Probe “Change Begins With Me” controversy, Afe Babalola writes Buhari


The dust is yet to settle on the alleged copyright infringement by Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, concerning the “Change Begins With Me” campaign recently launched by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The owner of the “Not in My Country,” project, Akin Fadeyi, has written to Mr. Buhari, claiming the idea behind the campaign originated from him and was taken from his project.

Adebayo Adenipekun, senior lawyer at the Afe Babalola Chambers, in a September 29 letter to the President, written on behalf of Mr. Fadeyi, dared Mr. Mohammed to make good his threat to sue Mr. Fadeyi.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said the Afe Babalola Chambers had enough evidence to defend its client’s claim of being the originator of the initiative.

“Change Begins With Me” was launched on September 8 by the Federal Government amid fanfare as a campaign for attitudinal change among Nigerians.

The campaign was immediately dogged by allegations of copyright infringement, following reports that the idea was stolen from Mr. Fadeyi, who had earlier made a proposal to the Information Minister on a similar project.

Associates of Mr. Fadeyi had launched a media war against Mr. Mohammed, alleging that he stole the idea from Mr. Fadeyi, who had fully developed the campaign at the behest of the minister.

But the minister denied the allegations, asserting that he had been nursing the idea of “Change Begins With Me” long before he was appointed into office as Minister of Information.

In Mr. Adenipekun’s letter, hemaintained that the ‘Not in My Country’ anti-corruption campaign project was a product of Mr. Fadeyi’s lifelong vision to do something towards ridding the society of corrution.

“On this point alone, our client has the same goals as the present administration in tackling corruption effectively at the grassroots,” the letter read.

“Third, our client will not sacrifice this noblest of goals on the altar of claiming his personal individual rights, especially not in a way capable of being bastardized or confused with propaganda, among other distractions.

“That is not to say our client will not defend his work and hard-earned intellectual property rights in a court of competent jurisdiction at the appropriate time.

“Indeed, our client awaits Alhaji Lai Mohammed to make good his threats to sue him, in preparation for which he has instructed our law firm to commence the preparation of processes in answer to any summons filed against him.

“Without a doubt, when our client responds to any processes filed, his actions and motives will be clear and unmistakable.”

Mr. Adenipekun stated that Mr. Fadeyi’s is a private businessman genuinely concerned with advancing the Nigerian society by innovative thinking and development projects.

He said his client is not a politician with any vested interests, adding that he would contribute to the collective goal rather than be blinded by selfish interests.

He noted that his client only decided to clear the air on the controversies and misconceptions, following the threat by the Minister of Information and Culture to sue him over his ownership claims.

He also stated that the President would by the letter come to appreciate Mr. Fadeyi’s status as a partner in the pious goals of the present administration. He stressed the need to thoroughly investigate the issues surrounding the media report.

Mr. Adenipekun said his client is an enterprising young man with over a decade experience in initiating, coordinating, and executing national (re)orientation and other development projects in Nigeria.

“Specifically, our client conceived and initiated the ‘Not in My Country’ anti-corruption campaign project as far back as the year 2007 at the University of Lagos,” he explained.

“In a Letter granting his request to use the University premises for ‘a three minutes clip demo tape on Saturday, September 29, 2007’, the Principal Assistant Registrar acknowledged that the ”…project is on national re-orientation campaign aimed at changing the attitudes of youths for the better especially in the area of examination malpractices and moral integrity’ (Please find attached Letter dated September 26, 2007).

“From those days of little beginnings, our client kept working hard at his vision for this project- an effective anti-corruption media campaign which the Nigerian public would easily connect with and ultimately respond to.

“Thus, our client has records of having presented some of his drama skits to officials of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in 2007. In 2008, our client took the project to Messrs Joseph Adeyeye, Casmir Igbokwe and Steve Ayorinde, the current Honorable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos, who was then Editor of the Punch.

“Since then, our client kept developing this project into the media campaign to eradicate corruption over time- using the 1-minute drama skit model- which our client has perfected in his ‘Not in My Country’ ’project.”

Giving details of Mr. Fadeyi’s meeting with the Information Minister, Mr. Adenipekun said it was this fully developed 1-minute drama skit model that Mr. Fadeyi’ presented in a proposal to Mr. Mohammed on December 30, 2015.

“The point of the proposal, which was the sole purpose of that meeting, was to enlist the cooperation of the Hon. Minister to facilitate the broadcast of our client’s already prepared skits on the nation’s largest free- to- air network (Nigerian Television Authority),” Mr. Adenipekun narrated.

“Our client showed three 1-minute skits to the Minister and his team. Indeed, the Hon. Minister was so impressed with the project that he commended our client for having effectively harnessed the ‘power of drama and time (one minute)’ and agreed in principle to partner with him on this project.

” However, the Hon. Minister indicated that he was yet ruminating on a ‘Change Begins with Me’ idea of his own, which he wanted our client to reflect in the ‘Not in my Country’ project.

“Thus, it was agreed at that meeting that our client should go back to location and re-shoot the drama skits to reflect the Hon. Minister’s ‘Change Begins with Me’ as the pay-off line in the ‘Not in My Country’ videos.”

According to the lawyer, Mr. Fadeyi’ set out to work immediately with his crew at his own cost and upon completion of the video re-shoot, sent the minister text messages intimating him that the job was done.

“Our client later met with the Hon. Minister at the Southern Sun Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, where the minister was meeting with some musical artists. The minister gave our client his email contact and asked that the reworked videos be sent to him via email,” he stated

“Accordingly, our client sent the files to the Minister’s email ( with a Cover Letter dated 3rdFebruary, 2016. Receipt of the letter was duly acknowledged.

Mr. Adenipekun accused Mr. Mohammed of holding on the drama materials sent to him after receiving them.

“All attempts to reach and meet with him again were evidently rebuffed by the Hon. Minister,” he said.

“Undaunted, our client reverted to the original skits first presented to the Hon. Minister and produced many more skits of the Not in My Country drama. This was launched publicly to wide media coverage on the 3rd of May, 2016 in a well-attended event at Leadway/Protea Hotel, Maryland, Ikeja.

“The countless media coverage of news stories, opinions and columns are available in print and electronic media for all to see.

“Thereafter, our client embarked on an aggressive nationwide stakeholder engagement. Despite the Minister’s silence after receiving the work, our client sent him a reminder letter, newspaper cuttings of his launch and a comprehensive copy of his Not in My Country project on the 9th of June 2016. Till date, the Hon. Minister has not replied any of these correspondences.”

He noted that when on September 8, the Federal Government launched a drama skit model of the Change Begins with Me campaign, certain persons who were privy to Mr. Fadeyi’s project and others who witnessed his protracted exchanges with the minister made statements and accusations.

“Rather, contrary to all the Hon. Minister has said about him, our client has neither released nor commissioned anyone to release any comment on this matter before now,” Mr. Adenipekun said.

The lawyer admitted that on the flip side of Mr. Fadeyi’s private rights in the media reports, was a very crucial project of the Federal Government of Nigeria by which the government seeks to encourage individual change in the citizenry in the hopes of a holistic national change.

He said such a project is not one that ought to kick-off dogged with debate and controversy, underscoring that an important orientation project was being overwhelmed by negative reports and backlash.

“We consequently urge Your Excellency to initiate a thorough investigation of the respective positions of the parties in the ultimate interest of the all-important war on corruption,” he stated.

“We also wish to reiterate to Your Excellency that in the event that Alhaji Lai Mohammed makes good his threat to go to court, which our client urges him to do, our client reserves his right to come all out to put up his defence, and that whatever steps our client takes in defending his right should not be interpreted as fighting the government.

“Our client has no intention of taking up any dispute with the government in appreciation of its laudable anti-corruption campaign. Whenever our client is called upon to defend himself and his work before a court of justice, he will do so to the full extent allowed by law as the matter is strictly between Akin Fadeyi and Alhaji Lai Mohammed.”

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  • donMe$$i

    “A servant is not greater than his master”.
    If Buhari could give Naijas a plagiarised speech, how much more of Lai?
    I can assure you if this was jona, same Lai(e) and his e-zombies would have made it a talking point for at least 12months! No one wuldv needed to ‘write’ buhari on wot to do.
    These charlatans have taken cluelessness to unenviable heights!
    Yet another sordid disgraceful LOW from APC.

    • Uzoma John

      You low lives can go hug the transformer. What has the plagiarised speech got to do with PMB?. He has already meted out punishment to the perpetrator. Even in the most advanced countries such things happen. The most recent is Trump’s wife on Michelle Obama’s speech. Still reeling in election defeat anguish. Wailers. Wail on why our incorruptible PMB keep riding high. Afterall, your corrupt stinking Jonathan plagiarised his victory acceptance speech quoting speeches already delivered by Atiku Abubakar. No-do-gooders. All you do is receive peanuts from your corrupt sponsors and sit by the computer or China made smartphones and spew rubbish. You should all go get a life. We the good people of Nigeria are in full support of PMB and his laudable programmes especially the caging of the thieves.

      • Zakut Bechor

        Where are the thieves he caged? When corruption is still at all time high. Stop these lies. After plagiarising he went ahead to inflate the GE deal from $150m to $2.2b. The days of lying propaganda is gone.

        • Uzoma John

          We are seriously reigning in on all of you corrupt elements. You guys are losers. Sore ones for that matter.

  • okenwa

    O’boy education good ooooo, chai i pity buhari. The man na real mumu.

  • Mailafiya Zuru

    This is the last straw. I regret voting these guys. The suffering in the country is unprecedented. Yet the recession has not stopped my President’s wife from flying all over in presidential jets. I even bragged to some PDP neighbours that there will be NO 1st lady under Buhari, fuel will be N40/L, he will publicly declare his assets, etc. Which one has he done?? Which one?
    I don’t even let my neighbours see me again. The performance of my party is a thing of shame.

  • donMe$$i

    The whole programme is jinxed by kwarofshun.
    Allah seriki.

  • T-Rex

    Lies and intellectual property theft! Up APC!

    • Ugohmillenium


      People are committing suicide because of President Buhari’s economic destruction. A man has been lying down on the Owerri expressway for many days and waiting for any car to kill him. The newspapers in Nigeria have even published his photo. Lying down on the highway.

      I don’t know much about economics but I know that one way to solve this economic destruction is to stop the nonsense CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME campaign. It is too shameful. Chief Afe Babalola wrote letter yesterday to tell Lai Muhammed that the idea of the campaign was stolen from his own client who came to discuss it with Lai Muhammed.

      How can change begin with me when the Minister who is saying so has stolen another man’s intellectual property? It is better to cancel the campaign. It will save Nigeria a lot of shame if it is cancelled first thing tomorrow. Many people who want to steal money will have nothing to steal again from making T-shirts and radio jingles at billions of Naira.

      Even President Buhari’s speech at the launching was stolen from President Barack Obama too.
      Too much stealing has spoilt the CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME CAMPAIGN. Just cancel it right now.

  • dami

    Petty Afe Babalola…looking for attention…i sincerely hope that Buhari does not answer him…there’s a minister for information to talk to…or if you feel so aggrieved go to court…Afe knows this…attention seeking nuisance….or what reply is he expecting from Buhari?

    PT this is not news…certainly not worth the front page banner.

    • Daniel

      Peter Obi is right that the CEOS of Facebook and Microsoft could not have made it in Nigeria, if they were Nigerians.

      Intellectual property theft in high places.

      So you believe that hollow Lie Lie Mohamad can produce an authentic intellectual work?

      Any mediocre can dish out propaganda; but intellectual rigour requires discipline.

      We know Buhari’s change slogan is for ethnic chauvinists and political idiots.

      Where do you belong?

      • Abdul

        I tell you. The country have the most wicked and destructive people on planet earth. They kill dreams, creativity and ingenuity

        • Daniel

          For a country that celebrates mediocrity, development is far away from us.

          Lai Mohamad should be sacked!

          This is one scandal too many to be swept under the carpet in a so-called anti corruption government.

          From Dogara budget padding, to Burutai, to Aba kyari mtn scandal;

          Danbazzau , to plagiarised speech;

          and GE misrepresentation on investment in Buhari’s Independence Day speech.

          To now intellectual theft by a minister of the federal republic, etc.

          Where is Nigeria headed for?

      • dami

        I’m more worried about the economy than this hogwash.
        We cannot go back to the fools paradise that was the pdp and their band of thieves.
        From the Edo state election it’s clear that they have not learnt their lesson; by fielding an igbinedion thief as governorship candidate.
        Otherwise pdp should re-trace their steps and provide a viable option with a semblance of integrity.

        It’s onward to support Buhari / APC to ensure he makes quicker and more decisive policy decisions.

        • Daniel

          Can you respond to the same corruption rearing its ugly head in form intellectual property theft by a minister of the republic?

          And other cases Buhari is feigning ignorance if?

          Just prepare for a worse case scenario because we have a false prophet as an anti corruption champion.

          • dami

            As long as you don’t have an alternative then you’re just a wailer.

          • Daniel

            Breaking : Reps cry foul as SGF, Lawal allegedly used N270m to clear grass at IDPs camp.

            Chew on that for now.

            Loyalty to Buhari should go with common sense.

  • Mohammed Waziri

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  • No Comment


    Erisco Foods Limited
    says it plans to shut down its tomato paste processing business in
    Nigeria owing to unfavourable operating climate. President/CEO of the company,
    Chief Eric Umeofia, who addressed said: “The CBN has refused to give us forex
    to import machinery, machine spare parts and our raw materials to be used for
    production of Nigerian fresh tomatoes into paste
    ,” said Umeofia.

    “The CBN, is approving intervention loan and
    forex to companies mostly owned by foreigners to import the same finished
    tomato paste and other items like frozen fish, fish heads and super market
    items that we don’t need at all or that we can produce better in Nigeria. We
    are running our business relying on the dollars that we source from the
    parallel market at the exchange rate of over, 450 to a $1

    According to him,
    bearing last minute improvement the management of the company had concluded
    plans to shut the Nigerian operations in the next 30 days and lay off about
    1,500 workers.

    • blueeyedkitten

      please let him shutdown and get the f@@k out! we dont have dollar to
      give anybody. the dollar party is over! get that into your thick skulls!
      nobody should intimidate this government.

  • Contact Point

    Let this attention seekers on behalf of Mr. fadeyi show Nigerians his patent over “change begins with me” since he is claiming for copyright infringement. Nonsense.

    • Daniel

      I would expect you be worried that Buhari feigns ignorance of corruption in his government.

      This wobbling anti corruption stance may crash his government violently.

      Those who kicked him out in 1985 are now justified.

    • blueeyedkitten

      very good question.

  • Ahmed m sabitu

    May God deliver us,these APC they can’t even formulate a society attitudinal reorientation jingles of themselves not to talk about our economic problems.Allah ya sauwake

  • Abidilagungun

    Kwarufshun iz da frovlem; zia ris too much kwarufsion in za gwavment, too much in za minister, too much in za liar, too much in da fifol…Kwarufshun mast yamutu ne

  • Daniel

    The wise in this country should deploy their energies on strategies to get rid of this mediocre government in 2019, if nature does not strike before then.

    Our current president can never tow the path of honour on anything.

    As more and more cases of corruption and dishonesty emanate from this government, so will it wither away like a plant without water for nourishment.

    Change my foot !

  • Eziokwu

    Mr Fadeyi and Afe Babalola Chambers, no need of speaking too long grammar. Take the Federal Government and its agents to court on copyright infringement. Let the court prove this and award penalties and costs as the case may be. Finish palaver.

  • thusspokez

    The campaign was immediately dogged by allegations of copyright infringement, following reports that the idea was stolen from Mr. Fadeyi, who had earlier made a proposal to the Information Minister on a similar project.

    Plagiarism maybe, but how is it a copyright infringement when no copyright of the slogan exist?

    Is Akin Fadeyi not making a fraudulent claim? Indeed anyone claiming copyright of something where no copyright of that thing exist could be committing fraud or theft.

  • Eziokwu

    Mr Fadeyi and Afe Babalola Chambers there is no need of too much grammar or turachi. Take the Federal Government and its agents to court to prove that there is an infringement on the copyright law. Let the courts determine this and costs awarded appropriately. Chikena! Finish palaver!

    • front man

      Very simple

      • Otile

        It’s not that simple, the Nigerian judiciary itself is corrupt. What did they do about Mohamed Buhari’s forgery and perjury?

        • front man

          Why can’t you Google

  • TrueFairGame

    If they share same vision, why not work together as a team so that their efforts will be synergistic. There is enough for every body and Lai Mohammed should recognize the contribution of this guy. I dont understand why a simple matter should be come a media fight? Nigerians never discovered to value of team work.
    I ve seen every doctor struggling to open a health center that cannot meet world standard because of lack of resources instead of combining energy and resources to form a world class multi-speciality hospital that will provide more value to all stakeholders including the society. They prefer to have ‘everything of near nothing’

    • Abdul

      It goes beyond sharing the same vision. Government and private sector are good at stealing ideas and leaving the originator empty handed. It is not the right thing to do and you cant grow a population of inventors and creative thinkers when their ideas can just be stolen. Take a novel idea to ministries or even private organisations and they will give you reasons why they think the idea will not work BUT THE SAME PEOPLE WILL TURN AROUND AND MODIFY THE IDEA AND PRESENT it as if its their own. It should be made a big crime to steal people’s idea honestly. We need a very strong copyright law in this country.

      • omoeleniyan

        @disqus_1S0APBhaF5:disqus & @disqus_JrddSXw5uL:disqus:

        Why Muhamadu Buhari is corrupt too

        There are 100 facets
        of corruption. Plagiarism by public officials is just one main one;
        as heinous as making false oath on credentials or on any required
        matter – which is punishable under the Penal Code by 14 years.

        Alas, President Buhari
        has a warped view. Buhari oversimplifies corruption to theft only
        and allows the other 99 facets of corruption to rise and walk in Nigeria.

        Lai Muhammed exemplifies the corruption of false claim but he gets no reprimand
        but a wink from a supposedly anti-corruption President called Muhamadu Buhari.
        For aiding and abetting these 99 virulent strains of corruption to grow and mutate
        President Muhamadu Buhari begins to look corrupt himself.

  • JasV

    This is very common with Lagos State commissioners and officials. I am aware of one Prince Oniru and Lagos State waterfront. How the idea/concept was stolen and how they made a mess of the project initially and the cost became ten times more than was initially planned. I am not surprised if Lai Mohammed, also caught the bug after all birds of the same crookish feather fluck together crookedly.

  • George

    Yorubas brought these calamities called Buhari upon themselves



  • Daniel

    For a country that celebrates mediocrity and dishonesty, development is far away from us.

    Lai Mohamad MUST be sacked!

    This is one scandal too many to be swept under the carpet in a so-called anti corruption government.

    From Dogara budget padding, to Burutai, to Aba kyari mtn scandal;

    Danbazzau , to plagiarised speech;
    and GE misrepresentation on investment in Buhari’s Independence Day speech.

    To now intellectual theft by a minister of the federal republic, etc.

    Why Nigeria?

    The world is moving on…

  • Otile

    I thought there was only one plagiarism issue in this scheme. Why are they now talking about multiple instances of plagiarism in this one project. Is sounds like Buhari’s 1st budget riddled with padings. This is not an administration of integrity at all.

  • Don Corleone


  • vincentumenyiora

    CAN THEY INCLUDE THIS IN THE PROBE to discover part of the corruption in Buhari’s administration!

    If only they can directed the (SGF) to send relies to correspondences as used to be the case in the time of Chief Philip Asiodu that way you can check on corruption also because everything will be on records and I will keep mine too; that the use of your mobile phones (SMG or what have you now) – I term them administrative contacts and management-made-easy, encourages corruption on a very high scale in Nigeria, folks!
    Here we go, folks, I want to now challenge the whole claim and idea! I want to do this by referring your attention to the following correspondences and publications sent to the administrations including one sent on the 4th June 2015 which contains need for (TSA) also for Nigeria! The trouble I said earlier about Nigeria is: You write to the authorities they will not reply you – they usually wait (bid) for time and suddenly your idea is changed or amplified by a Professor or one of their friends and your ides become theirs I wish M. Buhari will now look into this anomaly or malaise about Nigeria!

    I raised the need for change to begin with ‘them’ which should by now’ll have permeated the nooks and crannie; the spectrums in Nigeria, in the following papers sent to the presidency: –

    1) In 14th Dec. 1988
    2) In 18th September 1989
    3) In 27th April and 27 July 1993
    4) In year 2005

    Throughout the years I have been urging them to change the Motto for the (NYSC) program to imply/infuse ‘Change begins with me’ in the “Nun Sibi Sed Aliis!” if you have been reading my comments on both ThisDay and the Vanguard as far back as 1999 – if you consult the search engine for their comments obviously you’ll see these facts and the dates! To climax it, refer to my letter to the President dated 4th June 2015 you will see all that including the (TSA) I termed it ‘common pool’ in my letter/ correspondence; also is the need for women CEOs for Nigeria idea raised by OBJ – they have not sent a reply to the letter posted from London!