President Buhari has seen his ‘Change Begins with Me’ initiative take major hits due to the situation in the country and other factors but now it has been hit with even more accusations, this time of plagiarism.
Buhari has been accused of copying Obama’s 2008 speech while launching the program. Not only that, the initiative has been hit with another accusation of copying another anti-corruption initiative called ‘Not in my country’.
In the speech which is being scrutinized now, Buhari had said; “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,”
Compare with Obama’s speech which read thus; “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.”
This is similar to the scandal that hit the Trump campaign when his wife Melania Trump gave a speech that was quite similar to the one Michelle Obama had given at the democratic convention in 2008.
She had been ridiculed for it and the speech writer had offered to resign over the scandal.
For Buhari though, this is not the only intellectual property theft he’s been accused of. The associates of Akin Fadeyi have also accused the Presidency of stealing Fadeyi’s idea to launch ‘Change Begins with Me.’
According to Fadeyi’s associates, he had met with Lai Mohammed who is the Minister of Information and Culture, last year to run an idea by him. The idea was ‘Not In My Country,’ an episodic narrative that uses humour while also criticizing societal ills with the aim of compelling Nigerians to shun corrupt practices.
The associates revealed that Mr. Mohammed had turned down the idea and are now accusing him of using the same thing with the Change Begins with me campaign.
Lai Mohammed has denied this allegation though stating that he had conceived the Change Begins with me concept before he even entered into office.
“We started working on ‘Change Begins with Me’ before the honourable minister was nominated and we’ve been working with the agency that produced the campaign,” Mr. Mohammed’s associate said.
All in all, it seems the Change Begins with me campaign is fraught with problems with many Nigerians seeing it as a way to shift blame and responsibility from the people supposed to handle it.