Of Akufo-Addo's speech plagiarism

Mon, 9 Jan 2017 Source: Abdulai Hanan R. Confidence

I may not so much like President Nana Akufo-Addo but I've always admired his silky flair in delivering speeches.

As a matter of fact, he is a striking force to reckon with in the remit of delivering speeches that resonate with the people. His "LAFA" even makes him stands tall among Ghanaian politicians relative to speeches.

I have, on the records of social media, shared his concession speech after the Supreme Court verdict with positive reviews. It was the speech that somewhat softened my prejudices and biases against him. I have even archived that speech for a rainy day. Strictly speaking, I felt and still believe that concession speech can compete for space with the famous Luther King Jr's "I have a dream" in many jurisdictions.

I have been an ardent follower of Nana Addo's speeches to an extent that I can tell a speech meant for Nana Addo if it is read by a Chinese man. Any speech of Nana Addo without the words "roller coaster" or "hurlyburly" is worthy of a legitimate interrogation. There are other word pointers anyway.

From a grapevine source, I have heard that Nana Addo writes his own speeches. However, I have always seen the crafty hands of Gabby Otchere Darko and Mustapha Hamid in Nana Addo's speeches. These guys from afar wield the Queen's Card of Approval in creative composition especially the latter.

Nana Addo's Thank You Speech after the elections had the "hurly-burly" effect. It was powerfully written. Umar "Sandra" (EC spellings) of Citi FM was awed and asked if the speech writers had reserved some "apo" for the inaugural speech. It turned out that our brother with Citi FM may even have a successful career in fortune telling.

As a fellow of grammatolatry and a student of language, one of my weaknesses is listening to a beautifully written speech delivered with heavenly art.

Seriously, speeches do give me goosebumps and bring me closer to unplanned orgasm. For that matter, many of my kindreds surely were hopeful to be thrilled poetically by Nana Addo's maiden speech but were rather disappointed by a hugely plagiarised speech that lacked candour and flavour. This stale speech was badly punctuated with "plagiarised" coughs of Ayariga's antecedents.

I was brutally left in kaman how?

It is rumoured that Elizabeth Ohene wrote or superintendent over the inaugural speech. I don't want to believe it, not because I am a conscientious feminist or because she had made it to the list of my woman crushes. The woman just knows how to write and has a formidable resumé of having edited the Daily Graphic before. Well.

I have several NPP friends who write like adopted children of Lily Bet. Their keypads brew originality and flow of tsunami resistance. I believe these social media pro bono writers could assemble a great inaugural speech to reflect where we are and where we want to go as a nation. What the speech writers did was very "lousy". A gross display of incompetence. The speech was a collection of other people's demagogic thoughts and catchphrases that probably many Ghanaians do not share on the score sheet of exigencies.

Putting incompetence aside, the speech writers have demonstrated lazy mentality, an absence of creativity or independent thinking and should be, in Macassio's voice, FIRED. They have embarrassed Ghana with their copy and paste inaugural speech that has turned the lenses of the world's media on Ghana. They have dented our bragging rights of Ghana having organised a better and more credible election than the USA. They have bruised our synonymity to democracy.

Is it really a big deal? Oh Yes! As a matter of fact, I will gladly use the sledgehammer if the not the guillotine in this case. Ghanaians are not making a fuss of it. The investiture of a new president is a historical event. It would be sad if posterity one day realised that the inaugural speech read on that memorable day was "borrow here borrow there" speech. Besides, we want a speech that is from the minds of the incoming leadership because borrowed thoughts are pretty much difficult to match with deeds.

Well, Eugene Arhin of Nana Addo's communications has admitted to the plagiarism and has apologised unreservedly. But some "autopilot defenders" are still trying in a thousand and one ways to justify this ditto ditto plagiarism with volume, percentage and time frame arguments. These arguments are all ridiculous and slaying.

For instance, some people are arguing that a portion of a literary work of over 70 years can be used without acknowledgement. There is a difference between copyright and plagiarism. Copyright is the law that protects people's intellectual properties from an unauthorised usage. Plagiarism is a deliberate stealing of someone's literary work and pretends it is yours by ostensibly not acknowledging the source.

Copyright cover for an individual's work expires 70 years after their death. But plagiarism never expires with the work. After 70 years of a literary work, anyone can use portions of it without seeking PERMISSION at all.

However, the source must be duly acknowledged. It's the copyright of it that becomes void but it can still be plagiarised. Aristotle, Plato, Pythagoras et al existed before Jesus Christ, they lived before the conception of the Gregorian calendar yet their literature is duly acknowledged in academic papers.

However, the most annoying and whatchamacallit is examining the inaugural speech with some Turnitin software.

It's total defective to argue the plagiarism in Nana Addo's speech with Turnitin software. Turnitin software is designed largely to vet the originality of student's academic assignments, not presidential inaugural speeches.

The speech, from clear lenses to prejudice binoculars, is a plagiarism. It's a direct and mosaic plagiarism in toto. The speech writers should bow their heads in shame and review their notes on the in-text citation. The attempts to whitewash it off plagiarism is simply dead on arrival. Nnabi.

My name is Hanan-Confidence Abdul, a Charlotte Osei crush, sapiosexual, conscientious feminist and sometimes a professional truth sayer.

Columnist: Abdulai Hanan R. Confidence

Send your news stories to and features to . Chat with us via WhatsApp on +233 55 2699 625.