Legon Journal of the Humanities

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Aspiring Vice-Chancellors’ rhetoric and the challenges of building a 21st century Nigerian University

OT Akinwale, A Adegoju


This study analyses the manifestos prepared by some candidates aspiring for the post of Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife, Nigeria, between 1999 and 2000. It examines the appropriation of rhetorical tactics by the aspirants to impress upon the target audience that they possess the ability to clearly decipher the problems of the university and determine the required antidote. The study focuses on two major issues that are recurrent in the discourse: the challenges facing the university at the turn of the twenty-first century and the kind of leadership that the university would desire to stem the tide. It adopts Aristotle’s model of rhetoric to analyse the discursive practices of the respective candidates relative to these key issues. It reveals that although the candidates address the same range of subjects, they still, at some point, employ varied rhetorical appeals to manipulate the target audience. Such appeals generally, however, still fall within the range of the rhetoric of political campaign, but they are strategically chosen to reflect the context of the discourse.

Keywords: Manifesto, Nigeria, Political campaign, Rhetoric, University, Vice-Chancellor

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