Sour, not Sore, Grapes



By Ebere Wabara;, 08055001948

WE kick off this edition with a juvenile blunder by DAILY SUN: “Alumni holds (hold) economic summit, science prize day in Imo” (Oriental News, November 29) Alumni hold, but alumni association holds….

“Jonathan dismisses Abdullahi’s book as ‘sore’ (sour) grapes, full of lies, gossip” (THISDAY Front Page, December 2)

“One on one (One-on-one) session with Atiku Abubakar” (THISDAY Back Page Headline, December 2)

“Herdsmen kill four (4 preferably for headline discipline) policemen as army (the army) repel attacks on Numan” (Source: as above)

“After some uncertainties at the beginning of the season (a comma) Arsenal fans are becoming optimistic that the Premier League title is still achievable after enjoying run (a run) of victories in recent weeks.” (Global Soccer, December 2)

“Is anti-graft war still on course with alleged relooting (re-looting) of recovered loots (loot)” ‘Loot’ is uncountable. (DAILY SUN Your View, December 4)

“If there will be crisis (a crisis) in PDP (a comma) it won’t be as worse (bad) as the one we have surmounted….” (DAILY SUN Politics & Power, December 4)

“EU, AU Summit: Harnessing partnership potentials (potential or potentialities—never ‘potentials’ because it is non-count). (DAILY SUN OPINION Page Headline, December 4)

“Cattle rustling: Masari launches animal tracking (animal-tracking) device” (Arewa News, December 4)

“Lagos clamps down on walkways (walkway) traders, hawkers” (News around the city, December 4)

“The seven bank chief executives currently being investigated by the EFCC for their alleged racketeering roles in the current pension fund scam have been placed under security watch to forestall them escaping outside the country.” A rewrite to save time and space: The seven bank chief executives being investigated by the EFCC for their alleged racketeering roles in the current pension fund scam have been placed under security watch to forestall their escape from the country. The copious blunders in the extract remind me of inflectional Middle English!

“Assailant, vigilante member die in gun duel” Get it right: vigilance member. Alternatively: Assailant, vigilante die in gun duel.

“INEC official arrested over ‘missing’ ballot papers” Truth in defence of freedom: ‘arrest’ takes ‘for’—not ‘over’!

“Woman arrested with AK-47, 148 live ammunitions” The last word in the extract is uncountable. The Old English (Anglo-Saxon) period is gone!

“This will remove the possibility of passing the bulk (buck)” No pedestrian English.

“The organized private sector took the bull by the horn recently….” For a better society: take the bull by the horns.

“Britain handed over the reigns of power to the politicians.” Modern English: reins of government.

“One even wonders why government did not adopt that method from the onset (outset).”


Re: Growing grammatical challenge

I write in response to your request asking for elucidation on the frequent grammatical errors observed in our dailies. I must thank you for taking pains to highlight these challenges; for which reason, some expressions people come across in our dailies had been taken to be correct not knowing that most of these expressions represent a wrong use of the language (grammar-wise, in particular).

There are reasons for such wrong expressions and a few of them are as follows:

1.  Poor reading culture;

2.  Writers adapt the language to their prevailing localities for ease of communication and understanding;

3. Recycling of expressions come across in the dailies without knowing how poor such expressions are;

4. People hide under the cover of ‘English as a second language’ to commit grammatical murders;

5. People not well tutored in the use of grammar; the backbone of any language;

6. Poor editing of works, from working for long hours;

7. Proliferation of emergency media houses with the possible engagement of hacks to do hatchet jobs;

8. Undue attention to the issue of return on investment (ROI);

9. Attention not paid to the need to engage the services of qualified graduates of English language to crosscheck all the edited works in the quality evaluation department (QED) of the media houses;

10. An enduring local stereotype which takes grandiloquence and long speeches to mean grammar;

11. Disregard for and a poor grasp cum application of the basic rules of grammar;

12. Underrating of the growing sophistication of the readership regularly treated to grammatical menu of poor quality;

13. Differences in language between expressions in good novels and newspaper expressions;

14. The prevailing socio-political system conditions the use and type of expressions much in vogue;

15. People do not have access to high quality materials to read;

16. Growing socio-economic pressure occasioning distractions and inability to pay attention to laid-down rules governing good expressions;

17. The uncritical attachment to some authors or writers whose works are taken to be beyond reproach.

18. A piece of work is not deserving of accolades (however well it is presented) if only informative and not roundly didactic. A kind of error which derives from not taking a holistic view of the overall functions which any piece of work is supposed to perform;

19. The possibility that a commercial balance between payment and value for money is not considered an integral part of the equation;

20. Things stagnate and nothing works or thrives in the absence of any motivation. Reward for greater accomplishments is enough incentive to do more. In that wise, the internal mechanisms which are needed to give the quality of work the necessary tonic or elixir should be activated at all times;

21.  Failure to see a piece of work as a part of us; and by the fact of being a part of us, part of our growth. Therefore, every piece of work is a growth factor;

22.  Being unaware of the fact that all about our works reflect our personality types and therefore are our unique selling points (USP).  

Mr. Wabara, the above is the extent to which I can contribute to the discourse. Please, consider for publication in your esteemed column; with the hope that media outfits would benefit from the points raised; and readers made to have value for their money!

––L. N’Obode

(081 6123 6077)


Transforming Women for Gender Equality in the Corporate World

Amina Oyagbola


n a society, the importance of women in every aspect of life is one that cannot be argued. Be it the work space or home front, the woman is often recognized as an embodiment of hope, intellect, diligence, responsibility and above all, versatility. While some may argue gender disparity where the woman is not seen as befitting and appropriate for certain roles in the society or work space, it continues to be a lingering battle between the genders.

In recent times, however, women have begun to exude more authority and power in the society, clearly and gradually displacing the belief that the female gender cannot be seen beyond catering for the home as its major capability in life. Even though women are gradually becoming empowered, there is still a huge gap. The challenge is to ensure gender equity and equality in the treatment of women especially in the work place so they can contribute to national development.

In the corporate world for example, there are still very few women in leadership or decision making fora. There is insufficient diversity and inclusion at all levels. Discrimination still exists. Women are still under-appreciated on their jobs and little or no attention is paid to creating the enabling environment for women to thrive; or make gender equality a CEO priority.

According to Ghanaian Scholar, Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir-Aggrey, ‘If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation). The message here is that women should have equal access to education and equal opportunity in the workplace.  Ban Ki-Moon, former United Nations Secretary General said; ‘Investing in girls and women is likely to prevent inter-generational cycles of poverty and yield high economic and societal returns. Empowering women can change everything.” The Nigerian woman has proven her capability and competence in all spheres of the society. This is evident in certain leadership, political and managerial positions that have been successfully handled and transformed by women for the better.

The issue of gender equality and awareness in the workplace can best be addressed by putting in place processes, activities and initiatives that will build their confidence in the corporate world and ensure readiness for leadership roles.

Several NGOs have initiated programmes to equip the young career women, who have just begun their profession, to build capability and achieve success. It is important that these targeted training and mentorship initiatives are imbibed early in their career journey for maximum impact.

One of the leading mentoring programmes in Nigeria is Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR) founded in 2008 by Mrs. Amina Oyagbola. WISCAR  has instituted a structured and strategic 12-month mentoring programme for young career women that will enable them to achieve their aspirations.

Following recognition of the lack of an institutional framework that provides inspiration, motivation, guidance and support to professional women to assist them in navigating their differing career pathways, the WISCAR ideal was birthed. The organization realized that in Africa generally and Nigeria specifically, professional women have an urgent need for access to strategic guidance and support during their professional and corporate careers. To successfully transform an individual, the personal, interpersonal and organizational competencies must be developed. WISCAR aims to promote the emergence of a highly motivated and talented female work force who are not only valuable role models, but are agents of positive cultural and policy changes within their respective organizations who will contribute to building a better nation.

To unleash the largely untapped potential of women, WISCAR is supporting existing efforts by the Nigerian Government to achieve the sustainable development goals. WISCAR is encouraging the development of female empowerment through an established mentoring network offering strategic guidance and support to young women. This mentoring network combines personal and cultural sensitivity with international know-how.

The progression of women in the workplace is largely an achievable goal. It needs to be made a CEO priority and deliberate steps need to be taken to build the pipeline, ensure gender diversity and change attitude of men. WISCAR, in 10 years has shown commitment and resilience and is working systematically towards this in the national interest. Gender equality is both a moral and economic imperative. Closing the gender gap must be a central part of any strategy to create a more sustainable and inclusive economy and society. We must put our collective brain power to work for all of us.

–––Amina Oyagbola , Founder Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR).

PIX: Amina Oyagbola.jpg