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Re: Issues in Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s Plagiarism Allegations

My last week’s write-up with the above title elicited many thoughtful responses from my readers. Unfortunately, I can only publish a fe...

My last week’s write-up with the above title elicited many thoughtful responses from my readers. Unfortunately, I can only publish a few of them. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.

Truth be told, plagiarism is pervasive in our educational system. Many students and even teachers don't even know that it's wrong. From lecture notes to journal articles to books, we copy other people's work verbatim without attribution and inserting quotation marks. Recently somebody told me plagiarism means "copying more than five sentences from another person’s work". Anything less is no plagiarism! Lecturers not only condone the act, they encourage it by turning a blind eye to obvious cases of plagiarism.

The surest way of showing you understand a material is not to regurgitate it in an exam and score an A, but to present it in your own words. No new knowledge can be meaningfully produced if we continue to plagiarize. Merit will be hampered and mediocrity will be rewarded with promotions and undeserved recognition. The campaign against plagiarism should start from the lower levels of the educational system so that students can be adequately prepared to face the challenges of academic writing before they enter tertiary institutions. Those researchers at CBN had probably plagiarized in their undergraduate theses, and thought they could continue in the knowledge that they would not be found out.

If Sanusi's case brings the issue to limelight, it will be worth the litigation, whatever the motives of Dike might be. Thanks for a brilliant piece. Great lessons abound in the mistakes of great people like Sainna Sanusi!
Abdulrahaman Muhammad, University of Maiduguri

Quite a courageous piece there. Kudos to Trust for publishing it. I did a piece with similar positions but the media machinery of the CBN made sure it didn’t see the light of day. Sanusi has been a writer and polemicist, a fact many do not know, and he comes loaded with the writer’s temperament. That fellow-feeling may be responsible for why some of us have stuck with him in his previous storms. But his latest issue with plagiarism is one that is bound to separate him from his die-hard fans. 

The metaphor which aptly captures this is that of the fish which swam the Seven Seas only to be overwhelmed by the old woman’s pot of soup. The pot of plagiarism may be quite small but it has been the Waterloo of many who tried to swim past it. 

The press statement from CBN’s spokesman, Ugochukwu Okoroafor, on the
matter beggars logic and does Sanusi’s deep intellect no credit. I have read a lot of dodgy press statements in defence of public officers’ actions but none in recent memory has been this disingenuous. It is akin to being accused of stealing a pen and the accused coming out to swear on top of his voice in the marketplace: “I didn’t do it, wallahi. It’s my hand that did!” On-lookers will begin to wonder whether the man’s “head is correct.”
Mike Ekunno, former Senior Speechwriter to the last Minister of Information and Communications and member of Quintilian - Speechwriters Group.

 I was sorely disappointed when I heard of the incident. Plagiarism is a very serious crime and giving Sanusi's track record of academic prowess it has spoken unwell of him. A prolific writer like Sanusi who wrote extensively before should know better the gravity of plagiarism.
Muktar G.Maigamo

Description: Anonymous
This particular article on Sanusi Lamido is objective and constructive, unlike the others you wrote pertaining him. Very interesting read.
 Mubarak Abdullahi 

I have had the privilege of reading Sanusi Lamido Sanusi's (SLS) writings. I had also heard him deliver lectures. I heard him engage in debates and arguments. I also agree mostly with your arguments and conclusions. But, unlike you, I would want SLS to initiate an out-of-court settlement on this matter by apologising to Prof. Dike, V.E. and withdrawing the continued publication of the offensive material. This action would show him as sincere and having the integrity to accept responsibility, a quality which is sorely lacking among our boko-trained elites and leaders.
 Anonymous commenter on my blog

"Corruption is what is killing the country" is a phrase to which many intellectuals and market women alike can lay claims of originality. It is not clever, not funny and not wise. The supposed lines lifted are of such nature that many Africans, writing on Nigeria, would come to the same arrangement of words. Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work. This does not seem to be one of them. The dignified professor should be flattered, and not seek the Nigerian road to the fast buck.
Anonymous commenter on my blog

Once again, I'm here laughing so hard, I almost fell off my chair. You managed to inflict a severe dent to those passages of mediocrity that may possibly be the cause of legal woes for such an intellectual powerhouse, Mallam Sanusi.

Like you, I concur completely, there's no excuse for such an oversight from the CEO. He must've passed the buck to an inept assistant at his own peril. And with the benefit of hindsight, in politicking, history is mystery.

Fair enough, the purported author, Mr V E Dike has a legitimate claim. But what a ruckus and overzealous schmaltziness over something which a better writer could have used to his advantage in a positive way! I smell a bit of predatory opportunism, with a view to gaining publicity and hitting pay dirt.

However, this speaks to my thorough aversion for the malaise of corporatese and the perils of bureaucracy. If Sanusi had been a manager in a small firm, he may have sorted out this little snag on a one-to-one basis with the said author. But the CBN had to wade in, trying to muschle their way out with PR stunts on the advice of a vulpine legal team ~ madness ensues.

But I'm applauding your exceptional brilliance and class once more.
Samira Edi, London.

Farooq! Forever bold. I agree with you that Sanusi should pay. But nobody pays for wrongdoings in Nigeria, not Ngozi, not Diezani, not Barth Nnaji, not Sanusi. We behave in our country in ways we dare not outside our country.
Odoh Diego Okenyodo, Abuja

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