Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has apologized for plagiarizing Barack Obama’s 2008 victory speech and says he will punish those responsible. The two leaders are set to meet next week in New York.
In a Friday column for ThisDay newspaper, Adeola Akinremi denounced “the moral problem of plagiarism on a day Mr President launched a campaign to demand honesty and integrity”.
In a speech given by Buhari on 8 September, launching a campaign entitled “Change Begins With Me”, several sentences were almost identical to Obama’s.
Buhari said: “We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long.”
Eight years ago, after his victory over Republican John McCain in the race for the White House, Obama said: “Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”
Alleged plagiarism of an Obama speech became an issue in the US earlier this year, when portions of an address to the Republican convention by Melania Trump, wife of presidential candidate Donald Trump, appeared strikingly similar to passages in a speech given by Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic convention.
On Friday, the White House said Obama has scheduled a meeting with Buhari on Tuesday on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly session in New York City.
They are expected to talk about continued US support for security and economic changes in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, as well as the government’s efforts to counter the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
The White House also said Obama, in his final appearance before the UN session, planned to promote trade between the US and Africa on Wednesday, attending a summit with some 200 US and African chief executives and African heads of state.