This is one of the busiest June 12 celebrations we have had in Nigeria’s history. Actually, this is the very first June 12 celebration that is indeed a celebration, not another opportunity to debate the validity of the 1993 elections, or argue about the legacy of its major players. Thankfully, President Buhari in an unprecedented turn of events has chosen to elevate the elections as the true symbol of Nigerian democracy it is, apologise for the government’s hand in thwarting the progress it represented and making amends.
Buhari’s government has often felt reactionary, concerned only with putting out existing fires instead of preempting the future and correcting the past. This was best illustrated by the major mandate through which the Buhari government was elected to power, its promise to find and rescue the Chibok Girls from captivity. The government’s unexpected decision to honour the June 12 elections was the sign we needed, a gesture that suggested that Buhari simply isn’t chasing re-election. But now that we know the government is more nuanced than its actions have suggested, perhaps it is time we asked more of them.
Nigerians are doing this right now with the new hashtag #MakeChangeGreatAgain. Started by a number of important social commentators, the hashtag is comparing the country before the present government was voted into power and the situation on ground now. It is also comparing the government’s campaign promises to the actual actions that it has implemented in three years since office. Here are some of their very valid concerns.
— Ayobami (@dondekojo) June 12, 2018
#MakeChangeGreatAgain. The economic front has been a disaster. I am poorer now than I was years ago because one man thought he was a magician and therefore could cast a spell and $1=NGN1. The poor have borne the brunt of Buhari’s economic mismanagement.
— Nnayelugo (@Eloka51) June 12, 2018
Even media mogul Linda Ikeji got in on the hashtag.
Promise of change turn to change of promises. Buhari’s Government Has Turned Out To Be The Biggest Disaster In The History Of Nigeria. #MakeChangeGreatAgain
— Linda Ikeji (@Lindaiikeji) June 12, 2018
A cursory scroll through the hashtag proves that there are still many Nigerians on and offline who believe that this government has failed in its mandate and their concerns are understandable. Even when this government has worked, it hasn’t really done a great job of communicating its achievements. However there is still time, a sliver of an opportunity for Buhari’s government to deliver on its promises and communicate to the electorate why it hasn’t thus far.
#MakeChangeGreatAgain needn’t stay a hashtag when it can become a reality.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.