‘Evidence’: Count, Non-count



With Ebere Wabara, ewabara@yahoo.com, 08055001948

PLEASE note that “evidence” is both countable and uncountable, but, in a law case, we correctly say or write: a piece of evidence/pieces of evidence, some evidence/enough evidence/a mass of evidence, etc. We cannot afford to have the mediocre. The mediocre cannot teach/communicate is correct. “Reoccur”, like “reoccurrence”, is Americanism; “bus station” is Briticism while “Motor Park” is Nigerianism. “Host-guest” is Briticism while “invitor-invitee” is Americanism. Usage is king. Keep smiling!

Did you know that ‘write me’ as contained in the Saturday PUNCH of September 2 is American English, while the formal (standard) form is ‘write to me’?

“Round-the clock news from around the world” Adjectival entry: Round-the-clock news

“Ajimobi commissions (auspicates, inaugurates, opens, establishes, launches, initiates, unveils…) Asejire water plant, 17 years after” The verbal context of ‘commission’ here is utterly wrong and shows a poverty of vocabulary. I do not understand why journalists keep fumbling ridiculously and lousily with this word every day despite innumerable corrections here!

“Katsina PDP: Why late (the late) President Yar’Adua’s close associates are defecting to APC”

“It is in the interest of the nation (Nigeria is a country—not a nation, by the way) that the press should at all time (times) expose corrupt officers….”

“…to the consternation of majority (a majority) of the citizens who look up to such businesses to serve public needs.”

“Administrator advocates more scholarships for indigents” When did ‘indigent’, an adjective, become a noun?”

“People who cannot read or write and who have never seen the four walls of a secondary school….” Education Today: the walls (not four walls)!

“Right sizing the civil service: A more realistic approach” Spell-check: rightsizing

DAILY SUN of September 4 fumbled on two occasions: “These big masquerades (masqueraders) entered the world and destroyed sacred….” Once more, masqueraders wear masquerades, masks, etc.

“Man remanded over (for) alleged killing of wife”

THE NATION ON SUNDAY MAGAZINE of September 3 disseminated just two solecisms: “…in this piece pays tribute to one of Africa’s notable poet (poets) as he enters the winter of life.”

“Small business start ups tips” Get it right: start-up tips

“Its (It’s) been 7 years since you left us but memories of you lingers (linger) in our hearts.” (Full-page advertisement, The PUNCH, December 6))

“Congratulations…for (on/upon) participating in the National Growth Challenge September to December 2015…sponsored by….”

DAILY TRUST of September 4 comes next: “Borno reviews 24hrs (sic) curfew” and “Igbo community in Kano elects new officers” This way: 24-hour curfew/24 hours’ curfew. The community elected officials (not the otiose ‘new’)—if they were old officials, you re-elect!

“Japanese diplomat arrested over (for/in connection with) fire at DRC embassy”

“Torching (Touching) lives of orphans through sports”

THE NATION ON SUNDAY of August 27 disseminated four infractions: “Campaigners accuse Shell over (of) weapons”

“Aregbesola, Tinubu, Oritsejafor pay last respect (respects) to…”

THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER, of August 17 also circulated four improprieties: “FG hands tanker drivers 48hrs (48 hrs’) ultimatum to relocate from MMIA” By the way, what difference would it have made spelling out ‘hours’?

“In its stead comes a mind-blowing display of opulence that has suddenly taken a firm root among the elite and nouveau riche….” Singular: nouveau riche; plural: nouveaux riches

“Before now, weather forecasts from NIMET were never taken serious (seriously) because….”

Lastly from THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER: “As part of the build up (build-up) to the event….”

The PUNCH of August 16 published a few mistakes: “At least one person was feared killed on Thursday morning when a 12-man armed bandits (12-man gang of bandits) struck at….” ‘Banditry’ involves the deployment of a measure of violence with sharp objects/instruments/weaponry during robbery. So, ‘armed banditry’ is sheer verbosity! Of course, robbery and armed robbery

“Trump condemns crack down (crackdown) on Cairo protesters”

Lastly from the Back Page of The PUNCH under review: “…whereas they are kept at arms’ length.” Friday musings: arm’s length

“…said that the aforementioned are (were) the younger generation of leaders who failed the nation.” (DAILY SUN, August 14)

DAILY SUN of August 7 goofed three times: “State of emergency has restored normalcy in (to) North”

“NIMASA alerts ships (ship owners, you mean?) on (to) danger spots”

The Guardian of August 6 committed copious offences beginning from its front page; “Besides, the state government on Sunday began the fumigation and clearing of drainages in six areas of the Maiduguri metropolis….” Conscience, nurtured by truth: ‘drainage’ is uncountable.

“Bank of England’s rate policy may highten (heighten) inflation”

“Maid set ablaze dies in hospital, as police pledges (pledge) justice”

Now The Guardian Editorial: “They may not have triumphed in their efforts to (at) nation-building….”

“Your wise counsels and dogged commitment to the progress and unity of this nation has (have) remained exemplary.” ‘Counsel’ is a non-count noun.

“Some alleged without proof that Tinubu was the force behind Bamidele in his determination to confront Fayemi….” (THISDAY, August 3). If the word ‘allege’ means ‘to assert something without any proof’, then delete ‘without proof’ from the extract!


“MEDIA Gaffes” is the editor’s purgative. I agree with you that politicians run “neck and neck” (not neck-to-neck), but may also run “head-to-head.”

(Kola Danisa, 07068074257)

The “Social Circuit” in THE NATION described celebrity stylist Veronica Odeka as “most sort after.…” It should be “sought after” (Credit: as above)

MY brother Ebere, “celebrator” or “celebrant”, like “enquiry” or “inquiry”, is becoming similar in United States and United Kingdom. In the future, the word “celebrator” might be outdated because it also refers to a special beer, dopplebuck beer, and with apology, a satisfied “sex life” using a Clito-vibrator! Latest research by Jose Carillo, February 2013 citing authorities in lexicography/American Heritage DIC (AHD), has overtaken Merriam Webster/Oxford online definitions of “celebrator”. However, current Oxford dictionary also defines “celebrant” (American English) as someone celebrating something e.g. a party. “Celebrator” is omitted. But will it be old-fashioned? Time will tell. Cheers!

(Sunny Agbontaen, Benin City, 08055162531)


Andy Uba: A Date with Destiny

Henry Uzoma


olitics is a house built with bricks of assumptions; it is an easy house to build and anybody can build it. Its construction is subject to the law of the bricklayer; put one brick on top of the other and a house is built

These assumptions however, rest on two fallacies: that politics is an art of the attainable and success in it takes no more than the knowledge of bricks and mortars.

Those who accept these assumptions as self-evident however, get frustrated when one plus one adds up inexplicably to four. Politics is not a monument, an Ogbunike cave chuckling at the ravages and passage of time. It is merely a series of experiments in responding to people’s social views, beliefs and expectations in how they feel at one time or the other, their individual and collective interests can and ought to be served.

It is this desire, the urge to serve and contribute to the socio-economic emancipation and political development of Ndi-Anambra in particular and Nigeria in general that drive the man, Uba. Like the scientist, Archimedes, he wants a firm spot to stand in order to move the world. Andy Uba’s profound ethical disposition, sound philosophical belief, deep sense of loyalty, compassion and dedication to his fatherland even as a committed member of the diaspora community endeared him to the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who consequently appointed him as his Special Assistant on Special Duties and Domestic Affairs where he served impeccably until 2006 when he thereafter, contested and won the 2007 governorship election in Anambra State but was compelled to relinquish the position by a court order due to his enormous respect for the rule of law.

From the 7th Senate, Uba has remained a notable player in the nation’s political calculus. His contribution to the success of the 7th Senate was exceptional and worthy of note. He served as the Chairman Senate Committee on INEC (Independent Electoral Commission) charged with the responsibility of amending existing electoral laws to achieve a free and fair elections nationwide, where he and his committee worked tirelessly engaging INEC, civil organisations and other stakeholders to secure some comprehensive amendments to the 2010 electoral act which gave more stability to the administrative structure of INEC by making them more independent.

One fact his traducers cannot dispute is that Uba does not seek power to enrich himself. This probably underscores his appointment as the Senate Committee Chairman on Public Account by the present 8th Senate.

As a testimony to Uba’s political sagacity, Chief Perry Opara, the National Chairman of the National Unity Party in his support for Uba’s candidacy for the November 18 governorship election in the state said, “Uba will be a bridge builder between the South-East and the rest of Nigeria. He will bring peace and stability to Igboland and be a link to the federal government in attracting federal presence to the South-East zone and Anambra in particular”.

As a fallout to the recent APC primary in the state for the governorship election, various concerned APC groups are calling for the cancellation and rejection of the “Winner” as according to them, his emergence is suspicious and he is incapable of securing an electoral victory in the election given his known pedigree, being associated with ignoble roles in the past and also the fear of mortgaging the coffers of the state to his political godfather since at this material time, Anambrarians do not need a beggar or a godson whose eyes would be fixed on the collective till.

One thing that cannot be taken away from Uba is his dedication as a realist and a reformer who can bridge all gulf, level all mountains and put a lamp in every tunnel as exemplified by his selfless stewardship to his constituents and the nation at large, his most compelling trait is the passion he evinces and enkindles for his people as evidenced in his articulation of ideas and solution delivery templates. Uba has come to be seen as a modern-day phenomenon whose corpus requires a large canvass.

–Henry Uzoma, Writes from Awka

pix: Andy Uba.jpg