The study investigated language functions in the maiden coup speeches of General Thomas Aguiyi Ironsi, General Yakubu Gowon and General Murtala Muhammed. The data were drawn from the coup political speeches of the three military political rules above. The speeches were analysed following Gutwinski’s model of analysis of lexical connective items and Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar. In order to ensure accuracy and objectivity, there were statistical calculations expressed in Relative Frequency Percentages.
Based on item-by-item analysis in the speeches, the content lexical items in the speeches were extracted and classified into the sense relations of Collocation, Hyponymy, Antonymy, Synonymy and Repetition. Thereafter, the Overall Relative Frequency Percentages ORFPS (Overall Relative Frequency Percentages) of all the lexical items in the speeches were obtained. Equally, the Relative Frequency Percentages RFPS (Relative Frequency Percentages) of each of the meaning relations were calculated.
It was discovered from the study that the three military political leaders employed all the lexical relations, of synonym, hyponym repetition and collocation to enhance and achieve their political ideological orientations, while collocation was used to enhance directness, military authority and orientation. The study generally shows interconnecting relationships of lexemes and political ideology in military coup political discourse.