Two tragic events and moral acts have defined our moral world in the last few weeks. The death of Nigerian youths and the moral failure of the Nigerian state to take responsibility. The death of South Korean youths and the promptness of the South Korean state in taking responsibility.
In doing this, I have come to the conclusion that Nigerian rulers do not read anything we write and that their ethical bodies if they have any seem frozen, dead and their hearts are nothing but hearts of darkness. But we still have to do this only for sake of history, for memory, and for the dead.
I will start with my dear country Nigeria. On March 15, 2014 19 employment seeking Nigerian youths died in the hands of the Nigerian state through the mismanagement of the recruitment exercise supervised by President Jonathan’s minister of Interior-Abba Moro. Consistent with everything Nigeria, we the Nigerian people have consigned the death of 19 young Nigerians who were looking for employment from their country to the dustbin of history. We are forgetting. We are moving on.
Consistent with everything Nigeria, we made some noise, wrote some opinion pieces condemning the action of Mr. Morro, sympathizing with the dead, and that is all. Consistent with everything Nigeria politics and ethnicity were dubiously fed to the media criticism of this death. However, it remains a fact that a Commander in Chief who led his army to the death chamber does not deserve to be in office for one more day. Mr. Moro is that Commander in Chief who killed nineteen young Nigerians. He ought to have been sacked by President Jonathan if he, Moro is dishonorable and graceless enough to have forgotten to submit his letter of resignation.
Fast Forward and go global to the Asian continent. The country is South Korea. On April 16, 2014, Sewol a 6825 –ton ferry sank. 302 people most of who are high school students are dead or missing. Public criticism of the death of the young South Koreans followed. Wiping tears from the faces of his people, Mr. Chung Hong-won, the Prime Minister apologized to the South Korean people in a nationally televised news conference.
I bring Mr. Chung Hong-won statement to fellow Nigerians. Mr. Hong-won said, “When I saw the people’s sadness and fury, I thought it was natural for me to step down with an apology.” He did and he is leaving the government if only in eternal honor to the ideal memory of the dead, to atone for the unfortunate deaths in a graceful gesture to the grieving good South Korean people.
Fast backward to the Heart of Darkness, Nigeria my own country, my birth country, my beloved country, the only entity which consistently sags me against the wall as she saps my emotions to nothingness.
On April 14, 2014 over 250 girls were abducted from their dormitory in Government Secondary School Chibok, Borno State in my country. Boko Haram, Nigeria’s Heart of Darkness, the very pinnacle of evil, my country’s evil contribution to the multiple hearts of darkness in the world, hearts of darkness, which masquerade under religious faith- Boko Haram-, has claimed responsibility. It has been reported that about 50 girls managed to escape leaving about 250 girls. Nothing else describes this other than that it is the Heart Of Darkness.
Even when some of us in the past took him to the cleaners for daring to call Africa the Heart of Darkness, Mr. Joseph Conrad the author of the book “Heart of Darkness” must look at us from his grave as he grins with complete satisfaction with his unfortunate characterization. I will not know what to say if Mr. Conrad wakes up from his grave and knocks on my door and tells my children that he calls to ask me if we have found our daughters from the hearts of darkness-Boko Haram- that justify his book, from the evil fangs of Boko Haram.
I am a parent. You touch any of our children; my response will be predictable, clear, precise, and unmeasured. Mom and I know and are wont to say that naked we came, naked we shall return. Therefore, while each life counts for same as a natural law, for us the social imperative privileges the lives of our children over ours. Thus any source of death must first claim us-as parents- before our children. In deference the moral call we willingly stand prior to our children in death.
This is the point the South Korean Prime Minister understood as he did the only thing he could do to atone when he willingly resigned from office. This is the point President Jonathan and Mr. Abba Moro are deaf and dead to. Hence, it is a mark of horror and dishonor that Abba Moro is still in office serving President Jonathan as a minister of interior. This is why both Jonathan and Moro will forever remind us of our collective historical shame- Joseph Conrad’s “The Heart of Darkness”.
In the Hearts of Darkness ethics is dead while life is short, nasty and brutish. That is what Boko Haram shows. That is what Abba Moro symbolizes in sitting tight in office. President Jonathan crowns, deepens and entrenches the immorality of the Heart of Darkness in failing to sack Abba Moro.
I am aware that President has put a price of 50 million naira on the heads of the abductors of our Chibok daughters and children. I put it to President Goodluck Jonathan that it is one act too late.
If President Jonathan wants to convince Nigerians that he takes the lives of our children seriously and that he is not playing politics with the lives he must commence the process of ending the Hearts of Darkness by booting out Abba Moro his minister for interior for his hands are bloodied with the death of 19 Nigerian youths.
This is the minimum that will begin to symbolically convince us that he, Goodluck Jonathan as our Commander in Chief will gird his loins and go after the other Heart of Darkness-Boko Haram toe for toe as our Commander in Chief to find our daughters. This is one act, which symbolically is not too late.
Adeolu Ademoyo firstname.lastname@example.org is of Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.