IT is incontrovertible that many Nigerians are angry with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. The widespread castigation of the ‘Change Begins With Me ‘campaign’ is Perhaps proof that there is a visible disconnect between government and the people.
The initiative, beset with credibility issues, is anchored on the premise that the ordinary citizens should become the change they seek. First, Buhari’s ‘Change Begins With Me’ speech at the launch in Abuja was mired by allegations of plagiarism of President Obama’s 2008 victory speech in Chicago.This is a sad beginning for such a campaign.
This is as the change idea was said to have been stolen by Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, a man many Nigerians associate with propaganda and misinformation. Buhari, in his speech at the launch, urged Nigerians to lead the change campaign by embracing attitudinal change to foster development in the country.
Buhari said, ‘Our citizens must realise that the change they want to see begins with them, and that personal and social reforms are not a theoretic exercise. If you have not seen the change in you, you cannot see it in others or even the larger society.’
Beyond these raging controversies over plagiarism, many Nigerians opposed the preachment, by deploying all available platforms, especially the social media to ventilate their anger against the change doctrine. Many dismissed Buhari’s argument as ‘hypocritical and illogical.’
‘Who should change?’ many queried, while lambasting the president’s position as ‘incongruous with his campaign promises to tackle endemic poverty, systemic corruption and the malaise in the public sector.’
Sad to note that the president failed dismally to walk the talk as it is generally believed that ‘his policies have worsened poverty, and division in the country and other allegations of incompetence, mismanagement and dictatorial idiosyncrasies.
Without doubt Nigerians are disappointed at inherent discrepancies in the current dispensation, hence the rejection of the change campaign as apparently inconsistent with the expectations of most people.”
Despite the high expectations about the initiative, it is doubtful if the objectives would be achieved, much less be sustained by successive administrations as it remains a hard sell for the citizenry.
Within hours of the launch many people took to social media to express their disappointment about the whole exercise,’ he added. Nigerians are not necessarily averse to change because real change is crucial to human development and well-being.
The view of most people is that the whole exercise was ill-timed and absurd, given that the government rode into power with the mantra to change the fortunes of the country, but has continued to play the blame game. Even after one year of his presidency, Buhari has not only failed to keep his promises, but outrightly denied some of them.
It is within the ambit of the president to pursue strategic programs to transform the country’s economic, political and social sectors, by strengthening institutions for democracy, good governance and rule of law.
There is alleged Buhari’s ‘grandiose partisanship in his policies, appointments and execution of projects in favour of his people, particularly the Fulani and Muslims.’ This administration is pursuing an agenda for the president, his party and his region.
There is no denying the fact that most of the President’s appointments are for the north, even as he promotes initiatives for grazing routes for armed Fulani herders, who have continued to invade communities, killing farmers and destroying crops and properties,’ he alleged further.
President Buhari needs to prove his critics wrong that he is no longer a military dictator, an ethnic jingoist and a religious fanatic. The opposition believes that his inability to shed the toga of a despot has cost him the confidence and co-operation of the masses, foreign investors and technocrats, whose expertise is urgently needed to save the country from the brink.
Nigerians are united in the demand that real change must start with the president and government officials. ‘This change should start with the president as a sign of commitment. When he had ear infection he ran to a London hospital. When Mr President wants to rest, he jets off to London. His children travel with first class and attend very expensive schools abroad. Who is fooling who?’
‘Northern Nigeria estimatedly has about two-thirds of the nation’s land mass, yet Buhari wants to establish nation-wide grazing routes and reserves. The southern terrain is facing serious challenges of erosion, flooding and landslides, yet he wants to forcefully take their farmlands and give Fulani herders.’ Mr Akin Yusuf, Ilorin lecturer.
The President ‘Buhari must change for Nigerians to follow him. He should learn from history to avoid the mistakes of history. For instance placating the north with juicy appointments will not save it from illiteracy, poverty and violence.’
Undoubtedly, the socio-cultural trend prevalent in certain parts of the country has made Nigeria to be the ignoble host of two of the world’s deadliest terrorist organisations, which are Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen. Start the change in your quarters, where innocent Nigerians are slaughtered in the name of religion. Begin the change by disarming Fulani bandits killing and maiming innocent citizens,’ Mr Kingsley Abraham Port Harcourt Lawyer
OJUKWU a Hubert Jumphrey writes