Accident, Not ‘Accidented’, Cars


Media Gaffes With Ebere Wabara

You are welcome to this first edition in the last month of the year: “…led a team to present to him notification (a notification) letter….”
“…Ortom said he had turned down many awards but decided to accept…because the newspaper has (had) distinguished itself as a reputable platform for objective journalism.”
“GOtv unveils…as brand ambassador, kicks-off (kicks off) iconic tour” (PAGE 2 BUSINESS, November 18)
“The IGP…yesterday maintained that he is (was) in firm and full control of the Nigeria Police Force.”

“…raised the alarm on the decrepit state of the clinic and called for a probe on (into) its poor facilities, (otiose comma) despite the huge budgetary allocation to it.”
“President Muhammadu Buhari spent some time in London (a London) hospital in his first term in office for medical treatment.” What else would he have gone to the hospital to do if not (medical) treatment? Perhaps televangelism!

“…as accidented (accident) vehicles flood Nigerian ports” (BUSINESS/MARITIME NEWS, November 18) ‘Accidented’ is a Nigerian creation that has no etymological bearing!
“…not alleged injustice meted on (meted out to) the South East actuated his defection.”
“Reps raise alarm (the alarm) over planned takeover of Chibok by insurgents” I quite appreciate the fact that articles are, most times, not allowed in headlines. But, we cannot because of this tamper with fixed expressions. The option is to find an alternative or strictly keep to morphological rules.

“Hack writers (Hacks), journalists of fortune and Ayade”
“Those who take laws into their hands do so at their own risk” (Imo Government Press Release, November 25) Stock entry: take the law into your own hands. A rewrite: Those who take the law into their own hands….
Let’s talk sports: “Osimhen (Osimhen’s) market value drops to N22b”
“A delegate of the PDP in Ogun State…slumped and died in the early hours of Thursday in an hotel in Abeokuta, the state capital.” This is certainly the old school genre. New class: a hotel.

“Police absolves security agencies of electoral fraud” It would be astounding for the Nigeria Police to indict fellow state gangsters! And, of course: police absolve (not absolves).
“…even if it means going extra miles….” I will go the extra mile (note the fixed expression) to ensure that this column appears unfailingly every week.
“And like (as) someone said recently….”

“…in the evacuation of dead bodies to mortuary.” On a clinical note: corpses instead of ‘dead bodies’ and a mortuary or mortuaries, depending on the fact of the matter.
“…as well as condoning the place and evacuating the dead and survivors to nearest health facilities.” Bomb blasts and conflicting figures: cordoning off (take note of the spelling and correct entry) the place.
“There seems (seem) to be stiff competitions among the foreign media and local press as well as….”

“…politicians are also culprits in overheating the system with provocative statements in blaming their opponents over (for) every misdeed.”
“Baring few skirmishes which regrettably led to the death of four persons….” An anatomy of the season of linguistic violence: there is a world of distinction between ‘a few’ (which correctly applies here) and ‘few’, which connotatively suggests an expectation of more skirmishes—except if the writer has a weird denotative inclination towards potentialities for more skirmishes! Otherwise, the extract is lexically absurd because of his regret.

“Just imagine a young man that rounded up his apprenticeship as a welder.” This is an indication of the current malaise in scholarship: a situation where a lecturer cannot distinguish between phrasal verbs, ‘round up’ and ‘round off’ (which applies here).
“Will anybody please let us know which country became a super-power by allowing its best brains to roam about the world?” ‘Roam’ encompasses ‘about’.

“News from the universities are no longer about innovation.…” News is news (uncountable).
“The condition, which is said to be due to an abnormality in either the number or structure of the chromosomes, cuts across every races.” Get it right: every race or all races.
“Janet, a twelve-year-old and the third child of her parents’ four offsprings and the only one with the problem…” ‘Offspring’ is non-count.
“Since 1993, funding of oil exploration have (has) been beset by different levels of problems.”

“In answering this question we classify the outcomes into long term and short term implications.” The greatest problem of journalists: unnecessary embellishment (outcome) of words.
“This is clearly a danger signal as the time between discovering an oil field and commercially putting it on stream could be between four to five years.” No analysis: between four and five or from four to five years.
“Lack of funds cripple waste management activities” Another error of attraction: Lack of funds cripples.

“Nevertheless, the donor country is also interested in this decision to ensure that the loan is repaid as at when due with its accrued interest.” Without any periscope: the loan is repaid when due (not ‘as at when due’ which is pleonastic).
“Government should consider the destructive effect that further delay in the sale of rescued banks would mete out on the banking system”. Stock phrase: mete out to (not on) the banking system.
“If the family cannot truely relish at least a decent meat….” Spelling counts: truly.
“A man does not have to be a money bag (sic) before he can dress well and look charming in his own little way.” Brighten up your English usage: A man does not have to be a moneybags…. Moneybag is a sac!

“…in addition, (sic) to dispensing drugs for immediate relief and giving counsel on the steps necessary to prevent a reoccurrence.” Good grammar: recurrence.
“…it sent the signal that those responsible for the security of lives and properties in Oyo State are working at cross-purposes”. Some caution, please: life and property.
“The arsonists usually escape with their loot as the embattled market lays in ashes, leaving many traders terminally ruined financially.” There should be no dilemma: ‘lays’ for ‘lies’?
“I still remember vividly that when it was my turn to speak at the occasion….” I thought we had gone past this stage: on (never at) the occasion.

Remembrance: The first and last time when I met with the (vital article often omitted by most writers) late Dr. Ernest Ogunade in his UNILAG mass communication departmental office, he profusely and profoundly commended my newspaper grammatical interventions as published in the heyday of Daily Times. May his cerebral soul continue to rest in peace (not ‘perfect peace’ as abused in Nigeria)!