Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed yesterday said the Change Begins With Me campaign was not a product of plagiarism.
He said although he received over 20 proposals, he told all those concerned that he had already concluded work on the project.
He said as at October 31, 2015, all radio jingles and TV commercials had been completed.
Mohammed spoke to newsmen following allegation by two media consultants, Akin Fadeyi and Omor Bazuaye that the Minister plagiarised their ideas and turned same to Change Begins With Me.
But the Minister described the allegation as ridiculous and baseless.
He said: “The Change Begins With Me campaign is entirely my creation and nobody including Akin Fadeyi can claim I borrowed his or her idea or accuse me of plagiarism.
“I will forward to you irrefutable proof that I started working on the Change Begins With Me concept a few days after my nomination as a minister and by the 12th of October 2015. A day after I appeared before the Senate for confirmation, Mr. Brian Ebden, the Communication Marketing Consultant working with me sent me an email which you will receive(dated the same October 12) referring to the completed work on the Change Begins With Me campaign.
“I will send to your email address confirmatory and irrefutable proof that by the 31st of October 2015 all radio jingles and TV commercials had been completed.”
Mohammed said having completed all the radio jingles and TV commercials for Change Begins With Me campaign on October 31st 2015, it was unthinkable that Akin Fadeyi who was sent to him in December 2015 would allege that he stole his ideas.
He added: “Akin Fadeyi was sent to me by a former Editor of ThisDay only in December 2015 or January 2016.
“You will also receive evidence that I met with top leading Nigerian musicians and producers like Tiwa Savage, Sunny Ade, KWAM 2, Don Jazzy, PSquare and many others at the Southern Sun Hotel in December 2015 seeking their cooperation in the Change Begins With Me Campaign.
“How then can anyone suggest from the above evidence that I stole Akin Fadeyi or anybody’s idea in respect of this campaign.
“It will interest you that as of today, there are two other people claiming that I stole their ideas in respect of this project.
“While it is true that I received over 20 proposals across the country, including from eminent TV giants like Jimmy Johnson (alias Okoro), I told each and every one of them that I had already concluded work on the project.
“It is to the credit of Mr. Jimmy Johnson that despite being one of the first to approach me with his proposal, he was one of the first to congratulate me on the successful launch of the campaign. He is alive; you can corroborate my story with him.
In an article, Omor Bazuaye accused the Minister of plagiarizing their concept, “NOT IN MY COUNTRY” and changed it to Change Begins With Me.”
Bazuaye said: “We received with utter shock and disbelief attempt by the Federal Government through its Ministry of Information and National Orientation to clone and plagiarize our work, “NOT IN MY COUNTRY”, in what it now calls “Change Begins With Me”.
“Only a few days ago Nigeria celebrated the arrival of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook into the country.
“Zuckerberg developed something extraordinary and revolutionized the IT world. He came to Nigeria looking for and to give courage to emerging stars.
“I had written then that Nigeria has a “jungle fever” that allows it to always celebrate what is foreign as against the ingenuity of its own people.
“While we rolled out the drums and even engaged in what Zuckerberg wore or ate in his brief stay in Nigeria; my attention shifted to Nigerians doing remarkable things yet ignored or abandoned.
“There is the case of John Obaro who created the software for Treasury Single Account (TSA). What did he get? He received the biggest scorn of his life.
“What I didn’t realize was that I could become the next victim until Thursday, the 8th of September, 2016 when I saw that the idea we dropped in the office of the honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation, Lai Mohammed; what seems a perfect replica of it was being launched by the Minister without the consent of the real originators.”