Nigeria’s minister of information, culture and tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has been accused of plagiarising the work of one Mr Akin Fadeyi.
This was made known to President Buhari by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) in a letter dated Thursday September 29, and seen by Thisday.
Babalola, who is a personal friend and lawyer to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, told President Buhari that Fadeyi is the creator of the anti-corruption media campaign project ‘Not in My Country,’ and not the minister.
Part of the letter read: “First, our client is a private business man genuinely concerned with advancing our Nigerian society by innovative thinking and development projects, not a politician with any vested interests. “Second, the ‘Not in My Country’ anti-corruption campaign project is a product of our client’s lifelong vision to do something towards ridding our society of the canker-worm of decadence. “On this point alone, our client has the same goals as the present administration in tackling corruption effectively at the grassroots. “Third, our client will not sacrifice this noblest of goals on the altar of claiming his personal individual rights, especially not in a way capable of being bastardized or confused with propaganda, among other distractions. “That is not to say our client will not defend his work and hard-earned intellectual property rights in a court of competent jurisdiction at the appropriate time.
“Indeed, our client awaits Alhaji Lai Mohammed to make good his threats to sue him, in preparation for which he has instructed our law firm to commence the preparation of processes in answer to any summons filed against him. “Without a doubt, when our client responds to any processes filed, his actions and motives will be clear and unmistakable.”
According to the well-respected lawyer, Fadeyi conceived and initiated the ‘Not in My Country’ anti-corruption campaign project in 2007 at the University of Lagos. He further stated that it was later fully developed into one-minute drama skit model that Fadeyi presented in a proposal to Mohammed on December 30, 2015, to enlist the minister’s cooperation to facilitate the broadcast of the already prepared skits on the Nigerian Television Authority. “However, the minister indicated that he was yet ruminating on a ‘Change Begins with Me’ idea of his own which he wanted our client to reflect in the ‘Not in my Country’ project. “Thus, it was agreed at that meeting that our client should go back to location and re-shoot the drama skits to reflect the minister’s ‘Change Begins with Me’ as the pay-off line in the ‘Not in My Country’ videos. “The minister gave Fadeyi his email contact and asked that the reworked videos be sent to him via email, which Fadeyi did. Having received Fadeyi’s drama materials, the minister held on to them without communicating with Fadeyi any further. “All attempts to reach and meet with him again were evidently rebuffed by the minister,” Babalola added. President Buhari on Thursday, September 8, officially launched the national re-orientation campaign tagged “Change begins with me” at the Presidential Banquet hall in Abuja.
Williams Adeleye who is the spokesperson of the minister has since reacted to Fadeyi’s allegations saying: “We started working on ‘Change Begins with Me’ before the honourable minister was nominated and we’ve been working with the agency that produced the campaign. “So let him go to wherever he likes then we’ll meet and go and sort it out there