Marching Orders, not Order



By Ebere Wabara

“BUHARI issues marching order to cement producers” Truth and Reason: marching orders.

“Salute to a great leader and distinguish political icon @ 78” For the sake of Olooye: distinguished political icon.

“LASAA’s double standards” (DAILY INDEPENDENT Headline, October                                           16) Fixed expression: double standard.

“This is crucial because our steps have been faulty from the onset (outset).” 

“…the noise pollution that accompany (accompanies) the use and subsequent rise in the level of stress.”

“I am usually on (in) my farm and I don’t think you….”

“He spoke on Supersports about his achievements and experiences on the saddle of CAF Champions League second round….” SATURDAY Sports: in the saddle.

“…Idoko has commended the board of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) over (for) the successful organization of the first round of the 2017/2018 league season.”

“Bill Gates: The billionaire with unparallel love for the less privileged”  Exceptional philanthropy: unparalleled love.

“UNIBEN alumni commends INEC” UNIBEN alumni commend, but UNIBEN alumni association commends. No muddle. 

“Sometimes (sometime) ago, twenty-three wise men met at….”

“As police beams (beam) searchlight on some formal groups, associations and organizations.”

“In his sermon at the occasion.…” Get it right: on the occasion.

“In 1996, ASUU, apart from demanding for the review…” Military and varsity education: delete ‘for’ in the interest of grammatical sanity.

“The Yorubas like I said on this platform last Friday.…” This way: The Yoruba, as (not like) I said, on this platform last Friday….

“… the good foundation laid for take-off and hopefully with what we have read and saw (seen) in the media….”

“He sacked the Shonekan administration and assumed the reign of power as Head of State.” Get it right: reins of government.

“They like parading themselves in state-of-the-art cars, leaving (living) in mansions and dictating the economy (how?) of the country with their loots (loot).”  Do we resort to vernacular, in the light of the foregoing morphological tragedies?

“Thrown into panic, the driver of my vehicle managed to find a save (safe) haven from the portion of the road lawfully meant for Abuja-bound motorist (motorists).”

“… talkless of (let alone) those actually chased into them by the escorts of the ‘big’ men.”

“We urge that investigations be launched into the circumstances that led to the embarrassment and ask that those involved be brought to book to forestall a re-occurrence.”  Let us foreclose a recurrence of ‘Eze-goes-to-school’ blunders.

“The Real Madrid coach got the marching order on the 44th minute into the crucial competition.…” In brief: marching orders.

“The last but not the least is….” An extra: the last but not least.  That is the correct expression.

“She is an alumnus of the popular…” Standard style: alumna.

The next six blunders are from the sports pages of the Saturday Newspaper: “Flying Eagles (Eagles’) sloppy play bothered (bordered) on the fact that.…”

“I seized the opportunity (sic) to congratulate him for (on) the very great successes at the recent polls.…”.

“The screening of the prospective footballers continued with the captain playing the role of the ball boy, perhaps with the believe that.…” Change ‘believe’ to ‘belief’.

“Today, the Whiteman’s problem has been fully entrenched in the dark continent, especially south of the Sahara.” Standard expression: on the Dark Continent

“Abia police warns (warn) on tinted windscreen”

“3 state-own industries to begin production soon” This way: state-owned industries.

“Drivers of luxurious (luxury) busses are not so often stopped or extorted.”

“Such accusation leveled on (against/at) the FRSC is, however, an exception rather than the rule.”

“…the commission was poised to enforce all road violations.” This is sheer linguistic monstrosity! Perhaps, it is only in Nigeria–where anything is plausible – that violations (instead of laws and regulations) can be enforced.

“Adebanjo had been involved in a ghastly motor accident that claimed the lives of over five people almost immediately along (on) the popular Ibadan-Lagos expressway.” When lives are lost in any vehicular mishap, it is a fatal (not ghastly) accident.

“Some few years later after I had almost forgotten about the Navy….” ‘Some‘ and ‘few’ cannot co-function.

“So when this new uniform group was set up in 1988 by the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida administration, I have (had) no doubt in my mind (where else?) that this would certainly work because of the calibre of people behind it.”

“People in power in this country atimes amuse me by their thinking.” This way: at times.

“…I always doff my hat for (to) the electoral commission.”

“Let me advise a rethink into (on) matter.”

“Let the police remain on its (their) own….”

“…power surge had resulted into (in) sparks which had in turn resulted into (in) sparks which had in turn resulted into (in) fires with dire consequences.”

“A group that has transformed into one of the most powerful thuggish agency (agencies)….”

“… the accounting firms also copy themselves (one another) such that it is difficult to tell the originator of such statements.”

“…tankers drivers (tanker drivers) who can now hold everybody to ransome at the least conceivable excuse.” Petrol watch: ransom.

“Yorubas warm to Obasanjo” Formal usage: Yoruba worm (take note) to Obasanjo.

“Ironically, his administration has not fared better with regards to.…” Either: as regards or with regard to.

“Ridiculous as it may sound, employers do lure workers to call off a strike action….” Get it right: a strike or an industrial action (preferably). ‘Strike action’ smacks of illiteracy!

“As at Monday only half of the 36 states in the federation have (had) agreed to pay the minimum wage of….”

“It was an unenviable task given the palpable hostility that rented (rent) the air.”

“The lack of adequate knowledge of the areas have (had) often made past exercises to be.…”

“The redeployment of the sports administrator comes in (on) the heels of sweeping changes presently (sic) going on in the federal civil service.” Yank off   ‘presently’ in the interest of purity!

“… we are assuming that among the privileged specie (species) of homo sapiens….”

“A major platform under (on) which banking regulation has been carried out in Nigeria over the years has been through the use of statutory regulation.”


Ogun 2019: The Awo Factor

Idowu Abraham


he 2019 governorship race in Ogun State is tending towards an all-comer’s affairs. That seems to also be the nature of our national politics. The lust for titles knows no bounds in Nigeria. To be addressed as a former governorship or presidential aspirant is no mean achievement in this clime. Therefore, every elective race throws up contenders and what has been cynically dubbed pretenders, with the figure of the latter usually the higher. This piece will not bore or waste the time of readers but simply concentrate on the former.There are two frontline parties in the race, viz the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC). Contrary to the submissions of some Nigerians, there are actually differences between the two main parties. The APC tends towards the left while the PDP is towards the right. The former is an offshoot of progressive politics  and the latter has its roots in conservatism. But some conflation is certainly visible.

Ogun State has always towed the line of progressive politics since the days of the Action Group led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo (of blessed memory). Virtually all those who have governed the state belonged to the Awolowo school of thought.

Ogun State was created in 1976 under the military government of General Murtala Mohammed. By the time the ban on politics was lifted in 1978, Chief Olabisi Onabanjo and Chief Jonathan Odebiyi, both frontline Awoits, wanted to be the first civilian governor of the new state. The two were very well qualified and Chief Obafemi Awolowo must have been in dilemma of whom to support.

First both Bisi Onabanjo and Jonathan Odebiyi were not fair-weather supporters of Awo. They both suffered the political persecution of the 60s with Awo. They had the opportunity to choose between integrity and freedom. They chose integrity, hence they were caught in the gale of restrictions imposed by the then ruling party in Nigeria. Many of Awolowo’s loyalists decamped to Akintola’s party. Some simply resigned from the Action Group to avoid (further) persecution but did not side with Akintola’s United People’s Party (UPP). Notable among the latter was Chief FRA Williams. He had served as Attorney General of the Western Region when Awo was the Premier. His letter of resignation from the Action Group was broadcast on the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) a few minutes after his aunt and elder brother delivered it to Chief Awolowo with the explanation that the decision of FRA to resign was taken by the family, not Chief FRA himself and he had no option but to accept the family decision.

The 60s were the most trying period for the Action Group and Chief Awolowo. Of course, he was jailed by the powers-that-be and remained in prison until the collapse of the first republic. Chief Jonathan Odebiyi was the Minister of Finance during the 1962 crisis between the leader of the Action Group, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the Premier, Chief Ladoke Akintola.

Chief Jonathan Odebiyi was the Minister of Finance under the Premiership of Chief Ladoke Akintola. If there was a brawl between Awolowo and Akintola, which side should Odebiyi lean, considering the state of Nigeria today? He was not just a minister holding any other post but the entire purse of the Western Region under the leadership of Akintola. Indeed, the testimony of Chief JAO Odebiyi readily reminds one of the popular quote by Henry Wadsworth Long-fellow.

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time.

Chief Odebiyi would rather lose his post as Minister of Finance than work against the interest of the people by aligning with Akintola’s UPP. He refused the lucre of the juicy post.  And he did lose the post of Minister of Finance in defence of integrity. Chief Jonathan Odebiyi is that father of Chief Tolu Odebiyi, the current Chief of Staff to Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.

Although Chief Olabisi Onabanjo did not hold a ministerial post, he suffered with Awo and was not ready to trade principle for money or position. Upon assumption of office as Governor of Ogun State in 1979, he  implemented the five-cardinal programme of the Unity Party of Nigeria.

Among the contenders for the 2019 APC governorship slot are Chief Tolu Odebiyi, who accompanied his father to the campaign rallies of Awo in those days, Chief Kolawole Lawal, Engr Suraj Adekunbi, Chief Abiodun Akinlade, Chief Kunle Akinlade and Senator Solomon Adeola, currently representing Lagos West in the Senate. Notwithstanding the controversies surrounding the state of origin of Adeola, there is the argument that his chances would have been brighter because of the Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu’s factor if he were to be representing Ogun State in the Senate just like Governor Amosun represented Ogun in the Senate prior to his becoming the governor. Adeola at present is not even a card-carrying member of APC in Ogun State. The roots of the the candidates will also play a major role in who wins the nomination. Chief Tolu Odebiyi, as earlier observed, is the son of Chief Jonathan Odebiyi. His mother, Chief Mrs Kemi Odebiyi, was the Lagos State Electoral Resident Commissioner, who upheld the rightful votes of Governor Bola Tinubu in the 2003 polls that saw the exit of other AD governors from power. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was a classmate of (Chief) Mrs Odebiyi, is rumoured to be in full support of the candidature of Tolu Odebiyi. And while Governor Amosun may not have openly endorsed any candidate there is no doubt in the mind of any keen observer that he and the broad spectrum of the leadership of Ogun APC lean on the side of Odebiyi. Some may regard it as sentiments but Asiwaju Tinubu cannot not really be seen to work against the candidature of the son of a core Awoist like Tolu Odebiyi, who has been a loyal party member and is also eminently qualified to be the governor.

Being an insider in the workings of government has a role to play in performance. Babatunde Fashola was the Chief of Staff of Governor Bola Tinubu. We saw his sterling performance in Lagos because it was easy for him to build on the solid foundation laid by Tinubu. This will also count in favour of Tolu Odebiyi. It will be easy for him to build on the strong foundation laid by Amosun.

A vast wealth of experience in business and administration (like some other candidates), strong political lineage, rich political heritage, fist-hand knowledge in the workings of government, a vision of a more prosperous Ogun and broad based support by leaders of all across the length and breadth of Ogun State give Odebiyi an edge over others in APC and Chief Gboyega Isiaka or Chief Ladi Adebutu of the PDP in the race towards Oke-Mosan in 2019. 

–––Abraham sent this piece from Ipara Remo, Ogun State