When APC members campaigned for the 2015 general election, they told Nigerians that they were coming to bring a change. People never really bothered asking what they wanted to change because Nigerians were tired of the hardships and the high level of corruption that existed in the country. So, people believed that the “change” APC promised was that they have plans to set up policies that will introduce positive growth and development in the country. Well, we know the rest.
When Nigerians started accusing the APC administration of failing to lead Nigerians to the Promised Land, something unexpected happened. On Thursday 8th September, 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the national reorientation campaign tagged, “Change Begins with Me”. This campaign was geared towards reorienting Nigerians on whose responsibility it is to bring on the positive changes they crave for.
“Change Begins with Me” pointed it out to people that for changes to occur in any community, the inhabitants of that community must first change their attitudes. This is to say that if someone wants something done differently, he or she should start it off first. Hence, if Nigerians want “change”, they should be the change themselves.
The “Change Begins with Me” campaign stated that Nigerians should imbibe the culture of discipline, integrity, social justice, dignity of labour, religious tolerance, self-reliance, and patriotism. These are the core values that will ensure national growth and development. Funny enough, most of the problems Nigeria is facing today come from the lack of these values.
To say that Nigerians were disappointed by the launching of “Change Begins with Me” will be an understatement. This campaign was welcomed with a public outcry. People accused the administration of deceits. Nigerians felt cheated. They actually looked up to APC as the messiah and were, therefore, disappointed when they met what they didn’t expect. To them, Mr. President and his cabinet should go ahead and bring that El Dorado without tasking Nigerians.
Truth is, nobody wanted to be held responsible for the much needed change.
But if you objectively consider the “Change Begins with Me” campaign, you will find out that there is no way the country will change for the better if every citizen did not imbibe the core values that will bring that change. If one person is working to make the system better while another person is destroying it, trust me, nothing positive will come out of that effort. This is just to say that Nigerians should not expect the presidency to perform miracles when they, themselves, have not let go of the practices that affect growth and development.
The present agitations of Nigerians against tribalism, religious intolerance, corruption, and what have you, beg one to ask the question, “Whose fault is it?” Some people will be quick to say that the government is at fault without sitting back to check on themselves first. There are so many forms of hypocrisy that are happening in the country today. For instance, a Christian that believes every Muslim will go to Hellfire is still accusing Boko Haram of religious intolerance. The Muslim that says that people from other religions are infidels cries foul when a community says it has no place for mosques. The Igbo man from Abia State, that accuses the government of tribalism and favouritism, insists that no man from Anambra State will rent his apartment because Anambra people buy off their landlords’ properties.
If we check into corruption in the country, we may not leave here today. Sure, there is corruption in the high places just the same way it exists at the grassroots. That artisan that is lamenting bad governance has just bought inferior materials for his client despite quoting exorbitant prices for the original. That garri seller that is heaping curses on the people that are cheating the poor masses is measuring the garri he is selling at that moment with fake “cup” and “painters”. The civil servant that is reciting the litany of corruption levelled against his director is “sitting on” people’s files because they have not “seen him”. That woman in the village that is abusing senators for stealing from public coffers has just received a huge amount of money from his son that is still an apprentice; and that boy is building a house in the village.
Should we continue?
I have no intention of analysing the political performance of the incumbent administration because that will not bring the changes that we sort after. Nigerians should own up to the responsibility of bringing the change themselves. We all know where we’re lagging behind; all that is required of us is to drop whatever we’re doing that is affecting the nation negatively.
But then, the incumbent administration should do the right thing as well. If those at the grassroots make efforts while those of them up there maintain the negative status quo, the efforts of the masses will be in vain.
When we say, “Change Begins with Me”, we mean that everyone – male or female, old or young, rich or poor, high or low – is involved.