In his Democracy Day address to Nigerians on May 29, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari may have listed the things The Buhari Campaign Organisation will campaign on, as the 2019 elections approach. Watchers of events in the country, both from the APC and the opposition PDP, have already started trading punches. Eyeway’s “Communication Clinic” does an unbiased analysis of the president’s 37-paragraph speech, especially as it relates to facts as well as to syntactic, punctuation and style errors:

The salutation: My Dear Nigerians! /What’s the exclamation mark doing here? “Dear Nigerians” — is a foreigner here to address Nigerians?

Paragraph 1. … and the 3rd Anniversary of this administration./ Irregular style – “third” or “three” appears elsewhere in the speech; why capitalise “Anniversary”? And “administration” is capitalised in scores of other places in the same speech. Nigerians have stood by us in achieving the three cardinal points of this administration namely; Security, Corruption and the Economy. / Which Nigerians? Perhaps a few! Which cardinal points are being achieved? The semi-colon after “namely” looks ugly – putting a comma before “namely” and a colon or comma after it is preferable.

  1. The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a celebration of freedom… /“Commemoration” means “celebration” – “one” should have replaced “a celebration”.
  2. Before this Administration came into being 3 years ago, Boko Haram held large areas of land spanning several Local Governments in the North East. /“…several local government areas (or LGAs) in the north-east” looks better.
  3. Today, the capacity of the insurgents has been degradedheld by the Boko Haram. / Well, Boko Haram still kills, and cattle herders are doing even greater damage. …held by Boko Haram.
  4.  … on Internally Displaced Persons… IDP Camps … international Organizations/ Why the capitalisations?
    1. The unfortunate incidences of kidnappings… and their sponsors shall be made to face the full wrath of the law/ Do you mean “incidents”? “shall be made to…”?

    8…. the International Community …security for lives and properties … helping with much needed intelligence /international community… security of life and property… much-needed intelligence

    1. The Niger Delta Region …the Elders and the good people of the region. … with the launch in Bodo, Ogoni in June, 2016 is progressing satisfactorily/ The Niger Delta region… the elders… with the launch in Bodo, Ogoni, in June 2016…
    2. Three years into this Administration, Nigerians and the international community have begun to applaud our policies and determination to fight corruption/ Doubtful! Some Nigerians perhaps. But security votes have suddenly increased to $670 million — Transparency International reports – yet there is no security.

    12. Some of these key reform policies include: The Treasury Single Account (TSA) … The Sovereign Wealth Fund project… East West Road… as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge. / This administration did not introduce the TSA please, or the Sovereign Wealth Fund…or IPPIS… East—West road… This administration has not awarded a contract for the construction of the second Niger bridge, please.
    14. …Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives/ When will they start yielding results? After your tenure?
    15. This Administration has therefore focused on revamping the ailing economy it inherited in 2015. / Really? Which economy is being revamped? The economy is on the verge of collapse or has collapsed.
    17. Our foreign reserve has improved significantly to 47.5 billion USD as of May, 2018 as against 29.6 billion USD in 2015. The inflationary rate has consistently declined every month since January, 2017./ But this administration met a reserve of $32 billion in May 2015 and has borrowed N11trillion! The markets tell a different story about inflationary rates. The comma after “May” and “January” doesn’t look good.
    18. These investment generation initiatives are expected to increase capital inflows in the form of foreign direct investment./ Still expecting FDIs a few months to the end of your tenure? We haven’t seen them.
    19. …rice importation from other countries has been cut down by 90% …/ Foreign rice still fills our markets. How many rice farms has this administration established? People are farming to survive, not by choice.
    20. The Social Investment Programmes (SIP) has been created… /Home-grown school-feeding of pupils? Conditional cash transfer? Please teach them how to fish; don’t give them fish. N-Power job-creation scheme? Missing in action!
    21. Nigerians from all parts of the country continue to report better power supply and less use of generators/ BETTER power supply? Better than at what time? The generators are still effective. And this administration has not built a single power station.
    24. The Transportation Sector continues to undergo a series of reforms in order to sustain the international best practices and ensure safety and security / Which ones were started by this administration?
    26. Giant strides have been recorded over the past three years to improve road transport infrastructure in all geopolitical zones of the country/ Giant strides indeed!
    28. The Education Sector especially at tertiary level has continued to witness expansion in order to improve access to higher education by millions of youths in Nigeria/How has giving out licences to private operators of polytechnics improved the education sector?
    34. … such that we will have not only hitch free elections but also a credible and violence free process/ The hyphen is still a valid punctuation mark: …only hitch-free elections but also a credible and violence-free process
    35. In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the “Not Too Young to Run” Bill/ What an achievement! In a few days, promising young Nigerians may discover they have no age mates in your cabinet or among heads of MDAs.


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