– The Sun News

Gov. Wike: Rivers’ godsend

“Katsina State APC grand deception for decampees (defectors)” ‘Decampee’ is a Nigerian creation!

“Half (Halve) payment of illegal salaries, allowances to lawmakers, Falana urges Buhari”

The next three headline solecisms are from South South News, March 12: “Wike is Rivers’ God-sent governor—PDP” A rewrite: Governor Wike is Rivers’ godsend—PDP (Please note that ‘godsend’ is a noun and not capitalized—never an adjective, as used in the faulty extract)

“2019: Dickson tasks international community on Nigeria (Nigeria’s) election”

“Obaseki celebrates mothers, assures of friendly policies” Who did the governor assure?

“With heavy heart (hearts), we mourn our brother and friend, Late Francis (the late Francis)….”

“We pray that you rest peacefully in the blossom (bosom) of our Almighty God.”

“All other arrangement (arrangements) as fixed by the family”

“May her gentle soul rest in perfect peace.” There is nothing like ‘perfect peace’—just ‘peace’ without any adornment.

“The 12th Committee, a Port Harcourt based (Port Harcourt-based) socio-philanthropic club mourns the painful death (is there painless death?) of one of its member (members)….”

The next three puerile extracts are from Daily Champion Opinion of November 25: “Today, it is becoming increasing (increasingly) clearer that a free and fair election is possible in Nigeria….”

“…this he applied in fighting the cause of oppressed (the oppressed). He was Igbo (an Igbo) leader.”

“Itse Sagay accuses Supreme Court justices of setting bad precedence in the country’s judicial history.” There is a morphological distinction between ‘precedence’ and ‘precedent’, which applies to the extract.

“Economics, as if the poor matters!” (Source: as above) Voice of the nation: the poor matter!

The next lexical lawlessness is from Vanguard of November 11: “Before independence, you don’t lobby to (sic) made a judge.” Get it right: you didn’t lobby to be made a judge.

“Or is the intended law, as some cynics have argued, meant for the ordinary man on the street?”  (Source: as above) No embellishment (ordinariness): the man in (not on) the street?

From this medium a fortnight ago comes the next farcical entry: “Are the leaders calling for prayers so that we learn not to kill ourselves….” Get it right: we learn not to kill one another.

“…it was common (a common) sight to see a classroom crowded with between 150-200 children….” (Daily Independent, November 11) Either: between 150 and 200 or from 150 to 200 (depending on context). No mix-up.

“The grassroot man of Oyo politics” (Daily Independent Headline, November 11) Basic knowledge: grassroots man 

“We invested heavily on their training and welfare and so should be told what led to their death….” (The Nation Editorial, November 12) We invested heavily in their training….

From The Nation Opinion of November 12 comes the next impropriety: “Festo, as I use (used) to call him….”

“The church…was filled to capacity last weekend as….” (The Nation Society, November 12) We cannot mention ‘capacity’ when a hall is filled as that fact is implied. According to my copious dictionaries and reference books on the English language, fill means “to occupy the whole space of….” This also applies to “filled to the brim”, et al.

“What the church has joined together…” (Source: as above) Ancient English: joined together. Modern version: joined.

Still on The Nation of November 12: “In the area of health, Aliyu has moved in to reduce maternal mortality through the introduction of anti-natal (what!) care for pregnant women….” ‘…ante-natal for pregnant women? Should it have been for which other women or, worse still, men?

And in headline casting, numbers one to nine are written in words, while 10 and above are written in figures.                                                               

“The statistics are here, I can give it to you.” Back to school: I can give them to you, No discord, please.   

The next two improprieties are from THISDAY Comment of November 13: “…multiple allocations which has (sic) lingered for over 10 yeaºrs is (sic) finally put to rest.” No further comment.

“Of all the first generation (a hyphen, please) universities, OAU is arguably the one that was able to preserve its known ideology for the longest.” I do not agree with the usage of “arguably” by a majority of Nigerian writers. The explanation I got from one of the country’s frontline editors recently was not convincing: when you have points to justify your claims, it becomes arguable and when there are no justifications, you employ “unarguably.” If you are sure of your statement, make it declarative by jettisoning “arguably.” And if you are unsure, do not make claims. If you do, be ready to argue it elsewhere when confronted (not in your contribution). For the avoidance of doubt, “arguable” (adjective) and its adverb (arguably) mean: ”…for which good, if not necessarily convincing, reasons may be found/open to doubt/not certainly, but reasonably held to be.”  (Source: THE NEW LEXICON WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, 2016) My grouse about this excerpt is the intrinsic element of doubt.

“…Guinea finally elects a president in an election that witnessed series of crises and postponements. The long road to democracy: a series of crises and postponements.

THISDAY of November 19 contained a gaffe: “In one breathe, there are those who are still….” Take a fresh breath before we continue.

“…it was a soothing balm.” (The Guardian, November 19) What else do balms do apart from soothing?


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