There are lots of similarities between Ghana’s new president Nana Akufo-Addo and Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari.
The two men were opposition candidates who defeated incumbent presidents. They were both perennial contestants for the office of president. And both of them finally got elected at the age of 72.
Now you can add one more similarity: They have both plagiarised the speeches of US presidents.
For Buhari, it was last September when he launched the “Change Begins with Me” campaign and plagiarised US President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory speech. For Akufo-Addo, it was his inauguration speech that is now being dogged by accusations of plagiarising former US president George Bush’s 2001 inauguration speech.
In his speech, Bush said: “I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building communities of service and a nation of character.”
Akufo-Addo said: “I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building your communities and our nation. Let us work until the work is done.”
In September 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari was criticised before and after the presidency admitted that part of his “Change Begins With Me” speech was copied from Obama. Buhari’s aides put the blame on an unnamed “overzealous speech writer” who they refused to name.
Buhari’s speech read in part “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.”
Obama had in different parts of his 2008 victory speech said: “Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, 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.”