Kola Danisa, fondly called KDK, hails from Edo state, (our state), was bred and ‘buttered’ in Lagos and is a global citizen by virtue of his humanitarian service which spans continents.

With a BSc and an MSc in Mass Communication from the prestigious University of Lagos, and exposure to countless local and international media workshops and projects, KDK carries, unobtrusively, a potent stamp of authority in media practice. He rose through the ranks to become Managing Editor and Director at the flagship News Agency of Nigeria from which he retired meritoriously in 2012.  Retired but far from tired, he has over the past couple of years shared his knowledge and wealth of experience as a media professional on his Facebook forum aptly tagged EDITORS EDIT EDITORS.

Comments on his posts by friends, relations and his former NAN colleagues tell a tale of one who left a positive mark at the news agency, one who has a passion for mentorship and one who has compassion in his DNA.

My respect for the unassuming veteran soared when I told him that I was planning to commence a virtual Editorial Conference project on NewsPlus in a bid to, just as he was doing on Facebook, avail a wider audience of my newsroom editing interventions which date back to when I relocated from the Voice of Nigeria Pretoria Bureau as pioneer Bureau Chief, to Broadcasting House Ikoyi-Lagos in 2010. His encouragement, as well as ready acceptance to be one of the facilitators was humbling; especially as some other petty, mean-hearted folks would have seen it as an ‘encroachment on their territory.’

Sir, your stamp of approval in your intervention on Editorial Conference: Session 8 was, unknown to you, a heavy dose of motivation that will egg me on for a long time. I hereby reproduce it:

Kola Danisa Once again, you have done an excellent job. May I add to this rich lesson by observing that some people use “on” and “off” as verbs. For example, “on the generator” or “off the light”. The required verbs — put, switch — are left out. Second, “at” {exactitude} and “about” cannot coexist when we talk about time — at 4 p.m. or about 4 p.m., not “at about 4 p.m.” Finally, the preposition “under” is misused by some writers when they refer to political parties and their candidates. We often hear that John is contesting an election UNDER the platform of the APC instead of ON.

I also take the liberty to present here a few out of your many EDITORS EDIT EDITORS posts on Facebook and I trust that our readers will enjoy and gain from them:


A national TV station reported in its newscast tonight (Dec. 24) that “passengers travelling today were stranded…” Let’s get it right. Passengers are “persons travelling in a car, bus, train, plane, ship etc.” So, those people who were stranded at the airports or bus stations (motor parks as we call them) were definitely “travellers” or “commuters” in some cases, and not passengers because they had not boarded any land, sea or air vehicles. – KDK


A private national radio network reported on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 that Gov. Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa “has promised to pay teachers in the state their outstanding salary arrears…” Why use “outstanding” with “arrears”? Do the two words not mean the same thing? “Salary backlog” is similar to salary arrears or outstanding salary(ies). Editors, a little caution pls. – KDK

    The PUNCH newspaper, one of the nation’s best in terms of good editing, disappointed me on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 when it reported on pg 9 that “Nigeria can make N10bn from cassava wastes”. The editor abused grammar, using “cassava pills” in the intro as well as paragraphs 2, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 instead of “cassava peels (noun)”. In para 10, the phrase “to pill” should have read “to peel” (verb). Maybe the reporter and the editor had not taken their headache PILL! – KDK
    Colleagues and friends, let us look at pg 15 of the SUNDAY Vanguard, Dec. 25, 2016 where the reporter in line 9/10 wrote that “as he walked back to his SIT after receiving his award…” For sure, the writer meant SEAT (noun) and not SIT (verb). In the second column starting from “Phyno who went to receive the award in the COMPANY OF three associates..,” the capitalised phrase should have read “IN COMPANY WITH”. That is good, sound and correct English grammar. Folks, wishing you a happy New Year. – KDK
    In its four-page report on “Southern Kaduna: Getting bloodier with arms in the hands of locals”, THE NATION ON SUNDAY on Jan. 1, 2017 featured two photographs on pages 11 and 52 with the caption “Two local youths arrested with AMMUNITIONS at Kagoma”. Pls, help educate the concerned editor(s) and other colleagues that “ammunition” is a non-count or uncountable noun. MUNITIONS, on the other hand, is plural. – KDK
    THE NATION ON SUNDAY, on Jan. 1, 2017, provided us with a new grammatical phrase “…TO SHIELD THEIR SWORDS…” in its report entitled “Southern Kaduna killings: What Buhari should do to end killings — Fulani leaders”, pg 5, para 2. The approved universal expression is to “SHEATHE” (verb) their swords or put their swords in SHEATHS (noun), which are protective covers. Besides, the word “killings” is used two times. We can do without the first “killings” after Southern Kaduna.
    I have noticed the use of the word RHETORICS in some facebook posts and elsewhere in the media, even today, and wish to inform users of English, including editors and correspondents of NAN, that RHETORIC is a non-count or uncountable noun. It does not take an “s”. Pls, spread the gospel – KDK.
    I have just read a research project submitted by a graduating university student of a School of Journalism. In his acknowledgement of those who assisted him in producing the project, the student wrote: “My thanks also goes to my…” Quickly, I told him that the word “thanks” is plural and the verb that goes with it should be “go” and not “goes”. He looked it up in the dictionary and was convinced. Editors and reporters, as well as lovers of good English, please take note – KDK
  1. EDITING GAFFES: ARE YOU A DUPE OR DUPER?@@@@@ I was at the NAN Enugu Zonal Office for an orientation programme on Editing Skills and Use of English in 2006 or thereabouts (standard British English, while the Americans would say “thereabout” without an “s”). I recall the surpise on the faces of the participants when told that the “dupe” is not the “ole” or “barawo”. I reiterate and restate clearly and without any ambiguity that a DUPE is the person who is actually duped or deceived, whereas a DUPER is the opposite; he tricks others. The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia defines DUPERY (noun) as “the acts of deceiving or imposing upon the credulity of others; the ways and methods of a DUPER”. Most people think the dupe is the con man. No! No! No! – KDK
    Sorry, I have tried to recast my post on the matter above. I failed to save the post after editing. I had stated that the expression “a bouquet of flowers” should be avoided in sound and professional editing since “bouquet” itself means “a bunch of flowers”. So, why do we have to add “more” when “less” is better? (apologies to the advertisers of Amstel Malt). An editor is a light traveller, no excess luggage. You can have “a bouquet of roses or lilies etc” but that only identifies the variety of flower involved. It’s, however, permissible to have “a bouquet of programmes” when one talks about satellite TV programming such as those offered by DStv. – KDK
    It is commonplace to find some Nigerians use the expression “log of wood” as demonstrated by the author of a serial, ”I’m going hubby shopping (series 23)”, SUNDAY Telegraph, Jan. 15, 2017, page 26, third line, second column. In it, she wrote thus: ”I lay like a log of wood.” For clarification, a ”log” is ”a part of the trunk of a tree (wood)…” The dictionary further educates us that ”sleep like a log” is an informal expression, meaning ”to sleep deeply, without interruption”. So, why do we have to add ”wood” to ”log”? Is it not repetitive and redundant? Writers and users of English, a word of caution, pls – KDK
    Why this blunder now? THE NATION ON SUNDAY, in its front page story entitled ”Fresh row over new N7b VP’s residence”, stated inter alia on Jan. 15, 2017 in the second paragraph that ”…alleging that the job done DOES NOT COMMENSURATE with the 87 percent of the contract sum…” So, ”commensurate”, an ADJECTIVE meaning ‘in the right proportion (to something), appropriate’, has now become a VERB! God help us – KDK
    The expression ”as at when due”, often used in the media or generally by Nigerians, is inappropriate. Rather, it should be ”as AND (not ‘at’) when due”. This means ”as due” (total package) and ”when due” (timing or spacio-temporal dimension). The word ”at” cannot cohabit with ”when” because both express the time element. So, let us get it right — ”salaries are paid as and when due” – KDK
    When asked by the SUNDAY PUNCH, pg 18, Jan. 15, 2017 about the similarities between Nigeria and the UK, and the peoples of the two countries, a former Deputy British High Commissioner, Simon Shercliff, said: “I think we are very different peoples, actually, despite our shared history.
    “Even our respective uses of our shared language can cause plenty of confusion either way — there is a lot in the phrase ‘two countries divided by a common language’…” How right Shercliff sounded!
    We have the Standard British English and the bastardised variant, the Nigerian version which, often, is a lame excuse offered by poor users of the language.
    For instance, I applaud PUNCH (pg 12) for using “HAVE yet to be approved” instead of “WERE yet…” erroneously used by some writers and media. A dictionary check will educate us on the use of YET.
    Similarly, I give the newspaper kudos for using “PIT” in “plotting to PIT me (ex- Gov Peter Obi) against Buhari. Some other writers and media would have incorrectly used “PITCHED me against…” as I have read countless times.
    However, the newspaper gets a knock on the head for using “banters” in the story entitled “Dogara’s golden handshake”, pg 12. The noun “banter” is uncountable. Session closed – KDK
    Most of us often use incorrect English words, phrases or expressions and pass them as good grammar. I just overheard a neighbour telling her impatiently hungry three-year-old son that his food was ”on fire”.
    I chuckled.
    If the food was on fire, it means the food was burning, which was not true.
    Let us replace ”on fire” with ”on the burner” (kerosene stove, gas cooker or hot plate) and convey the real meaning of the expression.
    Most people are guilty of using this nauseating ”on fire” phrase. – KDK
    I had left the National Assembly as a NAN correspondent covering that beat on Dec. 30, 1983, hoping to celebrate the New Year in joy when a military putsch was announced the next day, Dec. 31. Hardly had the then Brig. Sani Abacha announced the ouster of the Shehu Shagari-led civilian administration than the new military leader, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, announced in a nationwide broadcast that the military took over because Nigerians were corrupt, “indisciplined” and so on. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti later sang in his Beast of No Nation masterpiece that Nigerian leaders were even proud to denigrate their subjects as useless, senseless and “indisciplined”. Let it be known that the word “INDISCIPLINED” (adjective) does not exist in the dictionary. What we have is UNDISCIPLINED (opposite of DISCIPLINED. Many Nigerians are guilty of this wrong usage. – KDK.
    A radio newscast at 4 p.m. today reported Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers to have “flagged off” a road project. I feel most uncomfortable any time the phrasal verb “flag off” is used to signify the launch, inauguration or induction of something. The Free Dictionary notes that major dictionaries do not list “flag off” and “flag on”, stating that these phrases are sometimes used by writers with different meanings. It advises users that if they are to be used at all, “flag off” should signify an end or conclusion of something, and “flag on” to indicate the start or beginning. In my view, flag off should be reserved for use in long distance run or motor racing. The phrase “flag down” (stop) is not contentious. Some writers also erroneously use the verb “commission” to indicate the inauguration of something. You can commission a study or someone to do something but definitely not a completed road project. – KDK.
    A few weeks ago, I criticised the Sunday PUNCH newspaper for using cassava “pill” instead of “peel” nine or 10 times in a rather short news story, but this time round (British English) I admire the publication for its correct usage of “has yet” (or have yet) in the expression “their love for each other has yet to diminish” as the dictionary illustrates on the use of YET (and not “is yet” as widely used by Nigerian writers). It also stated that Otunba Adekunle Ojora and his wife, Erelu Ojuolape, attend “events only IN COMPANY WITH the other”. See pg 36, Jan. 29, 2017 for the story entitled “The Ageless Ojoras” – KDK
    The nation’s premier independent radio station, RayPower, reported in the business segment of its Nigeria Today newscast on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 that the country “SLIDED into recession…” Its editors and correspondents, and indeed media professionals, should note that SLID is both the past tense and past participle of SLIDE. It is not in the same word class as GLIDE AND GLIDED – KDK
    This morning, I read a Christian devotional book which admonishes the faithful thus: “Don’t be a mentally lazy person because God does not reward MEDIOCRES.” This is an error most people make. The word MEDIOCRE, meaning “not very good; of fairly low quality”, is an adjective, NEVER a noun. On the other hand, MEDIOCRITY is both a countable and uncountable noun. In the first instance, it means “the quality of being mediocre”. As a countable noun, it is defined as “a person who is mediocre in ability or personal qualities; for example, a government of mediocrities”. So, Jameston is a mediocre politician or a mediocrity in politics, but NOT a mediocre – KDK
    Work on the 2nd Niger Bridge appears rather slow after its conception many years ago. Observers would rather want the pace of work quickened to bolster human, vehicular and commercial linkages between the western and eastern parts of the country. For them, the project is moving at a “snail’s speed”. But do snails ever speed as we often hear people say? If I may ask: at what kilometres per hour? No! No! A snail moves at a pace. So, the right expression is “the project is moving at a snail’s PACE” and not SPEED. – KDK
    ByKola Danisa
    Wrong: More grease to your elbow
    Right: More power to your elbow
    Wrong: What is good for the goose is good for the gander
    Right: What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander
    Wrong: Join the bandwagon
    Right: Climb or jump on the bandwagon
    Wrong: Point accusing finger at…
    Right: Point a finger at…(leaving out “accusing”)
    Wrong: Rest in perfect peace (RIPP)
    Right: Rest in peace (RIP)
    Wrong: I doff my cap for Yomi
    Right: I doff my cap to Yomi
    Wrong: Add a feather to his cap
    Right: Add a feather in his cap
    Wrong: Practice makes perfection
    Right: Practice makes perfect
    Wrong: At the helm of affairs
    Right: At the helm
    Wrong: I have a likeness for rotund women
    Right: I have a liking for rotund women
    Wrong: Nigeria has huge potentials in…
    Right: Nigeria has a huge potential or potentialities (potential is uncountable)
    Wrong: Buhari was APC flagbearer
    Right: Buhari was APC standard-bearer.  – KDK
    I chuckle each time I listen to the broadcast media, as I did at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, or read the newspapers when they report that “a total (number) of…shares EXCHANGED hands on the floor of the Stock Market.” I believe that what happened was a change of ownership — the shares CHANGED hands — which actually is the grammatical illustration of the event. When we exchange hands, it means Mr. A gives out his malnourished hand and collects Mr. B’s well-fed hand, which is not the real action or the intended meaning – KDK.


Folks, learn to use the phrase “in his day” (not days) and “in his heyday” (not heydays) – KDK

From all of us at NewsPlus, here’s wishing you perpetual peace in Paradise.

KDK died on Thursday, April 26, 2018.

YOU MAY ALSO READ: Editorial Conference: Wrong Expressions (Special Edition)






  1. Comment: I appreciate the Editorial Conference for finding my interventions on facebook worthy of reproduction, as this will ensure that a larger audience is reached. However, I need to state that the word “indisciplined”, which I had earlier considered inapproriate, is listed by the Chamber’s 20th Century Dictionary as an adjective along with “undisciplined”. The same dictionary lists “parastatal” as either a noun or adjective. Surprisingly, the word is not listed in most standard dictionaries.

    • Thanks for the update, sir. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language also lists the word as an adjective with examples related mainly to playing a game in an undisciplined manner. This is why it’s said that language is dynamic. It’s an integral part of culture, which is never static – the more reason people really interested in the English Language should take every opportunity to enrich their stock of acceptable vocabulary.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here