It was supposed to be a rallying cry for unity in a nation deep in recession crisis.
However the launch of President Buhari’s ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign quickly went south as Nigerians took to Twitter to vent their frustrations against his government.
During a national address on Thursday, the president said: “The campaign principle is simple, each of us must live the change we want to see in our society.”
He added: “Before you ask, ‘where is the change they promised us,’ you must first ask, ‘how far have I changed my ways.”
Angry Nigerians poured scorn on the initiative. Some felt the sentiment was tone deaf and failed to address the myriad problems Nigerians face on a daily basis. Top of that list is an economy in free fall and mass youth unemployment.
Last month, Nigeria’s second quarter GDP fell by more than two percent compared to last year, after slipping by 0.4% in the first quarter. Two consecutive quarters of decline mean Nigeria has now slid into recession.
While he has been tough on corruption, Nigerians feel his authoritarian approach is out of touch when he needs to inspire hope for better times.
Many used the #ChangeBeginsWithMe hash tag to let the president know he has failed in his earlier promise to deliver change.
Buhari also recently launched a “War Against Indiscipline” — one of his flagship schemes when he was first in power more than 30 years ago.