Pointing Accusing Fingers At Who?
By Mike Echi (SMS only 08023588879, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
I deliberately choose the title of this article to underscore the need for journalists, reporters and writers to avoid recycling words or phrases that have become redundant, lost their value and consigned to history. The edges are now blunt and rustic that we desire them not and their beauty faded away like the lilies scorched by the tropical sun.
“Pointing accusing fingers” that over-laboured idiomatic expression of old indicating that someone or a person should be held responsible or accountable in the event of failure to achieve set goals or get favourable result. Yes! At a certain point in time it was reasonable for writers, journalists and reporters to write and talk about “pointing accusing fingers at” whoever is responsible for the economy downturn of our dear country Nigeria, but today we talk of “pointing fingers at” eliminating “accusing” to avoid sounding tautologous, and that is the current usage. Pointing fingers is an accusation.
What triggered my interest to revisit the issue is that a sizeable chunk of our media men and women are still firmly rooted in the past, sounding redundant often times misinforming and misleading the publics while trying to paint vivid picture of events by garnishing it with axioms, anecdotes, idioms and figures of speech that in many cases are worn out, useless and simply tagged as clichés-overused words and phrases that are no longer in circulation.
One of the popular radio stations became a victim of this, when a senior reporter repeatedly mentioned “pointing accusing fingers at…” in a live network programme anchored in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital territory. My humble submission is, dear colleagues of the pen fraternity shun some of these deadly errors by reading wide, step out of that closet and comfort zone and walk along the path of recent developments in the media. You will be surprise you did!
“The President Mohammadu Buhari-led government” is yet another heart-aching phrase that appears to have defied all attempts by the English purists to tame; a Nigerian coinage that has again gained currency to the utter displeasure of diehard masters of the language.
Trust the Nigerian journalist and reporter, a day hardly passes by without the listening audience being fed with a dose of “The governor Willy Obiano-led administration” “The Professor Ben Ayade-led government” “The Chris Princewill-led panel of Inquiry” and so on.
Correctly write and speak “The Mohammadu Buhari government” “The governor Willy Obiano administration” “The Professor Ben Ayade government” “The Chris Princewill Panel of Inquiry”. Drop the “led”. The English purists are unanimous on this. The suffix “led” to them is a distraction and has no business being there. It does not add beauty to the sentence. And for the creative writer, the television and radio reporter it is time wasting but still the latter, wrongly though, generously used them in their daily bulletins.
People in the business of buying and selling are called marketers but those saddled with higher responsibilities of overseeing big conglomerates are referred to as Marketing Directors. My concern here is that many if not they are in the majority; pronounce wrongly the words “marketing director”. Pronounce them omitting the vowels “e” in marketing and “i” in directors. You sound something like this “Mark’ting Dr’ectors”
And for sport lovers, Tottenham with the full name of Tottenham Hotspur, the English Premiership club currently battling to make the top four in the League is correctly pronounced “Totnem”. I watch followers of the beautiful game of English football staccato and muddle the name; some mention and stress all three syllables of the word Tot-ten-ham. Take note and vocalize correctly Totnem (two syllables) Hotspur football club of England.