By Caroline Tarungwa
Nations of the world figure their greatness in the caliber of youth it possesses. A docile, dormant and redundant youth is the encumbrance to the progress of any country.
A destructive youth buries the prospects of a country rather than elevate it to a developed nation that could be the envy of all.
Yesterday, when Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari launched the “#ChangeBeginsWithMe” campaign in the country, this focus targeted Nigerians of all persuasions and affiliations. But his princely target was the youth, who constitute majority of Nigeria which is over 170 million people, they are the predominant energetic force and drivers of the thinking of a nation.
The “#ChangeBeginsWithMe” renewed national re-orientation campaign is aimed at altering the incumbent perception of Nigerians about their country, themselves and interactions with others. It is about the manner Nigerians conduct themselves in private and public engagements, it is all about a voluntary surgical operation on conduct and conscience as a people and a nation, which is presently, adjudged as very disreputable and degenerate.
But it gladdens the heart to realize that the willing crusaders of this fresh campaign are the youth, who represent the budding intellectual hub of Nigeria in various educational institutions. Looking back at the initial resistance to this change campaign by some Nigerians, and its wholesome acceptance now by Nigerian youths, reflects Nigeria’s preparedness to heal itself from her moral afflictions.
Not long ago, Student Union Leaders under the canopy of Benue Youth for Good Governance and other youth stakeholders, converged at the Benue State University (BSU) Makurdi, the Benue State capital to brainstorm on the “#ChangeBeginsWithMe” campaigns.
Emotional testimonies during the brainstorming session after re-reading the Presidential speech on the substance of “Change Begins With Me” from these Nigerian youth leaders were blunt and disarming. But most importantly, Speaker after Speaker accepted the fact of the general decline or absolute dissipation of core moral values among Nigerians, some of which were once cherished traditional norms regarded as sacrosanct.
Having dissected the problems, the youth leaders in self-confession admitted their guilt and promised to henceforth become ambassadors of the #ChangeBeginsWithMe campaigns in schools, their homes, in public squares, offices, places of worship and everywhere.
The talk-shop which is the brainchild of a Nigerian online newspaper with the identity of “www.thenigerian.ng” triggered the propagation of the renewed campaign for the moral regeneration of youths as articulated by the President and the APC led government in Nigeria.
Barely two months old in publication, representative of The Nigerian online newspaper Team at the parley, Mr. Kwuanu Terrence relived the philosophy of the online newspaper and its correlation with the teasing on ethical change and revolution in the country thus;
“The Nigerian newspaper fits into this concept of change beginning with each and every one of us as patriotic citizens…Our vision is that we will be the voice in the industry to change the way Nigeria and Nigerians are reported. There is this sad reality that in spite of the great things our citizens and country are capable of, it is mostly the negative that get reported about us, even by our own media. Nigerians are therefore wrongly perceived worldwide as being dubious and criminal minded people living in a country where nothing works.”
Although, The Nigerian newspaper’s mandate is not only about a positive reportage of Nigeria, it will also disseminate the ugly, but it frowns at the habitual black listing of the good aspects of Nigerians by even some of its own media. It is on this standpoint, that it renders itself as a willing partner with President Buhari’s ethical change advocacy.
The Nigerian newspaper is pained that “This is however not the truth as Nigerians that have excelled as shining examples abound worldwide, while there are many instances where the country is blazing the trail for others to follow. These are the positive stories that.”The Nigerian” tells about us as part of its contribution to the change agenda. This is not the same as shying away from reporting or talking about the negative or scandalous stories. We do not shy away from them, We only do our bit to report them in ways that underscore the need for change,” Terrence echoed.
Organizing the students parley in Benue State(Makurdi to be precise) is just one way of expanding the frontiers of this campaign and the ovations it generated attest to the commitment of Nigerian youths to be the armour bearers of this ethical change revolution anywhere. Indeed, the event in Makurdi, with over 2,000 attendees also unveiled Miss Caroline Tarungwa as the Good Citizen’s Ambassador. And souvenirs like T-shirts, jotters, exercise books biros and Face caps with the inscription “#ChangeBeginsWithMe” were distributed to participants as a constant reminder of this noble cause.
As The Nigerian newspaper’s modest editorial contribution to the “#ChangeBeginsWithMe” campaign, the organization has paid advocacy visits to several other tertiary institutions. When it stopped at Benue State University in Makurdi, 14 institutions graced the occasion, including students’ leaders from the prestigious University of Agriculture, Makurdi (UAM) and University of Mkar, Mkar (UMM) in Gboko LGA of the state.
An old axiom says, the journey of a thousand kilometers begin with a step. The gradual penetration of youth groups with this campaign and its overwhelming embrace is apt indication of Nigeria’s hope for reclaiming its lost virtues. And the acceptance of the moral change campaign by youth has also signposted its endorsement by adults who hitherto resented it. Once this bridge is crossed, it will railroad Nigeria back to its stardom and progress of the days of yore.
Tarungwa is brand ambassador, Campus to Campus train of “Change Begins With Me” and contributed this article from Benue State University, Makurdi.