2023: Neck-and-neck Battle


By Ebere Wabara

PAGE 2 BUSINESSDAY of February 5 welcomes us today with this minor headline blunder: “Chi lauded for launching Hollandia Lactose Free (Lactose-free) Milk”

“1 die (dies), 5 injured as police, criminals exchange gunfire in Anambra” (News around the city, February 5)

Politics & Power of February 5 comes up next with this fault: “Or is the movement likely to come through this and become stronger like it has (had) always done in the past?”

“Minimum wage: Labour issues 14 days (14-day or 14 days’) ultimatum in Kwara” (AREWA NEWS, February 5)

 “Two killed, houses razed, hundreds displaced as Tivs (Tiv), Jukuns (Jukun) restart fight” (THISDAY Front Page Headline, February 8)

“House probes Agric Ministry over $1bn donor assisted (donor-assisted) agricultural project funds”

“Amotekun: Recruit non-Yorubas (non-Yoruba) experienced in security outfit, PDP chieftain suggests”

“FG task (tasks) youths to drive agricultural revolution”

“Ozekhome receives pan African (pan-African) award for defending Nigeria’s democracy”

“Use $321m Abacha loot to develop oil producing (oil-producing) communities, activist begs Buhari”

“Happy birthday to a quintessential business mogul, philanthropist extraordinary (extraordinaire)….”

“Community policing amidst (amid) regional security outfits”

“No armed robbery, no banditry, no tribal (ethnic) conflicts….” What is the difference between ‘armed robbery’ and ‘banditry’?

“MAN express (expresses) fear over Nigeria’s readiness for AFCFTA opportunities”

“Delta community raises the alarm over herdsmen (herdsmen’s) siege”

“The unprecedented onslaught against PDP faithfuls and other citizens….” ‘Faithful’ is uncountable.

“…CJN yesterday read a riot act to judicial officers nationwide, threatening to dismiss anyone caught perverting justice.” Fixed expression: read the Riot Act.

“Buhari, APC plot take over of S/East” Noun: takeover (which applies here); phrasal verb: take over.

“APC, PDP in neck-to-neck battle” Get it right: neck-and-neck battle.

“Tomplo Boys lay siege on Shomolu, Bariga” This way: lay siege to Shomolu, Bariga

“JTF arrests four over (for) illegal bunkering in Warri” (DAILY INDEPENDENT Headline, January 21)

“…Africa’s richest man beseiged” Spell-check: besieged.

Nigerian Tribune of January 23 did not confirm its self-adulation: “Under him, the body which comprised of eight countries grew to become 49.” The pride of Lagos-Ibadan press: expunge ‘of’ from the extract.

“It seems the bickering between the two unions is deepening.” (DAILY TRUST, January 23) We can conveniently do without ‘two’ in this excerpt because of its irrelevance.

“They are little aware that our great men of yesteryears were able to achieve.…” (Leadership, January 23) What has happened to the reputation of excellence? ‘Yesteryear’, just like ‘heyday’, is uncountable.

”Bandits kill two police, injure three others in Lagos” One of these: policemen, police officers, constables or cops; not just ‘police’.

Vanguard of January 23 bungled two expressions: “They would rather kill themselves over who is superior….” Friends of the Niger Delta: They would rather kill one another.  It is not yet a suicidal stuff.

“But the governor has stuck to his gun, insisting that his action is perfectly constitutional.” (THISDAY, January 23) Stuck to his guns (not gun)

“Well, dear honourables….” (Source: as above) Get it right: dear honourable members or dear lawmakers (legislators). ‘Honourables’ is Nigerian English not yet listed in Oxford English Dictionary as at January 31, 2020.

“Delegates in free for all fight” (Sunday Vanguard, January 26) Towards a better weekly: free-for-all (take note of the hyphenation and the elimination of ‘fight’ which is otiose).

“The faithful performed creditably well….” (THE NATION, January 21) No lip-service (not eye-service, as most Nigerians misinform): delete ‘well’ because of its redundancy here. So, the faithful performed creditably.

“Why would the christians (Christians, please) distrupt a sober act of paying tribute?” (Daily Trust, February 22) Spell-check: disrupt.

Nigerian Tribune of February 23 raised two questions:”…it is one agitation or the other (another: several agitations) against the present status quo” ‘Present status quo’ leaves a sour taste.

“That a man charged for (with) mother (father) of all crimes set free without due process.”

“The role played by people like…are (is) subject to thorough investigation.” (Business World, January 21)

“The police is (are) on red alert.” (DAILY SUN, January 23) Always recollect that they (policemen) are not your friends and that bail is not free, contrary to what the authorities declare!

“But there he was, Clinton, the most powerful head of government in the world, has (had) to sweat it out before lawyers that he appointed.” (Daily Independent, January 23)

“…we are being asked to bring our plates and we shall be duely (duly) served.”

“Libyan rebellion ignore peace offers” (THE PUNCH, January 23) No senility: Libyan rebels….”

“Essentially, those who spoke against it did so in (on) three main grounds” (THE GUARDIAN, January 23)

‘WAEC disturbed over education standard” (Nigerian Tribune, January 23) Nigeria’s most informative newspaper: educational standard.

“Influx of obsolete equipment worry (worries) radiographers” (THE GUARDIAN, January 23)

Please, note that ‘reopen’ does not admit hyphenation (re-open).

“It is the duty of the police to conduct investigations into the sort of killings that wasted some of its (their) men in Jos, the troubled capital of Plateau State, and fish out the culprits.” (THE GUARDIAN, January 23)

“Since AIDS run (runs) a long course atimes (at times) up to 5-10 years before it kills its victim….” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, January 23)

“Seeing this non-challant attitude as a reflection of a people lacking in unity and cohesion….” Spell-check: nonchalant.

“…others who thought they were immuned to injustice were arrested.” No round-up: just immune.

”At the outskirts of the town, a large signpost….” Get it right: on the outskirts.

“…the instruments of instruction and education of the policy have been entrenched within the polity.” The road to Aso Rock: entrench in (not within).

“Within the last decade, the Mugabe government was involved in series (a series) of political and financial scandals.”

“Since he was voted out of office in 1980, Mr. Carter has visited Nigeria several times, usually in pursuit of one humanitarian mission or the other.” Certainly, the man had pursued several missions on these shores.  So, the proper context should be: one humanitarian mission or another (multiple). The excerpt has just a dual function, which is wrong.

“At the start, when the politicians were told to form political associations, all manners of associations, with different ideological orientations and tendencies, sprouted like mushrooms.” Stock expression: all manner of associations.

For Isaac Aluko-Olokun

May the soul of Ambassador Isaac Agboola Aluko-Olokun, an ardent Wordsworth (Media Gaffes) subscriber, continue to rest in peace. We are celebrating who and what you were: a gentleman, a patriot and a universal citizen. “Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names.” From time to time, I remember our first-and-last meeting in the office of the editor of Daily Times of yore in its heyday, Barrister Ndu Ughamadu, now of the NNPC.