I think I know why most Nigerians find it hard to acknowledge the true owner of content. Same reasons they are hardly innovative; yet they seek inventions.
You have stayed long enough in a society that makes you think that; if you have not done it all, you have done nothing.
A society that hasn't made you understand the need to study how your predecessors have solved the problems in their age; and how you can mount on their knowledge-base to trigger greater discoveries.
Invention is like cooking
As a potential innovator, consider yourself like chef; you will be cooking a very delicious porridge (yummy yummy :)). Why do you find it as a shameful thing, to admit that all you did was to "mix" (and maybe cut, fry etc)? Must you "plant the yam", "water it", "peel it", "manufacture the entire ingredients “,” and dig the well for water"; before you become a good chef?
If you find it hard to admit that someone else did something that you find useful, you are not only being tempted to steal; you are also not confident about the speciality (or worth) of your input.
Invention is like writing
Consider yourself as writer. If you believe in the contents of your write-up, you won't need to claim you also "edited", "printed" or "published" the material.
Apologies to the multi-talented guys; thank God you can do many things. But do you know you only need to do just ONE thing the RIGHT way to make that great discovery?
A very good singer like Tuface Idibia won't bother to claim he wrote his songs. Not because he can't write songs. He understands that his singing career is valuable enough. Do you have the same understanding about your own craft?
What about importation of invention?
I remember a highly placed public official that allegedly claimed President Jonathan "brought" Facebook to Nigeria. Personally, I find the story of the "young man that spent several years in writing the codes that made Facebook" more inspiring.
Acknowledgement (of other people's efforts) validates your discoveries. It can even make your story more inspiring.
I have heard many times people giving credit to President Obasanjo for "bringing" GSM to Nigeria.
I think that's a very dangerous accolade. How do you inspire your progeny to greater discoveries when the height of your heroism is "bringing". I'm not saying "bringing" is not good. I am saying "creating" is better.
In your position of influence or leadership; don't be like your predecessors that have made a fool of innovation and have seared your sense of creation. Before you claim you "wiped out Poliomyelitis, or Ebola", "brought FB or GSM to Nigeria", "killed Shekarau"; learn from Governor Fashola (Lagos), how he identified the input (or efforts) of others people that helped in the Ebola crisis.
A number of people have asked me why I leave the copyright notice of template designers on the websites that I make. They wonder why I don't just claim ownership rights on the templates. Seems like a normal thing to do.
Then I say, you rarely become great by doing "a normal thing".
We have about three vital elements of every true discovery:
- Starts with an acknowledgement of the work of others that made yours possible.
- Highlights a new thing you have introduced.
- Highlights a problem solved (exclusively) by your own input.