Success Adegor, the Plowshares Eight, teenage Daniel and the rest of us, By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu

Posted by News Express | 30 March 2019 | 2,487 times

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•Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu

“Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” — Edmund Burke

Success Adegor, as the name implies, is now a success story. She dared an unjust status quo and preferred to be flogged rather than to be driven away from school. After all, it is the cane and the flogger that would get tired at the end of the day, and not her.

 Her story is a clear demonstration that men of honour do not keep silent in the face of injustice. It pays to dare an unjust status quo. Initially it looks fatal, but at the end of the day it pays all and sundry.

The group of eight Americans who were later known as the “Plowshares Eight” put their lives on the line that millions would-be victims of a monstrous arsenal, which gulped three millions(?) a day from the public treasury, might be spared.

On September 9, 1980, these Americans forced their way into the General Electric Nuclear Missile Reentry Plant in King Prussia, Pennsylvania. The nose cones for the Mark 12A, a nuclear missile were produced at this location. The “Plowshares Eight” hammered some hollow onto nose cones, poured blood on some documents, prayed for peace and left.

They were later arrested and sentenced to prison terms of about 10 years. Their statements during the trial were captivating. They said that they had gone to Pennsylvania to “beat sword into plowshares” (and to) expose the criminality of nuclear weaponry and corporate piracy.

Daniel Berrigan, one of the “Plowshares Eight” aptly captured their act thus: “Our act is all I have to say. The only message I have to the world is: We are not allowed to kill innocent people. We are not allowed to be complicit in murder. We are not allowed to be silent while preparations for mass murder proceed in our name, with our money, secretly. I have nothing else to say in the world. At other times one could talk about family life and divorce and birth control and abortion and many other questions. But this Mark 12A is here. And it renders all other questions null and void. Nothing, nothing can be settled until this is settled! Or, this will settle us, once and for all. It is terrible for me to live in a time where I have nothing to tell human beings, except, ‘stop killing.’ There are other beautiful things that I would love to be saying to people. There are other projects I could be very helpful at. And I can't do them. I cannot: Because, everything is endangered. Everything is up for grabs. Ours is a kind of primitive situation, even though we would call ourselves sophisticated.”

Decades after the “Plowshares Eight episode”, another Daniel, a teenage Daniel, this time around from Edo State of Nigeria, stowed away in a plane which he thought was bound for the Americas. Daniel thought that the flight was going to America as he wanted to travel outside Nigeria. That singular action elevated him to the status of a hero, rather than a villain. His activity offered him beautiful opportunities as he gained a scholarship from the then Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

It takes the boldness of good men to rewrite history.

Success Adegor has rewritten the history of millions of Nigerian children who study under harsh conditions. Her boldness has exposed how dilapidated our educational infrastructures are. Her boldness has graphically painted us as the proverbial man who lives at the bank of the river but washes his hand with the spittle. It has unveiled how reactionary we are as a nation. Now, the wealthy among us, even our politicians, are playing to the gallery, jostling for space to be noticed in their quest to contribute to Success Adegor’s project. Before now, they turned their eyes away from the rot that has eaten deep into our educational system.

In this generation and generations to come, our collective prayer should be: “May the likes of Adegor and “Plowshares Eight”, who dared to conquer, be in abundant supply.”

•Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu, a public policy analyst, writes from Aba, via keshiafrica@gmail.com

 


Source: News Express

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