Despite the economic challenges in the country, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has given the assurance of the administration’s readiness to commence the N5, 000 stipends to the most vulnerable people in the society starting from this month.
He also said the process for the recruitment of 500, 000 people has also commenced in realisation of the present administration’s efforts and commitment to its social intervention program.
The Minister gave this assurance in his office in Abuja on Tuesday while receiving a delegation of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) led by its national president Mrs. Gloria Laraba Shoda who paid him a courtesy call.
Mohammed charged the delegation to be agent of the campaign ‘Change Begins with Me’ as it is not meant to put any burden on Nigerians but a deliberate effort to change their attitude for the good of the country.
“We are particularly pleased that you have stretched your hand of fellowship to our new campaign ‘Change Begins with Me’, It is laudable that you want to join us because you understand that this Campaign is about National Rebirth; it’s about going back to those values that made women to be able to bring up their children in a godly manner”, he said.
He said the criticism of the campaign from some quarters stems from misconception, noting that the truth about the Campaign is that it started from the top to the bottom.
“People have criticized the campaign; some have said the campaign ought to start from the top and we agreed because they have not followed the campaign. The campaign actually started from the top because the best campaign is the one you do what you are preaching.
“This government is leading by example, especially the President, Vice-President and the Ministers. This is the least ostentatious cabinet you can ever have. We are all living and showing good examples. We obey traffic rules, queue up at airports and public places; we go to work early and close late”.
The Minister is optimistic that despite the criticism, Nigerians will soon imbibe the tenets of “Change Begins with Me” Campaign and make it a huge success.
“This campaign is going to succeed. The campaign is not asking Nigerians to do anything extra; we are not putting any burden on any person. What is our campaign? We are saying Nigerians must first of all resolve that the change we are looking for is in each and every one of us; that all of us must change what we are doing from the negative to the positive”, he said.
In her earlier remarks, the president of the NCWS, Mrs. Shoda indicated the readiness of the council to partner with the Federal Government to drive the national re-orientation campaign ‘Change Begins with Me’.
She said, “We crave the indulgence of the Minister to direct the National Orientation Agency (NOA) at the federal and state levels to co-opt members of the NCWS during the advocacy campaign, ‘Change Begins with Me’.
“This is important to us because a lot of Nigerians tend to view the campaign as having a political undertone, while it is meant to provoke Nigerians to change from negative behaviors and embrace discipline and patriotism; it is meant to be a value added initiative for a better Nigeria”.
Shoda appealed to the government to set up a special task force to curb the cases of rape and child molestation, which have become rampant in the country.
The NCWS is an umbrella body of women’s societies in Nigeria, formed in 1958 to promote gender-related issues.