Electoral Defeat, Conversational Practices of Blame and Avoidance of Responsibility in Nigerian Media Political Discourses


  • E. C. Krisagbedo University of Nigeria
  • C. U. Agbedo University of Nigeria
  • A. K. Abubakar University of Nigeria
  • Y. Ibrahim Kogi State College of Education




adjacency pairs, argumentative moves, blame, discursive strategies, electoral defeat, felicity conditions, Nigeria


This paper addresses electoral defeat suffered by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) at the 2015 presidential polls and the communicative character of blame and avoidance of responsibility as evident in the Nigerian media political discourses. Discourse analysts are yet to study the linguistic aspects of blame and avoidance of responsibility in great details. This work is intended as a contribution towards filling this lacuna in knowledge by examining the conversational discursive practices adopted by Nigerian politicians in the circumstances of blame risk to achieve the twin goals of positive self-presentation and consolidation of political capital (Hansson, 2015). Some PDP members enlisted the discursive strategies of blame avoidance, in which blames and denials are carefully and strategically planned to serve positive self-representation (semantic macro-strategy of in-group favouritism) and negative other-representation, that is, semantic macro-strategy of derogation of out-group, (https://www.hse.ru/en/). We illustrate the linguistic mechanism of blame and avoidance of responsibility and how it thrives as a dominant recurrent theme in conflict talk and public communication discourses. The findings tend to enrich and enliven the literature on discourse studies and by extension open fresh vistas of critical research into language use in politics.

Author Biographies

E. C. Krisagbedo, University of Nigeria

Use of English Unit, School of General Studies

C. U. Agbedo, University of Nigeria

Department of Linguistics, Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages

A. K. Abubakar, University of Nigeria

Department of Linguistics, Igbo & Other Nigerian Languages

Y. Ibrahim, Kogi State College of Education

Department of English


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