Impressively, the steps taken by President Muhammadu is, no doubt, a great move that can help drive the hallmark of his administration: CHANGE. It is a strategy deployed at the right time to consolidate the many gains made since the inception of his tenure. More so, it can be described as a policy that can midwife and give impetus to the processes of national rebirth and societal re-engineering which are long overdue.
Advanced nations of the world started this way. President John F. Kennedy of the United States, during his inauguration on January 21, 1961, coined the mantra “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You, Ask What You Can Do For Your Country “. This speech became one of the famous political speeches in human history. It was not just a political statement made to draw the admiration of his ecstatic followers at the eastern portico of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., but a strong signal sent to the eastern power bloc that America has come to lead the world in the horse race for space technology. In less than a decade, America became a force to reckon with in space science. Nigeria, with her potentialities, can achieve the aim of this laudable mantra, if the Federal government can put in place right procedures and mechanisms capable of engendering fantastic results.
As the programme has been domiciled with the National Orientation Agency, machineries need to be set in motion. It starts from value re-orientation to thought edification. Other arms and tiers of government need to be equally carried along. Expectation is that, as it was launched by the President in Abuja, state governors and local government chairmen ought to have launched it simultaneously in their respective state capitals and headquarters.
Furthermore, cities, towns and villages are to be integrated through active involvement and participation of traditional rulers and village heads. Community leaders will also play pivotal and vital roles in this national programme. What the government needs to do is to acquaint with the necessary leverage to kick-start. Our foreign missions and embassies must key in to this programme, as well. Government programmes and policies are not to be implemented in vacuum: it must come out of well-thought-out plans to ensure careful and meticulous implementation. Deliberate action plan needs to be rolled out.
Firstly, it starts with attitudinal change. This means our attitude towards set national goals and aspirations. There is urgent need for change of disposition towards one another. Our orientations and mindsets about other ethnic or religious groups need to be edified. It entails our thought process, inclinations, feelings, perceptions, views, opinions and wish for one another.
Secondly, behavioural change. Behavioural change is a product of attitudinal change. It involves both public and private conducts. Starting from each individual to every family unit, then the society at large. Sincerity, truthfulness, honesty and integrity are essential ingredient, if there must be a holistic change. The imperatives of punctuality, accountability and diligence at work cannot be shoved aside, if we truly desire change.
Also, we must learn to conduct ourselves properly in public. Don’t cut corners. Don’t take or give bribe. Don’t let ethnic or religious considerations affect your judgement. Shun favouritism and nepotism while making important decisions and appointments. Don’t rush at motor parks. Don’t circumvent queues. Respect national monuments and symbols. Don’t cross the road where there is pedestrian bridge. Ensure your vehicle particulars are complete and up-to-date before setting out. Assist the law enforcement agencies in curbing criminality and sabotage. Desist from any act that may compromise our national security. Portray our image in good light to foreigners. Don’t steal. Don’t swindle. Don’t fight. Shun violence. If provoked, report to the appropriate quarters.
Avoid using abusive words or making disparaging comnents. Don’t curse. Don’t ridicule your fellow countrymen. Be kind to kith and kin. Never hesitate to assist, no matter how stringent the condition is. Be kind to people. Be tolerant. Overlook their mistakes and excesses. Be friendly and approachable. Show subtleness while relating with other Nigerians. There is more to life than being vindictive and arrogant. Be humble and gentle. Pray for yourself, your family and your country. Be your brother’s keeper.
Nonetheless, this must be a top-down approach: our leaders must show sincere commitment to this programme. They are the fountain-head of the wish and aspiration of Nigerians. Let them be truthful and patriotic. As a matter of fact, they should avoid unnecessary noisemaking and intimidation through blowing of sirens and overdose of bodyguards. Their seriousness counts a lot and goes a long way in changing the nation for better. They can’t be reckless and expect the citizens to be disciplined. It is impossible. When they lead, we follow. When they respect the rule of law, we shall be law-abiding citizens. This is the way it works. This is the roadmap. Leaders lead while followers follow. This change has to be inclusive and all-encompassing.
Still and all, this CHANGE begins with me. God bless Nigeria.