Responsibility in The Heart of Darkness, By Adeolu Ademoyo
Why is Jonathan, Shettima, and Abubakar still keeping their jobs?
Tons of colonialist literature were written on Africa during the dark ages of enslavement and colonialism. Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” was one of the negative classics. When Mr. Conrad wrote “The Heart Of Darkness,” given the data he presented, some of us disagreed with his interpretation of Africa.
With our children languishing in the hearts and clutch of darkness, and with the failure of two central players in this evil dance in the forest– President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Kashim Shettima unwillingness to take responsibility for their failure to defend our children from the clutch of darkness, I think it would be difficult to controvert calling this Boko Haram act The Heart of Darkness.
Talking about heart of darkness, sadly, both the Nigerian state on one hand and we grieving parents on the other hand have been unable to give the EXACT FIGURE of the number of our daughters under the clutch of darkness -Boko Haram. To demonstrate this colossal failure, please check the number we quote in the media. We often say “…about ….chibok school girls were abducted…” Yet we all are talking about human beings, our daughters.
This collective failure, this grand failure to be able to say exactly how many of our daughters are currently in the land of darkness, is significant both morally and from the point of view of national security. This is because given the immoral nature of forces of darkness, the life of just one daughter may eventually not be accounted for in this heart of darkness-Boko Haram.
Therefore, we must start counting NOW! It is simple arithmetic. It is not rocket science. And President Goodluck Jonathan of PDP and Governor Kashim Shettima, APC of Borno state must lead that simple arithmetic. They must tell us EXACTLY the number of our children who both of them allowed the agents of darkness, Boko Haram to abduct. We do not want to read or hear “about….” anymore. Excuse me, we are talking about our children, our daughters, human beings.
This inability to give an exact number lends credibility to the view that there is a conspiracy among members of Nigerian ruling elites in this matter. And that the conspiracy is about political power, its control and its use to redistribute resources in the country. It also shows why neither President Goodluck Jonathan of PDP nor Governor Kashim Shettima of APC has come out openly to claim responsibility. But the facts of ground show that they are both guilty-FULL STOP.
Thus, either both of them resign from office or they openly tell us and hold those whose job is to protect our children responsible. Those who should be queried and if found negligent be sacked include the minister for defense, General Aliyu Gusau, the National Security Adviser to president Jonathan, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, the Inspector General of Police Mr. Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar. Shortly, I will refresh us with both local and global instances.
But refresh your minds with why President Jonathan and Governor Shettima should leave or lead and hold responsible those whose job it is to protect our children. Our daughters were abducted from a school in a Nigerian state. The school, which is a boarding school is located in a division of police. Therefore, the school has boarding staff, is under a school principal, is under a police commissioner, is under the jurisdiction of a Governor of a state, is located in a country called Nigeria and that country has a president. These are brute data that justify my call.
For example, I am a teacher in a university. If anything untoward happens to the students I teach during my class under my watch, if I do not honorably hand over my resignation, I will justifiably be queried and if found guilty justifiably be sacked. It is the law. It will not be because I am black, short, tall, ugly or handsome. It will be because of the law that governs all of us, and which we all must uphold.
Therefore, with the Chibok schoolgirls, we must insist that someone should at least publicly take responsibility for this collective failure. This is not a needle in the hay sack. Taking responsibility is the least difficult thing to do. The day the Hearts of Darkness-Boko Haram-abducted our daughters was the day President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Kashim Shettima lost the moral basis to continue in office when they failed to hold someone responsible. Examples in civilized world show and justify the moral significance of taking responsibility. I will repeat just two examples.
Here in the US we witnessed difficult moments with the registration of citizens under the Obamacare Health Insurance scheme. Obamacare, which is a legitimate moral act initially, became a technological nightmare during registration period. Then (not now) many could not register. Yet the same secretary of health –Kathleen Sebelius under whose watch Obamacare resolved the problem before she left. But that was not enough. Gracefully with her head held high in dignity, she resigned honorably in complete moral deference to the citizens. In other words, she said “I was responsible. I am sorry. I resigned”.
Same thing in South Korea. A ferry sank. Lives were lost. The Prime Minister-Mr. Chung Hong-won did not wait. He resigned. Again, he took responsibility.
Therefore to fail to start from the basics, the morally irreducible and ask someone-President Jonathan and Governor Kashim Shettima- to take responsibility is to turn the abduction into a mythic act. It is not. Someone did it. And someone failed to prevent those who did it. This is the moral ground norm, the moral irreducible from which other things will follow. This is an ethical thing. It is beyond ethnicity. It is not a North-South thing. It is beyond religion.
Taking responsibility this way is what will show that we will go to for toe after the forces of darkness –Boko Haram-scorch it and ground it for Boko Haram does not represent Africa, neither does it represent Islam. But someone in Aso Rock, Abuja and Maiduguri must do the following. Take responsibility. Scorch Boko Haram. Ground it.
Adeolu Ademoyo email@example.com is of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.