Following the launch of the change campaign, “Change Begins With Me,” in Abuja, yesterday,President Buhari has vowed to eliminate rent-seeking from the nation’s public service.In his words, President Buhari said, “Nigeria today is passing through a challenging moment where hardly anything works in a normal manner. Many have attributed this phenomenon to the total breakdown of our core values over the years. 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.
“The resultant effect of this derailment in our value system is being felt in the social, political and economic spheres. 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 motorists 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. “We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long. Let us summon a new spirit of responsibility, spirit of service, of patriotism and sacrifice, Let us all resolve to pitch in and work hard and look after, not only ourselves but one another. What the current problem has taught us is that we cannot have a thriving army of rent seekers and vested interests, while the majority suffers.
“Rather than sit back and complain endlessly, we have decided to act pragmatically, with the launch of this National Re-orientation Campaign. The campaign will not be a sprint but a marathon that will run the course of our tenure. We are under no illusion that the changes we seek will happen overnight, but we have no doubt that the campaign will help restore our value system and rekindle our nationalistic fervor. 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. While the government will drive the ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign, it must be strongly supported by all concerned, individually. In this regard the private sector is a major stakeholder. Indeed when the campaign succeeds, it will impact heavily on the private sector. A punctual, diligent and hardworking staff can only be of benefit of not just himself or herself or the organization they work for but to various governments whether at local, state or Federal level.”