By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammad Buhari has advocated change of attitude among Nigerians for there to be development in the country.
Buhari, in a speech at the official launch of the National Re-orientation Campaign, called ‘Change Begins With Me’, yesterday lamented the erosion of social values among the citizenry.
According to him, the country is currently passing through a phase where things hardly work in a normal manner.
This, he said, has been attributed to a total breakdown of societal core values over the years.
He said “It is safe to say today that honesty, hard work, Godliness have given way to all kinds of manifestations of lawlessness and degeneration in our national life.”
The President noted that though his administration’s fight against corruption has gained some mileage, there was a need to put in place necessary sustainable framework for action and measures that will help to entrench and consolidate the progress achieved so far.
He said “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 neigbhours, 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 the work place, change at traffic junction, change at traffic lights etc.
This campaign is part of the determination of our party to seek to carry all Nigerians along on the journey to a better and greater society that we all can be proud of.”
He continued “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.”
On the effects of loss of moral values, the President said “The resultant effect of this derailment in our value system is being felt in the social, political and economic sphere.
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 motorist 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,” he lamented.
“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,” he said.
Information and culture minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, when asked why the government chose to launch the programme in an era of economic hardship said there was no better time than now.
He said “It is precisely because people failed to imbibe the principles we are now preaching that we are in this mess we are today.”