I was sitting on my own “jejely” when I read such a variety of promises by the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. He guaranteed me that he was there to settle the issues of the nation, adding that “if anything went wrong, he would take responsibilities and FIX IT”.
Few days ago, notwithstanding the non-verbal communication of frustration by the President, he approached Nigerians to begin the change, which he (Buhari) guaranteed the country.
This is coming barely a month in the wake of propelling the same oppressive law that placed him in the world map as a dictator when he initially ruled. He relaunched “war against indiscipline” which led to the brutality and unjust treatment of the Nigerian army on the plebs in 1983-85
Haven’t fizzled in that, he raised a bill asking for the National Assembly to give him control so he could change the economy over night. Another move that has been turned down or conceivably will be turned down by the legislators who trusted that such power could render the Assembly disable in its course of doing its duty.
On the 6th of September, 2016, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari put forth a rash and unreasonable statement preparing Nigerians to “entrench the values of accountability, integrity and positive attitudinal change” an objective the government intended to achieve through a campaign called “Change begins with me”
This sudden move has demonstrated my past point that President Buhari is incredibly confounded. It likewise demonstrates that the President as well as his administration (including his ministers) are all busy with what to say so as to persuade Nigerians that they are competent. Change starts with me? Truly?
If anyone should launch that crusade, it should be Nigerians idea asking the government to start the change. Everyone wants leadership by example. Lai Mohammed is a repulsive liar who needs to change himself, and Buhari has never quit announcing what he is not. He ought to enter the change mantras with his heart and not his words.
According to Lai Mohammed on the said campaign: “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 were the misplaced value that we are tackling now.”
In an attempt to shift blames as always, Mr. Mohammed continued “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.”
Then Abari added: “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,’’ Mr. Abari said.
Nigeria problem has an inseparable tie to the first class citizens, and Abari must be taking lessons from Lie Mohammed to paint such a grimy wall wonderfully. What this administration declined to account on was the responses of Nigerians, including their purported fervent supporters.
Who does the government award the inflated contracts of the schools, roads and hospitals to? The tomato seller or the suya man?, the banker or someone like Lie Mohammed?
Mr. Abari is interested in a woman who uses chemical to forcefully ripen banana and a Petrol attendant who alleged not to have change when he could not advise his boss, Buhari on how much he has tied to his Presidential fleet.
The Nigerian President has around 10 Presidential planes that value millions and if sold would produce colossal sum in billions, if not trillions to address the money related circumstance of the nation. The expenses of keeping up every private jets is in millions and Buhari who is attempting to compensate himself for the 30 years he didn’t travel, held these to himself, then encourages Nigerians to begin a change?
Addressing the people during the launch of the disgraceful campaign on the 9th of September, Buhari said, “Our citizens must realise that the change they want to see begins with them, and that personal and social reforms are not a 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?’
“The campaign we are about to launch today is all about the need for us to see change, not merely in terms of our economic, social progress but in terms of our personal behaviour on how we conduct ourselves, engage our neighbours, friends and generally how we relate with the larger society in a positive and definitive way and manner that promotes our common good and common destiny, change at home, change in work place, change at traffic junction, change at traffic lights, etc.”
When Buhari came into power, information leaked out that the President was planning on selling some of his Presidential aircraft but in a swift response, his aide quickly debunked the speculation, adding that the President will make a public announcement if such move was to be taken.
“If anything like that was being contemplated, the presidency would issue a statement through its official channels to announce it” This response was a disappointment as Nigerians were very motivated hoping things would change from the President. The Presidential fleet was one of the things that bothered Nigerians during previous administration led by Goodluck Jonathan.
Speaking on the campaign for change, a Nigerian blogger, Japhet Omojuwa said “Change begins with selling the presidential jets. Only a genuinely rich country should think of having up to 3. We have about 10 jets”
The Nigerian Air Force One aircraft is the largest in Africa and the third largest in Nigeria after Arike Air and AeroContractors. The annual cost of maintenance is pinned at N12bn and the current market value is over $100m (N31,558,500,000.00), A falcon 900, another one of the President’s planes costs over $35 million; Gulfstream IVSP worth over $40 million; Gulfsream V has a market value of over $45m; Cessna Citation is over $10m and the Hawker Siddeley is over $15m. So, as a Nigerian, convert the remaining cost of the jets like the first one and see how much President Buhari tied to his luxury life.
For a man who has all these and refused to dispose them then suddenly approach Nigerians for a change campaign is the most exceedingly terrible and most unsafe misdirection ever. After being attacked by angry Nigerians, the same Garba Shehu who debunked the selling of the jets a year back has at last said the President is anticipating offering a portion of the fleet.
If we factor in a greater than 100% price hike in commodities, then the total annual cost of maintaining each of the presidential jets would be over N20bn in a country where the common man could barely feed on one square meal a day.
Dear Buhari, Lai Mohammed, Abarai and others change starts from you and not me.
Do you know how much it cost every time you travel out of the country?
The cost on the Presidential fleet and your travelling allowance including that of your entourage?
The hotel, feeding and other incurred cost during the process?
How much have you returned to the country since you have travelled over 24 countries in less than a year?
How many Nigerians have you shown your pay slip to so we can actually confirm that you cut your salary into two?
Why did your Party? APC instruct a man like Abdulmumin Jibrin who raised alarm on the National Assembly budget padding, never to talk to the media again?
How many among the Principal Officers of the House of Assembly have been investigated and perhaps, prosecuted since the budget padding?
Despite the numerous petitions written to EFCC against the former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, why wasn’t he investigated?
You classified Nigerians into 95% and 5% respectively because of election and your appointments have shown same. Does this look like a man not living in the past, anger and revenge?
Nigerians know your Minister of Information as a master of lie and you gave him a reward for lying you into aso rock, could that need change too?
What’s change when you can’t even take a single step to prove to those who elected you that they weren’t deceived?
In 2019, Nigerians will change the change if the change does not start right now. As the secret aide to Buhari, here is what Buhari is trying to say.
If you were eating three square meals before, change it to two or one.
If you have two wives, divorce one and keep one.
If you have a car, sell it and use bicycle, since he is now planning to reduce his Presidential jets.
Just as he announced the cutting of his allowance, you should reach out to your employer to cut your salary in halve.
If you have the latest Samsung phone, sell it to buy Nokia 3310.
So you understand when the President launched the campaign, he means well for you.
Ehi Ekhator is a UK-based guest writer for Urhokpota Reporters.
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