Introductory comments by the Hon Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the presentation of CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME to Corporate Nigeria in Lagos on Thursday, Oct. 6th 2016

Honorable Minister of Information & Culture Showcasing the official logo for the National re-orientation Campaign 'Change Begins with Me'

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Let me thank you most sincerely for honouring our invitation to this presentation of our National Reorientation Campaign, Change Begins With Me. We appreciate that you could take time off your busy schedule to be here.

2.  The Change Begins With Me campaign, which was launched by the President on Sept. 8th 2016, is aimed at achieving a paradigm shift in the way we do things, in simple parlance, it is geared towards achieving an attitudinal change. As they say, you cannot continue to do things the same way and expect a different result. Against the background that our core values have witnessed a total breakdown in the past years, it is imperative that we re-orientate ourselves with a view to restoring those time-tested values.

3.   Some critics have wondered why we are launching this campaign at this time. They say Nigerians are hungry and need food, not campaign. What they don’t realize is that part of the reason we have found ourselves in this sorry pass is our attitude. Our fetish for consumption of imported goods has helped to deplete our foreign reserves, part of the reasons our local currency is now very weak, with dire consequences. Our preference for foreign goods against the ones we produce has been detrimental to our manufacturing companies, leading to loss of jobs. Of course without jobs, our ability to feed or meet our daily obligations is affected. What about our attitude to work, the thousands of man-hours that we waste for one reason or another? Want about the mindless corruption that contributed to where we are today? Indeed, there is no better time than now to launch this campaign. This is because if miraculously the price of oil shoots up to 100 dollars per barrel and the economy improves today, without an attitudinal change that encompasses honesty, diligence and shunning of imported goods, we will be back to the same situation in which we have found ourselves today

4.  Some have also said any national reorientation campaign, to be meaningful, must begin from the top and cascade down to the citizens. Well, let me clarify here that Change Begins With Me was designed not for ordinary citizens but for all citizens. It starts from the President, Vice President, Ministers and other top government officials and then cascades down to all citizens. It is therefore wrong to see it as an attempt to saddle ordinary citizens with any burden without a commensurate efforts from the leadership. In fact, the leadership started the implementation of Change Begins With Me long before we unveiled it to the public. The President demonstrated leadership when he rejected the purchase of new vehicles for his use, thus saving 400 million Naira.  Thanks to his action, no Minister purchased new vehicles, saving millions more. Then upon assuming office, the President  instructed his convoy to always respect traffic rules. The Ministers all followed suit. Today Ministers queue up at airports and filling stations. Their lifestyle is devoid of any ostentation. The Federal Executive Council is not left behind. The weekly FEC Meeting starts on time. Indeed, Change started with us a long time ago.

5.  Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, It is important to say here that the use of force is not part of the tools to achieve the goal of Change Begins With Me. Moral suasion, rather than force, will be the main tool. This is why Mr. President also appealed to all Nigerians to be part of the campaign. To the best of our knowledge, the words ”appeal” and ”force” are not synonymous.
6. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as you would recall, the President also mentioned in his speech that the private sector is a major stakeholder in this campaign. He said and I quote: ‘Indeed when the campaign succeeds, it will impact heavily on the private sector. A punctual, diligent and hardworking staff can only be to the benefit of not just himself or herself or the organization they work, for but to various governments whether at local, state or Federal level.” End of quote.

7.  How can the private sector key in to this campaign? That is the essence of this gathering today. It is now my pleasure to make my presentation. The presentation will be in two stages. The first will be on the Change Begins With Me campaign itself, and the second will be on how the private sector can key in to it. Please sit back and enjoy the presentation


8. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your attention. My name is Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Minister of Information and Culture of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Change Begins With Me