THE PRAGMATICS OF PUBLIC AUTOMOBILE MESSAGES IN KANO: AUTHORSHIP, PURPOSE, AND CONTEXT

Hassan Alhaji Yaú,

Hassan Alhaji Yaú, Ph.D, Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University Kano.

 Abstract

The success in the manufacture of the first automobile in history has transformed the global road transport system and altered the medium and direction of communication flow particularly in Africa where automobiles are not only used as means of transportation but also as channels of socio-political communication.

This study used purposive sampling to select public transport entrepreneurs and drivers to conduct Focus Group Discussions and in-depth interview with them to investigate the authors, purposes and contexts of the popular textual and visual messages featured on commercial vehicles in Kano-Nigeria. The study also used the Lasswell Communication Model as the theoretical framework that provides the basis for understanding the problem under study. The study found that public transport entrepreneurs are the exclusive authors of the messages as reflections of their social history, identity and experience. The study further found that there are rare instances of reciprocal authorship of the messages between transport entrepreneurs. In addition, the study found that textual and visual messages are variously used by transport entrepreneurs to solicit supernatural protection, stability and prosperity, to advance political interest, respond to potential or real threats and advocate road discipline and safety. Moreover, the study found political, relational, ethno-religious and benevolence as the major contexts which provoke the production and usage of transport literature in Kano.

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