Grandmasters of Data Goof



With Ebere Wabara

THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER, of June 1 welcomes us today: “UAE/Nigeria relations strengthen as trade volume hits $1.2bn, says envoy” The relations did not strengthen by themselves—they were strengthened by both countries’ citizens’ activities. We should not in the process of avoiding past tenses in headlines commit schoolboy howlers! Alternatively, the relations get boost or rev, etcetera

From Super Saturday comes the next set of mistakes: “Mired in controversy and steeped in scandal (Mired in controversies and steeped in scandals), she doesn’t seem to give a hoot!”

“I didn’t study Law because I wanted to practice (practise) it” Noun: practice; verb: practise in Standard English. For Americanism, it does not matter—just like many other aspects of language imperialism by the US!

DAILY Sun Front Page banner caption of June 3 takes over from THISDAY: “President Muhammadu Buhari (right) recieving (receiving) former Head of State….” If it were during the heyday of the old Daily Times under the quintessential leadership of Barrister Tony Momoh, the person who ‘okayed’ (authorized) this page for publication would have gone on suspension for at least two weeks. Meanwhile, happy 80th birthday, sir….

“Congratulations to our illustrous (illustrious) son….” (Full-page advertorial by Awka Ancient Kingdom, DAILY SUN, June 3)                                                                                                                                               “The Board, Management and Staff of the Corporate Affairs Commission heartily felicitates (felicitate) with Mazi…on your (his—because the advertorial is not addressed to him, but the public) well deserved (well-deserved) election as the….” (Source: as above)

“SON sensitises public on (to) dangers of gas cylinders, vessels usage”

“The entire people of Ugwuaji Community in Enugu South LGA…inauguration to (for) a second term in office as the Executive Governor of Enugu State”

“We congratulate you for (on/upon) a well-deserved office….”

“Dickson (Dickson’s) aide denies joining guber (governorship) race” (SOUTH SOUTH NEWS Headline, June 3) In formal/standard publications/writings, you do not use a Nigerian creation like ‘guber’, among copious others.

“Perm secs (what is this?) forum endorse (sic) Gov Bello” (AREWA NEWS Headline, June 3) An overhaul: Perm Scribes’ Forum endorses Gov. Bello

“Stop politising (politicizing) military, Pentagon tells White House”

“Grand masters (Grandmasters, preferably even as both are correct) of data, Globacom, has congratulated the Muslim faithful in Nigeria, (otiose comma) for (again, on/upon) successfully completing the 30-day Ramandan (Ramadan) fast.” (DAILY SUN, June 5, Page 39) An aside: A ‘grandmaster’ (countable noun) is a chess player of the highest ability, according to my dictionaries. So, is this apt for seamless and supersonic communication imagery? Just thinking aloud.                                                                                                                                             Nigerian TRIBUNE of June 1 circulated four major blunders: “President Buhari had always seized (taken) every opportuned (opportune) moment….”

“…had while being screened by the Senate as a ministerial nominee passed a vote of no confidence on (in) the nation’s two major anti-corruption agencies….”

Lastly from Oke-Ado, Ibadan: “It is such a wonderful innovation that it is surprising that it never occured to anybody until now.” Spell-check: occurred.

“StanbicIBTC’s gross earnings hits N32bn in June” For lexical profitability: earnings hit.

“TASUED alumni tasks…on cult group” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, June 1) Is it that most journalists do not read these days that juvenile errors keep recurring? Alumni association tasks, but alumni (plural) task.

“New SANs to be sworn-in (sworn in) September 19”

“Talks over minimum wage collapses (why?) again”

“Independence of the press: From whom and for what?” (SUNDAY PUNCH, May 26) Get it right: From whom and what for (not for what?)

“Lagos govt condoles victims of market fire” Either condoles with or just console.

“If you are one, who ordinarily shy (shies) away from challenges, then don’t bother meeting her.” (SUNDAY PUNCH Essence, May 26) The subject-predicate dislocation here is preposterous.

“Many women ruin their homes by keeping tabs on their hubby” (SATURDAY PUNCH, May 25) Emotional plurality: hubbies.

“This, I believe, has been and should be the burning issues (sic) in the state.”

“Access Bank (sic) asks court to wind-up oil firm” (Source: as above) Right: wind up.

“Curbing the increasing menace of destitutes on the streets” (SATURDAY TRIBUNE, May 25) Simply the destitute (not destitutes).

“NCC arrests 13 in Benue over piracy” I will arrest colleagues of mine shortly for lexical insensitivity.

“Workers resume strike again” Let us jettison ‘again’ from that headline to foreclose any industrial action. ‘Resumption’ cannot co-function with ‘again’.

“Islamic banking will break-up Nigeria” Yet on this vexatious matter: phrasal verbs abhor hyphenation! So, break up the phrase.

“The 2019 World Investment Report has indicated that Nigeria is presently enjoying FDI inflow….” (Nigerian Tribune Business, June 5) I do not understand this obsession with the inclusion of ‘currently’ and ‘presently’ in sentences that have structural currency encapsulated in ‘is’—and ‘enjoying’—in this instance. Therefore, Nigeria is enjoying….

“The deployment of soldiers to serve in the Joint Task Force constituted to restore order in the beleaguered state….” The JTF and Boko Haram: restore order to (not in).

“Why we deploy soldiers to Port Harcourt—Wike” The governor deploys soldiers in (not to) Port Harcourt.

“…gathered to pay their last respect (respects) to legal icon….”

“The three gentlemen were obviously having a great time walking almost hand in hand, trading banters over the unfolding drama among humans back on earth.”  ‘Banter’ is uncountable.

“It looks like the IMF is demanding for conditions likely to slow down the pace and the exercise.”  Delete ‘for’. When used as a verb, ‘demand’ does not take ‘for’, except in the noun form.

“Every decision of government is subjected to the magnifying lenses of interest groups that invariably include ethnic and geopolitical gladiators and champions of all manners (manner) of group interests.”

“The efforts of the police command in identifying the dangerous areas and in alerting the residents is (are) acknowledged.”

“The damages and loss of lives to NATO and Yugoslavia were unnecessary.”  ‘Damage’ in this context is uncountable.

“An agenda similar to that of Murtala/Obasanjo regime was hurriedly packaged to cleanse the civil service in order to enhance performance and inculcate discipline into (in) our national life.”

“Nigeria and the international community has (have) just celebrated this year’s World Literacy Day.”

“Secondly, it’s (its) legal duty to advise on the….”

“They have not yet established the full processes of their interaction in the chamber too, and the formality of procedures are now still (is still) being developed.”

“The German African Project which was conceived as a cultural milieu between the two countries….” A review: between the countries.…

“I wish the politicians, especially the elected ones, should feel the pause (pulse) of the people….”

“Part of this quality sense concerns the debate on how best to eat a dish, with cutleries or with the ten fingers.”  Would it have been nine fingers? ‘Cutlery’ is uncountable.

“There has (have) been electoral programmes before, so what is different with this one.”

“I am a product of a system which allowed a poor farmer-cum-fisherman’s son to go through the very best schools…..”  ‘Best’ has reached the end-point of intensification and cannot be inflected (by adding ‘very’). It is an absolutely superlative word.

“During the heydays of Christian missionary activity in the southern parts of Nigeria, communities were actively involved in building schools.” Thoughts on education: ‘heyday’ is uncountable.