Towards the 2023 general election: A grammar intervention

The events and activities surrounding the forthcoming 2023 election have been evaluated from different analytical perspectives. This piece will appraise the electoral procedure from a linguistic standpoint by shedding light (not, shedding more light) on the wrong use of words.

Most trending in the process is the juicy reward of the privileged delegates who have been hand-picked to represent the other party faithfuls in the selection of candidates among the several aspirants. Worthy of note in the previous sentence is the wrong use of ‘privileged’ and ‘the… faithfuls’.

Privilege is often erroneously spelt with letter ‘d’ to generate the wrong form: privilege. This is an error of generalisation born out of the similarity of the word with other words such as knowledge. Also, all of the people who have been loyal members or supporters of a political party, for a long time, are collectively called the party faithful, not the party faithfuls.

The difference between an aspirant and a candidate is also worthy of mention. It should be mentioned that those who compete for the ticket of a party are aspirants, whereas candidates are the representatives of the different parties in an election.

Moving on, many Nigerians have described as undemocratic the electoral process which allows some paid delegates to present their choices to the electorate. Be in the know that all of the people allowed to vote in a country are collectively called the electorate (not, the electorates).

It is now the case that affluence, not credibility, integrity and personality, is the parameter for fielding candidates. It should be mentioned that political parties field (not, fill or file) candidates for election.

The delegate-based primary election in Nigeria will automatically disqualify up-and-coming politicians who are not so rich, especially the young ones. People likely to achieve success in the near future are said to be up-and-coming (not, upcoming).

The adjective ‘upcoming’ is used to refer to an event which is about to happen. We can say, therefore, that up-and-coming politicians do not stand a chance in the upcoming general election.

With the huge sum that those contesting elections would have spent on electioneering, one really wonders if the citizens can anticipate good governance. As used in the foregoing sentence, people ‘contest’ elections; they do not ‘contest for’ elections. Be that as it may, ‘contest’ can attract the preposition ‘for’ when used as a noun, as the example sentence below shows:

The contest for the presidency will be between two major candidates.

Although we cannot ‘contest for’ an office, note that we can ‘vote for’ or ‘vote against’ a person. Also, the activities that politicians and their supporters carry out in order to persuade people to vote for them or their political parties during elections are described as ‘electioneering’, not ‘electioneering campaign’.

Read also: Organisation sensitises Nigerians on peaceful elections

A major worry is that, upon assuming office, some of these politicians will likely embark on white elephants. A white elephant is something that costs a lot of money but serves no useful purpose. This phrase should not be extended as ‘white elephant projects’.

We will be optimistic that social and economic infrastructure will not suffer for what delegates have collected from politicians. We can only hope that several money laundering scandals (not, money laundry) will not follow this electoral jamboree.

Again, maybe a number of aspirants will fetch up in hospitals by the time their appeasements to delegates yield nothing. Note that to arrive somewhere, especially without intending to, is to fetch up.

One will wonder if the aspirants are really spending so much just to serve their fatherland (not, father’s land). With all that the delegates are gifted in cash, we can only hope that the country is not sitting on a powder keg (not, keg of gun powder).

Of course, many a politician is an orator, and we anticipate the season of promises after the primary elections. They should bear in mind that actions speak louder than words (not, voice). We pray that the next government will be better than the Buhari administration (not, the Buhari’s administration).

In conclusion, do not let it slip your mind (not, skip) to get your voter card. Your vote counts, still.

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