Knocks, Kudos Trail FG’s ‘Change Begin With Me’ Launch | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Cover Choice, POLITICS

Knocks, Kudos Trail FG’s ‘Change Begin With Me’ Launch

Buhari; 'Change Begins With Me'; corruption
Posted: Sep 18, 2016 at 9:49 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

August 8, 2016 would remain indelible in the life of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. It was the day it launched ‘Change Begin With Me’ campaign which was intended to inculcate a culture of discipline among Nigerians.

President Buhari on the occasion, called on Nigerians to embrace the campaign for a better and progressive Nigeria. He urged all citizens to always resist the temptation of doing things the old way, saying that Nigerians must exhibit the virtues of honesty and hard work in all their interactions.

But mixed reactions greeted the campaign across the country. While some described the campaign launch as a jamboree and a misplaced priority, others commended the government and urged Nigerians to support the new initiative. Senator Rashidi Ladoja, former governor of Oyo State, has criticised the launch of the programme, ‘Change begins with me” saying change must start from the President and members of his cabinet.

According to him, in as much as he was in support of the launch of “Change Begins with Me”, the president and his cabinet must bell the cat and this would ginger other Nigerians to follow suit. The former governor also expressed doubts over the success of the fight against corruption of the administration when civil servants are owed six months salaries.

Also, Inibehe Effiong, lawyer and rights activist said the change should begin with the president and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) which promised the country a positive change in 2015 while campaigning for the general election.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State has also condemned the “Change begins with me” saying the initiative had portrayed Nigeria as a “bad” country in the eyes of the rest of the world.

The party argued that the campaign lent credence to the erroneous belief that Nigerians around the world were so badly behaved that they needed to undergo such a reorientation and rehabilitation programme.

The PDP in Lagos State expressed the view in a statement by Gani Taofik. its Publicity Secretary.  “Change  begins with me that President Buhari launched denotes that things are really bad for Nigerians, and also showed that we Nigerians are bad citizens across the world”, he said.

“On this newly launched programme, I know the number of friends abroad that had called me that the project will affect Nigerians abroad because it means that every Nigerian needs rehabilitation, being a worst character already”, the opposition party spokesman said.

“Though Buhari’s government has destabilized Boko Haram, they have not done anything worthy of praise for this country.

“Look at how much we left fuel for him, and look at the price for a litter today. None of the promises made to Nigerians has ever been fulfilled. Is this the change Nigerians were expecting? The campaign of change is derogatory. It’s a mobilization towards 2019”.

However, Dr. David Onuoha, the Anglican Bishop of Okigwe South Diocese in Imo State, has urged Nigerians to support the recently launched “Change Begins with Me” initiative of the Federal Government.

He said attitudinal change was a joint task for both government officials and the citizenry, stressing that Nigerians should not trivialise, sectionalise or politicise the programme.

He added that the initiative was key to socio-economic advancement of the country in the face of daunting economic challenges.

The clergy man said that with the past culture of corruption, it would be hard for Nigeria to move forward if people do not shun the past negative lifestyle and embrace change.

He said, “Instead of picking holes with the programme, it is necessary to come out with honest views and suggestions on how to make this work for the good of us all.

“It is a known fact that our nation will in no distant time pull out of the current recession if only 50 per cent of the common wealth wickedly appropriated by very few of our country men and women is recovered.”

Bishop Onuoha further called on top political office holders like president, vice president, governors, deputy governors, and the national and state legislators to cut down their salaries.

“The lifestyles of our public officers, especially the governors and members of the national and state assemblies, should be made to reflect the economic realities of the time,” he said.

Onuoha condemned the payment of pension to former governors, saying, “the monthly pension of our governors and other privileges is many times more than the monthly emolument of more than 100 university professors or medical directors.

He suggested the scrapping of the present bicameral legislature due to the huge budgetary cost for maintaining 360 House of Representatives and 109 senators, saying let legislation be on part time.

He suggested that President Muhammadu Buhari should critically look at the list of his appointees to ensure that they all followed his transparency vision.

He urged government to address the problem of salary disparity across all levels of government, adding that the issue was central to the performance of the workers.

He made the declaration during the inauguration of the national re-orientation campaign tagged, ‘Change Begins With Me’ in Abuja.

Similarly, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, commended  president  Buhari for introducing `Change Begins With Me’ campaign in Nigeria.

“The president deserves commendation for making this bold move christened, The Change begins With me,’’ he said.

Abubakar said: “the campaign cannot come at a better time than now when Nigeria is in dire need of change.

“Change is, however, very unpalatable and pretty difficult as such Nigerians should be cooperative and patient. “Destruction is always very easy, while reconstruction takes more time and patience is required.’’

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture during a visit to The Guardian Newspapers in May had disclosed that the decision of the government to launch ‘Change Begin With Me’ came from request by Nigerians over the distorted value in the society.

He said, “If the Danfo driver will stop drinking “paraga” before hitting the road, if the patent medicine store operator will stop selling fake drugs, if the average worker will carry out his or her duties diligently, our society will be a better place.”  Mohammed at that time disclosed that the campaign will begin with a Summit on National Rebirth, Values and Ethics in July.