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 The African Association for Rhetoric (AAR)


in collaboration with

The School of Media and Communication (SMC),

Pan-African University, Lagos

is organizing the

2012 Colloquium on the theme

Rhetoric and Political Leadership


The Democratic dispensation in African States has brought a lot of challenges, inter alia, rhetorical and discursive formation. A handful of African politicians understand what democracy is about and how democracy can foster development. Fewer or none of the knowledgeable politicians ever get appointed to strategic offices, and those who do eventually compromise. The possible application of the knowledge of these literate politicians is displaced by the ignorance and undemocratic and non-ethical perennial behaviour, which subverts democratic values and retards social developments.


In Nigeria, rhetoric has been part of the nation’s everyday discourse. Nigerian politics has experienced the contribution and participation of the likes of the late Chief Bola Ige, nicknamed ‘Cicero at Agodi’, the eminent Mbadiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and the Owelle of Onitsha, Dr Nnamdi Azikwe.

The Nigerian experience has been characterised by the tension between ethical and unethical rhetorical performance on the one hand, and simple or plain style and the incomprehensible grandiloquence on the other. Although, the Nigerian public domain can be said to have had a flourishing history of rhetorical performance, the current state of affairs require the intervention of rhetorical experts.

In recognition of the potential contribution that a thorough understanding of rhetoric can make to social and political development of the state, the African Association for Rhetoric in collaboration with the School of Media and Communication is organising a two day international colloquium on the theme: Rhetoric and Political Leadership. This event is part of the Association’s Africa’s Responsibility to Africans Roundtable Series. The colloquium will also be used to launch AAR’s chapter in Nigeria.

Conference Call:

The 2012 International colloquium will take place in Nigeria. Nigeria seems the appropriate location given its robust history of the activities of political orators. Some research have so far been done on the Nigerian orators, however, most of the findings have not helped in informing rhetorical practice due to lack of proper dissemination. However, there are other competing factors that militate against the effective use of rhetoric in Nigeria: ‘dirty hand’ politics, violence, ignorance, etc. Scholars strongly agree that nations are products of discursive enterprise.

The Nigerian democracy, though still in its formative years, is mature enough for rigorous debates around ethics and democratic values that guide ‘formalised and persuasive speaking’ in the public domain. Alex Preda recently defined Rhetoric as . . . ‘social practice producing knowledge’. The conference would look for possible ways that the knowledge produced can in turn inform social and political practice in Nigeria.

This colloquium will critically examine Rhetoric from a more universal and global perspective before considering Nigeria as a case study. In essence, this is not just a colloquium for Nigerian scholars, but an international robust engagement around democratic best practice for practicing political orators and a gathering of scholars for the advancement of rhetoric on the continent.

The conference seeks to gather together a multidisciplinary, multisectoral array of scholars and practitioners whose interests relate to Rhetoric and Political Leadership in Nigeria. This conference should be of interest to researchers and scholars in Rhetoric, Political Science and International Relations, Law, Economics, Leadership, English Studies, Communication Studies, Sociology and Development Studies.

Theme: Rhetoric and Political Leadership


  • Rhetoric, Democracy and Democratisation in Africa

  • Rhetorical Leadership  Vs Transformational Leadership

  • Election Campaign: Use and Abuse of Rhetoric

  • Deliberative Processes and Parliamentary Rhetoric: The Tensions

  • Speechwriting, Oratory and Public Identity

  • Development Rhetoric

  • Rhetoric, Dirty Hand Politics and Public Ethics

  • Political Responses to Environmental Changes in the 21st Century

  • Rhetoric, Financial Crisis and Africa

  • Women Talk: Gendered Political Discourse

  • Transformational Education and Research in Rhetoric

  • Special Panel: Mass Media, Political Communication and the Nigerian Public

  • Roundtable: The Prospect of Rhetoric in Nigeria

Submission deadlines

Abstracts: April 27, 2012                                                                Length: 250 [max]

Papers: June 30, 2012                                                                     Length: 6000 [max excluding references

Enquiries and abstracts should be sent to:;; +234 1 4616170 - 2


                           Prof Emevwo Biakolo                                 Dr Segun Ige                                       

Date: July 26-27, 2012


Pan-African University, V.I. Campus and Sheraton Four Points Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria


Participation fee: Faculty – N10,000 ($75);   Student – N5,000 ($35)

Collaborating Institutions

  • The African Association for Rhetoric (AAR) is a body of scholars that conducts research into the performance of rhetoric and public discourse. The African Association for Rhetoric (AAR) has since 2007 organised successfully three international conferences and a Roundtable under the Theme: Africa’s Responsibility to Africa. The Association has two major publications, African Journal of Rhetoric (AAR) and Balagha: African Rhetoric Quarterly. The Association has a growing membership across the globe. For further information on AAR, please log on to

  • The School of Media and Communication (SMC), Pan-African University offers high quality education in communication and media, with focus on professionalism, research and promotion of human values. It trains participants to uphold the highest standards in the promotion of creativity, critical knowledge, technical perfection, social responsibility, and the spirit of enterprise. For further information, please log on to

To register, please fill the online form:

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