The 2015 General Elections came with hopes and expectations from Nigerians after the historic transition of power especially at the centre, from the ruling party, the PDP, which wanted to rule Nigeria for a period of sixty years to an opposition party, the APC, which mainly started 1999 or 2003, reformed and transformed itself to a winning capacity in 2015. After that 29th May, Nigerians sat down, picked their pens and started outlining the #changes that the winning APC promised them.
At the beginning, things were really getting better; the Naira, almost without any effort from the government, started appreciating against the dollar on its own, the military men on the checking points were immediately removed by a Presidential order, an action which put a stop to the harassment of civilians and extortion of their hard earned money, the bombings wrecking the North-Eastern part of the country started ceasing and the vicious attacks on civilian population slowly began to be rare and rarer on daily basis, Kedco or the national grid started improving, that too, with almost no any effort from the government. With those things and lots more, Nigerians were seeing, feeling and celebrating the change they were promised.
However, problems were not known to solve themselves by themselves. Things gradually begin to move to the other side. The exchange rate continued to rise against the Naira thereby worsening the economic situation. Inflation of the worst kind continue to rise and poverty level and unemployment too keep rising with a meteor speed. Before long, Nigerians started asking the APC led government whether this was the change they were promised on the onset. The only obvious credit the government got was in security. Lost territories of the country were reclaimed and their population resettled. To this moment, Sambisa forest and the Chibok girls are what remained to completely win the war against the Boko Haram group. But critics of the government are quick to say that security cannot be eaten. They need food and some basic needs which at present are almost beyond the common man’s reach. With the high cost of food items, blaming fingers were pointed at the economic team of the administration and by extension, the administrative nadir residing at Aso Rock Villa. In a sense, the country becomes a court with the government in the dock. People felt that the government was either doing nothing to alleviate their condition or it was doing something badly. The government on its side felt that it was not treated justly. In one of its responses, it introduced the now famous, “#ThisChangeBeginsWithMeCampaign,” the subject of this piece. But could this change really begin with us?
If we are still offering and receiving “Kola, alheri etc” for works we are paid to do by the government, then we don’t deserve the change we seek. If we are selling our commodities bought long before the rise of the dollar against the Naira at a merciless price, justifying it with the dollar rise, then we are very hypocritical to talk of any change from any system. If we are still going to our offices late and doing our work with negligence and lack of patriotism, then the change we seek would never come. If we are idly sitting down and expecting miracles from the government; easy money as it used to be, then the change we ask for is a myopia of the fantasy island. If we still leave the taps running; the bulbs switched on during the daytime; the environment littered with sachets, used bottles, and garbage, then that change could never and definitely would never be here. If we still disobey the traffic rules and run at any speed we deem fit, then we have no moral ground to speak of change. If we refused to change our habits, realise, ensure and fulfil our responsibilities; the prerequisites for the realisation of that change, then the change would continue to be bleak, unrealistic and only talked about-never fulfilled thing. That’s our part of the requirements for the changed Nigeria we all dream for.
On the part of the government, the change would continued to be criticised and ridiculed if nepotism and family ties (as we see in the CBN, the FIRS, and other recruitment justified only by silence from the Presidency) continue to be the yardstick as against merit in recruitment of all government agencies and parastatals. If the government could only tap the wrist of cattle rustlers, herdsmen killers and their reprisals, then the change it claims to bring would be a mockery of our senses. If the government continue to make millionaires and billionaires out of the forex brouhaha, ripping the country off and making our lives less and less secure economically, then it must agree that its change only exist in theory, a non practical thing. If the government, especially at State levels, continue to maintain Special Advisers with no intellectual capacity to advise and Personal Assistants with no personality to assist, then the promised change would be an officially-declared breach of public trust. If the government at all levels lobby us to sacrifice because it is a rainy day and then proceed to lavish public funds, send the office holders’ sons and daughters abroad for medical and educational services, then the change it advocates would continue to be called selfish of the wicked kind. If the government continued to show lack of determination, commitment and political will, resorting to blaming the previous administration of every mishap, then it would be remembered as a government which promised almost everything and achieved almost nothing, and then the PDP, even with its national crisis, would continue to ask us to ChangeTheChange.
May God Bless Nigeria.