It was a rude shock, stumbling upon the online edition of the New Nigerian newspapers (Opinions, Perspective of Wednesday, September 02, 2009) in which one Ishola O. Emmanuel plagiarised my article The Tragedy of Tyranny. My essay was first published in the Nigeria Village Square (August 30, 2009). I hoisted it on my blog – Feathers Project the following day (August 31, 2009), and a month latter it appeared in the Guardian (September 23, 2009). Mr Emmanuel‘s only contribution was his by-line, the prefix he appended to the original title of my work, FG, ASUU and the Tragedy of Tyranny and end note which reads: “Emmanuel wrote in from Kaduna”.
The scoundrel writer, who lazily copied and pasted my work, is certainly an indolent pig. For even thieves exhibit some trace of innovation. Not for Mr Emmanuel, he certainly could not write, and if he could there seems to be no trace of his essays on the internet – save the plagiarised one.
My first reaction on noticing this stark thievery was to send an email to New Nigeria newspapers (NNN), asking for a retraction and public apology. As at the time of writing this piece, mute was the response from NNN. The newspaper published a plagiarised work, if they lack the courtesy to respond to my email, they should give me the details of this faceless Ishola Emmanuel. Otherwise I have no other option than to conclude that NNN has seamed with their stealer-writer to deprive me of the moral right to my own work.
Since the discovery of this infringement, I have not ceased wondering what has become of honour and trust. Writing has its risks, which I am fairly acquitted with. This is certainly not the first time; at times a whole book has been plagiarised in the past, and who cares? So why am I making so much fuss because an ordinary article was recopied? How can I labour, fighting the intricacies of a harsh writing climate, putting my thoughts into words, transmitting the very core of the river that flow within my person, only for someone to violently violate the end product.
The Tragedy of Tyranny was a sequel to my frustration with the establishment over the inane industrial action by university teachers. My first tears flowed in the Dirge to University Education which I wrote after savouring Niyi Osundare’s poetic prose, Dialogue with My Country. It was quite melancholic that Osundare’s conclusion twenty years ago captured the madness of the present. Rather than relish the victory of ASUU over the dictatorship of might is right, here am I saddled with an infringement on my intellectual property!
I don’t want to preclude NNN’s response, let me hope they are decent enough to apologise and publicly retract the said article. I have no problem having my articles re-published un-solicitously. Nonetheless, it is a tyrannical tragedy to plagiarise to my work and behave as if nothing happened. Asides, the NVS should please subscribe to the creative common licence.