We Didn’t Steal ‘Change Begins With Me’ Concept, Says Lai Mohammed | Independent Newspapers Limited
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We Didn’t Steal ‘Change Begins With Me’ Concept, Says Lai Mohammed

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Posted: Sep 12, 2016 at 5:58 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Isuma Mark

Abuja – Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, has broken his silence over the controversy on who owns ‘Change Begins With Me’ concept, saying he did not steal it from the alleged creator, Akin Fadeyi.

Soon after President Muhammadu Buhari launched the campaign last week, the media was flooded with accusations that the minister stole the concept in apparent breach of copy right law in Nigeria.

Spirited attempts to speak with him or his media aide were rebuffed.

But in an email response on the minister’s behalf by Brian Ebden, a marketing communications consultant, the minister denied ever meeting Akin Fadeyi and his team. He added that the concept was solely his and no one else.

Ebden said, “As a marketing communications consultant, I, together with the advertising agency, Centerspread, were contacted a week after Alhaji Lai Mohammed was nominated as minister by the president to attend a brainstorming workshop on Thursday 8th October 2015 at the White House Hotel in Ikeja.

“At this briefing, Alhaji Lai Mohammed’s first statement was that once he has taken office, he wishes to launch a change campaign entitled, ‘Change Begins With Me.” It was Centerspread and my task to develop the communications campaign and strategy, following an in-depth briefing which we received at this session.

“By 30th October of 2015, the entire first generation creative work was sent to Alhaji Lai Mohammed which included the first created logo, artwork, jingles and TV concepts. A month later, both agencies attended a presentation session at Radio House in Abuja where two campaigns were presented to a contingent of more than 100 people of the Ministry of Information and Culture which included NTA, FRCN and NOA and again it was clearly and unambiguously stated that the campaign was ‘Change Begins With Me.’

“What is conspicuous by its absence is any form of complaint or utterance by anyone whatsoever to the plethora of public information espoused directly by the honourable minister to argue that the concept of ‘Change Begins With Me’ belongs to him or her. However, they waited for the campaign to be launched officially by the president before making spurious claims that the honourable minister plagiarised their so-called concept and appropriated their supposed intellectual property.”

Information available to Independent, however, revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari is visibly embarrassed with the development.

The development has not also gone down well with a large member of the staff in the presidency who latched onto the latest controversy to say the current government is full of comedy of errors.

According to a reliable source, how to deflate public criticism from the ensuing disappointment following claims and counter claims was still being worked out.

A source said the alleged creator of the concept, Akin Fadeyi, might be called to be compensated instead of going to court.

Yet, a member of the team who created the concept quickly countered what the minister said in an email sent to Independent.

The statement said, “We consider it an incredible coincidence especially after we had shown him our work. If Lai had everything wrapped up in October 2015, why did he meet with us in December in his house in Isaac John in Ikeja, Lagos?” a member of the team asked.

Continuing, “Why did he ask us to go and re-shoot our drama and use the slogan….’Change Begins With Me’? What that simply means was that he didn’t have the element of drama prior to the time he met with us.

“They didn’t deny meeting us rather they claimed we met the minister after his appointment, confirming our earlier position that Mr. Mohammed did not only meet us but saw our work.”

The statement further said, “There are just too many coincidences in the drama skits we sent to Mohammed and the one he presented to the president and the rest of the world. Our work was launched in May 2016; Lai’s ‘Change Begins With Me’ was launched in September 2016. So who copied who?” they asked.