Adenuga Coughs Out N8b? 

Ebere Wabara

FROM the January 11, 2023, editorial of one of the country’s national newspapers (name withheld for security reasons!) come the following openers for today: “President Muhammadu Buhari has (had) recently admitted that the Federal Government (needless capitalization except the ‘Federal Government of Nigeria’ thus becoming a proper noun—not a loose phrase!) might pay….” 

“This puts the country in serious fiscal crisis.” Get it right please: a serious fiscal crisis or serious fiscal crises (depending on the intended context).

DAILY TRUST of January 10 showed its characteristic language indiscipline: “Two arrested over (for) murder of 50-year-old woman”

“Traffic law: Driver bags three months (months’) imprisonment”

“…he told the nation that the unemployment problem was grave.” My own view: he told the nation unemployment was grave. ‘Unemployment’ is clearly a problem! Avoid pleonasm.

Now to one of the editorial columns of the above edition: “Worrisome reports about rampant fire outbreaks nationwide….” All the Facts, All the Sides: rampant fires nationwide

“…and there was a minor fire outbreak (fire) at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos (another comma) few (a few) days to the last Christmas  

“Which will help explain why General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) (retd)….”

“This seems imperative, given the fact that the country is currently witnessing the harmattan season….” What is ‘currently’ doing here?

“…they are found at (on) the scene of fire incidents.”

“…the arrival of fire fighting (fire-fighting) agencies….”

The next two blunders are from the Back Page of DAILY TRUST under review: “Traditionally, the expensive past time (pastime) of our rulers has always been how to perpetuate themselves in power by hook or by crook.” 

THE GUARDIAN of January 8 laboured in vain five times: “Ogun councillors seek payment of salaries arrears” Conscience, nurtured by truth: salary arrears.

“There was review (a review) of our salaries after we had been sworn-in (sworn in)….”

“The report said the country lacks (lacked) Aircraft Hanger Maintenance facilities, to take charge of the maintenance of aircrafts.” First: ‘aircraft’ is non-count. Second: The Guardian thinks that its readers are daft by the unnecessary inclusion of the phrase ‘to take charge of the maintenance of aircrafts’! What else would the facilities be doing? The sentence should have ended at ‘facilities’!

THE NATION ON SUNDAY of January 15 entertained readers with errors: “When a white woman is displeased with her marriage, she calls it quit (quits).”

“Mike Adenuga coughs out (up) N8b for new office building” Beyond coughing up (not out!), the expression is contextually wrong because the billionaire Grand Commander of the Order of The Niger is doing it willingly! Going by the principles of sociolinguistics, this medium should apologise to The Bull because he has superfluous fiscal capacity to dole out billions of local currency for his fantasies. In the circumstance, ‘coughing up’ diminishes Uncle ‘Niyi immeasurably. The only time the idiomatic expression will be right is if the government or any of its agencies compels the entrepreneurial quintessential icon to pay a fine. Social Circuit: Adenuga spends/splashes N8b on…. For an indigent person, the headline would have been quite perfect—not for a genius who dollarizes 24/7 and swims in oceanic pound sterling on the Bellisima Waterfront on Banana Island with the Euro as his foot mat, figuratively speaking!

“As the year draws to a close….” The year that has just started? Obviously last year’s copy sloppily carried into the New Year without an update by the medium on Fatai Atere Way! 

 “…a process that would required (require) the go-ahead of at least two non-regional member (members).”

“…but it is also important to ensure that these workers are not unduely exposed to temptations.”  Get it right: unduly.

“Nevertheless, since the world at large now gravitates towards the engaging concept of a global village, Africa as part of the human race, can just not be obliterated or be immune against this gale….”  A re-awakening desire for Africa: immune to (or from); not against.

“As at press time, several aspirants have (had) emerged, and more are being expected to join in the race….”

“…those who were nurtured on cassava and its allied products, children from the grassroot (grassroots).”

“This is the reason we see the oil industry as the life wire of the Nigerian nation.”  Limits of capital investment: livewire.

“This was at the launching (launch) of the N20 million education appeal fund of the Federal Girls’ College in Yola.”

“When we noticed this oversight, we quickly mobilized ourselves (one another) and drew attention of the local and the (needless entry) state governments.”

“The starting point of new outlook is to jettison our selfish individualism and foster voluntary groups and ethic upon which the vitality of nationhood rest (rests.)”

“A stage was reached in 1975/76 when excessive importation created severe port congestion due to proliferation of items arriving at (on) our shores.”

“Indeed, the death of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was that of a great democrat whose political activism in life brought her at loggerhead (loggerheads) with the might of gun trotters (gun-totters).”


“PLEASE, tell me what you intend to do to your colleagues at The Nation, considering what they do to the English language? See The Nation, Saturday, January 14, 2023: “Assassins forcibly forced their way….” (Ony Nwabufo/Abuja/080366487027) This is sheer Pidgin English! On behalf of the reporter, I apologise for the collateral damage to your purity.

“TUC is the abbreviation for Trades Union Congress, not ‘Trade Union Congress’ as it is called by civil servants and the media. This is because it is a union of people in different trades. See the Oxford English Dictionary.” (Stanley Nduagu/Aba/08092925996)

“A kindergartner (not a kindergarten) cannot write like this! To write ‘brethren’ instead of ‘brothers’ is either illiterate or delinquent!” (From the archives)

“YOU are indeed doing a great job here. I buy a copy of DAILY Sun every Wednesday just to learn and ‘drink from’ your wealth of linguistic knowledge. You are truly a language purist. Keep up the good work comrade. It takes only few experienced and outstanding minds to do such a critical analysis.” (Nwachukwu Collinsdivine/FGC Odogbolu/08039584379)

More constructive observations are welcome.

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