President Muhammadu Buhari has been caught up in a plagiarism scandal after reports emerged that his #ChangeBeginsWithMe campaign speech last Thursday closely mirrored some parts of US President Barack Obama’s speech delivered in 2008.
The plagiarism scandal comes when the controversy raised by allegations that the #ChangeBeginWithMe campaign was ‘stolen’ from another anti-corruption effort, ‘Not in My Country’, is yet to be settled.
Although Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed has denied the allegation, stressing that he began the campaign even before he became minister.
The part of Buhari’s speech in contention reads: “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”
But a columnist with THISDAY Newspaper, Adeola Akinremi, spotted some areas from the Obama speech with huge similarities to the one delivered by Buhari.
It reads: “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.
In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long”
After highlighting the areas of similarities, Mr. Akinremi wrote:
“It is immoral to plagiarize other people’s work, but even worse to use dishonesty to launch a campaign about honesty.
“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”.
Although a report by Premium Times said presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu was aware of the allegation, the presidency is yet to react with Shehu saying the presidency would investigate.
It would be recalled that Melania Trump, wife of US Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, was caught in a similar plagiarism controversy at a speech delivered at the Republican Convention in July. It emerged after the event, that she lifted parts of Michelle Obama’s address to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.