President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused of plagiarizing a speech from U.S. President Barack Obama.
This happened at the #ChangeBeginsWithMe” event. The Event was the launchpad for a campaign that was aimed at stifling “dishonesty, indolence, unbridled corruption and widespread impunity” in Nigeria.
Muhammadu Buhari was accused of stealing Obama’s words after a Journalist, Adeola Akinremi, discovered that he (Buhari) had used similar words from the U.S. president when launching his new “Change Begins With Me” campaign.
“We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long. Let us summon a new spirit of responsibility, spirit of service, of patriotism and sacrifice, let us all resolve to pitch in and work hard and look after, not only ourselves but one another”.
“What the current problem has taught us is that we cannot have a thriving army of rent seekers and vested interests, while the majority suffers”, were the controversial parts of Obama’s speech that was copied by President Muhammadu Buhari.
A transcript of Obama’s speech can be found here.
Adeola Akinremi, noted that Buhari’s speech was copied from Obama’s victory speech when he was first elected in 2008 which reads in part “Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long,”
“So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other. Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.” was what President Obama said in 2008.
Akinremi also noted that President Buhari’s behavior was “unethical,” especially after coming to power on the mantra of Integrity and incorruptibility.
“It is immoral to plagiarize other people’s work, but even worse to use dishonesty to launch a campaign about honesty,” he said.
“When you use another person’s work without acknowledgement, you have plagiarized. You simply pretend as if it is your own. It is unethical. It makes a mess of the campaign from the start. That is what Buhari has done, nobody will believe in the ‘change begins with me’ campaign, because it was built on lies”, added Akinremi.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday directed that appropriate disciplinary action be taken against those responsible for a plagiarized insertion in his speech delivered on September 8, 2016 at the launch of the “Change Begins With Me” campaign in Abuja, a statement by presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu has disclosed.
Following widespread public embarrassment generated by the plagiarism scandal, the presidency on Friday admitted to the plagiarism charge and blamed an unnamed “deputy director” for the intellectual property theft.
In a Facebook post, Garba Shehu wrote: “It was observed that the similarities between a paragraph in President Obama’s 2008 Victory Speech and what President Buhari read in paragraph nine of the sixteen-paragraph address while inaugurating the Campaign on Thursday, September 8, 2016 are too close to be passed as coincidence.”
“There was a mistake by an overzealous staff and we regret that this has happened,” he added.
“Already, a deputy director in the Presidency has accepted responsibility for the insertion of the contentious paragraph. This serious oversight will be investigated thoroughly and appropriate sanction meted.
“The presidency wishes to state in the clearest possible terms that it regrets this unfortunate incident and will ensure that this does not happen again.
“President Buhari urges Nigerians to look beyond this incident and focus on the message of change, which the country needs in order to restore our cherished value systems,” the statement said.