A day after President Goodluck Jonathan formally declared his bid for re-election, Saharareporters has discovered that a part of the speech he read at the official launch of his campaign was substantially lifted from a 2006 address given by former Vice President Abubakar Atiku when he announced his entry into the 2007 presidential election.
Mr. Jonathan yesterday announced his presidential bid at Eagle Square, Abuja in a ceremony graced by crowds mobilized by state governors, featuring masquerades, musicians and half-naked men.
In the 30-paragraph speech delivered with the aid of a teleprompter, amid loud cheers from his supporters, Jonathan said, “Our country is at the threshold of a new era; an era that beckons for a new kind of leadership; a leadership that is uncontaminated by the prejudices of the past; a leadership that is committed to change; a leadership that reinvents government, to solve the everyday problems that confront the average Nigerian.”
The rhetoric resonated with the crowd, which cheered him on. The crowd was obviously unaware that the paragraph was a plagiarized version of an old speech by Atiku. The former vice president used similar phrases in a speech he read at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja on November 25, 2006.
In paragraph nine of his four-year-old speech, Atiku declared: “Today, as we stand on the threshold of a new era Nigeria requires a new kind of leadership, a leadership committed to this change process.
“We need a leadership that is not hampered or constrained by the regressive politics of the past or the unproductive ideologies of the present. Nigeria deserves a proven, committed and experienced leader who knows how to reinvent government to help solve the real problems our people today.”
One of our sources said that Jonathan’s speechwriters “tried hard to conceal the stealing of another man’s intellectual property, by changing a few words here and throwing a few words there,” adding, “but the evidence of plagiarism came out clearly all the same.”
The source, a professor of linguistics, said the similarities between the two paragraphs “are just too glaring to be regarded as a coincidence.”