Face, Not Tribal, Marks



With Ebere Wabara; ewabara@yahoo.com, 08055001948

THISDAY Front Page of April 29 welcomes us today: “Beaming with smiles and….” Yank off ‘with smiles’ which is encompassed in ‘beaming’.

“…leaving devastations in (on) their trail”

“PDP, APC trade blames over insecurity in Akwa Ibom” (DAILY SUN Headline, April 21) ‘Blame’ is uncountable.

“The Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh (OFR) and The (sic) Minister of State, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri (another comma) wish to invite all state Commissioners of (for) Agriculture….” (Full-page public announcement by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and rural Development, signed by Dr. Bukar Hassan, Permanent Secretary)

“Moses moves Chelsea to Promise (Promised) Land” (Sporting Sun Front Page Bold Headline, May 1)

“Students leaving with their luggages after the bomb attack.” Get it right: ‘Luggage’ is non-count.

“Can the CBN defend the naira” Economic renaissance: this headline needs a question mark.

“15 passengers drown as vehicle plunges into river” The victims could not have drowned inside the bush! Therefore, delete ‘into river’

“Aside the need to breath (breathe) fresh life into the brands, Guinness had competitions in (on) all fronts to contend with.”

“Rivers: Developing economic potentials (potential or potentialities”

“Your eminence, as you mark your eight (eighth) anniversary on the throne….”

“Lagosians raise alarm (the alarm)”

“Imoke flags off 10th Carnival Calabar Dry Run” Instead of ‘flag off’, use ‘inaugurates’                                                  

“We also seize (take/use) this opportunity to congratulate you and your entire (all your) family for (on/upon) your humanitarian contributions….” Please note that ‘seize an opportunity’ is a piece of Americanism.

“Vandalisation, major threat to regular power supply” Vandalism of the English language must stop!

“The recent Presidential approval for Grass Root (sic) Sports Development in….” (Full-page advertisement by National Lottery Trust Fund) This way: grassroots sports….                                                                                              

“…and the police has (have) no right to abridge them.”

“As law abiding citizens the campaigners did the right thing….” A rewrite: As law-abiding citizens, the campaigners did…. (Take note of the hyphen and comma).

“Unfortunately (a comma) the heart rendering (heart-rending) plight of the over 200 students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok….”

“,,,he speaks on the opportunities inherent in mobile apps and how start-ups can harness same (the same).”

“American mid term (mid-term) elections: Democrats eat (bite the) dust” “Rivers PDP at a crossroad” Politics: at a/the crossroads

“He achieved this fit (feat) by always striving for excellence.” “Leke, Akeem root for Eagles call up” Sports: Eagles’ call-up

“Cycling Federation thumbs-up (thumbs up)….”

“41 insurgents killed, as troops (troops’) deployment continues”

“Seventy-six years in the life of a man is a major milestone especially for one who has left indelible records in (on) the political landscape of our great country.” (Full-page advertorial by Orlu Zonal Political Leaders Forum signed by HE (sic) Chief Achike Udenwa (Leader) and Chief Chyna Iwuanyanwu, Secretary) Yank off ‘major’. And this: Leaders’ Forum

“Estranged first wife escapes death by the whiskers” Top stories: by a whisker

“Uyo bubbles as Jonathan commissions (inaugurates) Akwa Ibom Stadium”

“Eagles battle ready (battle-ready) for Ghana”

“Empowering women to achieve their potentials” Already treated!

The following three blunders are from a full-page advertisement by the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State: “The Niger Delta University invites applications from suitable (suitably) qualified candidates for the following vacant posts….” “A Good University Degree (unnecessary capitalization) preferable (preferably) masters in a relevant….” This aptly explains why our educational standard is not just falling, but has collapsed almost irretrievably!


“APC gives quit notice (the notice to quit) to PDP” (AJAYI LAWRENCE, 08054674477)

WHO or whom? “Who is fooling who” is correct while who is fooling whom is incorrect. Fowler’s usage bible (A Dictionary of Modern English Usage) has taken a stand. ‘Whom’ has been declared an obsolescent word (going gradually out of usage) except in dative case: by whom/for whom/to whom/through whom/with whom etc. Note well: who is who in Nigeria. Who is who in Africa, etc. Keep it up.

TRIBAL marks or face marks? Last week, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo gleefully and humorously told the media that he had three identity cards: his international passport, national identity card and his ‘owu’ “tribal” (face) marks. He was obviously misled by NIMC’s National Identification Enrolment form which asks for your physical features that include height, gender, hair colour, tribal marks (instead of face marks). Simply put, these NIMC officials are language barbarians! (The last intervention by Baba BAYO OGUNTUNASE, a renowned language activist, shortly before his demise last weekend…may his soul rest in peace)!

“THE party will continue to inspire confidence in all party faithfuls (faithful)” (Full-page advertorial by Cross River State PDP Stakeholders) The faithful (already plural) are believers in a particular religion, or loyal supporters of a political party. (STANLEY NDUAGU, 08062925996)

“MANY people who are soliciting for this consensus….” ‘For’ is needless. (SUNDAY ADESINA ROYALSON, Abuja, 08065615799),

“Then, the shoes were parked with cotton wool or paper.…” There is a difference between ‘pack’ and ‘park’.

“For a man who took the gospel of exclusive breast-feeding to grassroot (grassroots) level.…”


Innovative Leadership in Lagos Raising Hope


igeria is a nation at crossroads.” That is how CNN anchor, Richard Quest, put it in a recent chat with a few journalists in Lagos.

For the widely travelled and highly experienced journalist, Africa’s largest democracy must take crucial decisions across varied segments of the society urgently or miss the opportunity to ride the waves of greatness which only seldom gathers in the lives of nations.

“Nigeria is at crossroads and the people’s views are at crossroads,” he said.

“And two words have been repeated by nearly every CEO or leader of thought I have met since I have been here and they are: leadership and corruption,” he added.

Quest could not have been more apt. Unfortunately, this same bifurcated problem, over generations, has stood in the way.

If leadership and corruption are the problems crippling the country and its is going to take leadership the solve the problem, then your guess is as good as mine that Nigeria may have to run around these endless circles for many years to come. Conversely however, the unfolding governance pattern in Lagos today seems to spark flickers of hope and stir cautious optimism.

Bus  terminals

Lagos in the past two years or so, seems to show any keen observer that it takes more than just availability of material resources to drive development that actually impact the lives of people, especially the teeming majority.

Many may not have given a serious thought to the fact that the biggest problem the people living in Lagos had to deal with was commuting.

The average Lagosian spent at least four  hours of every day just moving between their homes and places of work.

A trip from Ikeja to Victoria Island during work hours before Governor Akinwunmi Ambode came to power in the state used to take around two hours. Today, unless there is an unusual incident on the road, if you set from Ikeja by 7am you will be in Victoria Island in one hour.

As great as this achievement which has saved millions of man hours hitherto wasted in Lagos traffic might appear, greater still is the measure deployed to attain this achievement.

How come nobody thought about building those terminals at the various bus stops on the stretch between motorways and the Third-maniland bridge? Although I do not have the figures of the amounts spent set up those terminals, I can confirm that they have been silver bullets in terms of their effectiveness.

This is what good leaders do. They act first in the best interest of the majority.

About 80 per cent of the population in Lagos move daily from the Mainland to the Island (what Americans refer to as down-town) and they go through hell doing this daily, leading to a lot of problems including traffic robberies, health hazards, drudgery and general unproductivity.

By the effective deployment of a sound mass-transit system, which did not take so long and did not cost much, Lagos significantly dealt with the problem of unbearably lengthy travel time. The problem of congested traffic in Lagos are certainly not completely over, but some smart leaders, evidently are doing something about it.

Retro-reflective stickers

Moving around Lagos, any patriotic Nigerian would be frustrated to see the perpetual damage of public property especially by motorists.

After the Light-up Lagos project which Ambode also masterfully implemented came on stream, hundreds of street-light poles erected have been knocked down by the regular commuter buses (Danfo), articulated trucks bearing petroleum products or containers and some private vehicles. Most of these damage happen late at night Kerbs and concrete pavement separating two sides of the roads within the state have not been spared from these wreckage. Sadly also, several persons have also been maimed and killed in these accidents.

While there may be a serious need to set up a taskforce that will be charged with the responsibility to apprehend  people who tear down government property in order to deal with the purely negligent, and ensure that they pay fines that would deter them in the future and be useful in the repair of the damage they caused, Ambode  has thoughtfully began  the handling of the problem in a manner quite uncommon among leaders in Nigeria.

His thinking apparently is, before you hold people to account, you must at least try to ensure you take steps that could help prevent the destruction from happening in the first place.

This is the point where the effort to deploy Retro-reflective stickers, which are passive yet sublime, on most of the streetlight poles and other structures on the roads stands out.

The next time you drive through the Third mainland bridge during the day or at night, just take a close look at the poles that stand on the middle of the road and you will notice small stickers that appear red and white in colour. When the light from your car is beamed against these stickers at night, it produces a unique luminous reflection, which stands out and can hardly be missed.

These stickers are already in place in several other major roads in the country including: Oba Akinjobi Street, Old Secretariat, Sasegbon Street,Works Road,Oduduwa Way, Oduduwa Crescent,Remi Fani-Kayode, Joel Ogunaike and Adekunle Fajuyi Street, all in the GRA, Ikeja.

Others are Herbert Macaulay Way 1and 2, Hussey Street, Alakija Street,University Road and Saint Finbarrs College Road all in the Yaba area of Lagos.

There is also Kudirat Abiola Way, Opebi-link Road, Opebi Street, Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Road, Simbiat Abiola Road, Kodesho Road, Sobo Arobiodu Road, Mobolaji Johnson Way, Governor’s Road, House of Assembly Road, Nurudeen Olowopopo, Allen Avenue, Aromire Road, Toyin Street, podo Road, Olowo Street, Oba Akran Avenue, Obafemi Awolowo Road, Lateef Jakande Road and Surulere Industrial Road among several others.  With this innovative idea helping drivers see better at night to identify points where there are barriers, anyone who still goes ahead to knock down and destroy government facilities on the road would be fully liable.

The Ojodu Berger Marvel

Living around Ojodu Berger, it would be most irresponsible to discuss Ambode’s hope-breeding leadership effort without mentioning the commendable infrastructure complex into which a one-time shack called Ojodu Berger has been transformed.

For those who have not been to Lagos in the past year or so, watch carefully to avoid being ferried beyond your destination if you intend to end your trip at Ojodu Berger. It now looks like a completely different place from what it used to be just over 12 months ago.

PIX: Akinwunmi Ambode.jpg