Heads may roll in the Presidency soon over the plagiarized speech that President Muhammadu Buhari was made to deliver at the recent launch of “Change Begins with Me” campaign.
Portions of the speech have been found to have been lifted from a speech delivered by United States President Barack Obama in 2008.
Saturday Tribune’s investigation discovered that the speech originated from the Federal Ministry of Information, organizers of the campaign, but it was sent to the Office of the Chief of Staff for onward transmission to the President.
The insertion of a paragraph from President Obama’s 2008 speech was done in the presidency before it was passed to Buhari.
As the scandal broke on Friday, many local and foreign news outlets latched on to it with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) posting video clips of the US president’s speech and that of Buhari to show the similarity.
The paragraph from President Buhari’s speech 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.”
The paragraph from Obama’s speech reads: “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.”
Presidency owns up
THE Presidency Friday night admitted that there were similarities between aspects of President Muhammadu Buhari’s “Change Begins with Me’’ address and the one he was accused of plagiarizing from President Obama’s 2008 speech.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, blamed it on a Deputy Director in the Presidency who it said had already accepted responsibility.
It said an investigation has already been launched into the incident.
The statement read: “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.
“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.
“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.”