One of the top news stories of the week is the plagiarism of President Barack Obama’s 2008 speech by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.
On Friday, President Buhari admitted that he stole some lines from Obama’s 2008 victory speech which were inserted into a speech he delivered last week at the official launch of Nigeria’s “Change Begins With Me” campaign.
A statement by the Nigerian presidency blamed the intellectual property theft on an “overzealous staff” and vowed to mete out disciplinary actions against the staff, an unnamed deputy director in Nigeria’s Federal Civil Service.
“There was a mistake by an overzealous staff and we regret that this has happened,” a statement by Garba Shehu, a spokesperson, said. “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.”
However, sources at the presidency have told SaharaReporters that Mamman Daura, a nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari and one of the most powerful men in Buhari’s government, was the source of the speech which has embarrassed the president and the country.
The online tabloid write:
The two sources claimed that Mr. Daura had hijacked the task of providing speeches for the Nigerian president, adding that he often threw away draft speeches that he did not commission.
Asked whether the president’s nephew personally wrote the controversial speech that stole Mr. Obama’s words without attribution, our sources said that Mr. Daura certainly produced the speech. “It is possible he wrote it himself, or he went and asked somebody else to go and write it and bring,” said one source. The other stated, “I can tell you that nobody writes speech anymore for President Buhari but Mamman Daura.”
According to our sources, Mr. Daura was behind President Buhari’s inauguration speech, which lifted a famous quote from the late French leader Charles de Gaulle. They said the president’s nephew was also solely responsible for writing or commissioning Mr. Buhari’s now infamous speech entreating Nigerians to accept the idea of “Change begins with me.”
Our sources disclosed that the Presidency was trying to fool the public through its spokesman, Garba Shehu, who said a deputy director had written the now widely ridiculed speech. Mr. Shehu had also declared that the speechwriter would be punished.
Our investigator discovered that Mr. Attah Esa is the only deputy director attached to the State House media office. His duties are concerned only with newspaper reviews.
Our sources disclosed that, unlike former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua, and Goodluck Jonathan, President Buhari does not have an identified official speechwriter. SaharaReporters learned that presidential aides, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, often only get to see President Buhari’s speeches when such speeches are distributed at official functions. “That’s why Nigerians no longer get an advance synopsis of presidential speeches online as happened during Jonathan’s era,” said one source.
The same source added: “Under President Buhari, all types of speeches, whether on the economy, education or terrorism, are organized solely by Mamman Daura, who thinks he knows everything. Buhari’s Personal Assistant, Sabiu Yusuf (popularly known as Tunde Idiagbon) then types the speeches.”
Our sources disclosed that Mr. Daura even discouraged any input from MDA. “He is known not to use drafts submitted by MDAs, even on technical issues such as budget, climate change and maternal health,” one of them said.
During Jonathan’s Presidency, Oronto Douglas, who died last year, served as the official speechwriter. Draft speeches from MDAs were submitted to him for vetting, and he consulted with the agencies throughout in order to ensure objectivity and correctness.