Friday, 16 September 2016

TRENDING: Presidency To Sanction Staff Over ‘Wrongful Insertion’ In Buhari’s Speech


President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that prompt and appropriate disciplinary action be taken against those responsible for a wrongful insertion in his speech delivered on September 8, 2016 at the launch of the “Change Begins with Me” campaign.
After the launch of the campaign, a columnist on THISDAY newspaper, Adeola Akinremi, said the speech violated plagiarism laws and pointed out that the President lifted Obama’s 2008 victory speech and passed it off as if the words were his own.
Contentious Paragraph
He wrote: “Yes, a prime part of Buhari’s speech to the nation last Thursday to launch a campaign encouraging new culture of transparency, attitudinal change and hard work among Nigerians was plagiarised from America’s President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory speech.
“Buhari’s speech during the launch of the “change begins with me”, a new national orientation campaign, contained largely the same sentiment and arrangement of words that President Obama used in his 2008 victory speech after he was elected the first American black president.
“The president lifted a whole paragraph from Obama’s speech and passed it off as his own when he 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.”
“President Obama used the precise words at a rally in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, United States, after winning the race for the White House in November 2008.
“Eight years ago, Obama said: “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.
“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”.
Mr Akinremi pointed out that it was immoral to plagiarise other people’s work, insisting that the President should have given credit to President Obama.
“When you use another person’s work without acknowledgement, you have plagiarised. You simply pretend as if it is your own. It is unethical,” he stated.
‘Presidency Regrets Unfortunate Incident’
Responding to the observation in a statement on Friday, a spokesman for the President, Garba Shehu, said 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, were too close to be passed as coincidence.
Mr Shehu said that already, a Deputy Director in the Presidency had accepted responsibility for the insertion of the contentious paragraph.
The Presidency also said it “regrets this unfortunate incident and will ensure that this does not happen again”.
Mr Shehu added that the President, however, urged Nigerians to look beyond this incident and focus on the message of change which the country needed in order to restore the nation’s cherished value systems.

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