Connect with us

Government

Obama’s Speech Plagiarism: Presidency to Punish Speechwriter

Published

on

nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said the speechwriter responsible for plagiarising the United States President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory speech will face disciplinary action.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in a statement said that the similarities between certain paragraphs in Buhari and Obama’s speeches were too similar to be coincidental.

The statement read in part, “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.

Shehu blamed the action on some overzealous workers and apologised on their behalf.

He also said that a deputy director in the presidency had accepted responsibility for the action but added that the oversight would be investigated and the appropriate punishment would be meted out to the official.

Shehu urged Nigerians to look beyond the error and not allow the gaffe to distract them from the core message of change.

He added, “There was a mistake by an overzealous worker 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.”

This development arose when President Buhari’s “Change Begins With Me” campaign was severely criticised following a discovery that some of the quotes used in his message matched those used by the United States President Barack Obama in his 2008 election victory speech.

This action came a week after the associates of a Lagos-based media consultant, Akin Fadeyi, the creator of “Not In My Country,” accused the Buhari administration of stealing his concept to launch the “Change Begins with Me” campaign.

The associates said Fadeyi, a creative artist and former head of communications at Airtel Nigeria, met with the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in December 2015 to intimate him of “Not In My Country,” an episodic narrative that deploys humour to underscore societal ills and appeal to Nigerians to shun sharp practices.

They said Mohammed declined interest in the concept, only to turn it around to adapt it for the “Change Begins with Me” campaign.

But Mohammed denied the allegations, saying he started the “Change Begins With Me” before he was appointed minister.

Buhari had on September 8, 2016 said at the launch of the campaign that before Nigerians could see the changes he promised before the 2015 election, they must first change their attitude by shunning corruption and other social vices.

He had also said that change was not about economic or social progress, but about the citizens’ personal behaviour.

“Our citizens must realise that the change they want to see begins with them, and that personal and social reforms are not a theoretic exercise. If you have not seen the change in you, you cannot see it in others or even the larger society,” he had said.

He also 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 this problem has taught us is that we cannot have a thriving army of rent seekers and vested interest, while the majority suffers.”

However, some lines in Buhari’s message were found to be similar to those said by Obama on November 4, 2008 at a rally in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois, after winning the race for the White House.

He had said, “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.”

Describing President Buhari’s act as plagiarism and a “terrible mistake,” a writer and columnist with ThisDay, Adeola Akinremi, said the last thing the President could do on a day he launched the “Change begins with me” campaign was to deceive Nigerians with words that were not his own.

He said, “So you didn’t notice that our president lifted from Obama’s 2008 victory speech and passed it off as if the words were his own?

“The argument will rage, but the moral problem of plagiarism on a day Mr. President launched a campaign to demand honesty and integrity from the people is what we should concern ourselves with.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

Published

on

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

Continue Reading

Government

China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

Published

on

China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

Continue Reading

Government

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

Published

on

President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

Continue Reading

Trending