Wednesday, 28 June 2017

CRBC OAP makes Futile Efforts to Defend C'River SSG's Grammatical Blunder

An On Air Personality with the Cross River Broad casting Corporation CRBC Nteng Ochuwe Ekpang has taken a futile step in defence of the grammatical/typographical errors made by the Secratary to Cross River State Government Barr. Tina Agbor.

Recall that last week, the social media was flooded with discussions of the grammatical blunder made by the SSG of Cross River State as published by Negroid Haven.

You Can also read: 

'ON PATRIOTIC' or 'UNPATRIOTIC': SSG, Barr. Tina Agbor goofs while addressing organised labour

TDN had also published a story based on that thread as to how the SSG's blunder had caused a stir thereby producing several English teachers who took turns to correct almost everyone who commented on Negroid Haven's thread. 
to get full gist read:

C’River SSG grammatical blunders sparks English mastery exercise, CRUTECH lecturer implicated'

shortly after that Mr. Nteng Ekpang took to his facebook wall where he struggled in futile effort to redeem the name of the SSG.

below is Ekpang's article in full:  


I was relaxing in my sitting room, going through some of the messages on the CRBC “staff” (as the admin would have it called, because not everybody is a staff) Whatsapp group, where some of my colleagues who are casual staff were lamenting that the strike was of no importance to us because whatever it will achieve, will be of no consequence to us.

Then I saw Sunny Inah , CRBC government house correspondent typing. I knew it was not going to be unconnected with government and probably the ongoing industrial action. Surely it was. Indeed it was the much talked about error-laden press release of Barr. Tina Agbor that Sunny dropped.

I was the first to pick on it. So before you read the caption alone and conclude that I have ascribed infallibility to myself, or start your attack, which you are entitled to anyway) on the grounds that I am a praise singer of this government, which I have a right to be if I chose to, note that I was first to condemn it. In fact these were my words on the platform:

‘’Very shallow, grammatically incoherent and disgraceful of an SSG, lacking in content, unappealing, non-persuasive, providing no grounds for calling off the strike and absolutely nonsensical”.
A few others later followed suit with one comment or the other. In all we said, Princess Janice Cobham captured our collective mood when she said:

‘’NTEN you are so correct. I don’t believe this came from the SSG. Grammar so poor. How on earth can one say on patriotic? The gods must hear this’’.
That was the general mood that day, and our position till date, until proven otherwise because we expect more from the person and office of the SSG, and for the records, it is not wrong to have such expectations. As a matter of fact, I could only say what I said earlier because of the conviction that it certainly was not directly from Madam.

Sooner than later, one of the media aides of the government shared the release on Facebook, and as expected, it wasn’t long before it became an item of mockery on the social media space.
While this was going on, few questions found their way to my mind with likely answers as it were…

-How did this press release make its way to the press without the much needed scrutiny?
-Who was the typist at governor’s office that could not cross the hurdle of simple spellings or grammar rules?
-Who is Barr. Tina’s Media or Press Officer if any?
-Couldn’t any of Governor Ayade’s retinue of media officers look at it before it was published?
-Did the SSG actually set her eyes on that release before it left her office?
-If yes, was it wrong for her to have subjected it to another person for simple proof-reading? 

Before I attempt answering some of these questions, let me put it on record that i am neither promoting incompetence, mediocrity nor making excuses for Secretary Tina Agbor. But if we make room for human error and other circumstances beyond our control, then we might just see the need to pardon the SSG who under normal circumstance won’t churn out that kind of release. 

First of all, chances are that the SSG may not have even set her eyes on that release before it was eventually made public because the release as it was published online and as I later saw it in the newsroom, was not signed. Meaning that if she had seen it before it made its way to the newsroom, she could have signed it.

Her supposed absent was not unconnected with an earlier press release from the commissioner for information and orientation Mrs. Rosemary Archibong conveying Governor Ayade’s directive for all appointees to proceed to their LGAs and mobilize their constituents who are eighteen years and above and have not registered with INEC to do so ahead of future election. 

So Mrs. Agbor could have traveled at that time. But her appearance the next day with Barr. Ekpenyong Henshaw, the Head of Service at a press briefing on the industrial action and their subsequent appeal to labour to call it off meant she was around but may have been very busy and as such delegated that responsibility to someone else. 

The pressure she is under at this time is understandable when viewed against the backdrop that Governor also pushing her to find a quick solution in the interim before the demands of labour are met.
Again, since the governor’s aides were all at their LGA’s for the continuous voter registration, whoever the typist was, or whoever carried the press release to CRBC was helpless in the interim and needed it to get to the station as soon as possible, without much or any proof-reading, because we all know that our SSG can spell the word “unpatriotic” and not ‘”on patriotic”, which was arguably the most visible error. 

That said, I felt even more moved to do this piece after looking at some of those who were in a hurry to pick on Secretary Tina’s errors in the release that they themselves became victims of the same crime, if you like.

I remember the piece by Efio-Ita Effiom Nyok on the release; it sparked an online grammar course when some of the people who commented on the post found errors in it. He later admitted his errors and the gist moved on. 

It was not about him alone; others too found themselves in the same position as their correction too were laden with one or two errors till my revered teacher of many years, Cornelius Ellah had to come to the rescue.

As a matter of fact, Ukorebi Esien later did a piece to capture the entire episode with the caption “ C’River SSG grammatical blunders sparks English mastery exercise, CRUTECH lecturer implicated”.

In fact from that caption alone, one can see that the plural noun ‘blunders’ was supposed to follow a plural verb ‘spark’ but the author mistakenly used the singular noun ‘sparks’.
All of these is to tell you that no one is above mistakes as far as the English language is concerned. Even this write-up may have a couple of errors because I didn’t give it out for proof-reading. The fact that some textbooks, journals, magazines, newspapers etc, pass this test is because of the many hands they pass through.

So, given that none is above mistakes, as aptly exemplified by those of us who were not pleased with madam SSG, and in the process of expressing our displeasure stabbed ourselves, it is pertinent that when we see such blunders in future, we take a moment to remember that we also could be victims of such at one time or the other; else it will be a case of removing the log in our eyes before asking the other person, no matter how highly placed, to get rid of the speck in their eyes.

Before i conclude, my friend Nyok had his errors pardoned because he admitted them; will Madam SSG admit hers? Chances are slim because she may not see what transpired online.
So lets just leave her alone and hope for better days ahead.