Only a Buhari presidency would launch a moral campaign in the middle of an economic crisis
President Muhammadu Buhari launched the “Change Begins With Me” campaign in Abuja on Thursday.
Among other things, the campaign seeks to let Nigerians know they are the change they've been seeking.
Nigerians have been vociferously demanding for the change they voted for last year; from an administration that has failed to stem the shrinking value of the nation’s currency and one which has seen inflation rise to double digits on its watch.
There are several reasons why this campaign from the presidency should be seen as passing the buck or ill timed.
Said the President in his address flagging off the campaign: “I am therefore appealing to all 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?”.
When Nigerians handed Buhari and his APC the presidency last year, they did so with the hopes that their lives would change for the better, especially because the APC sold the gospel of change so beautifully on the stump.
Two years on, the jury is still out on the Buhari presidency. Social and economic indicators have made for grim reading. The consensus appears to be that Nigerians are worse off than they were this time last year.
Yes, the Buhari presidency inherited a near empty treasury and dysfunctional state, but it could all have panned out differently if the President had hit the ground running from the off.
But instead, he’s gone about the task of governing Nigeria as though he’s got an eternity—plodding and sleep-walking his way through the rot he met.
Yes, Plummeting oil prices didn’t help, but the Buhari presidency is yet to articulate a clear road map towards full scale diversification, save for the same banal clichés.
The Nigerian people delivered their own side of the bargain last year when they handed Buhari and his APC the reins. They haven’t gotten their votes’ worth from a governing political party that has been all talk and little action.
Buhari’s vaunted anti-graft war is in grave danger of heading the same way.
Said the President in his address launching the campaign:
“I need not mention the serious effort we have engaged in since the inception of this administration on the fight against corruption in our public life. With the progress we have so far made in that regard, we feel the need to ensure that we put in place the necessary sustainable framework for action and measures that will help to entrench and consolidate the progress achieved so far”.
Months after the anti-corruption war began with fanfare and flurry; with manacled former politically exposed persons making the rounds before the TV cameras, no conviction has been scored.
The judiciary has been blamed for the inertia, but we also have to agree that the state anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), still doesn’t know what it means to prosecute a case diligently and properly.
At the national assembly, two presiding officers with corruption allegations and court cases smearing their Babarigas, still hold forte. They are members of Buhari's 'anti-corruption party'--The APC.
The ‘Change Begins With Me Campaign’ is headed for the rocks until socio-economic factors improve for the average Nigerian and until the presidency and the APC can take that long, hard look in the mirror.
You can’t ask a people who feel shortchanged as it were, to sign on to another government moral campaign with its paraphernalia of government agencies and officials who still have no idea what time of day it is.
The ‘Change Begins With Me Campaign’ is simply putting the cart before the horse.
The Buhari presidency hasn’t lived up to its pre-election billing. Until it does, it has no freaking right to ask suffering Nigerians to embrace another moral orientation campaign.
This was never going to fly.
The change doesn't begin with Nigerians. It begins with the presidency.