I have always believed and advocated that only a universal change can truly change whatever is primed for a change, even in a nuclear family. A desired systemic change is only a reality when everyone keys into it. But there is something biblical about change. It always has little beginning. Almost always, change is ignited by the positive imagination of a man or a group, then becomes a conflagration when spread about and abroad. Its gospel is also easier to preach in the midst of decadence and eye-hurting filth. But while it is for everyone to project and establish, the burden of proving such change desirability rests with the visionaries.
President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) were the visionaries of the current change agenda. The vision was the best thing to happen in the 2015 presidential contest, considering where Nigeria was as a nation. To the visionaries’ eternal credit, the mission was outstandingly communicated to Nigerians with a commanding articulation. The story of the desired change was told straight into the hearts of everyone, including those not buying it for diverse reasons. The change agenda remains the most successful campaign commodity ever sold to a traumatised people. Were it to be a commercial commodity, its embrace by the people would have made its profitability a record-breaker.
But there is currently a feeling in the land that what was sold the people is a second-hand China-made change. In fact, many would argue that what obtains now is worse than fourth-grade much-maligned Aba-made. On a lighter note, the much-vilified change is about home-grown and home-made which may soon make Aba-made, the preferred make.
The buyer-remorse wailing in particular must have gotten to Mr President and Team Change so much that they decided to shift gear and engaged in the scape-goat concept. After the obvious failed attempt at making the people to “see” the positive change that has taken place in their wellbeing, Team Change shifted the burden of proof to the people by launching a counter-campaign of Change beginning with the people. What Buhari and his men are saying now is “show me your change and I will show you mine.”
No, sir Mr President. That is pure fraud. The change should and must begin with you and other visionaries on the assumption that you were the real visionaries. Even if it was a certain sweet-tongued American who consulted for your party during the campaign that holds the patent right, you brought so much Nigerian content into it that the swan-song emanating from it last year became an original Nigerian dancehall supremo. APC, Change; the last-line chorus of your campaign slogan captured imaginations, including the x-generation. My kids would jump from dining table to help your campaign advertisers complete the melodious mantra. They almost disowned me for staggering.
And now you are saying sir, that my kids should first change from eating cornflakes to dried corn before you will fulfill your promise? That is back-stabbing. They patiently read through your promises frequently displayed in public and media spaces. They believed you. Million others did. You are now saying they must change before you change things as promised, simply because your change agenda appears not to be working? That sounds like a broken promise.
Team Change and Mr President are to mainly drive the change agenda. They cooked it and served Nigerians a la carte. If it is distasteful at this stage, the owners of the recipe must take responsibility and re-fix the menu, instead of asking Nigerians to hop into the kitchen and feel the heat, if they are not ready to appreciate what is currently on the dining table which everyone agrees, is sour.
Maybe President Buhari didn’t really realise that he was the chief salesman of the change agenda. And truth be told, it was the carefully- choreographed image of a saintly candidate Buhari that delivered on the oja okunkun (unknown package) change. It is always said that Nigerians suffer from drug-defying amnesia, but it cannot be easily forgotten that many senior members of Team Change, were active constructors of the dreadful past we desire a change from.
So Mr President, you are Change and Change is you. Don’t be too quick in shifting the burden because of the criticism trailing the on-going metamorphosis. In fact, I personally believe you have not failed or derailed, despite the current consuming tide.
While you can keep rallying the nation behind you, never attempt to inch away an inch from what you believe, that is if you genuinely believe in it.
While you are mostly responsible for some of the worse turns things have taken in the country, all the plaudits could still be yours even you can keep faith as the Commander-In-Chief of the Change agenda.
It should not require John Kerry’s curious visit before your conducts, utterances, body language and loud silence should portray you as the true father of the nation. Before now, you weren’t behaving like one. It is my prayer going forward, you will be.
Nigerians are not unappreciative of the much Team Change has done. Many still fight with their words for Mr. President, incidentally including this reporter. Buhari’s more rabid supporters do it with their fist. They can’t stand their hero being de-robed. Many defend you sir, as an electoral asset. They are still shocked their votes are now being considered a waste. They hope against hope that their votes would eventually “count”. I also believe Mr. President would still make the votes count. Only that old things must pass away in his life and government. There is a way a masquerade will dance and lose its mysticism. Before Nigerians can own the change agenda, the ground rules must be well set out. The end-result must also not be in doubt. Buhari must lead by example. Right now, that is debatable.