Back then, the much mouthed word, and roundly harassed phrase, ‘Parastatal’ was the beautiful bride of the civil servant that repeatedly occupies space in memos from the up to the down ladder in the public service. Every other scion or that which was created, and separated from the mother Ministry, whether Justice, Health, Education etc. were called or branded as parastatals with quasi status but still answerable to the major establishment. To date, nothing has changed. We still have duplication and proliferation of departments and agencies created out of the main ministries, maybe to create job for the boys and cronies who, as some would put it, worked for the politicians in the corridors of power to attain their present positions. True or false, that is by the way. We are preoccupied here with the disclaimer that the word, ‘parastatal’ is now archaic and would therefore no longer take the pride of place in our conversations, even as the language purists and masters have pronounced it an anathema phrase that should be consigned to history and better be forgotten.
It’s now classified among the index of forbidden expressions. So, from now on, have nothing to do with the hackneyed word, ‘parastatal. It is dead and buried. In short, ‘parastatal’ belongs to the past and no longer excites the user of the language, nor courts the fancy of the writer, journalist and the reporter. The smart media people, even within the civil service, have since recognized the word; ‘parastatal’ as a spent force that should be disregarded and ignored even if it presents itself to be engaged. The word ‘agency’ has ever since taken the place of the blunt and spent word, ‘parastatal.’ In other words, one can rightly speak, or write, ‘the Citizenship Mediation Centre is an agency of the Ministry of Justice.’ Never speak or write, ‘the Citizenship Mediation Centre is a parastatal of the Ministry of Justice.’ As I tell my readers often, change is constant and bound to happen. All one needs do is to keep studying and learning to catch up with the changing times.
Don’t be surprised that even your children could tell you, you are living in the past when you fail to scale up, and march on with the changing times. The language evolves, it is not static. Once upon a time, the phrase, ‘parastatal’ was the king but now it is leprous, not even the heads of government or ministry are at home with it. They have all abandoned it and took on the straightforward and simple one, ‘agency’ to replace ‘parastatal.’ Furthermore, to cap it all and make it inviting, again, in the bid to avoid monotony, perhaps, the abbreviation, MDAs summarises it. It is now common to hear people talk about Ministries, Departments and Agencies to sink further into the abyss, the spurious word, ‘parastatal.’ You are on your own, as some would speak, when you keep dusting up ‘parastatal’, making it your preferred partner, instead of fraternising with what is current and acceptable, MDAs. That is the logical conclusion. Be vigilant and don’t be carried away by popular expressions but are clichés to tempt you to employ their services.
Resist them and look for something better and of current usage. That way you break away from the strings of overused statements and sound fresher from another angle. Keep away from this statement, always voiced to show that one is angry or frustrated, ‘for what?’ it’s not only colloquial but betrays the state or status of the person. It‘s a piece of illiteracy, the English purists say. Instead, take it the other way round, ‘what for?’ That is the trade mark of an educated person. Feedback from another of our readers who simply identified himself as Michael (M.C.J Ofor), and it goes like this: “Greetings my great namesake (because of what you are), I proudly say that I am also Michael. Thank you for your corrections concerning the English language in the Herald newspaper that we lovers of the language cherish dearly. Bravo!” Read the concluding part in subsequent publication