Following the outcry that trailed President Buhari’s presentation of a plagiarized speech, the man behind the write-up has been named.
According to a report by SaharaReporters, two sources at the Presidency in Abuja have revealed that Mamman Daura, a nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari and arguably the biggest power player in the government, was the source of a major speech delivered by the Nigerian president in which the words of US President Barack Obama were plagiarized.
The two sources claimed that Mr. Daura had hijacked the task of providing speeches for the Nigerian president, adding that he often threw away draft speeches that he did not commission.
Asked whether the president’s nephew personally wrote the controversial speech that stole Mr. Obama’s words without attribution, the sources said that Mr. Daura certainly produced the speech.
“It is possible he wrote it himself, or he went and asked somebody else to go and write it and bring,” said one source. The other stated, “I can tell you that nobody writes speech anymore for President Buhari but Mamman Daura.”
According to the sources, Mr. Daura was behind President Buhari’s inauguration speech, which lifted a famous quote from the late French leader Charles de Gaulle. They said the president’s nephew was also solely responsible for writing or commissioning Mr. Buhari’s now infamous speech entreating Nigerians to accept the idea of “Change begins with me.”
SaharaReporters reports that the sources also disclosed that the Presidency was trying to fool the public through its spokesman, Garba Shehu, who said a deputy director had written the now widely ridiculed speech. Mr. Shehu had also declared that the speechwriter would be punished.
Investigations discovered that Mr. Attah Esa is the only deputy director attached to the State House media office. His duties are concerned only with newspaper reviews.
The sources disclosed that, unlike former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua, and Goodluck Jonathan, President Buhari does not have an identified official speechwriter. SaharaReporters learned that presidential aides, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, often only get to see President Buhari’s speeches when such speeches are distributed at official functions. “That’s why Nigerians no longer get an advance synopsis of presidential speeches online as happened during Jonathan’s era,” said one source.
The same source added: “Under President Buhari, all types of speeches, whether on the economy, education or terrorism, are organized solely by Mamman Daura, who thinks he knows everything. Buhari’s Personal Assistant, Sabiu Yusuf (popularly known as Tunde Idiagbon) then types the speeches.”
Sources disclosed that Mr. Daura even discouraged any input from MDA. “He is known not to use drafts submitted by MDAs, even on technical issues such as budget, climate change and maternal health,” one of them said.
During Jonathan’s Presidency, Oronto Douglas, who died last year, served as the official speechwriter. Draft speeches from MDAs were submitted to him for vetting, and he consulted with the agencies throughout in order to ensure objectivity and correctness.