In a bid to entrench the values of accountability, integrity and inculcate positive attitudinal change in Nigerians, the Federal Government is set to launch the “Change Begins With Me’’ campaign. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Garba Abari, made this known in Abuja. They said that the campaign was aimed at educating and enlightening Nigerians to appreciate these values which, they noted, are critical to achieving comprehensive national development. According to them, the campaign is expected to trigger positive change that will boost Nigeria’s image, enable the country gain acceptability and command respect in the comity of nations.
The minister said that President Muhammadu Buhari would launch the programme on Thursday in Abuja. “About three to five years back now, the role models in the society were people of doubtful character. “Money was worshipped; nobody cared where and how one got the money; these are the misplaced values that we are tackling now.’’ He said that the campaign would involve every Nigerian and address the shortcomings of every profession and jobs. Mohammed said that the campaign would also feature slogans that could be easily assimilated by the people, in order to correct identified ills in the society. “We believe that what is wrong with Nigeria is not limited to the elite, the political class and the civil service; if we want that change, therefore, it must address all the issues and target every strata of the society.’’
Mohammed said that the campaign was not a replication of the “War Against Indiscipline’’ which the Buhari-led military administration initiated in 1983 but that it would achieve the same goal using a different means. “In 1983, they used what they had to achieve what they wanted, which was to correct the decadence in society, tackle corruption and impunity. “However, in the area of enforcement, people alleged infractions and intimidation. “But here, we are going to use the media to appeal to people. We are going to use persuasion, instead of coercion and intimidation. “Our various platforms will be radio, television, print media, bill boards, social media and the like. “Part of our campaign will also be concerts which will be sponsored by people in the private sector.’’
The minister, therefore, solicited the support of the private sector towards the success of the campaign. Mohammed said that the National Orientation Agency (NOA) would be the flagship body driving the campaign, to ensure that it gets to the grassroots. He further said that NOA had the duty to its success in states local government areas and schools, while traditional rulers and leaders of faith organisations were also expected participated actively in driving the campaign. In a separate interview, the NOA director-general noted that the programme was also aimed at fighting corruption and encouraging peaceful co-existence in the country. He said it was regrettable that corruption had done a lot of damage to every sphere of the country.
“The Fight against corruption must not begin with the government; people must be in the vanguard of fighting corruption. “Our schools, roads, hospitals should have been better than what they are now, but corruption has stalled their development. “What would you say about a woman who uses chemical to forcefully ripen banana and sell it to the public; what about a woman who would use a padded `mudu’ to sell rice. “A petrol attendant who would claim not to have change so that the buyer would leave the change; all these are corruption,’’ Abari said.
He noted that lecturers in tertiary institutions also engaged in corrupt practices by selling handouts to students, while lazy students also cut corners by selling their bodies and giving money to pass examinations. According to him, the change must start at the individual level and inevitably extend to the society and country at large. “Nobody is happy with the way corruption has relegated the country to its present situation. “We, the citizens, must take a second hard look at what we did wrong that we will not do tomorrow. “The change must start with the people in the little things they do in their families, place of work and responsibilities,’’ Abari said.