'Change Begins With Me' Campaign : Who Want PMB's Head? By Inyali Peter
Mixed reactions have continued to trail the National Re-Orienntaion Campaign code named "Change Begins with Me". This is not strange as nothing has ever happened in Nigeria whether good or bad unchallenged.

The cyberspace over the past few days have been overtaken by the argument in favour or against the campaign which the federal ministry of information under the National Orientation Agency launched in support of the President Muhammadu Buhari's change mantra.

While some have argued strongly that the campaign was unnecessary owing to the hardship in the land orchestrated by the country's economic meltdown, others have maintained that the change Nigerians overwhelmingly voted for in the 2015 general election should be and rightly so, a collective responsibility of everybody.

Frankly, there's hunger and suffering in the land such that anybody who tries to pretend about this would be trying to lie against the geographic construct called Nigeria. In fact, such pretence would be an efforts in futility as the situation is very visible to the blind and audible to the deaf.

So when people start venting anger on President Buhari for stating the obvious by calling on Nigerians to first change their ways before asking for the change they voted for, I don't blame them much as the popular maxim that "a hungry man is an angry" is seriously in display.

But while we do this, we must gradually start accepting realities because nobody can feel change when the mind has not changed or is prepared to change.

Change is part of life. For us to appreciate the change we are asking for, we must first have a holistic attitudinal change. Life itself is change therefore as long as we live, we must know change actually begin with us.

For the chunk of people who have asked for a top-down approach to the 'Change Begins with Me" campaign, there's nothing wrong to have made such demand especially from the government that came into power under the promise of change; only that it was ill  conceived.

Besides, it could be ignorance after all because research revealed that once Nigerians make up their minds, facts are but a mere annoyance.

This is so because despite the classical change demonstrated by the President since he assumed office, some people have still not appreciated the fact that the 'change begins with me' campaign actually started with the President.

Let me explain.

Never have we had a President who openly declared his assets like Buhari did. Today, majority of Nigerians know that Buhari came into government with N30 million in his account, one hundred and fifty cows and three houses. This will help Nigerians hold him accountable after his tenure.

Few months into his administration, the President and his vice in a bid to cut down the cost of governance, cut down their salaries by fifty per cent. It has not happened before.

Some months ago, the President ordered the ministry of finance to stop paying him security votes. The change we voted for is here!

Under Buhari's administration, the office of the first lady has been banned or at best controlled. We no longer see a first lady who act more or less like a co-President. Never again shall we have a situation where billions of naira would be released for the purchase of special vehicles for Africa first ladies for attending a conference in Nigeria which in essence is of little or no significance to the nation's economy.

Investigation revealed that President Buhari is the first Nigeria President who incessantly return unused money to the federation account after every foreign trip. Indeed the kind of change I stand for!

Also, the President has ordered the reduction of the Presidential air fleets yet we're still demanding that change should begin with him without really defining how it should begin.

Today we are proud we have a President who sees stealing as corruption not a situation where it was perceived as a normal norm in our society.

Under President Buhari, honourable ministers of the republic were denied exorbitant sums to rent and furnish private apartment unlike before.

This administration has also banned flying of executive or business class by government officials unlike before where ministers were chattering private jets for their families.

Amidst all these, who is demanding President Buhari's head like Herodias, Herod's daughter demanded the head of John the Baptist in Matthew 14:8 to mark her Father's birthday?

Who are the Herodias amongst us that have fallen so easily to the hate campaign against the Buhari like she (Herodias) fell to the deceit and hateful advice of her mother against John the Baptist?

Indeed what Mar Twain said, "in religion and politics, people's beliefs and conditions are in almost every case gotten at secondhand , and without examination" is actively practiced in Nigeria.

This is so because some of the people who have been in government and have obviously seen the change under this administration come out to shout 'change must begin with Buhari'  with the assurance of influencing countless people. Indeed! Gullibility reign supreme in Nigeria.

No doubt there is hunger in the land but is it so peculiar to Nigeria that we now see a sincere call for change of attitude as an offence against the people? Do we sacrifice our common trust on the alter of suffering and hunger which unfortunately is the price we need to pay to be great again? Do we continue glorifying the few selfish people who have looted our country dry by demanding the head of the President who was divinely brought by God to salvage the situation?

Has it become so bad that we no longer see and accept the sincere efforts of the President Buhari administration to proffer a lasting solution to our current economic quagmire? Have we sold our consciences to deceit, grey and black propaganda of the same people who looted us to this situation?

Are we sincere as a people that we don't know the real cause of the current economic recession? Why has it taken us so long to challenge the powerful cabal that earned in six years more than half of the total proceeds from oil, the mainstay of our economic?

Have we forgotten so soon the advised of the former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, now the emir of Kano Malam Sanusi in 2012 that if we don't diversify our economy or imbibe a saving culture, we would get to this situation?

Are we not aware that almost all the countries who's economy was survived mainly by oil is currently in recession? Has it not occur to us that Nigeria's economy is still in life support because government has not and I pray should not sack workers like Venezuela that has fired thousands of civil servants because of the inability of government to pay salaries?

Until we answer some of these questions as a nation and as a people, we may never see or accept the change we collectively fought strongly for.

Thomas Jefferson in 1791 told John Adams that "Truth between candid minds never do harm". For us to overcome this trivial, we must have sincerity of purpose.

Carl Sagan Cosmos said that, "History is full of people who out of fear or ignorance, or lust for power has destroyed knowledge of immeasurable value which truly belongs to us all". We must not let this happen again. We must avoid celebrating people who have ruled this country to this near-failed state situation.

Despite the huddles, the sufferings and the pains, we should take solace from the lesson of making of gold. Gold undergoes a lot of processes before arriving at the stage that we all desire to have. Let's give this government a chance and hope for a greater and united Nigeria again.

Like the President's said in his speech to make this year's Eid-El-Kabir, "The present recession is as a result of cumulative effects of worldwide economic downturn and failure in the past to plan and save for difficult times. It is impossible to separate the present from the past to appreciate the extent to which mistakes of the past are affecting everyday life today.

"I assure you that this administration is working round the clock to remove the hardships the country is going through. Rail and road constructions, projects in the housing sector, support for farmers and for small and medium scale industries, youth and women's empowerment programmes, support for revival of industries are all designed to reinvigorate the economy and enhance living standards of ordinary people.

"We are getting security right. We are stopping corruption in its tracks and we will get the economy right by the Grace of God".

We must remain and win this battle together.

God bless Nigeria.


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