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Thursday, 29 September 2016

FG slams The Economist for its article about the ''Change Begins With Me'' campaign

The Economist, a UK based magazine, published an article few days ago in which it criticized the "Change Begins with Me Campaign" launched by President Buhari on September 8th. The article insinuated that President Buhari was planning to use the campaign to re-introduce his War against Indiscipline and in the long run tame Nigerians from freely expressing themselves.

However in a statement released yesterday, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed described the article as racist and one characterized by embellishment. He also described the use of the word in the article as unpardonable. Read the full text of the statement below...
Our attention has been drawn to a story by The Economist, datelined Lagos and featured in the paper's print edition of Sept. 24th 2016, entitled: ''Nigeria's war against indiscipline, Behave or be whipped''.
Contrary to the newspaper's self-professed belief in ''plain language'', the article in question, from the headline to the body, is a master-piece of embellishment or dressed-up language. It is loaded with innuendos and decidedly pejorative at best, and downright racist at worst.
The Economist wrote that President Buhari wants to ''tame'' Nigerians with the ''Change Begins With Me'' Campaign. For those who are the owners of the English language, the use of that word is unpardonable, the verb ''tame'' suggests that Nigerians are some kind of wild animals that must be domesticated, and the usage reveals the mind-set of the authors of the article: a deliberate put down of a whole people under the guise of criticising a government policy.
The paper, in striving to reach a preconceived conclusion, also insinuated that some 150,000 volunteers are being trained as enforcers of the ''Change Begins With Me'' Campaign. This is not true. In his speech at the launch of the Campaign on Sept. 8th 2016, the President, a globally-acknowledged leader who believes strongly in the rule of law, left no one in doubt that moral suasion, the very antithesis of force, will be employed to achieve attitudinal change among Nigerians. In that speech, the President said: ''I am therefore appealing to all Nigerians to be part of this campaign.'' To the best of our knowledge and, surely the knowledge of those who own the language, the words ''appeal'' and ''enforce'' are not synonymous.
In its rush to discredit the ''Change Begins With Me'' Campaign, The Economist, a widely respected newspaper, fell below its own standards by choosing to be economical with the truth. Enforcement is not part of the strategies to be employed under the Campaign, and nowhere has it been said that the ''moral police'' will be unleashed, as reported by the newspaper. In writing the story, the paper did not even deem it necessary to speak with any official of the government, thus breaching one of the codes of journalism, which is fairness. It chose instead to quote a ''critic'' of Mr. President in a perfunctory manner.
Again, The Economist made the same mistakes that most critics of the ''Change Begins With Me'' Campaign have made: Rushing to comment on a campaign they do not understand. The Campaign had barely been launched when the critics brought out their big guns to shoot it down. In the process, many of them ended up shooting themselves in the foot. Had they tarried a while to allow the government to roll out the details of the campaign, they might have shown more circumspection than they did in their criticism.
The Campaign, which the President said ''will help restore our value system and rekindle our nationalistic fervor'', is not designed to shift any responsibility to Nigerians, as many have erroneously said. It is an all-inclusive campaign that was designed to start with the leadership. That much was explained by the President when he said the government would ''drive the campaign'' and that it must be strongly supported by all concerned individually. ''Change Begins With Me'' was designed to start from the President, then trickle down to the Vice President, Ministers, other top government officials and to all citizens. What is the campaign asking Nigerians to do? Be the change they want to see in the society.
In other words, if we all want an orderly society, for example, the motorists among us must obey traffic rules, our aggrieved youth must stop destroying public property, patent medicine sellers must stop selling fake drugs, commercial vehicle drivers must stop taking alcoholic beverages before driving etc. There is nothing extraordinary or over-burdening in all these. We are the fundamental units of the society. If we are not willing to change our ways for the better, we cannot expect a better society.
The Economist said that from its earliest days, the paper had ''looked abroad, both for subjects to write about and for circulation''. That means the paper must be aware that many countries in the world have also embarked on the kind of campaign that Nigeria launched on September 8th 2016. In 1979, Singapore launched the National Courtesy Campaign to encourage Singaporeans to be more kind and considerate to one another. In 2011, Mozambique launched a campaign to educate students on how to treat foreign tourists as part of preparations for the country's hosting of the All-Africa Games in that year. In 2015, China launched a campaign to ''name and shame'' any of its own tourists who behave badly, either at home or abroad. And this year, the Tokyo Good Manners Project was launched to improve manners in the metropolis of the Japanese capital. It is therefore uncharitable for The Economist to hide behind the facade of its own prejudice to denigrate Nigeria's genuine effort at national re-orientation.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
Minister of Information and Culture

25 comments:

OSINANL said...

CLUELESS FG...

Peter Dumore said...

Observing in spiritual 3D


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Genevieve Okoroigbo said...

Hmmmmm!





says, Genevieve.

CHERYL (aka FROM GLORY to GLORY) said...

Truth is better.I can unstd the presidency's reaction.


Long Live LIB

idayat Noble said...

May God help us

Joyous babe,Linda ikeji first cousin said...

Very very clueless @ Osinanl

Joyous babe,Linda ikeji first cousin said...

Very very clueless @ Osinanl

Uju Phil said...

Lmao... Thank God the world is seeing the scam of this present dispensation. FG can go to hell with its slam!!! #EvilGovt

Ogenah Boris said...

This our FG sef, they are good in defence instead of finding solutions

Anonymous said...

I tell u man. Ok since they launched the change with me let's even assume it's a good move. What have they done to bring about its actualization. I have seen that they have brought upon themselves the work only the holy spirit can do - to turn all 170m nigerians born again. Abi is it only by given speech?

Juliet Iwuno said...

Dese oyinbo people are taking too much. Linda take note!

christie benjamin said...

FG the Summer Slam! Continue slamming and denying the truth....some folks are actually wiser than he'd imagined.

okechukwu nnoduechi said...

GOOD TO SEE








AUNTY LINDA 👩

Ben Ibeh said...

Clueless is the word bruh! Blaming somebody for embellishing while using chicanery to exonerate a below per average performing confused individuals.

Bob truth said...

You guys who have commented here....in your rush to always blindly criticise and castigate the government do not read and understand. FYI the government is not just defending it's policy but all Nigerians from the racist statements made by the magazine. Except of course you agree that you all who have commented in support of the magazine are indeed wild animals that need 'taming'

Bob truth said...

You guys who have commented here....in your rush to always blindly criticise and castigate the government do not read and understand. FYI the government is not just defending it's policy but all Nigerians from the racist statements made by the magazine. Except of course you agree that you all who have commented in support of the magazine are indeed wild animals that need 'taming'

Eddy Ogbunambala said...

Well...

FredLaw said...

Why is FG slamming The Economist? APC was the leading cheerleader of every anti-GEJ article the newspaper published in the run up to the elections. Everyone can see The Change Begins With Me campaign for what it is.

Bree said...

Happy that other countries re seeing it ......#shame to WICKED Government

Yusuf Dimas said...

Change just like charity... begins at home! If we'd all change then all the better..!

Omotayo Aderonke Victoria said...

God will take control... Nice How to get 7G for just #700

evy claret said...

There might be an iota of truth in what The Economist wrote

Eva Da Diva...

Get traffic to your blog said...

Get traffic to your blog

TonyBanks said...

A government that has perfected the art of lying just to deceive the Nigerians.
They should go ahead under whatsoever guise to tame Nigerians. We will resist them.

Anonymous said...

@BobTruth - you must be Lai Mohammed. I read the Economist article. I also did a control-F search and did not find any reference to wild animals. They called a spade a spade. BUhari and his team are clueless. People cannot be civilized when hunger has degraded them to the point of bringing out their animal instincts. Civility is for the well fed. You cant tell someone who has starved for 3 days that they should not accept 10k naira to engage in a vice. All they can think of as they accept the money is how they will buy the next meal. So get off your high horse and accept that you and your boss are massively clueless.

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