By CHRIS SULEIMAN, Abuja
Since the launch of the Change Begins With Me campaign by the Federal Government, reactions have been pouring out in torrent mostly condemning the campaign. No doubt, there are also supporters of the campaign and those who believed such is the right steps in he right direction.
Not minding those who have choose to mock the campaign and make jest from the President’s comment. I would also want to ignore those who claimed he who document of the programme who a stolen from them since their claim was punctured by another person call Brian who even sent online the correspondence of their communication with the minister leading to the making of the now controversial Change Begins With Me campaign.
Personally I have took time to study the fourteen paragraph speech of President Muhammadu Buhari during the launching of the campaign. He spoke about a lot of issues. He lamented the eroding values system in the country, which he blamed for the present challenges facing the county.
For instance in the 6th paragraph of his speech President Muhammadu Buhari said ” There is no doubt that our value system has been badly eroded over the years. The long-cherished and time honoured, time-tested virtues of honesty, integrity, hard work, punctuality, good neighbourliness, abhorrence of corruption and patriotism, have given way in the main to dishonesty, indolence, unbridled corruption and widespread impunity.
Buhari did not stop there, he went ahead to blame all the societal ills in Nigeria on these values that have since been eroded. He said “The resultant effect of this derailment in our value system is being felt in the social, political and economic sphere.
It is the reason that some youths will take to cultism and brigandage instead of studying hard or engaging in decent living; it is the reason that some elements will break pipelines and other oil facilities, thus robbing the nation of much-needed resources; 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 motorist 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.
These have kept me thinking and I have asked several questions. I said to myself what is wrong when Change begins with me. I looked at myself and question what was I doing wrong that has led to the challenges facing Nigeria. I tried to check if I have in anyway sabotage government programmes and policies. If by any means I have promoted any evil that has cause collateral damage to the nation?
I look beyond by present state and decided to flash back. My school days. I think of my Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) If I cheated to get the result. My days in Higher Institution, I try to remember if I belong to any secret cult? What was my activities like. I search if I have engaged in bribing lecturers or facilitating bribe for lecturers and or I have help in selling prohibited handout. I have helped in facilitating girls to satisfy some lecturers unquenchable libido that always demanded for young innocent female students to fondly their ‘asset’.
I put up my thinking and I was searching my head and ransacking my past, present and ruminating on how what I have done can affect my future. At a point I begin to think I am drifting away. I knew I was never a former minister let alone having access to government contract. I wasn’t involving in selling government assets, but suddenly I started feeling guilty of selling government parastatls to non-performing investors. I was either not former governor so what corruption act I would have engaged in that would have caused Nigeria so much.
I thought so much this few days trying to find out what I have done wrong and which the outcome has affected Nigeria. I find some and I make amend. And I would tell you later.
However, after I regained from the thinking world, I said to myself that if Nigerians low and mighty would engage in deep think and heart searching a lot would find why change should begin with them.
I then now ask what is wrong when change begins with me? I think nothing is wrong if I am advised to change what I was doing that was wrong, particularly if the outcome is affecting the entire nation. I however, think all is wrong if I am asked to allow change to begin with me before. Government that promised change would provide the change its promised Nigerians.
I think President Buhari got it wrong when he said Nigerians should change first before they would expect him to deliver the change he promised. I find it difficult to comprehend that the president said “Therefore, I appeal to Nigerians to be part of this campaign. Our citizens must realize that the change they want to see begins with them, and that personal and social reforms are not theoretic exercise. 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’.
I will repeat it for the sake of emphasis that there is nothing wrong in demanding that change should start with me, but it should not be the prerequisite for government delivery of its campaign promises, which was the meaning of President Buhari’s “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’ this can be linkened to a great deceit, which is contradictory of the whole essence of the change begins with me campaign.
I have decided that change would begin with me that is why I would always draw the attention of the authority to do the right thing by remaining true to their word through the fulfilment of what they promised Nigerians. So as the government expect all Nigerians to be honest and sincere, honesty should be the hallmark of all those in Government,. This is how change can begin with us all.
CHRIS SULEIMAN is the Abuja Editor of AUTHENTIC News Daily