Is Rochas not plagiarizing with the Okigwe round-about quote?

If there is anything that has generated and trailed serious controversy, it is the quote at Okigwe round-about that is credited to Governor Rochas Anayo Okorocha. Since the craft men designed and placed the quote: “Politicians think of next election while leaders think of next generation,” it has been a big topic of discuss for political pundits and agitators. And ever since this has continued to trail, I kept mute until I gather real facts so to present in detail for proper consideration and reasoning of its outcome.

Today, I would say it has emerged. From the first day the quote came out from the mouth of the originator, it has been a product of controversy. Yes, a variation of the same aphorism was first attributed to Thomas Jefferson in 1743 to 1826, stating: “A politician looks forward only to the next election; a statesman looks forward to the next generation.” Then in the full quotation from a publication called Old and New that was attributed to James Freeman Clarke in 1870, it was rarely recorded in modern anthologies: “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman of the next generation. A politician looks for the success of his party; a statesman for that of the country. The statesman wished to steer, while the politician was satisfied to drift.”

As an American preacher, who was then seen as a god, James Freeman Clarke was cited the authorship due to his position, then leaving the real author who has got no voice to be damned. However, Clarke succeeded in getting the authorship entry in April 24, 2010, but as a product of controversy, many Americans went into research that gave them findings that Thomas Jefferson first made an entry of the quote in 1826. And till this moment, many are still wondering if James Freeman Clarke could have copied the quote from Jefferson?

Exactly what happened to Thomas Jefferson by James Freeman Clarke, was also what happened to Pastor Ikenna Emmanuel of Advocate of Leadership and National Transformation. In a radio programme which I personally listened to on Hot F.M, the clergy indirectly bemoaned Okorocha over visionless governance in the State, and I think that was when he perceived that the governor was gambling infrastructural development in the state with some contractors he gave contracts to without letter of awarding. No matter, Pastor Ikenna wondered why a politician that calls himself a leader will break fences and cover gutters, but at the time of completion he would order the contractors to destroy what they have built. Of course, Pastor Ikenna was right with what described as irregularities going on in the present Imo State government. If not that I'm space constrained I would have enumerated on the current loggerhead and brouhaha going on between the Imo State government and our road contractors, but that would be for another time, because there are more to write.

Back to Pastor Ikenna's quote, where he made his own which was totally different and amended by him, saying: “Politicians think of next election; while leaders think of next generation.” He went further into re-emphasizing on the quote in a seminar he conducted with his team, and more likely, the wash-wash man and his group of sycophants, if I must state went into copying exactly that the Pastor made mentioned of at the seminar and then credited it to theirs.

Already, Clarke who was then seen as god took everything from the quote made by Thomas Jefferson, having acquired such an intimidating profile, position and experience when he was born in Hanover, New Hampshire. James Freeman Clarke attended the Boston Latin School, graduated from Harvard College in 1829, and Harvard Divinity School in 1833. Ordained into the Unitarian church he first became an active minister at Louisville, Kentucky, then a slave state and soon threw himself into the national movement for the abolition of slavery.

In 1839 he returned to Boston, where he and his friends established (1841) the Church of the Disciples which brought together a body of people to apply the Christian religion to social problems of the day. One of the features which distinguished his church was Clarke's belief that ordination could make no distinction between him and them. They also were called to be ministers of the highest religious life. Of this church he was the minister from 1841 until 1850 and from 1854 until his death. He was also secretary of the Unitarian Association and, in 1867-1871 professor of natural religion and Christian doctrine at Harvard.

Clarke contributed essays to The Christian Examiner, The Christian Inquirer, The Christian Register, The Dial, Harper's, The Index, and Atlantic Monthly. In addition to sermons, speeches, hymnals, and liturgies, he published 28 books and over 120 pamphlets during his lifetime. Clarke edited the Western Messenger, a magazine intended to carry to readers in the Mississippi Valley simple statements of liberal religion, and what were then the most radical appeals to national duty, and the abolition of slavery. Copies of this magazine are now of value to collectors as they contained the earliest printed poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a personal friend and a distant cousin. Clarke became a member of the Transcendental Club alongside Emerson and several others. Many of Clarke's earlier published writings were addressed to the immediate need of establishing a larger theory of religion than that espoused by people who were still under the influence Calvinism, or as an American phrase states the "Hard-shelled Churches."

For the Western Messenger, Clarke requested written contributions from Margaret Fuller. Clarke published Fuller's first literary review—criticisms of recent biographies on George Crabbe and Hannah More. She later became the first full-time book reviewer in journalism working for Horace Greeley's New York Tribune. After Fuller's death in 1850, Clarke worked with William Henry Channing and Emerson as editors of The Memoirs of Margaret Fuller, published in February 1852. The trio censored or reworded many of Fuller's letters; they believed the public interest in Fuller would be temporary and that she would not survive as a historical figure. Nevertheless, for a time, the book was the best-selling biography of the decade and went through thirteen editions before the end of the century.

In 1855, Clarke purchased the former site of Brook Farm, intending to start a new Utopian community there. This never came to pass, instead the land was offered to President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War; the Second Massachusetts Regiment used it for training and named it "Camp Andrew". In November 1861, Clarke was in Washington, D.C. with Samuel Gridley Howe and Julia Ward Howe. After hearing the song "John Brown's Body", he suggested that Mrs. Howe write new lyrics; the result was "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".

Clarke was an advocate of human rights. Being a Boston Latin School alumnus, he served on a committee of the Massachusetts Society for the University Education of Women which was greatly instrumental in the establishing Girls' Latin School in 1878. Tempered and moderate in his views of life, he was a reformer and a conciliator and never had to carry a pistol as fellow preacher Theodore Parker did. He published but few verses, but at heart was a poet. A diligent scholar, among the books by which he became well known is one called Ten Great Religions (2 vols, 1871–1883). James Freeman Clarke was one of the very first Americans to explore and write about Eastern religions. Already, from his profile, he could be perceived as someone who plagiarizes. What mouth or shoulder has Thomas Jefferson got to challenge Clarke with this longtime built profile and experience of drifting? Talk more of the case at hand that concerns our present day James Freeman Clarke (Rochas Anayo Okorocha) and Thomas Jefferson (Ikenna Emmanuel).

My dear readers, is this not a case of pure plagiarism? No matter, it is a crime per se but is disapproved more on the grounds of moral offence, and cases of plagiarism that can involve liability for copyright infringement, which in the 1st century, the use of the Latin word plagiarius is literally known as kidnapper, meaning it is to denote someone stealing someone else's work, and it was pioneered by Roman poet Martial, who complained that another poet had "kidnapped his verses." This use of the word was introduced into English in 1601 by dramatist Ben Jonson, to describe as a plagiary someone guilty of literary theft.

Though plagiarism in some contexts is considered theft or stealing, it does not exist in a legal sense. "Plagiarism" is not mentioned in any current statute, either criminal or civil. Some cases may be treated as unfair competition or a violation of the doctrine of moral rights. The increased availability of intellectual property due to a rise in technology has furthered the debate as to whether copyright offences are criminal. In short, people are asked to use the guideline, "...if you did not write it yourself, you must give credit."

Meanwhile, plagiarism is not the same as copyright infringement. While both terms may apply to a particular act, they are different concepts. Copyright infringement is a violation of the rights of a copyright holder, when material restricted by copyright is used without consent. On the other hand, the moral concept of plagiarism is concerned with the unearned increment to the plagiarizing author's reputation that is achieved through false claims of authorship. Plagiarism is not illegal towards the author, but towards the reader, patron or teacher. Even when copyright has expired, false claims of authorship may still constitute plagiarism. And that is why the quote at Okigwe round-about has generated serious controversy. Anyone who is intellectually organized or fit would also join group of agitators, whereby makes observers to label the person who the quote is being credited to as a hijacker and intellectual criminal.

Such quote that has been publicly credited to Okorocha, by whosoever, should have been amended by he/she who heard it afresh from Pastor Ikenna Emmanuel, at least giving it a new face in lines. Already, in Imo State, every individual can hardly be deceived on any issue concerning politics. I think that is exactly why whenever Okorocha declares that he is on a rescue mission, those who have studied him closely will laugh at it. Why is it so? In Imo today, politics of talk more do less no longer work. It is quite time, Okorocha should start working because come 2015, Imo people will stop at nothing in assessing his four years in office.

Since he has got sycophants who are strong copycats around him, why don't they visit Uyo, at least to see what Akpabio is doing and then come to Imo and develop it? Why don't they visit Uyo and copy the e-library and then credit it as one of the Okorocha's achievements? Why don't they visit Uyo and feel the real presence of uncommon transformation, and then tell Okorocha in his face that he is bemused with his rescue mission phenomenon?

It is quite unfortunate that those in Imo have already began to assess Okorocha, as he kept running to national television stations and newspapers to announce his achievements that are never on ground. Of course, 85 percent of Imo citizens now know his gimmicks, and that is exactly the reason to the controversy that trailed the quote. Why? The people are clamouring that he speaks as if he knows how it pains them. He speaks as if he is passionate to deliver, while he is power hungry. And yes, a man who has contested for many times and has failed until he took advantage of the pollution that was caused by the members of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Imo State to climb into power.

I would want us to review this issue together, for example, since journalism's main currency is public trust, a reporter's failure to honestly acknowledge their sources undercuts a newspaper or television news show's integrity and undermines its credibility. Journalists accused of plagiarism are often suspended from their reporting tasks while the charges are being investigated by the news organization.

The ease with which electronic text can be reproduced from online sources has lured a number of reporters into acts of plagiarism: Journalists have been caught "copying-and-pasting" articles and text from a number of websites.

In the academic world, plagiarism by students is a very serious offense that can result in punishments such as a failing grade on the particular assignment, typically at the high school level or for the course typically at the college or university level. For cases of repeated plagiarism, or for cases in which a student commits severe plagiarism (e.g., submitting a copied piece of writing as original work), a student may be suspended or expelled. In many universities, academic degrees or awards may be revoked as a penalty for plagiarism. Even, today in United Kingdom, a plagiarism tariff has been devised for their higher education institutions in an attempt to encourage some standardization.

There are many reasons for why students would resort to plagiarism intentionally or unintentionally. Students can feel rushed as though there is too much work to do in too little time; time management may seem to be difficult or overwhelming at the time. Students may claim that they are unknowing what they must do to correctly cite others. Students can also feel deeply “pressured to get good grades”. Some could feel that because other students do plagiarism so often and successfully that they could do it as well. Students may also claim that “somebody else said it so much better” than they could or would. Students could believe that plagiarism has no damaging effects to them or others. If I may ask, who is Okorocha trying to impress with that quote? For the purpose of doubt, he is not in higher institution that could warrant him copy such quote and then credit it to himself for high grade in marks. Or could it be that he placed the quote at that junction for all visitors coming into Imo State to see and get impressed that the Imo State rescue mission governor is working, while nothing is really going on? All I know is that Okorocha is building his government on the solid rock of political pretence. Enough is enough, for Imolites are no longer at slumber again. In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not from another state, but from Imo, meaning that I am politically wise.

Ugochukwu Favour-Mayor, writes in from Owerri. 08164980379, [email protected]

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Articles by Ugochukwu Favour-Mayor