The Use of Nigerian Pidgin in Political Jingles

Joseph Babasola Osoba 1 ,
Author Information & Copyright
1University of Lagos, Nigeria
Corresponding Author : Joseph Babasola Osoba, Department of English, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria. Phone: +2348060146303; Email:

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Sep 10, 2013; Revised: Nov 23, 2013; Accepted: Jan 07, 2014

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


The evolution of Nigerian Pidgin (NP) may be linked to the contact between the English language and Nigerian languages during the pre-colonial and post-independence periods. At its incipient stage, NP was rightly dubbed Pidgin English and sometimes also referred to as Broken English. Both references simply point to the fact that NP was regarded as a variety of the English language, more or less, especially since English appears as its superstrate, and Nigerian languages such as Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba its substrates. But since independence, when as a result of the extensive use of the language by Nigerians from diverse ethnic extractions who had to communicate with one another, NP has begun to perform greater roles and more functions apart from its earlier contact function between Europeans and Nigerians. Within a period of fifty years, its limited use gave way to an extensive and elaborate use, thus changing the status of NP forever. It is in this light that I attempt to investigate and analyse the use of NP for political campaigns and jingles. An insightful account of the socio-cultural/political relationship between English and NP is presented.

Keywords: Nigerian Pidgin; Pidgin English; Broken English; political jingles



Adeniran, A. 1987. Sociolinguistic Perspectives on Human Communication. In S. Unoh (ed.), Topical Issues in Communication Arts 16-33. Uyo: Modern Business Press.


Agheyisi, R. 1984. Linguistic Implications of the Changing Role of Nigerian Pidgin English. English Word-Wide 5, 211-233.


Akinnaso, F. 1989. One Nation, Four Hundred Languages: Unity and Diversity in Nigeria's Language Policy. Language Problems and Planning 13.2, 133-146.


Bamgbose, A. et al. 1995. New Englishes: A West African Perspective. Ibadan: Mosuro.


Donwa-Ifode, S. 1984. Is Nigerian Pidgin Creolising? Journal of Linguistic Association of Nigeria 2, 99-203.


Elugbe, O. & A. Omamor. 1991. Nigerian Pidgin: Problems and Prospects. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books Plc.


Fairclough, N. 2001. Language and Power. London: Pearson Education Limited.


Faraclas, N. 1996. Nigerian Pidgin. London: Routledge.


Fawehinmi, P. 1987. Communication in Pidgin in Nigeria: Origin, Problems, and Prospects. In S. Unoh (ed.), Topical Issues in Communication Arts 71-87. Uyo: Modern Business Press.


Hudson, R. 2001. Sociolinguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Jibril, M. 1995. The Elaboration of the Functions of Nigerian Pidgin. In A. Bamgbose et al. New Englishes: A West African Perspective 232-247. Ibadan: Mosuro.


Jowit, D. 1995. Nigeria's National Language Problem: Choices and Constraints. In A. Bamgbose et al. (eds.), New Englishes: A West African Perspective 34-56. Ibadan: Mosuro.


Mafeni, B. 1971. Nigerian Pidgin. In J. Spencer (ed.), The English Language in West Africa 95-112. London: Longman.


Osoba, J. 2000. Tense and Aspect in Nigerian Pidgin. Ph.D Dissertaion. University of Lagos.


Todd, L. 1981. Pidgin and Creoles. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.


Uche, L. 1989. Mass Media, People, and Politics in Nigeria. New Delhi: Ashok Kumar Mittal.


Ugoagwu, P. 2006. Vernacular, Plain, and Simple. Available at URL<>.