President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday set out his vision for a better Nigeria, imagining an incorruptible paradise where drivers don’t run red lights and internet scams are a thing of the past.
In Buhari’s Nigeria, police turn down bribes from rich men driving SUVs, militants in the oil-rich Niger delta lay down their arms, rubbish is thrown in bins, not the street, and workers are on time.
“I won’t sell my body for marks,” a student is quoted as saying in a promotional video to launch the initiative before a gathering of high-profile politicians in the presidential villa in Abuja.
“I no go do yahoo yahoo or 419 again,” says another in pidgin English, referring to the online scams originating from Nigeria that have snared victims around the world.
The “re-orientation campaign” conjures up images of social engineering and Big Brother-style state control but Buhari maintained it was first and foremost about a change in “mindset”.
“We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long,” he told delegates.
“You must first ask how far have I changed my ways? What have I done to be part of the change?”
The campaign, set to an infectious jingle with the lyrics “change begins with me”, appears to be a gentler revamp of the “war on indiscipline” Buhari introduced as military ruler in the 1980s.
Then, soldiers in his regime enforced orderly queues for buses and fair prices in markets, while tardy civil servants were made to do star jumps if ever they arrived late for work.
More than 30 years on, the issues are the same: police and public sector workers still solicit bribes, while stopping at traffic lights remains more of a suggestion than the law.
Buhari was voted into power in 2015 on an anti-corruption platform and Nigerians have largely praised the retired general for his commitment to restoring order and accountability.
The straight-laced president has before criticised Nigerians for being “unruly” and urged people to reform their “lawless habits” while embarking on a wide-ranging corruption crackdown.
Yet then, as now, his social crusade risks being undermined by the country’s dismal economic performance.
This month Nigeria reported that it had entered a recession, with the oil sector reporting a double-digit decline following a wave of attacks by rebels in the oil-producing south.
Still, Buhari emphasised that by changing “personal behaviour” the country can overcome hard times.
“Every one of us must have a change from our old ways of doing things,” he said. “We cannot fold our arms and allow things to continue the old way.”
More from my site
- #ChangeBeginsWithMe has no political, religious, ethnic coloration – Minister
- Wife of Actor IK Ogbonna Claims She has Magic and Super Powers
- I am impressed by your simplicity, Buhari tells Zuckerberg
- Nigeria loses N11bn daily as oil exports suffer
- know more about Zahra billionaire $99m bank balance future husband
- JTF, sanitation officials clash in Bayelsa
- Niger Delta Avengers ‘Your fighter jets can’t stop us,’ militants challenge FG
- Jonathan’s body language shows support for Avengers — Odili
- Fuel Scarcity Crisis looms as NNPC stops pumping petrol to depots, marketers groan
- Navy warns bombers, seeks host communities’ cooperation
- Avengers claim attack on oil pipelines in Niger Delta
- Navy arrest 25 oil thieves
- Niger Delta 3 ex-militants graduate with First Class from UK Universities
- Why Niger Delta Agitators Have to Trust Buhari
- Nigeria’s unity negotiable, says Prof. Ango Abdullahi
- Boko Haram Militants dare terrorists to kill Christians
- Restructuring Nigeria is no secession, ex-UN envoy tells FG
- Niger Delta Avengers Militants say Tompolo is their enemy, warn Navy
- Oil exploration: Lagos Assembly seeks protection for host communities
- Ex-militants beg FG to pay outstanding stipends
- Kenyan policeman gets stuck in married woman during illicit se-x
- Niger Delta ‘We didn’t molest anyone,’ Army on Bayelsa invasion
- Niger Delta Avengers Militants blow up NNPC pipeline in Akwa Ibom
- Kayode Fayemi FG summons 37 mine Officers over diversion of explosives
- Niger Delta “Take it easy,” Buhari begs militants in God’s name
- Tinubu, Dogara absent as Buhari celebrates independence in Aso Rock
- SEE HOW JENNIFER OBI CRACKS UP THE INTERNET
- Nattering nitwits of the internet, naijaland is worse than trumpland, Go back to school – says wole Soyinka against Nigerians in support of him tearing his green card
- APC responsible for Nigeria’s woes, says Okorocha
- Buhari to attend climate change conference in Morocco
- Battling militancy: Niger Delta Avengers and other new groups
- Why we announced ceasefire – Niger Delta Avengers
- Fani-Kayode ‘Fashola is a shameless liar,’ Ex-minister says
- Court to rule in Tompolo’s case against FG Dec 12
- Fashola ‘Electricity supply being disrupted by militants,’ Minister says
- Enemies Hell-bent On Pulling Me Down -says GEJ
- Adaka Boro Avengers We will still declare Niger Delta Republic – Militants
- N45.9bn fraud: Tompolo’s co-defendants seek quashing of charges
- Niger Delta Avengers NNPC loses over N26bn in June, blames militants
- ‘Niger Delta Avengers ready to negotiate with FG’
- Man stabs NDDC staff worker and lover to death for not making him next-of-kin to her account and giving out a million naira
- Niger Delta We might use force to flush out militants – Defence minister says
- Niger Delta FG set to begin town hall meetings in region
- Gani Adams ‘We’re ready to help fight Avengers,’ OPC leader tells Buhari
- CNP sues Buhari, Saraki, Dogara over NDDC board
- Clark not qualified to lead dialogue with FG, says MEND
- We won’t attend proposed summit, Niger Delta leaders tell Buhari
- JTF discovers 23 human skulls, arrests 44 IPOB members
- Don’t deploy troops in Niger Delta, Ijaw youths tell FG
- Chibok girls saga is a scam – Christian Women
- Nigerians knock govs, police over rising violent crimes
- Boko Haram on verge of final defeat — Buratai
- Nigerians knock govs, police over rising violent crimes
- “Why I Cheated On My Husband” – Nigerian Popular Actress Open Up
- Nigerians may never enjoy regular power supply unless…
- Buhari commends Pope’s contribution to global peace
- Know Femi Kuti’s Reaction towards Wole Soyinka’s Green Card Issue
- Buhari meets Saraki, Kwankwaso
- Amazing Female Mechanics In Niger State
- Asaba Reverend thanks God for his triplets after 13 years of marriage
- Boko Haram Appointment of new leader exposes divisions in Nigerian group
- Avengers: ‘Niger Delta politicians in Buhari’s cabinet blackmailing Jonathan’
- Niger Delta MEND asks FG to suspend Tompolo’s EFCC ca
- Over $40bn allocated to Niger Delta in last 12 yrs –Kachikwu
- FG moves to end pipeline bombings, arms proliferation
- Unpaid stipends: JTF disperses protesting ex-militants, injures one
- Orubebe Ex-minister to face trial over alleged diversion of N53.3bn road funds
- Biafra: Kanu claims he is ready to negotiate with FG
- Buhari “Criminals disguised as herdsmen will be dealt with” – President saysBuhari “Criminals disguised as herdsmen will be dealt with” – President says
- The Devilish Osama Biladen Confirmed Alive living in the Bahamas