ENGLISH 101 by Patricia Etteh

Early this month, after a corruption scandal , the leader of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Patricia Etteh, resigned after several weeks of pressure. She was replaced by Dimeji Bankole, a graduate with Masters degrees from both Oxford University and Havard. Patricia was a 'professional Hairdresser and beautician' .

The Representatives were keen to choose an educated person to lead them. A look at the following quotes below will explain why.

  1. On the day the National Assembly was inaugurated, Mrs Etteh reminded House of Representatives members of the need to register their names, warning that any person who failed to do so would have their name "striking out". Slip of tongue?
    Perish the thought. The following day she repeated the phrase "striking out" several times.

  2. When a motion was tabled, she asked the member who was speaking,"are you in support of favour?"

  3. Any time the ayes have carried the day on the floor, she wastes no time in announcing, "the hayes has it".

  4. Giving her defence before the David Idoko panel, Etteh informed the nation that she spoke to the management of the national assembly if due process was followed and each person "answered in the affirmation action".

  5. When the German ambassador in Abuja visited her, the speaker enthusiastically announced that the first place "I visited as a young parliamentarian was a German"

  6. When the Spanish ambassador paid her a courtesy visit with a fairly large delegation, an impressed Etteh spared no effort to "welcome the strangers".

  7. When officials of FERMA visited the House, speaker Etteh urged them to urgently "make our roads habitable".

  8. To demonstrate the urgency of fixing major roads nationwide, she did not fail to make the point of the"deploration state of our roads"

  9. When a House member tabled a motion on the unenviable condition of Kaduna Airport, Etteh called attention to the "two run-aways of our airport".

  10. Concerned about the increasing wave of vices, such as occultism on university campuses, excessive drinking, smoking and womanising by our youth, she has set for herself the task of reducing, if not, eradicating these social vices, which she colourfully calls "social devices".

  11. In far-away South Africa, at a meeting of the African Parliamentary Union, speaker Etteh stated that Nigeria has vast land where agriculture could thrive so much, that it could serve as an alternative source of foreign exchange, or in her own words, " Nigeria has fast land where agriculture is alternate"

  12. To Etteh, the community of nations can sometimes be referred to as "international countries".

  13. The office of the speaker has regained its aura as, not just an exalted place, but an "exotic office".

  14. The House has become respected as"a hollow chamber",rather than just a hallowed chamber.

Let's just say that I'm glad she's no longer the fourth most powerful person in the country.


  1. Wow..I have been reading your feed for a while, I haven't really been around here. You changed your theme. Minimal I like that one bro. LOL at international countries.
    Isn't it a shame that we are ruled by these crop?

  2. Professional Hairdresser? Wow! How the hell did she get elected? I'd say the people voted her in, but we all know that in Nigeria, the whole election process is just a charade!

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  3. For a speaker, I believe you have to speak well.
    If she really made those mistakes, then she has to do something about correcting them

    Oracle's last blog post..Behind Bars (The Prisoner's Cry)

  4. guerreiranigeriana30 November 2007 at 02:19

    absolutely hilarious...for this post and this post alone (thus far), i am adding you to my blogroll so i am reminded to come and read you...*holds side where she is cramping from laughing so hard and walks away*...

  5. If I were to "mudding" the waters a bit. Maybe English should not be the only language of "impression".

    We have three other "major general" languages in Nigeria we can work like the "Europe Parlamen" and have "SimonTaylor's translate" when each member "spoked" "deer" "van-a-cooler".

    Seriously, like I have been told many times before - Idea la need - the disgrace of being illiterate is immaterial if you have power.

  6. Hey, come on, English isn't her native language. I'd love to see Michael Martin make a few statements in Yoruba... :D

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  7. Sadly, I have to admit that this is eteh-tainment!

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  8. All of you make excuses about English not being her first language, please, stop it. I'm sure English was not the first language of the Spanish or German people she was speaking too. If she can't speak Hausa and Igbo fluently, then how did she intend to perform as leader of the House of Rep. and talk to everyone ? All of you that have left comments, is English your first language?

    I personally agree with Omodudu, it's a shame that we're being ruled by this lot.

  9. English happens to be my mothertongue because it was the first language I could speak and I did not really start to master Yoruba; my parents' language till I was nigh on 10.

    In fact, I rarely converse in any other language with my parents apart from English and they know full well that I can speak Yoruba. That by the way.

    My argument was more about the ability to express yourself in the language you are most comfortable with - like the European Parliament, delegates can decide to speak English or employ a simultaneous translator when speaking in their tongue.

    There is no reason why a senior official in the Nigerian government cannot decide to use Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba and have an interpreter at official functions - things might be lost in translation but the speaker would know exactly what has been said and if it has been taken out of context after review.

    We should stop pretending Nigerians have fully grasped the ability to use English flawlessly, you only have to read the online newspapers to see that quality has plummeted.

    There is also a developing case for Nigerian English which as spoken today is quite different from the way the English speak.

  10. Being fair, I know someone whose English is usually very good and she speaks very eloquently in her second language. She still makes similar mistakes, confusing similar sounding words and occasional mangled grammar.

    Plus, the President of the USA is allegedly a native English speaker and he makes the same kind of mistakes, too...

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  11. lmao... this is serious

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  12. Nice one LOL..How did we get saddled with these crop really? It's been too long....Boso how are wifey babyO? My regards!

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  13. Someone in power actually said that? Nigeria sef!

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