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Benson Idahosa University Discourse (BIUDISCOURSE): Journal of Arts and Education,

Vol.2, No.1, 2007, p.95-110

Metaphors of power and corruption in media


discourse

Innocent Chiluwa
Department of Languages
Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria

Abstract

Two issues that have attracted a wide range of reactions in Nigeria have been unconstitutional wielding
of political power and widespread corruption. These two socio-political pandemics are closely linked
and militate against national development. Although much has been written about them, not much
study has been done on how media reports represent these very important issues. This paper shows that
metaphors of power and corruption are used discursively in media stories as a means of sensitizing,
motivating and mobilizing the people towards social change. Data are obtained from some publications
of The Guardian, The Punch, Tell, and The News between 1998 and 2006. The study demonstrates that
in media discourse, metaphors of power and corruption are constructed to explain some schema that
communicates the peculiar Nigerian experience. Metaphors of power demonstrate that political power
in Nigeria whether military or civilian are obvious manifestations of autocracy, despotism and tyranny,
while the metaphors of corruption show that corruption is a regular activity especially among public
officers in Nigeria and whose effect is extremely destructive. The paper therefore concludes that
metaphors are an effective means of communicating reality and the issues of national development.

1.0. Introduction

The need for national integration and sustained development has preoccupied the interest of
many development agencies and institutions in Nigeria, especially the mass media. The mass
media provide an effective medium for disseminating persuasive messages of national unity
and national development. Previous studies on media discourse in Nigeria have concentrated
on issues relating to textuality of newspaper editorials, thematic structures of news reports
and speech dimensions of news headlines (See Osisanwo 2001; Taiwo 2001and 2004). The
present study attempts to reveal a dimension in the language use of the mass media in Nigeria
by focusing on the use of metaphors as a discursive means of challenging unconstitutional
wielding of political power and wide spread corruption in the Nigeria body polity. A study of
this nature adopts a discourse analytical approach in the study of news reports and their roles
towards achieving national development. As a form of socio-linguistic research this study
shows how language functions in the Nigerian social context, taking for granted that language
is a social practice and a part of social processes, (Fairclough, 1989).
Media discourse in this context represents language use in news reports; news reports
being stories of social events, which aim at influencing the reader positively or negatively,
while news itself refers to stories or information about social events that are of interest to a
sufficiently large group, or that may affect the lives of a sufficiently large group (Reah
1998:4). It varies depending on the subject matter of the report, the anticipated audience, and
the ideology of the newspaper or magazine. News is actually a product of journalistic
process, an end result of a systematic sorting and selecting of events and topics according to
a socially constructed set of categories (Fowler, 1991:12).
The Guardian, The Punch, Tell and The News have been chosen for this study because of

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their prominence in the Nigerian media industry and their role in the Nigeria socio-political
history especially beginning from the last two military regimes to the present civil
government. For instance The Guardian, often considered as Nigerias leading newspaper
and won the best newspaper award in editorial writing in 2006, was proscribed twice in 1994
and 1995 for challenging military dictatorship while Tell, also an award willing news
magazine, had been constantly harassed by security agents. The Punch newspaper was
proscribed for almost one year in 1995 while the production rooms of The News magazine
were set ablaze by unknown arsonists in December, 1995. About 80,000 copies of the 15th
edition of the magazine were seized by the police in Lagos in February, 1999. The roles of
these popular newspapers and magazines in the complex management and dissemination of
information stands out in the Nigerian media industry. They are often considered as the most
widely read throughout the country and adjudged as elitist, stubborn and ferocious
especially in their fight against military dictatorship and struggle for democratic ideals and
social emancipation.

2.0. Language Use in News Reports

A general characteristic of most newspaper reporting is the simplicity and clarity of


language use, probably because it is written and read by people in a hurry (Brook,
1973:104). However, in news magazines, language is rather pompous, though refined in
content. Feature articles are often replete with multiple sentences that are realized by
subordinate clauses. This no doubt undermines meaning and hinders easy reading. This style
is probably due to the fact that news magazines are weekly publications that last longer than
daily newspapers. Readers can afford to sit back in their homes to read magazines throughout
a whole week, since the news is still considered as current within the period. Newspaper
stories are usually written in small units of paragraphs and some of these paragraph units have
their own subheadings at the centre of the columns. But in a magazine, paragraphs are longer
and follow the conventional group of sentences order.
Another common feature of news reporting is the introduction of the subject of a sentence
before the speaker in a reported form. Again this is a strategy to present information, which is
considered significant and likely to catch the readers attention. Expressions such as The
Americans, Malu said, are willing to cooperate, instead of The Americans are willing to
cooperate, said Malu or the biggest motivation of all, said Chukwube, is to etc are
highly subscribed to in media reports. Part of the information is first introduced, then the
speaker, followed by the complement.
News reports, especially headlines are characterized by unusual verbs, metaphorical
coinages and puns that make certain elements in the news highly sensational. Usages such as
briefed, chauffeured, catapulted, entertellment are some regular features. And because of
their love for emotive effects, journalists generally employ metaphorical phrases such as a
diary of killings, a haven of peace, a politics of the stomach, etc. whose meanings, if
expressed in non-metaphorical terms, might pass unnoticed. Words especially in newspapers
are brisk and crisp, often involving the use of metaphors as alternatives to longer expressions.
For instance someone in a conflict situation is embattled; a lucrative business is a gold-mine
while to make an arrest is to crackdown on. Journalists would generally refer to a military
ruler as a junta and to reach an agreement as a truce; a hot quarrel is usually a feud while to
set aside is to earmark. These expressions have since become part of the Nigerian media
register.
Journalists are fast popularizing some social slang like area boys, 419 business, braggarts
or layabouts which are coinages that represent the Nigerian social context. Right now, news
reporting is also popularizing some loan words and slang. Words like parley, mayhem,
brouhaha, braggadocio, junta, kangaroo, guillotine or gusto feature regularly in the news,
even in headlines. Words from other language registers are often borrowed and made to
function in intertextual relationships. Thus intertexuality is often achieved in media texts
demonstrating the extent of mobility of discourse types - how discourse of other genres is
integrated in media discourse. For instance, to take over from someone is to change baton,

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alluding to sports, while someone who offers a helping hand is a Good Samaritan, with
allusion to the Bible.
Idiomatic expressions are replete in media reports. From the newspapers and magazines
under study, idioms like a chip of the old block, chart a new course, keep body and soul
together, the clouds getting darker etc are a regular feature. These idioms are often effectively
used, such that their meanings become obvious within the context of use.
Abbreviations and acronyms are also used for discourse effects. Though often used for
economy of space, the fact remains that both reporters and readers seem to prefer and
understand abbreviations and acronyms better than their full expressions. DPO for example,
is better used by many people rather than Divisional Police Officer. It is easier to simply
write MTN or CELTEL because their meaning is taken for granted. The use of metaphors as
effective functional elements in media reports, which is our focus in this study, is a major
discourse strategy in development communication. Thus this study will attempt to answer the
following questions:

(i) How are social conditions represented in the metaphors of power and
corruption as reflected in the news?

(ii) What imperatives of national unity and development are encoded in these
metaphors

3.0. Metaphor and Metaphorisation

The simplest form of explaining linguistic metaphor is to say that a reference peculiar to one
word is transferred to another, i.e. one thought in the image of another that is better suited to
making it more tangible or more striking than if it were presented directly and without any
sort of disguise (Ricoeur 1978:60). This involves a process of mapping across two
conceptual domains or semantic fields. Usually two domains are activated on the mind of a
discourse participant and that leads to the noticing of incongruity, the resolution of which
results in the construction of a meaning for the expression (Cameron 2003:12). It therefore
involves parts of a text being used to refer not to their conventional referents, but
unconventionally to other objects or concepts (Goatly 1993:113). Cameron (2003) identifies
four components of metaphor, namely focus, frame, topic and vehicle. Focus (i.e. the lexical
item) is also known as the vehicle of the metaphor while topic is the ongoing discourse. The
rest of the phrase or sentence against which it appears incongruous is the frame of the
metaphor (2003:10). Explaining metaphor as the conceptual process of domain transfers is
often attributed to Aristotle, which is based on the substitution theory. However Aristotle
discusses the particular force of metaphors of analogy, giving examples of words or phrases
including nouns, verbs and adjectives used in a metaphorical sense. In analogical metaphor
two terms in the topic domain stand in the same relation to each other as two terms in the
vehicle domain. Analogy highlights the relations in the two domains which metaphor brings
together. To Aristotle, understanding metaphor is about the process of finding similarities
within differences (Kittay 1987, Cameron 2003). He suggested that in order to reach an
interpretation, hearers would need to draw on shared cultural understanding. This would mean
that metaphor combines both semantic and pragmatic processes because the discourse context
and background knowledge of discourse participants contribute to the meaning of metaphor.
The Substitution theory characterizes metaphor as renaming of the topic by the vehicle the
application of one thing of the name belonging to another (Atchison 1987:144). This idea of
mapping across conceptual domains is reduced to the linking of concepts or entities, with the
relations in the domain left out though generally taken for granted. This is closely related to
the comparison theory which suggests that a literal equivalent of a metaphor can be held as a
comparison or a statement of similarity. In this view metaphor is viewed as a reduced
simile (Cameron 2003:16) since a literal equivalent of every metaphor exists and the

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similarities generated by the metaphorical comparison may be applied in all cases. The
interaction theory developed by Black (1962) on the other hand, highlights the cognitive roles
of metaphor to account for how new understanding can be created through metaphor. In the
interaction view, a mental process linking topic and vehicle generates new meanings rather
than activating pre-existing similarities as in the substitution and comparison theories. In this
interactive process two complexes interact through mental processes of selection, mapping
and organization to produce a new understanding that cannot be paraphrased with literal
equivalents (Cameron 2003).
A thorough knowledge of metaphor enables the writer or speaker to encode meanings
subtly either in creating the metaphor of tension, or that his metaphor is a deviation from a
form of the past, or giving insight, as opposed to the very popular mere juxtaposition of any
two objects, which do usually go together a knowledge of metaphor enables us see what is
possible to say and how to say it (Shibles 1971:23).
Elaborating on Aristotles explanation of metaphor Chilton (1988) adds that it is
perceiving one thing a story or a conceptualized reality, called script (or frame/schema) in
terms of another script (or frame). Some are culture specific and some are a product of our
cultural symbols and highly useful in seeking to plant a picture of reality on anyones mind.
In these terms, metaphor becomes a license for policy change and for political and economic
action and not just a way of viewing reality (Chilton, 1988:61). Metaphor is unconsciously
entrenched in our language semantic system, that we use them naturally and unconsciously.
The question of whether metaphors are all the time a valid way of representing reality
brings the notion of morphisms (Chilton 1988). Metaphor-morphism therefore is a
process of constructing a script to explain a problematic schema. For instance if there is a
difficult domain to explain, e.g. Abacha or the House of Representatives, there will be a
transfer of the basic terms of the problematic domain into the terms of some domain which
has a more familiar schema e.g. tiger, or house of fraud respectively. Then some relevant
deductions are drawn e.g. tiger is restless, aggressive, wild; the house of fraud is fraudulent
and deceptive. These qualities are translated back to the first literal domain of concern (i.e.
Abacha, the House of Representative), hence Abacha is wild, restless and aggressive or the
House of Representatives is a fraud. Our ordinary conceptual system in terms of which we
both think and act is fundamentally metaphorical (Chilton, 1988:60).
However, the argument is not just whether metaphorical analysis is aesthetically pleasing
but that whether they are valid at all. Do metaphors have the tendency to conceptually
mislead, or will it lead to a potentially dangerous interpretation of reality? While it is often
generally accepted that the late Gen. Abacha for instance was aggressive, does the tiger script
best describe the character of the late president? The ideas or perceptions of our social
dilemma become quite crucial in terms of how best they are encoded in metaphors and how
social meaning is represented in language. The role of metaphor in social discourse in finding
explanation to socio-political realities is however very significant. Again the perception of
resemblances gives metaphor another significant advantage to explain the complexities of the
Nigerian socio-cultural context. Metaphors function in the Nigerian press as a means of
reasoning and arriving at some possible valid conclusions. This function means that
metaphor is not a special species, confined to literature, but an instrument for policy change
and social development.

4.0. Data

The data for this study comprise the publications of Tell, The New, The Guardian and The
Punch between 1998 and 2006. This period covers both the military and civilian governments
in Nigeria. It witnessed the height of military dictatorship in Nigeria, and the tensions
associated with the transition to democratic rule. From a corpus of fifty (50) general
metaphors from headlines and news reports, thirty-eight (38) that are specifically those that

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relate to power and corruption have been purposively selected for the purpose of this analysis.
The data are presented in the two broad groups namely (i) Metaphors of Power (ii) Metaphors
of corruption (See tables). Each of the groups is further sub-divided into categories in terms
of the functions of the metaphors as Renaming (substitution) metaphor; Analogous
(comparison) metaphor and Hyperbolic (comparison) metaphors.

METAPHORS OF POWER

Renaming Metaphors

(Ghali Umar Na Abba) (i) The Lion and his deputy, (ii) the tiger (Tell, May 13, 2002)
Na Abba, (iii) the potentate (Tell, September16, 2002)
(Gov. Yerima) (iv) the Butcher of Zamfara (The News April 10, 2000, p. 12)
(Ibrahim Babangida) (v) the Maradona of Nigerias military politics (The News,
August 3, 1998)

Analogous Metaphors

It took both the plan of man and the act of God to rescue (Nigerians) from (vi) the
valley of the shadow of death (The News, January 11, 1999)
indirectly working with Mustapha while his (Mustaphas) (vii) romance with power
lasted in Aso Rock (Tell, December 27, 1999)
With the discussion over the next agenda was lunch, one of Andy Ubas official (viii)
provinces Even to the other dinners, the incident was just another (ix) paragraph in
the story of Andy Uba (Andy Uba is Special Assistant to the President on Domestic
Powers) (The News, February 21, 2005, p.15)
At last, the process of Obasanjos (x) sit-tight agenda takes of. President Olusegun
Obasanjo (xi) a bull, forcing its ways through the forest, disregarding herbs, shrubs
and creepers (The News, February 28, 2005, p.20 )

METAPHORS OF CORRUPTION
Renaming Metaphors

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Analogous Metaphors

Knowing that the attention of law enforcement agencies would be


directed by keeping the peace during Marshal Harrys burial, saboteurs
(v) bleeding the Nigerian economy dry perfected their strategy.

Years of accumulated bad habits, reckless government, and outright


looting of the countrys treasury continue to sink the nation further in
the (vi) abyss of poverty (Tell, October 20, 2003, p.20)

Fifty-six (vii) ghost workers have been discovered in the payroll of Pat

ani Local Government of Delta (The Punch, November 17, 2004, p.22)

Nigerias economy still far from (viii) good health (Obasanjo addressing
Nigerians in Tokyo, Japan on the efforts of government to reform the
economy) (ThePunch, December 2, 2004, p.11)

One of the governors most (ix) milked by Balogun was Delta state
governor, Chief James IboriPoliticians were not the only class Balogun (x) bled,
high profile suspects also (xi) hemorrhaged (The News, January 31, 2005, p.17)
A distressing (xii) picture of alleged corrupt practices in Nigerias leadership sector
was yesterday (xiii) painted by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu(The Guardian, September 28, 2006,
p.24)

Federal Law Makers may confront an (xiv) ugly fire, dangerous but frenzied clamour
for setting up an Interim National Government (ING)The ING is a (xv) stillbirth.
They thought about it and it (xvi) died, before (xvii) delivery. There was a bill on ING
but they will not present it to the National Assembly because the idea is unpopular.
They wanted to (xviii) sell the idea first, but it failed. What they want now is tenure
extension. (The Guardian, August 21, 2006, p.1)

Hyperbolic Metaphors

Expectations of (xix) bombshell answers to these (xx) multi-million dollar questions


(e.g. Did El-Rufai and other ministerial nominees bribe to facilitate senates approval of
their nominations? Who were the bribe takers, etc? So thick in the over-crowed Hearing
Room 2 of the senate, you could (xxi) slice through with a knife. And when the petit

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minister (xxii) stormed the hall at about 10.45 am, Tuesday October 7, 2003, the place
was (xxiii) rocked by a thunderous ovation, even as El-Rufai flanked by some men in
black suits, strutted to his position like a rampaging general, about (xxiv) to drop an
atomic bomb. (Tell, October 20, 2003, p.37)

Though Ribadu failed to disclose the report details, it was clear from his subsequent
utterances that (Tafa) Balogun (a former Inspector General of the Police) had been
caught with (xxv) dinosaur-sized skeletons in his closetThe other (account) opened
on 15 January, 2001, had an initial deposit of N228 million. With accrued interest, it
(xxvi) ballooned to a balance of N301 million by the time investigators (xxvii) homed
in. (The News, January 31, 2005, p.15)

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Representation of the main metaphor groups in the data

Group No. Percentage


Metaphors of Power 11 29%
Metaphors of Corruption 27 71%

5.0. Analysis

5.1. Metaphors of Power

Metaphors often violate the maxim of quality (Davidson, 1978) and rely on the
illocutionary information of the expression. The analogy or the logical link between the two
conceptual domains which metaphor brings together especially for achieving the kind of
pragmatic information that is intended is very important. In investigating the metaphors of
power therefore, certain elements of social or political power need be identified in order to
see how metaphors in media discourse construct the Nigerian situation.
Social or political power confers on its holder the authority and control over other people.
Totalitarian power, for instance, is absolute and autocratic which is at variance with
democratic power. Totalitarianism is a system of government and ideology in which all socio-
political, economic, intellectual, and spiritual activities are subordinated to the purposes of the
rulers of a state a system characterized by autocracy, despotism, absolutism and tyranny.
Power in a political democracy resides with the people who voluntarily confer it on certain
individuals as an instrument of state control and governance. In Africa, however, state power
is often converted to autocratic power which is exercised to oppress and terrorize the people.
Military governments which have formed the major part of the Nigerian historical experience
are autocratic and dictatorial. This hinders national development. In modern democracies
however, certain traits of totalitarian government are evident. We shall examine how this is
constructed in the renaming metaphors.
5.1.1 Renaming Metaphors
Renaming metaphor is based on the substitution theory where the name belonging to one
thing is applied to another (Atchison 1987); usually the topic is substituted with the vehicle.
For instance, in the data, Ghali Umar Na Abba is called the Lion or the potentate; his
deputy is renamed the tiger. Governor Yerima is substituted for the butcher of Zamfara
while Ibrahim Babangida is renamed the Maradona of Nigerias military politics. Here
metaphor according to Aristotle identifies the similarity that exists within differences, i.e. how
the schema, in this case, the Nigeria political experience is effectively captured by the vehicle
domain. By the renaming strategy, Nigerias political leaders are constructed as wild,
belligerent, brutal, autocratic and deceptive, which are linked with the leadership roles of
NaAbba, Yerima, and Babangida. This captures a socio-political environment akin to a
totalitarian system but antithesis to a legitimate democracy. Interestingly NaAbba and
Yerima representing the civilian government and Babangida representing military dictatorship
are constructed with the same scripts that portray the two systems as insensitive to the well-
being of the citizens. This has delayed the rate of development in Nigeria since independence.

5.1.2. Analogous Metaphors


The substitution theory is closely related to the comparison theory which suggests that a
literal equivalent of a metaphor can be held as a comparison or a statement of similarity. This

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is based on the assumption that a literal equivalent of every metaphor exists and the
similarities generated by the metaphorical comparison may be applied in all cases. In the data,
the socio-political situation in Nigeria, which was characterized by assassinations, bombings
and general insecurity during the late Sani Abachas dictatorship is compared to as the valley
of the shadow of death an analogy that anchored largely on the cultural and religious
sensibilities of the Nigerian people. Relating this to the kind of power the late Sani Abacha
exercised, the metaphor portrays his government as oppressive, dictatorial and tyrannical.
Mustaphas involvement in the military administration is compared to romance, which
views Mustapha as an ardent believer and lover in Abachas military dictatorship. Similarly,
both President Obasanjos and Ubas political offices, are compared to a province.
Obasanjos penchant for power is sequel to sitting tight and his activities to perpetuate his
government irrespective of constitutional procedures are compared to as the bull,
disregarding herbs, shrubs, and creepers. Analogous metaphors enhance our imagination and
increase the creation of reality on our mind. By seeing one script, often complex, in terms of
another, which is simpler and easier to understand, meaning becomes clearer. Although some
analogical metaphors may be exaggerated and fail to represent reality appropriately, the truth
remains that the use of analogy metaphors is one of the best discourse strategies for encoding
meaning.
5.2. Metaphors of Corruption
Describing corruption in public service, Iroanusi (2006:2) says: if an employee receives
any property or other benefits, materials or otherwise of any kind for himself or for other
persons, over and above his just wages on account of anything done or to be done by him in
the performance of his duties, then he will be said to be guilty of corruption. In general
terms, such an employee (specifically, a public servant) has placed his personal interest above
those of the state, which in most cases has resulted in either outright looting of state treasury
or some extreme cases of economic sabotage. In the mass media, corruption is
constructed not just as a passive case of economic fraud, but as a tangible entity whose overt
effect are visible on every facet of Nigerias national life.
5.2.1. Renaming Metaphors
In the tradition of the interaction theory of metaphor, i.e. where a mental process linking
topic and vehicle generates new meanings rather than activating pre-existing similarities, a
former Nigerian House of Representative is renamed, a House of Fraud a supposed
environment where nothing else takes place but fraudulent practices. Looting of the treasury
is called a pastime, i.e. looting is practised as a matter of leisure or hobby, while members of
the oil mafia are renamed group of pirates. 419 is a Nigerian coinage for advance fee
fraud. Again renaming metaphors enable a writer or speaker to encode meaning, applying a
principle which recognizes similarities among entities being linked together.

5.2.2. Analogous Metaphors


Metaphorical references and comparisons, as we have seen so far, exploit the similarities
that exist between two conceptual domains, i.e. the topics and vehicles of metaphor. In the
above data, the nations poverty is compared to the biblical abyss and by implication,
Nigerians are practically in hell. Here, metaphors attempt to explain the effect of corruption
in terms of this seeming reality. Saboteurs continue to bleed the Nigerian economy dry and
the President (Olusegun Obasanjo) confessed that the nation was far from good health a
health script which compares the economy with a sick man, whose ill-health was caused by
bleeding that leads to death. In other words, corruption has the tendency to destroy the
economy completely. The economy is to be perceived in terms of a bleeding man or a cow
being milked out of life. The image of the loss of blood is again reinforced by the analogous
metaphor hemorrhage. Corruption is constructed as an ongoing practice as fifty-six ghost
workers were discovered in the payroll of a Local Government in Delta. Ghost is an assumed

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entity, but the idea of non-existence is transferred to a situation where non-existent workers
are taken for real and remunerated in a deliberated practice of corruption. Thus, through
analogous metaphors corruption and effect on the Nigerian economy is constructed in news
reports in concrete terms for the reader to see clearly.

5.2.3. Hyperbolic Metaphors


Hyperbolic metaphors are a form analogous metaphor but in this case, a vehicle script is
linked with a literal equivalent which is deliberately exaggerated for some discourse effect.
Interestingly much of the metaphors of corruption are hyperbolic, either renaming a
conceptual domain, or analogical, based on the comparison theory. For instance in the data,
exaggerations bombshell answers and multi-million dollar questions are in this category.
El-Rufai (former Minister of Federal Capital Territory) is said to have dropped an atomic
bomb. Bombshell answers to the question of bribe scandal in the Senate in 2003,
presupposes the startling revelations of corruption, which the minister was to make. The
bombshell answers are again compared to dropping an atomic bomb, because it would indict
some erring senators. There is an assumed effect of the revelations which is logically
compared to the devastating effect of an atomic bomb. Similarly, a former Inspector General
of Police (Tafa Balogun) is pictured as being caught with a dinosaur-sized skeleton in his
closet, hence the idiomatic metaphor is reconstructed with a hyperbolic dimension, dinosaur-
sized. Also, that Baloguns bank account did not merely rise but ballooned or that the
skeleton in his closet was dinosaur-sized is deliberately exaggerated to underscore the
magnitude of the economic fraud in question. Generally, hyperbolic metaphors function as a
vehicle for communicating height, size or magnitude of situations.
Representations of the Metaphors in the data

Metaphor No. Percentage


Renaming (Substitution) 9 24%
Analogous (Comparison) 29 76%
Hyperbolic (Comparison) 10 26%
TOTAL 38

Analysis has shown that metaphors of power and corruption are an effective
means of constructing reality in concrete terms which in effect, attempts to satisfy the
people right to be informed. The analogous metaphors have the greatest
representation in the data, which shows that journalist generally fine in this type of
metaphor, i.e. the assumption that a literal equivalent of every metaphor exists and the
similarities generated by the metaphorical comparison forms the focus of the new
information which the writer wishes to convey. Consequently the reader is able to
visualize situations reported in the news and link meanings with tangible realities. On
the whole, the metaphors of corruption account for 71% of the data, which implies
that the challenge of corruption engages the attention of the mass media more than
that of dictatorship in government. This is because corruption is said to have affected
every facet of Nigerias life as a nation, and since news is an everyday affair, there is
no doubt that corruption would attract attention. This function of the mass media to
expose the masses to new ideas and concepts about their environment and
opportunities available to them (or not available to them); guiding them to some
specific information on those things that will result in improvement on their living
standards, will eventually enhance their participation in development efforts. In

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investigating the metaphors of power and corruption, we can see how the media
attempt to address these imperatives of national unity and development.

6.0. Conclusion
This paper has attempted to throw more light on the functions of linguistic metaphors in
media discourse in Nigeria. Metaphors of powers demonstrate that political power in Nigeria
whether military or civilian reflects some obvious manifestations of autocracy, despotism and
tyranny. On the other hand, metaphors of corruption show that corruption is a regular pastime
activity especially among public officers in Nigeria and that corruption is devastating to the
nations economy. The study conclude that since metaphors have become part and parcel of
our language semantic system, the study and effective use of them, could be very effective in
communicating issues of national development. It is recommended therefore that journalists
and media practitioners should endeavour to do a more thorough study of the nature and
functions of metaphors to enable them answer the question of whether metaphors are always a
valid way of constructing reality.

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