Diamond Bank Fumbles


SATURDAY Media Gaffes

DAILY SUN of October 31 welcomes to this week’s session with the following headline solecisms: “Bread making business can strenghten your cashflow (sic)” A rewrite: Bread-making business can strengthen your cash flow”

“SON destroys sub-standards (substandard) products worth N10m”

“Dunlop expands, opens store (shop) in (on) Victoria Island”

THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER, of October 28 follows DAILY SUN in this week’s edition of our language series with schoolboy blunders that ring true: “We must demand for better protection for these hapless Nigerians at Muna Garage.” Delete the first ‘for’ lest we agonize!

“I don’t just have fans like you do movie (a movie) and your movie don’t (doesn’t) cut across like you are doing movie and people just know you only in Nigeria.” This extract is a little bit clumsy.

“New dawn for Nigeria (Nigerian) tourism”

Finally from THISDAY Back Page missile: “A man who is fixated on blaming each and every mistake of this government on the PDP has certainly run out of ideas, and must even have lost the capacity for rational thinking. The APC-led government should to (sic) reevaluate the inclusion of the likes (like) of Garba Shehu in this administration.”—The Peoples Democratic Party calling on President Buhari to send his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, for psychiatric evaluation.                                                                                        

“Buhari: North has seven ministers of states (state)” (THISDAY Front Page, October 14)

“What’s a six letter (six-letter) word for ‘free’?” (Full-page advertisement by Diamond, Your Bank, THISDAY, October 14)

“…the mobile app is designed for the upward (upwardly) mobile readers….”

“Osagie said The Sun Nigeria mobile app has (had) a distinct features (sic)….”

“He gave assurance (an assurance) that the launch of….”

“Stopping children from watching TV can result to (in) blindness—Optometrists”

“Okada union laments govt (govt.) encroachment in (on/upon/into) fees collection”

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.   

“But in the welter of these realignment of forces…” Re-thinking development: this realignment of forces.

VANGUARD of August 28 circulated three goofs: “The fear along the room and corridor (corridors) of power of a sovereign national conference.…”

“It is not in doubt that most of the commuters in the luxurious (luxury) buses that ply.…”

“…Aba traders constitute a large proportion of the passengers on commercial aircrafts (aircraft) that fly….”

“Major reorganization of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), which may lead to mass retirement and sack of its men and officers, now looms.” Get it right: a major reorganization or major reorganizations, as context demands.

“One of the most outrageous abuses occurred.…” Spelling in the lurch: occur, occurrence, occurred.

“I do not buy the argument that the advent of electronic mails and network computers have rendered postal services absolute.” Not yet time for structural proximity: the advent of electronic mails and network computers has (not have).

“In doing this, however, he must be faithful to the mandate of the ECOWAS Heads of Government under whose platform he operates.” Agenda: on (not under) whose platform he operates

“As Nigerian editors converge in (on) Katsina for their 10th Annual Meeting.…”

“A government white paper on the demonstration….” Sheer abuse of words! ‘White paper’ is a report issued by Government to give information. Let’s respect words. After all, reporting is all about telegraphic brevity.

“UNN students union honour vice chancellor” What is happening? Sub-editors of these days show traces of illiteracy! This way: UNN students’ union honours VC

“The fact that some people eat food that does nothing for their physical well-being put them in the class of the poor.” The fact…puts.

“The richer nations who (sic) have more than enough should in this moment of great need and expectation by the poor masses (the masses are basically poor) be their brothers’ keepers.” Standard sociolinguistics: ‘brother’s keeper’—whether one or more.

“Any further discourse on it, some might say, amounts to nothing but over-flogging a dad horse.”  You flog, not over-flog, a dead horse, talking idiomatically.

“Like few (a few in this context) years ago, a life cow was allegedly buried….” ‘Life cow’ in place of ‘live cow’ portrays sub-literacy.

“Opponents of private universities claim that they will aggravate the unemployment problem in the country.” ‘Unemployment’ is certainly a problem—so why compound it by adding another ‘problem’?

“Denmark has just played an historic role in….” ‘An historic role’ is the type of expression Ndaeyo Uko calls Elizabethan English! Current syntactic trend: ‘a historic…’

“One of the enduring concerns at the workshop concerned the role and orientation of the military with regards to our democratic aspirations.” Received English: ‘as regards’ or ‘with regard to’


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….” And this: “…untapped heroic potentials (potential)….”

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.


Governor Dickson Breaks A- 40-Year Jinx

Francis  Ottah Agbo


or Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, his words are his bonds. He is not just a keeper of promise, his promise are bankable!  But Promise keepers are hard to find on the country’s political landscape, especially when the promise to be kept has been made for 40 years on the trot. That length of time, naturally, makes the beneficiaries of the promise wonder if they are not jinxed.

That was the story of the people of Bayelsa West Senatorial Zone who had waited in vain for the construction of the Sagbama/Ekeremor/ Agge Road before Governor Dickson came to their rescue, 40 years, after the road was officially conceptualized.  The road was first listed in the budget of the old Rivers State in the second Republic under Governor Melford Okilo but didn’t see the light of the day. It was subsequently taken over by the Federal Government but remained a still born.   

But that is now history! On Saturday, October 14, Bayelsans witnessed what could be described as the triumphant entry of Governor Dickson to Ayamasa and Aleibri communities, two major oil-bearing communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area. What perhaps made his entry unique was that vehicles were going to Ayamasa,  Aleibiri and the interlocking communities for the first time ever. 

He was accompanied by his Deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt Hon kombowe Benson, Chief Judge of the state, Justice Kate Abiri, Senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Foster Ogola, Member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency, Chief Fred Agbedi, top government functionaries and community leaders, who drove from Yenagoa, the state headquarters to Ayamasa and Aleibiri respectively for the first time.

The people of Ayamasa and Aleibiri were understandably happy. Many of them were seeing vehicles in their communities for the first time, in their life time. Before now, they were accessing their communities only through the sea with the attendant risks of accidents and pirate attacks!

So, it was understandable that the beneficiaries of the Dickson’s developmental strides, all thronged to Aleibiri town, defying a heavy downpour, to welcome their governor who they describe as “Talk Na Do Governor,’’ which could in this context, also mean a redeemer of promise.

At his inaugural in 2012, Dickson promised to fix the road, and he immediately swung into action by starting the construction of the road up to his community, Toru-Orua. During his re-election in 2015, he reiterated his willingness to take the road to the terminal point, Agge. Today, he is delivering on his promise so much so that the road is over 60 percent completed.

As the governor drove from Toru-Orua, his ancestral home through Angalabiri, Ofoni, Ayamasa to Aleibiri that fateful Saturday, he was simply reconnecting with his past too. The story of Governor Dickson is synonymous with the Ayamasa and Aleibiri, as he too never saw a vehicle until he joined a Canoe from Toru-Orua to Patani, Delta State. This was after his secondary education at age 18. The only difference is that while Government under Dickson’s watch is constructing road to Ayamasa and Aliebiri which now enables the people to sight vehicles in their communities, Dickson’s Toru-Orua community neither had road nor saw vehicle until he became Governor in 2012! In deed the Governor only had the luxury of knowing how a vehicle looked at Patani.

This ugly experience, coupled with his desire to rapidly develop the state, clearly fired him to take over what was originally a federal road in a national recession.

Governor Dickson knew there was no better way to attract development to the rural areas than linking all the communities.   It was, therefore, not a surprise that the people of Angalabiri, Ofoni, Ayamasa and Aleibiri in Sagbama and Ekeremor local government areas came out in huge numbers to welcome him and his entourage.

The governor had stopped by in the four adjoining communities while on an inspection tour of the multi billion naira road.

The project, which is expected to be fully completed in December 2018, was previously handled by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). But like what befell many other projects handled by the commission, no progress was made. This prompted the Governor to take over the project and awarded the contract at the cost of N30billion to Dantata & Sawoe and Setraco construction giants, a move that has understandably accelerated the construction of the road. The distance of the road from Toru-Orua where the Governor hails from to Aleibiri is over 90 kilometres.

In each of the communities, the people rejoiced, danced and praised the governor for his effort to construct the road which they say will bring modernity to the communities, fast track development and increase economic activities in their area.

They assured the Governor of their unalloyed support and expressed confidence that with what the governor is doing, their communities will not remain the same after his tenure.

Chief Suru Oyarede, Spokesman of the Aliebiri Traditional Council hailed the Governor for confronting the mangrove forest and constructing road out of the creeks, rivers and rivulets. The spokesman of the Aleibiri Federated Communities, Mr. Egenikabowei Goldpen, said the road was conceptualized in 1979, during the tenure of Chief Melford Okilo, Second Republic governor of old Rivers State, but added that no administration mustered the political will to execute the project.

“…It is in this context that, when in 2012 you came on board and announced the take-over of the project and your desire to go all out to construct the road, not many thought that it would ever see the light of the day.

“ Your Excellency sir, today you have shamed the doubting Thomases, the cynics, the political jobbers and all those who have over the years played politics with this critical road. We lack words to appreciate you for what you have done for us as a people. You have wiped away our tears, you have made us feel that we are part of this country,” he said.

An elated Governor Dickson thanked the people for the reception and show of love, saying what they were experiencing was the fulfilment of a promise made in 2012. The Governor said Sagbama/Ekeremor/Agge road is one of the three senatorial road projects he promised to deliver in order to open up the state from three flanks.

While stressing that the recession has slowed down his infrastructural revolution, the Governor assured them that by December, all manner of vehicles will travel along the road and directed the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure to make that a reality. He promised to be in Aleibiri during the Yuletide season to assess the level of compliance.

The governor, who spoke mainly in Ijaw language, explained that the need to connect communities in the state to the capital, Yenagoa necessitated the vision to construct the road and the other two senatorial roads.

While assuring them of the commitment of his government to improve on their living conditions, the governor announced that the few communities around the area that are yet to be connected to the national grid will soon be linked up.

Former Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Murktar Shagari, who was also on the Governor’s entourage marvelled at the boldness of the governor to construct the Sagbama/Ekeremor/ Agge road on such a swampy and treacherous terrain.  While acknowledging that the economic recession slowed ‎down the pace of the work, Shagari said the governor must be commended for persisting with it against all odds.

When completed, the Sagbama/Ekeremor/ Agge Road, will be one of the legacy projects of the present administration and facilitate access to far-flung communities in the Bayelsa West senatorial zone.

There are many Aleibiris in the Niger Delta and particularly in Bayelsa. The pathetic story of Aleibiri is a metaphor for the neglect of the entire region by the Federal Government. As we speak, many oil producing communities across the state including Brass which hosts one of the oil major terminals is not accessible by road.  It is inconceivable that a people whose ancestral lands produce the mainstay of the country’s economy are cut off from civilization. The Federal Government must quickly wake up to its responsibility, by partnering with the state to construct the  Yenagoa/ Oporoma/ Koluama road otherwise known as the Bayelsa Central Senatorial Road as well as, take the Bayelsa East Senatorial Road to Brass as quickly as possible. Until the three senatorial roads are fixed, the Cargo International Airport, the Agge Deep Seaport, Brass LNG and Brass Fertilizer come to fruition, the glory of all lands will continue to remain in the backwaters!

––Agbo, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State wrote in via francisagbo38@yahoo.com

pix:  Dickson.jpg