…explains why Nigeria is in a mess
In a move reminiscent of US President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech in 1961, in which he said: ‘ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country’, President Muhammadu Buhari has told Nigerians that change they seek begins with them.
Speaking during the launch of the National Re-orientation Campaign at the Presidential Villa yesterday, President Buhari said Nigerians need to change their ways before the much needed change agenda becomes a reality.
Buhari noted that the campaign is part of the determination of his party to seek to carry all Nigerians along on the journey to a better and greater society that we all can be proud of.
The president lamented that the value system had been badly eroded over the years and the resultant effect of this derailment in the value system is being felt in the social, political and economic spheres.
He appealed to all Nigerians to be part of this campaign as the citizens must realize that the change they want to see begins with them, and that personal and social reforms are not a theoretic exercise.
Buhari said, “If you have not seen the change in you, you cannot see it in others or even the larger society. In other words, before you ask ‘where is the change they promised us?, you must first ask, ‘How far have I changed my ways? What have I done to be part of the change for the greater good of society’?
“While the government will drive the ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign, it must be strongly supported by all concerned individually. In this regard, the private sector is a major stakeholder. Indeed when the campaign succeeds, it will impact heavily on the private sector.
“The long-cherished and time-honoured, time-tested virtues of honesty, integrity, hardwork, punctuality, good neighbourliness, abhorrence of corruption and patriotism have given way in the main to dishonesty, indolence, unbridled corruption and widespread impunity.
“The resultant effect of this derailment in our value system is being felt in the social, political and economic spheres. It is the reason that some youths will take to cultism and brigandage instead of studying hard or engaging in decent living.”
Buhari added that it is for the reason that some elements will break pipelines and other oil facilities, thus robbing the nation of the much-needed resources.
The president further asserted that Nigeria is today passing through a challenging moment where hardly anything works in a normal manner, with many attributing this phenomenon to the erosion of the country’s core values over the years.
He said: “It is the reason that money belonging to our commonwealth will be brazenly stolen by the same public officials to whom they were entrusted. It is the reason why motorists drive through red traffic lights. It is the reason that many will engage in thuggery and vote-stealing during elections. It is part of what has driven our economy into deep problem out of which we are now working hard to extricate ourselves.
“Every one of us must have a change from our old ways of doing things; we cannot fold our arms and allow things to continue the old way.”
Buhari remarked that Nigerians must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that had poisoned the country for so long.
“Let us summon a new spirit of responsibility, the spirit of service, of patriotism and sacrifice. Let us all resolve to pitch in and work hard and look after, not only ourselves but one another, What the current problem has taught us is that we cannot have a thriving army of rent seekers and vested interests while the majority suffers.
“Rather than sit back and complain endlessly, we have decided to act pragmatically, with the launch of this National Re-orientation Campaign. The campaign will not be a sprint but a marathon that will run the course of our tenure.
“We are under no illusion that the changes we seek will happen overnight, but we have no doubt that the campaign will help restore our value system and rekindle our nationalistic fervour,” he stated.
Earlier in his presentation, the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed noted that the pan-Nigeria re-orientation campaign was not a political, religious or ethnic agenda, but a patriotic one.
He said that the campaign is for all Nigerians, with the sole objective of achieving a paradigm shift in the way things are done, adding that the campaign’s principle is that everyone must exemplify the change they want to see in the society.
“Therefore, we will expect all the states of the federation to partner with us, especially through the provision of air time on their radio and television stations. This way we can reach every Nigerian,” he said.
In addition to being multi-media, he said the campaign will be carried out in all the major Nigerian languages, will be youth-driven and will leverage heavily on social media.
In his welcome address, the director general, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mallam Garba Abari, said that all aspects of the country’s national life need a new beginning and orientation.
The campaign will convey messages which include, among others, discouraging activities of religious extremism, corruption, vandalisation, prostitution, exam malpractice, internet fraud, intolerance, lateness, and dishonesty.