OP-UNEDITED | So Buhari Wants Nigerians To Change? – By Philips M. Ndahi
By Philips M. Ndahi
I got home yesterday after a hectic day to a Twitter TL littered with the Big Story of the day: Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari had launched a National Reorientation Programme christened Change Begins With You in what I suspect is toeing the paths taken by previous Governments in wanting the citizens have a change of attitude towards work, social interactions, religious tolerance etc.
But a good number of Nigerians especially those active on Social Media saw this as a deliberate attempt to push the load of the Change Nigeria (and Nigerians) desperately need to them instead of the President and his Team taking an exemplary position by demonstrating in practical ways that indeed the CHANGE Nigerians voted for in 2015 will be championed by its greatest beneficiaries.
Now there is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting a set of people to change from whatever forms of ill that has bedeviled their society especially if such a call will propel them to a better and a prosperous Nation. The question are our Leaders ready (and willing) to lead us into this Campaign? Remember, Buhari was massively voted into Office not just on the account of the failure of the Goodluck Jonathan administration to meet the expectations of the people; but also because a majority of those who queued behind him did so on account of their perception of him as a leader that will lead wearing the garment of an ordinary Nigerian. Eighteen months into his government, many a Nigerian will argue on the radical change in the way our previous leaders behaved.
It is understandable than REAL CHANGE on the part of government especially in terms of infrastructure and sound economic may take time to manifest. But what about their attitudes? Has the power drunk syndrome synonymous with our Political class waned? Beyond a cosmetic cut in Salaries (and we know salaries are actually nothing when you take home allowances ten times its size) and Aides? Prior to assumption of office many of us thought that Buhari will for example do away with our oversized Presidential Air Fleet; but alas he kept it intact and even flew one to Edo State on his APC Campaign visit just recently. Even the 2016 Villa Budget was a subject of debate as many did not see a shift from the norm. Same can be said of the way Appointees of government have carried on with what they inherited. For example how many of Buhari’s Ministers are using the vehicles left behind by their predessecors? And how many are no longer cooking up companies that will benefit from the usually largesse siphoned via contracts?
To some even the so called fight against corruption isn’t carrying any shade of the CHANGE Buhari wants ordinary Nigerians to champion. There are still arguments in town about how on earth not a single prominent APC member (most of whom were a part and parcel/and some still of PDP) is being investigated. The Defence Probe got many thinking that a serving Minister who was a former Military Boss might at least be named. When the list of those to be probed popped up, his name was absent even though the investigations will cover when he served.
And how about the government’s attitude towards citizens rights? Let’s take the #BringBack OurGirls Movement for example. How different is Team Buhari treating them than what was obtained during Jonathan’s?
Our leaders want us to change but they are NOT ready to do same. A curious look at most of the things we now disdain will show a correlation between the leader and the led. For example how do you ask a Niger Delta youth to stay away from petty oil thieving when he’s in the know of how his leaders pocket his share of the Derivation Fund. Or the young Political Thug in Borno who can kill for his paymaster when that’s about the only channel he gets his share of the National Cake. Or is it the Accounting Clerk asked by his Minister or Director to doctor the books and decided to take a piece of the loot.
Even the rowdiness on our roads. Nigerians are simply following their leaders. Same goes for jumping queues. Even in hospitals when the so called big man shows up, he gets attended to ahead of everyone else. Same leaders championed (and still are) the diversion of government jobs and scholarships to their kids. I remember a very shameful incident I witnessed when a Permanent Secretary collect a slot for herself of what was meant to be a poverty alleviation project for poor rural women in one of the North Eastern States. Ordinary parties and festivities organized by wives of our leaders; hardly will they so called beneficiaries be up to 30%
Nigeria needs to change. And Nigerians are a people willing to queue behind any agenda that will lead to genuine transformation if it will be led by our leaders. Perhaps we need to start with #ChangeBeginsWithTeamBuhari
Philips M. Ndahi is the Team Leader at SIPOGA & ASSOCIATES, a Branding, Multimedia and Events Services provider based in Abuja. He tweets via @pm_ndahi
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