Kudos, Supreme Court



By Ebere Wabara

AN aside: Please go savour the choice of words of the Supreme Court in its final declaration on the Bayelsa governorship election and the consequent appeal. The verdict was given on February 26, 2020. I have never read or heard such epochal and memorable statements on the abuse of court processes by leading counsel. The reprimand was quite instructive and should function as a free tutorial for all lawyers and their prospective clients. If I had the privilege, I would have published the quintessential and unprecedented rebuke here—verbatim. I rest my case!

“A top Presidency source last night assured (who did the source assure?) that the federal government remains (remained) committed to spending the….” (THISDAY Front Page, February 22)
“In the eyes and reckoning of every Imo citizens, there has only been two administrations in the state.” Every Imo citizen or all Imo citizens…and this: there have (not has) only been two administrations in the state.

“NPA commends FG over (for) port reforms” (THISDAY Headline, January 27)
“Nigeria’s aviation industry has witnessed some changes since the administration of late Musa Umar Yar’dua….” (THISDAY Aviation, January 27) The administration of the late….

“After four years of solid performance on the saddle…”’ Let God’s will be done: in the saddle.
“Some states have seized the opportunity to make waves….” It is only in America and Nigeria that opportunities are seized. In New (Formal/Standard) English environments, you either use or take opportunities. ‘Seize’ inseparably involves the use of some measure of force or deployment of violence.

“Gowon, Jang, others pay last respect to…” No news: last respects.
Yet another headline goof from the above edition: “Tantalizers fete (fetes) kids on Valentine’s Day” Tantalizers is just a company.

“Post election panel is illegal and diversionary” Get it right: Post-election panel illegal, diversionary
“It is perhaps in this light that the series of consultative meeting….” Folk (popular) etymology: the series of consultative meetings.

“In this regard, one must doff one’s hat for Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr. ….” This way: doff (also take off) one’s hat to (not for).

“In the last elections, voters had to choose between three parties essentially….” ‘Between three parties’ is simply acidulous. Formal expression: among three parties….
“The security-men who arrested Chima were eight in number (what would ‘eight’ have been?) and arrived at about 10 a .m. in the morning.” Towards Standard English for readers: at 11.a.m or about 11a.m, if there is an element of uncertainty. To employ the two in one breath is irksome. How does this sound: ’10 a.m. in the morning’? This is simply embarrassing!
“Of course film-makers should also watch them so that the public can be told the videos are not some Hollywood make-belief.” My comment: make-believe.

“Pondering over the nation is the spectra of economic corruption and a descent into (to) chaos and anarchy.” Singular: spectrum and plural (spectra).

“It is therefore most expedient for ex-Generals like Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida to re-examine its (their) role in government and take a honourable bow from politics.” A time to quit: an honourable bow.

“Even now, no talk of regional or sub-regional integration is complete in this continent without an echo from Nigeria.” Diplomacy: on the continent.

“…am convinced that what held the audience spell-bounded (spell-bound) and excited was the fact of an Anglophone being able to tell him in their own language.”

“Instead, people compete and fall over one another for the crumbs and fallouts from the ‘high table’ (platform/dais/rostrum) and even defend the indefensible.” ‘Fallout’ is uncountable.
“…we swept them under the carpet pretending that all was well when in actual (what for?) fact we were heading towards apocalypse.”

“…others point out the moral ground for such action (an action), given Labour’s antecedents in the past.” ‘Antecedents in the past’? This is unacceptable for obvious reasons. One of these days, somebody would write ‘future antecedents’! Delete ‘in the past’.

“As at 1985 there are (were) over 36,000 dams in the world with about 18,000 in China alone.”
“Are you therefore surprise (sic) to find mediocres promoted beyond their highest level of competency.” The noun form of ‘mediocre’ (an adjective) is ‘mediocrity’ or ‘mediocrist’.
“Statistics of African debt profile shows (show) that Nigeria owes about 15 per cent of the continent’s debt.”

“But none of these leaders coming with large (a large) retinue of people (would it have been of animals?) will agree that it is important to back-up (back up) their good wishes with concrete policy (a concrete policy) in the area of debt management for sustainable growth.”
“Within the 15 years of the four military regimes under review, Nigeria moved twice from one extreme end of the scale to the other in her (its) relation with other nations.” Either extreme or end—both cannot co-function.

“General Babangida’s emergence on the scene brought an initial soothing balm in Nigeria’s foreign relations because of his early release of a transition programme.” ‘Soothing balm’ is offensive to good scholarship. What else, apart from soothing, would balm do?
“While the Chinese were still protesting the bombing of their embassy in Belgrade, NATO had gone ahead to bomb the Swiss embassy, causing damages (damage) to the Angolan embassy and hit (hitting) a hospital, among others.”

“What is laying a siege on (to) public wealth and traumatizing all those who dared to point accusing fingers.” Delete ‘accusing’ because of its contextual redundancy. And this: point the finger (stock expression).

“How does the separation of powers that are (is) discernible in Government textbooks operate in real life.”

“Just as the banning of books and newspapers give (gives) rise to an illicit trade in them….”
“Perhaps it may interest you to note that the average take home (a hyphen) pay of a fresh university graduate a month, in any of the Federal ministry (ministries), was slightly above N3,000.”

“Nigeria at war, PDP raises alarm” This way: PDP raises/sounds the alarm
“Okogie seeks prayers, counsels (counsel) for Nigeria”

“Why FG awarded crude lifting (crude-lifting) contracts to indigenous firms, by minister” The incorrect extract implies that ‘crude is lifting contracts’!

“Lagos PDP wants Tinubu arrested over (for) utterances on 2023 polls”
“Police threaten to charge offenders over (with) inciting statements”
“Minister commissions (inaugurates) Abia eye centre”

“Calling off the Kano rally, therefore, would have been a wonderful symbolic gesture, (irrelevant comma) that would have spoken volume (volumes) to Nigerians….”

“…what the president is doing by his so-called unity rallies amounts to electioneering campaigns….” With ‘electioneering’, you do not need ‘campaigns’ as the word is embedded in ‘electioneering’.

“But one of the detectives demanded for a stool….” Delete ‘for’.
“…the battle over who should represent the oil rich (oil-rich) community….”

“The initiative, which has been scripted to tow (toe) the mode of the pilot run of cash-less (cashless) policy, would begin in Lagos, with no fewer than 1000 of the 1401 branch (1401-branch) network of the nation’s deposit money banks.”