n our past English lessons, we have devoted time to point out the index of forbidden expressions. Among the most regularly recycled phrases, to the annoyance of the English purists and masters include Nigerians in the Diaspora, stakeholders, role model, NGO, giant of Africa, sensitize, and people oriented. We have treated and discussed some of them in details and why they should be discarded and replaced with suitable, current and functional expressions.
Still, another forbidden expression frequently used by the media, print and electronic, almost on daily basis is the phrase “Enabling Environment” simplified to imply creating a conducive environment for the people to have unhindered access to something or for business to grow. The expression “Enabling Environment” is deficient and no longer excites the listening or reading audience. We are tasked now to look for suitable expression to fill the vaccum left by the now redundant and hackneyed “Enabling Environment” phrase. One beautiful thing about language is that it is never cast in gold, changes are bound to take place considering the fact that change, as the saying goes, is constant and never static, just as humans and all created things would come and go.
The language, as I noted earlier, evolves with time. We had the Elizabethan and Victorian English of the 16th and 19th centuries that appealed to people of that age just as the modern English of our own age, the 21st century that we are currently working with. Time is also telling on the usage of the language, and naturally, the gradual phasing out of certain words and phrases and taking in new ones, generally described as current expressions are bound to take place. How quick one is ready to adapt to developments depends on the individual! I always advice people, especially those that English is a second language to read wide in order not to be left behind. Now, to the expression “Enabling Environment” which I dare say has outlived its usefulness. Let’s try to replace it with something better and straightforward. Rather than wrap words or sentences in metaphor or figures of speech that our audience would not easily grasp or make sense out of it, we should report direct to inform and educate the people with intend to communicate with. Remember, we write to express not to impress ourselves. Otherwise, the message is lost.
“Enabling Environment” which some writers fancy and see the alternative to it or the substitute with “conducive environment,” to me is not explanatory enough. For it to be understood better, it will require straight-to-the point reporting or mentioning of those things that should be in place to guarantee, the investor for instance, that his or her investment would not be in vain. For example, direct reporting can take this form “Interest groups in the aviation industry have asked the Federal Government to provide necessary infrastructure for safer flights.” Rather than indulge in “Interest groups in the aviation industry have asked the Federal Government to provide the enabling environment for safer flights.”