African Leaders and plagiarism


By George Odok Jnr.

Ghana has long been one of Africa’ s bright spots, politically speaking. It is stable, if not prosperous, and has seen peaceful transitions of power since it became a democracy in 1992. And on Saturday, Ghanaians gathered in Independence Square in the capital, Accra, to witness the inauguration of Nana Akufo-Addo as the country’s fifth elected president.

But the moment of pride was tarnished, though it may not have been immediately obvious to those in attendance. Akufo- Addo had lifted lines in his 30- minute speech word for word from the inaugural addresses of two U.S. presidents.

The first came from George W. Bush’s speech in 2001. “I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building your communities and our nation, ” he said.

And then came a line straight from Bill Clinton’s 1993 speech, substituting Ghanains for Americans: “Though our challenges are fearsome, so are our strengths. Ghanaians have ever been a restless, questing, hopeful people. And we must bring to our task today the vision and will of those who came before us.”

Back in Nigeria, on September 8, during the launching of “Change Begins With Me Campaign” President Buhari had lifted a whole paragraph from U.S President Barrack Obama’s victory speech in 2008 in Chicago. Buhari later fired two senior directors for inserting the plagiarise paragraph.

Speech writers’ must be aware of the fact that plagiarism is an offence against the original owner of a write-up. There should note that a Presidential speech goes viral and hence if plagiarise, it will be easily detected.

Happy New Week friends.

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