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Propaganda in politics: the use of language for effective electioneering campaign




The study is on “Propaganda in politics: the use of language for effective electioneering campaign”. The study has three objectives and three research questions. Qualitative research method was used for the study, which entails documentary method as well. This work sourced for data from both primary and secondary sources. Also information relating to the topic under study was also sourced for from the internet. As regards primary source, the researcher got some texts on language and politics and believed they shall be of great help in making this work a success. Secondary source involved information concerning political speeches of 2015 general election in Nigeria. The findings of this work established that a high level of propaganda pervaded most of the political writings released in the build up to the 2015 general elections in Nigeria. Also, those statements by party loyalists to an extent made impacts on the audience especially the opposition. The opposition on their part did not leave any stone unturned at replying all propagandistic speeches directed at them and this summarily led to the flooding of propaganda in most of the campaign speeches. Sequel to the findings from the analysis done in this work, the researcher will like to proffer some recommendations as part of the projects contribution to the society at large. The following are some of the recommendations: It is glaring that the use of propaganda pervaded the campaigns of the rival parties, damaging of other people’s character, hate speeches, exaggerations, and half-truths among others. This recent trend summarily reduced campaigns from being issue based to trying to outdo the opposition by all means possible. Therefore, the researcher recommends that more emphasis should be laid on issue based campaigns and not making oneself the better by destroying the other.




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 (Laswell, 1977).

To be involved in politics therefore is demanding as certain things must be put into consideration. This is the use of language in politics as a persuading tool which do have significant effect on any electioneering campaign.

Propaganda is as old as mankind. People have tried to influence others to achieve certain goals or objectives throughout the ages.

Originally, propaganda means spreading of good news. When Goebbels, Hitler and other fascists began to use the word to describe their promotional activities, propaganda is associated with the insidious and subversive means of moving a person to predetermined ends (Danziger, 1998).

Propaganda in the most neutral sense means to disseminate or promote particular ideas. In Latin, it means “to propagate” or “to sow”

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In the 20th century, the term propaganda was often associated with manipulative approach, but historically, propaganda has been a neutral descriptive term.

Propaganda is one unique device of politics. This is mostly observed in any electioneering campaign. Longe and Ofuanu (1996:17) argue that propaganda is solely introduced to damage character.

A wide range of materials and media are used for conveying propaganda messages, which changed as new technologies were invented, including paintings, cartoons, posters, pamphlets, films, radio shows, TV shows and websites.

More recently, the digital age has given rise to new ways of disseminating propaganda, for example, bots and algorithms are currently being used to create computational propaganda and fake or biased news and spread it on social media. Using the manifold possibilities offered by the various technologies it is easy to establish a direct channel of communication to every place in the world in not more than a second.

“Propaganda means information, doctrines opinionetc, that are often derogatory, as in political propaganda Films and plays.

These are said to be derogatory because they tend to damage or take away credit from something or someone. The sole purpose of propaganda is to misinform and mislead and to consciously indoctrinate.”

Propaganda is communication that is primarily used to influence an audience and further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is being presented. Propaganda is often associated with material which is prepared by governments, but activist groups, companies, religious organizations, the media and individuals also produce propaganda.

The use of propaganda   many times, present the propagandist (that is the person speaking) as a saint and the person the propaganda is aimed at as the devil that is not fit to lead. The focus of this research however is to show how language plays a significant role in political propaganda as it relates to electioneering campaign.

This work shall focus on the 2015 presidential electioneering campaign in Nigeria. Linguistics device propagandist use to achieve their aim in the afore-mentioned electioneering campaign shall be brought to the fore.



It has been observed that previous researches addressed the role language plays in persuading and educating the electorate during electioneering campaign. This is also known as rhetoric. The researcher observed that much has not been done on the effects of language on the contestants and the electorates with regard to campaign of calumny (propaganda) is yet to be fully studied, with this in mind, this study shall show that language has a great effect on both the electorates and candidates as observed during 2015 general election in Nigeria.


Where ever politics evolves, propaganda is a major tool in deciding the vote. Propaganda itself is not possible without language. Based on this, the study is;

  1. To find out the effect of language on both the electorates and candidates during electioneering campaigns.
  2. To identify major types of propaganda techniques used in Nigeriaelectioneering campaign especially as it relates with2015 presidential election.
  3. To identify the relationship between language and propaganda.
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This research on Propaganda in politics: Use of language for effective electioneering campaign has raised some questions amongst experts and professionals which this study will address. In other to achieve the aim of this study, the researcher should have asked the following questions:

  1. How does the use of linguistic devices affect both candidates and electorates during electioneering campaigns?
  2. What are the major propaganda techniques employed by party members against their opposition party in 2015’s presidential election?
  • What is the relationship between language and propaganda?



This project work Propaganda in politics: the use of language for effective electioneering campaign is designed to determine the extent to which the use of language can be effective in electioneering campaigns.

This study will also be of immense benefits to politicians, especially the public office holders who normally use abusive words during electioneering campaigns as well as make false promises to the citizens.

It may also be a relevant document for further research on propaganda in politics in Nigeria.



This work will dwell in language use and speech act. The study will focus on the language use from the communication point of view and the effect it intend to have on the hearer, employing these features: word coinage, vagueness, repetition, abusive expression, attack on party name and slogan etc. being a persuasive styles adopted by the politicians in political campaign as available in data collected.


The researcher encountered some limitations during the cause of this work which will be listed below;

  1. The greatest limitation in this study is finance. Finance needed in carrying out a standard research is not always easy for any student including researcher. One actually needs a lot of funds to source for credible information and data as regarding the use of propaganda.
  2. Time was also a big constrain, as the researcher was made to work under a given period of time due to the pandemic (Covid19) and annual strike action by University lecturers which also affected the work.
  3. Lack of materials and poor power supply are also issues faced by the researcher.


Since the work involves other discipline other than linguistics, terminologies that will be mentioned often in this work will be defined, such as:

1.8.i  Language

Language is any system structure of sign and meaning for the communication of experience MKC Uwajeh (2002).

Noam Chomsky (2000) says language is the inherent capability of the native speakers to understand and form grammatical sentences. A language is a set of (finite or infinite) sentences each finite length and constructed out of finite set of elements.

 1.8.ii Politics

Politics has no universal definition but has been defined by different scholars from their respective points of view.

According to Harold Laswell, politics is the struggle for power to determine who gets what, when and how(1936).

Aristotlethe father of political science called politics the master science.

According to F.A.C Aramere (2003:3), “politics is the struggle for political power and the use of that power to the acquisition   of other values. Power is therefore the central focus of politics.

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1.8.iii Election

This is act of choosing a representative or the holder of a particular office usually by ballot. Electorate refers to the whole body of persons, who have the right to vote in a country or area. Electioneering is the corresponding adjective of the noun election. It refers to the activities of making speeches and visiting people to try to persuade them to vote for a particular politician or a political party.

1.8.iv Propaganda

According to Oyeneye (1997:41) professor Calvin Coolidge (1964) saying that propaganda seeks to present part of the facts, to distort their relations , and to force conclusion which could not be drawn from a complete and candid survey of all the facts”.

Propaganda is the management of collective attitude by the manipulation of significant symbols. (Lasswell, 1927 p.627)

Propaganda is the consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea or group. (Bernays, 1928, p. 52 in 2005 edition)

An expression of opinion or action by individuals or groups deliberately designed to influence opinions or actions of other individuals or groups with reference to predetermined ends. (Miller, 1939).

Propaganda is a process which deliberately attempts through persuasion-techniques to secure from the propagandee, before he can deliberate freely, the responses desired by the propagandist (Henderson, 1943, p. 83).

Propaganda is the attempt to affect the personalities and to control the behavior of individuals towards ends considered unscientific or of doubtful value in a society at a particular time. (Doob, 1948, p. 240).

Biased communication is a sophisticated term for propaganda, a word feared or avoided by all objective people and therefore a source of darkness and obscurity since nobody wants to talk about it but nevertheless everybody uses it. (Dovring&Lasswell, 1959, p. 5).

Any conscious and open attempt to influence the beliefs of an individual or group guided by a predetermined end and characterized by the systematic use of irrational and often unethical techniques of persuasion (Smith, 1989, p. 80).

Propaganda is a communication to convey a message, an idea, or an ideology that is designed primarily to serve the self-interests of the person doing the communicating (Taylor, 1990, p. 7).

Mass suggestion or influence through the manipulation of symbols and the psychology of individual. (Pratkanis and Aronson, 1992, p.11).

Propaganda represents the work of large organizations or groups to win over the public for special interests through a massive orchestration of attractive conclusions packaged to conceal both their persuasive purpose and lack of sound supporting reasons (Sproule, 1994, p. 8).

Communications where the form and content is selected with the single-minded purpose of bringing some target audience to adopt attitudes and beliefs chosen in advance by the sponsors of communications. (Carey, 1997, p. 20)

Pages:  71

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF         

Chapters: 1-5                                 

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.


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