Last week, Buhari gave a speech to launch a campaign titled “Change begins with me,” part of his credo to end graft in Africa’s biggest economy which is gripped by mismanagement and poverty despite sitting on vast energy reserves.
But one paragraph in the speech urging Nigerians not to fall back “on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country so long” was copied from Obama’s victory speech after his election in November 2008.
“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 16-paragraph address… are too close to be passed as coincidence,” Buhari’s office said in a statement.
“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,” the office said after a Twitter user joked about the incident.
“Those responsible” would be punished, the office said, adding that a deputy director in the presidency had admitted the mistake.
Read full presidency statement below.
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.
SSA to the President
(Media & Publicity)
September 16, 2016