Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Change Begins With Buhari And APC

By Lucky Ofodu
The recent launch of ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign by the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration goes against the moral etiquette of leadership by example. In his speech at the ceremony, the president shifted the responsibility of his Change agenda to Nigerians instead of the other way round. He seemed to be blaming Nigerians for the mélange of problems facing the country under his watch. He urged the citizens to change their orientation and attitude for the country to get out of its current misfortune.
*President Buhari and Lai Mohammed
In other climes, it is the leadership that sets the standards for the followership. The President’s remarks were hardly surprising. Followers of events since this administration came to be would agree that this government has not for once taken responsibility for anything. All it has been doing is to blame others for its glaring shortcomings; always passing the bulk. The government forgets that a leadership that does not take responsibility is a failed leadership. People are voted into power to solve the problems confronting society. They are expected to dig deep and come up with solutions in order to uplift the lives of the citizenry.

They are not elected to lament and look for those to blame for their lack of performance. Unfortunately, blame game and propaganda have become essential ingredients of governance in Nigeria in the last seventeen months. The problem of Nigeria has not been with the citizens, but those who lead them. So there is need for value orientation and change. And this should be directed at the leaders first of all. This is what Lai Mohammed and the egg heads at the National Orientation Agency should have done instead of turning the campaign on its head. With the wrong attitude with which the Change campaign has started, one can state categorically that it is as good as dead.

Come to think of it, the timing of the ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign is patently wrong. With starvation and unprecedented hardship pervading the land, many Nigerians view this as adding insult to injury. As they say, he who come to equity must come with clean hands. The kind of campaign Nigerians want to see right now is such that would put food on their tables; campaigns geared towards paying the backlog of arrears of salary owed state and local government workers across the country; campaigns that would alleviate the suffering of pensioners; campaigns made up of think-tanks proffering solutions to the country’s economic quagmire; campaigns aimed at alleviating the horror Nigerians are going through right now; not one asking them to be disciplined or that blaming them for government’s ineptitude. The situation has gone beyond political rhetoric and blame game. How do you discipline a starving populace?
Nigerians are starving; unemployment is at its peak; the inflation index is no longer measurable; many Nigerians are committing suicide; crime is on the rise. These are the issues the Buhari administration should address not campaigns where party loyalists and power mongers gather to clap for speeches that are uninspiring and tainted with hopelessness. It is not a mark of good leadership that the followership starves. It is an aberration. This is not the time to appeal to the reasoning of Nigerians. A starving populace is an unreasonable one. It is a people with food in their stomach that can reason with anyone including government.

Launching frivolous campaigns in the face of starvation is a distraction and an exercise in futility. An elderly man recently told this writer that the present situation in the country can only be compared to the civil war era. Yours sincerely was not born then, so would not know the veracity or otherwise of this claim. I assume there is an element of exaggeration, but it goes a long way to explain the grave situation the country has found herself under this government.

President Buhari and the APC should lead by example. Passing the bulk and making excuses are very bad examples. This is their second year in office and so far Nigerians do not have much to show for it. The continuous call for sacrifice and patience is becoming too demanding on them. They have sacrificed so much by voting the president and the party into power with the attendant hardship they now have to put up with. It is indeed time to take practical steps to alleviate the impoverishment in the land. Enough of the blame game.

*Mr.  Ofodu, a commentator on national affairs, wrote from Lagos. 

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