From Magnus Eze, Adanna Nnamani, Abigail Anosike & Uju James
MIXED reactions have continued to trail the national rebirth campaign christened “Change Begins with Me.” Abuja residents are divided on who should be the actual target of the campaign, those at the top or the masses. Others say that what Nigerians need at the moment is tangible action to lessen their hardship and not mere slogans.
A female yam seller at Wuse Market who refused to disclose her name and Miss Ruth, a resident of Lugbe in their separate reactions vividly captured the views of most of the respondents.
On hearing “Change Begins with Me”, the yam seller queried: “Which me? It can’t be me. I was not the one that promised Nigerians change and now he (President Buhari) is saying it begins with me.
“He should start first, I will join him. He is supposed to lead by example so that Nigerians will join him. Look at the
way we are suffering now. Everything is now expensive; he should bring back our corruption and take his change; we don’t need it anymore.”
To Ruth, the anti-corruption fight is not enough reason for Nigerians to be subjected to all manners of hardship: “There has not been any change at all. Buhari said he is fighting corruption. When we were in
Goodluck Jonathan’s regime there was corruption and everyone was living fine but now people are hungry and they say they are fighting corruption.”
Ben Adams, Wuse: “Yes, change begins with us but it is supposed to start with the government first. From the angle of Christianity we are made to understand that the oil starts flowing from the head down to the leg. This means that this change is supposed to start from the authorities before it gets down to the masses. We the youths are supposed to play a lot of part, we have to start by disciplining ourselves and setting up strategies by using the little things we have to bring something good.
“Though we lack policies in some areas like bringing people in to revive the economy, the decisions government
is taking are genuine. What the government is doing is not going to be effective immediately, but gradually, it will benefit even our children to come. For the past 16 years that democracy has taken place in Nigeria, a lot of things have gone wrong. Our infrastructural facilities are dilapidated. We lack good water and electricity; no good hospitals. For example, if someone has kidney problem today in Nigeria he or she has to be flown abroad.”
Ibrahim Itai, Mararaba: “It is a good thing and I think if Nigerians can key into it andwe can change our attitude. But I think the government has to do one or two things to see that people don’t complain much.
I believe the economy will still bounce back. Recession is everywhere. The policies the government enacted right now have not reached the grassroots.”
Ruth, Lugbe: “The programme is a good thing. We should think forward. We should think of how to make this country a better place. Buhari is saying that change begins with us individually. What I have noticed is that when prices of things go up Nigerians will refuse to bring it down. It is not even about the dollars; even the things that are produced in the country. Even if the dollar comes down, Nigerians will refuse to bring down prices of goods. We
have to help ourselves because change begins with us and affects all of us.”
Umar, Wuse 2: “The policy is a welcome idea, but the masses are facing hardship. Government should bring about policies that are supposed to bring about positive effects in the economy. We the masses are suffering.
“I believe the government is making efforts to put things in place. Before now, people lived in fear but today you go about your daily business without any feeling of insecurity. The change begins with me development begins with us and I rigidly support it.”
Joseph, Mabushi: “Everything is possible because God is the ultimate change and when He sees into Nigeria’s situation there will be a change. The government is not on the right track with all these things taking place in the country. However, we all know that by God’s grace things will get back to normal. As humans, we are prone to make mistake, we take wrong steps most times. The only perfect person is God not humans, so I’m not defending the President or any other person, am neutral in this situation. The solution to Nigeria’s problem is God.”
Regina Evergreen, Federal Secretariat: “As you lay your bed so you shall lie on it. Nigerians think we can just open and close our eyes and our country will just change from the corrupt Nigeria to the organised America. Things are not done that way; we do it gradually so that we can enjoy
it. If we have corruption in our offices and our places of work, what do we expect the people on top to do? So, we should advice ourselves. We should always ask the question, how will I make Nigeria a better place?”
Alpha, Jikwoyi: “I do not care about the campaign. Nigerians are suffering. People are hungry and they are telling us about “change begins with me. There is nothing like change. If you look at the previous regime, I feel it is better than this regime. We voted for change, for things to be better but now everybody is crying. No food to eat. Buhari should go back to the grassroots; remove all the ministers that are not working and bring new people who are ready to work. They are not ready to work.” Not a burden But the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, debunked the misconception about the campaign, saying that it actually started from the top to the bottom. He insisted the government is leading by example: ‘’This government is leading by example, especially Mr. President, Mr. Vice-President and the ministers. This is the least ostentatious cabinet you can ever have. We are all living and showing good examples. We obey traffic rules, queue up at airports and public places; we get to work early and close late.
“People have criticized the campaign; some have said the campaign ought to start from the top and we agreed simply because they have not even followed the campaign. The campaign actually started from the top because the best campaign is that campaign that you do what you are preaching.” Mohammed explained that the campaign is not meant to put any burden on Nigerians rather it is a deliberate effort to change their attitude for the good of the country. He was optimistic that despite the criticism, Nigerians will soon imbibe the tenets of ‘’Change Begins with Me’’ campaign and make it a huge success.