Buhari tells Nigerians to change for a better future

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday set out his vision for a better Nigeria, imagining an incorruptible paradise where drivers don’t run red lights and internet scams are a thing of the past.

In Buhari’s Nigeria, police turn down bribes from rich men driving SUVs, militants in the oil-rich Niger delta lay down their arms, rubbish is thrown in bins, not the street, and workers are on time.

“I won’t sell my body for marks,” a student is quoted as saying in a promotional video to launch the initiative before a gathering of high-profile politicians in the presidential villa in Abuja.

“I no go do yahoo yahoo or 419 again,” says another in pidgin English, referring to the online scams originating from Nigeria that have snared victims around the world.

The “re-orientation campaign” conjures up images of social engineering and Big Brother-style state control but Buhari maintained it was first and foremost about a change in “mindset”.

“We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long,” he told delegates.

“You must first ask how far have I changed my ways? What have I done to be part of the change?”

The campaign, set to an infectious jingle with the lyrics “change begins with me”, appears to be a gentler revamp of the “war on indiscipline” Buhari introduced as military ruler in the 1980s.

Then, soldiers in his regime enforced orderly queues for buses and fair prices in markets, while tardy civil servants were made to do star jumps if ever they arrived late for work.

More than 30 years on, the issues are the same: police and public sector workers still solicit bribes, while stopping at traffic lights remains more of a suggestion than the law.

Buhari was voted into power in 2015 on an anti-corruption platform and Nigerians have largely praised the retired general for his commitment to restoring order and accountability.

The straight-laced president has before criticised Nigerians for being “unruly” and urged people to reform their “lawless habits” while embarking on a wide-ranging corruption crackdown.

Yet then, as now, his social crusade risks being undermined by the country’s dismal economic performance.

This month Nigeria reported that it had entered a recession, with the oil sector reporting a double-digit decline following a wave of attacks by rebels in the oil-producing south.

Still, Buhari emphasised that by changing “personal behaviour” the country can overcome hard times.

“Every one of us must have a change from our old ways of doing things,” he said. “We cannot fold our arms and allow things to continue the old way.”

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Muhammadu Buhari


8 Comments
  • larr

    Buhari told Nigerians he was bringing change. Now he is admitting indirectly he has failed. The honorable thing to do is to resign.

    • Joseph

      Na so dem dey resign?….

    • Babatunde

      So the “honorable” thing to do is for the President to resign because of your refusal to change your old and tired destructive behavior? Will you change even if the President resigns? I doubt it. You are too far gone in your lawlessness. Try and change your ways and allow the President to do his job. I assure you, Nigeria will be the better for it.

      • larr

        First Buhari blamed Jonathan for his failure. Now he is blaming Nigerians, later he will blame the weather and then the cats and dogs. Nigerians are not keeping counts of Buhari sequence of blames. He is contradicting and embarrassing himself. Leadership is not do or die. Resignation is the honorable thing for him to do!

  • Mizch

    APC must STOP poisoning the country with unsubstantiable lies.

  • Iskacountryman

    do as i say…change…

  • Elder (Dr.) Chukwuma Nwaonicha

    “President Muhammadu Buhari has said that before Nigerians demand to see the changes he promised them during
    the 2015 election, they must first change their own attitude by shunning corruption and other social vices”. Ridiculous, this sound as blackmailing the general public, in my opinion, economic or social progress and change in attitude can be handled simultaneously. Mr. President has no economic and social plans and policies that is why changes cannot happen as expected. For Mr. President to have economic and social plans and policies, he has to employ those who know about the economy and those with ideas. After all, ideas rule the world. However, as of date, Mr. President is surrounded by sycophants, political gold-diggers, and political jobbers. Some individuals in his cabinet and decision making positions in his administration are under-qualified, incompetent, and lack substance. This same issue is also applicable to some of the State Governors. As observed, joblessness and hunger are associated with crime, hence; the issue of safety and security in the Niger Delta and the Nation at large are escalating. Mr. President should know that the ways forward to actualize social and economic developments, and reduce Nigerians pain is to initiate infrastructural development programs; to create employment for millions of Nigerian that are without work, although it will take many years from now to materialize. Those involved should guide Mr. President to the
    right direction because there is no magic bullet to make the economy stronger but infrastructural developments in all sectors
    and social developments including, change in attitude, good governance and enabling environment for investment both local and international. Thank you.

  • Victor Sulaiman

    BIG QUESTIONS! WHERE DO WE START THE CHANGE? IT MUST START FROM THE HEAD, THE BUHARI’S CABINET, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, ALL GOVT OFFICIALS AND WORKERS. THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES MUST SACRIFICE HALF OF THEIR SALARIES TO FEED THE POOR, BUILD SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS AND PROVIDE FREE EDUCATION FOR THE LESS PRIVILEGE. CHANGE DOES NOT HAPPEN BY LECTURES, IT HAPPENS BY ACTION THAT WILL CHANGE AND OVERHAUL ALL THE PREVIOUS CORRUPT SYSTEM IN NIGERIA GOVT. PLEASE TALK LESS AND ACT POSITIVELY TO LIBERATE NIGERIA. THE COUNTRY NEEDS A NON VIOLENCE REVOLUTION NOW OR NEVER!

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