Gov. Lalong’s Serial Goofs 

media &gaffes
with Ebere Wabara

THE first salvo today comes from a full-page congratulatory message signed by Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, Executive Governor, Plateau State: “We celebrate with you and commend your life’s virtue, to the many people who are opportuned (opportune/have the opportunity or privilege)….”

“Vet doctors elect new executive” Please drop ‘new’ for lexical sanity.

DAILY Sun Front Page Sub-headline of November 11 leads other diseased departments of the edition: “Buhari swears-in (swears in) new CJN” Phrasal verbs do not admit hyphenation.

“Sultan warns (cautions, properly) religious leaders against unguided (unguarded) utterances”

“The report also said that majority (a majority) of breast and cervical deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.” (EDITORIAL)

“Ibadan’s finest up and coming (up-and-coming) musicians”

“APC should put its acts together” Politics and power: get its act together

THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER, of November 12 comes next: “Same (The same) cabal still running Nigeria….”

“FG’s school feeding (school-feeding) programme” Otherwise the school will be feeding the programme!

”Presently (At the moment), there are enormous economic potentials (potential or potentialities) that are yet to be fully tapped.”

Overheard on Dove TV: “All manners of….” Fixed expression: all manner of….

“…plans borehole drilling (borehole-drilling) equipment for constituency”

“Indigenous cloud accounting solution debutes (debuts) at ICAN conference”

Still on THISDAY: “Government must invest heavily on (in) capital projects….”

“Paucity of funds delay (delays) take-off of Nuclear Medicine, kidney transplant at UDUTH, says CMD”

“AFDB (AfDB) grants $150m to AIDS affected (AIDS-affected) nations”

THE NATION of November 14 comes next with this schoolboy mistake: “It was restored few (a few) weeks ago at N65 and it will take effect from September 1.”

“…he said PDP does (did) not need Wike to win election in Rivers.”

“The once popular Ejinrin seaport near Epe, Lagos State, which was once a beehive of activities from slavery to….” No oddity please: hive of activity, preferably, or beehive of activity (not activities)!

“Among the dignitaries at (on) the occasion were….”

“Okada riders, police clash set community on fire” A rewrite: Okada riders’, police clash sets community on fire”

“Anambra seeks citizens’ input on (into) 2017 budget”

“Residents of Ogun community seek organization’s probe over (into) human rights violation”

“Kwarans are no longer their brother’s keepers….” Fixed/stock expression: brother’s keeper (no matter the plurality)

“…ethnic and political lines with the wealth of the state in the hands of just a few individuals.” Going by the context of this extract, it should be ‘few individuals’ and not ‘a few individuals’.

“Dangote pays half year (half-year) bonus”

“If that has (had) been the case over the years….”

“How to restore confidence in (to) Police Force, by Tsav”

“Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development hereby invites stakeholders to the grand commissioning (inauguration or unveiling) of the 100,000 MT (100,000-MT) silo complex and flag-off (launch) ceremony….”

“Congratulations to an outstanding public officer, accountant per (par) excellence and a man of integrity….”

“…on your selection as one of the most exceptional accountant-general in the federation.”  Get it right: accountants-general

Finally from THE GUARDIAN of November 14: “There seems to be international conspiracy (an international conspiracy) in (against) the outbreak.”


USAGE HINTS:  “Beggars must not be choosers”, meaning “a person who is hungry and has no money to buy food should not complain when he is offered bread and cheese instead of roast lamb and new potatoes, with apple tart and cream to follow. He is in no position to argue with his benefactor and should be grateful for anything he is given”, is the standard proverb (not “Beggars can’t be choosers”).


“To have one’s cake and eat it” or “to eat one’s cake and have it” means “to have the advantages of two things or situations when doing, possessing, etc. One of them would normally make the other one impossible’. Mr. Andrew is engaged to one of the sisters but he would like to have his cake and eat it and go out with the other sisters.

-Ize or –ise? The ending –ize and – ization are generally preferred to – ise and – isation in the 21st century usage, hence “sensitize”, like Womanize (not –ise), capsize (not –ise), hospitalize (not –ise), humanize, dehumanize, capitalize, doctorize, Russianize, Americanize, Africanize, Nigerianize, militarize, democratize, globalize, demonize, is the preferred form (not “sensitise”).

Every user of English should keep abreast of the current tendencies and influences in the language.

Lest we forget, CELEBRATER or Celebrator is reserved for someone having a good time while “celebrant” is reserved for someone who conducts a religious rite. If  “celebrator” becomes overworked/overused or becomes obsolete, then “celebrater”, the original word, will take over (Look it up in The New International Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary of The English Language, page 214 and The Associated Press STYLEBOOK, page 36).

“Inquire” is the preferred spelling, NOT “enquire” and “inquiry” is preferred to “enquiry” (DICTIONARY OF USAGE, page 91). Besides, in American English, the general preference is to use “inquiry” (GOOD WORD GUIDE, page 99). The debate continues. Well done, brother! (Bayo Oguntunase, Language activist,

MR. Wabara, I have always enjoyed your every Saturday tonic—Media Gaffes. Keep it up. I wish to draw your attention to our discussion on the word ‘about’ in one of last month’s editions. You inadvertently repeated what was required to be corrected as the correction. Secondly, one of your contributors to that edition should have said, ‘about 1,720 or 1,700’…rounded to the nearest 10 or 100 (sic) would have read rounded up or down to the nearest 10 or 100. And this: 1,729 or 1,700 (to the nearest 10 and 100 respectively). For instance, 1,755 can be rounded up to 1,800 (not 100). Thank you. (Surveyor J. O. Amayo, Benin City, 08051646227)

THE next two contributions by Mr. Kola Danisa (07068074257) are from THE NATION of August 24: “Over four months after their abduction, the girls are yet (have yet) to be located.”

“Liberia is (has) yet to return to….”

DR. Stanley Nduagu (08062925996) sent in the next faulty extract from Aba: “The Nigerian nurses as endangered specie (species)” (Nigerian nurses and midwives’ advertorial) ‘Species’ is both singular and plural. The word ‘specie’ has no place in English language.

More knowledge-based, well-researched, therapeutic and constructive contributions are welcome.