It has been a day of drama for the presidency as media houses revealed that the President’s recent inaugural speech on the ‘change begins with me’ campaign was filled with too many similarities with the “Yes we can” speech made by President Obama 8 years ago.
Just as the Nigerian government’s ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign has also suffered another damaging allegation that it was stolen from a similar effort, ‘Not in My Country’.
Buhari on August 8 launched the ‘reorientation’ campaign in Abuja as part of his government’s strategy to make Nigerians eschew “dishonesty, indolence, unbridled corruption and widespread impunity” and embrace daily introspection over their “immoral” conducts.
He also used the occasion to sue for national consensus amongst Nigerians on issues ranging from spirit of service to patriotism.
Part of the speech lifted 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,”.
After being accused of plagiarism, The Presidency immediately responded by issuing a statement claiming that it was done by an overzealous staff of the presidency.
Whistle blowers – Sahara reporters had earlier reported that a staff in the presidency was sacked for being responsible for the insertion of Obama’s lines in Buhari’s speech but after calling several of our sources in the presidency, they confirmed to us that no one had been sacked or will be sacked as far as they know. We are poised to assume that this is just a ploy by the presidency to absolve itself from further embarrassment.
In 2012, The president of Hungary, Pal Schmitt, resigned from office amid a storm of criticism over plagiarism in his 1992 doctoral thesis.
His resignation followed days of political turmoil after the university in Budapest that awarded his doctoral degree stripped it from him.
Semmelweis University said that Mr. Schmitt’s paper did not meet the professional and ethical criteria required for a doctoral thesis after a panel at the university found that the paper contained 16 pages of identical translation from the 1991 work of a German author, Klaus Heinemann. About a further 180 pages contained extracts identical to a 1987 work by Nikolay Gueorguiev, from Bulgaria, as well as tables and charts copied from the same source.
Will President Muhammadu Buhari or the overzealous staff involved in this scandal resign from office? Only time would tell.