Plagiarism: Still on Nigeria @60 Anniversary Logo brouhaha
By Isah Ismaila Gagarawa,
On Wednesday, the 16 of September 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the 60th independence, or better still, Diamond Jubilee anniversary celebration logo in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mr. President, who unveiled the logo before the commencement of the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, said the ceremony marked the formal launch of a series of activities, for commemorating the diamond anniversary of Nigeria’s emancipation from colonialism.
The Nigeria at 60 independence logo was jointly created by PR agencies in the country, comprising Chain Reactions Nigeria, TBWA Africa, and The Temple Management Company.
However, a few hours after the unveiling of Nigeria at 60 anniversary Logo, the event was greeted with knocks from different stakeholders across the country, over an alleged plagiarism of the logo.
Commentators on social media, particularly Twitter, alleged that some parts of the logo were picked from a Russian Diamond company, Alrosa, which the creators have refuted.
In a joint press statement issued to newsmen, Chief Executive Officer of Chain Reactions Nigeria, Mr. Israel Opayemi said: “The primary allegation of plagiarism on the unveiled logo deserves a quick dissection. To Plagiarise, according to Oxford Language Dictionary, is to take someone else’s work or ideas and pass them off as one’s own.
“To meet the qualified meaning of this definition, it means the Nigerian professionals who designed the campaign picked another logo that is exactly like this or similar to this and delivered it to the Federal government.”
He added that the emptiness of the narrative lies in the fact that peddlers perhaps do not understand the meaning or they feigned ignorance to drive their usual hatred for the Nigerian government.
He also maintained that, instead of saying that the diamond looks similar to the one they have found on the internet, they have disingenuously alleged that Nigeria plagiarised her 60th Anniversary logo. What a convenient narrative but a disservice to our fatherland.
Meanwhile, PR professionals, under the School of Impactful Communication, an online PR institution, headed by Mr. Ishola Ayodele, have also lent his voice to the discourse.
On his part, Mr. Abdullahi Maiwada, a Customs Officer and a PR expert, said the first question one should ask is who uncovered the allegation? What is the motive? This would be more tenable if it comes from the original creators than from a third party.
“We have some factors that we need to put into cognizance before defining the veracity of intellectual theft. To me, plagiarism can be intentional or unintentional. Although in academics, they categorized plagiarism to be direct, self, mosaic, or accidental.
“The only way to avoid unintentional plagiarism is carrying in-depth research about the subject matter you intend to dwell upon. It could be creative content such as this to avoid been caught unaware.
“In as much as I am not holding brief for the PR agency that created the logo, it may be an unintentional plagiarism. However, it is not an excuse to say that you plagiarised out of ignorance. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse,” he said.
Another PR expert, Ms. Ruthie Tilley Gyado, noted that even if it is true that it was plagiarised, the creator should have quoted the original owner.
She said: “It is excellent to share other people’s thoughts but you must always acknowledge the source. When the source is not acknowledged that is when it becomes theft. There is no big deal about sharing other people’s thoughts as long as you acknowledge them.”
However, a quick google check would present different images of diamonds with crystal in thousands that look alike. Various images are available for creative usage and purposes. Some have copyrights while others are free. When given a closer look, the independence diamond logo design and the alleged plagiarised one aesthetically different.
Notwithstanding, the most important thing pertaining the independence logo is the fact that it was a pro bono design from patriotic Nigerians compared to how successive governments had probably engaged the services of foreign agencies to do the job for an exorbitant amount, instead of engaging Nigerian PR, marketing communications and talent management companies.
Meanwhile, Happy Diamond Jubilee celebration to ‘The Giant of Africa’.
Gagarawa is the Managing Editor of spokespersonsdigest, a professional Communication Journal for PR Practitioners.