit meaning. The data, comprising two of Obasanjo's letters to Buhari, is sourced from Premium Times through purposive sampling method and subjected to descriptive linguistic analysis. The study reveals that Obasanjo deployed linguistic elements such as nouns, pronouns, modals, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, lexical collocations and wise sayings to perform three main functions: condemnation of terrorist activities, castigation of the Buhari administration and selfidentification as national adviser/experienced counsellor. The study also suggests that Obasanjo's letters to Buhari serve a sensitisation/instructional purpose to a perceived insensitive government and express Obasanjo's displeasure about Buhari's administration.
Keywords: Olusegun Obasanjo, Muhammadu Buhari, discourse analysis, political discourse, open letters