The Chidinma Before All of Us


Ernest Omoarelojie


I have read the much I can, concernedly of course, about the still unfolding tragedy involving Chidinma Ojukwu, the young lady who allegedly murdered the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga. From available information, I am still at my wit’s end trying to figure out what really transpired. I am not entirely bought on what has been said. But that is certainly not the thrust of this piece. If anything at all left left to be unraveled, that should be the responsibility of relevant security agencies.
I am not interested in the stale talk about moral decadence on the issue, one in which some of us are appalled that a fifty-something year-old man is rumping a twenty-something year lass young enough to be his daughter. It may be morally appalling to some of us but excuse me, it is a damned, legally permissible act between two consenting adults. I won’t go there. For the now, I am a lot more concerned about the realities young people tend to ignore. I am also concerned with the drop heart penchant by some to quickly apportion blame, often laid at the tables of parents. Indeed, I have read of claims by learned as well as failed parents, accusing Chidinma’s father of having failed in his responsibilities. I don’t get it.
I have listened to the much I could from Chidinma herself. From both video and written interviews, I am fairly conversant with her revelation about herself and family life, about being brought up, in the main, by her father, who often time, had to delegate same to one aunt or the other. I learn about her broken academic journey, particularly in secondary school due, as she explained, to paucity of funds. It’s a heartbreaking experience but gladly, she went through the trauma, while still under aged and cared for, before securing admission into one of the country’s most prestigious tertiary institutions, the University of Lagos, where she is as a 3rd year Mass Communication undergraduate. For crying out, the picture carved her out as a tenacious, goal-getting young lass who certainly had her demons like everyone else. But she dealt well with them. That’s taking responsibility…until the events culminating into the one under review. Obviously, something went wrong somewhere along the line.
From Chidinma’s account, her romance with drugs began about a year ago. The point I couldn’t miss from her account is that she missed her grove at that stage. Indeed, if I am to hold firm to the notion that madness is the inability of the mind to adjust to reality, I have no doubt in my mind that Chidinma got her grove wrong from that moment she decided to run away from her shadow. Let me enunciate on this a little.
Mr Ojukwu raised three children out of which Chidinma is in the middle. Up until she got involved in drugs, she was the adorable, easy going beautiful introvert that could not hurt a fly. But with drugs which she informedly took up as a habit as an adult, she became a walking accident, a cold blooded murderer, allegedly, who successfully confounded those who supposedly knew her. From her account, she did not pick up the habit as a young underaged lass strictly controlled by her father under whose care she was back then. That she still lived under the same roof with her does not mean that terms and conditions remain the same between the ages.
Importantly, what is happening to her now did not happen to either her elder or younger sisters. The presupposition here is that more than anyone else, she is the architect of whatever she is going through now as an informed adult. She must not only live with her choices, she’s got to take responsibility for same.
The lesson for all young people is self-evident and simple-no one will bear your cross for the choices you make. Earnestly, young people need to wake up to the realization that taking responsibility is the rule rather than exception. A lot may be lucky to escape justice but when it gets served, it is cold and chilling as Chidinma will soon find out.
For parents, it is a long haul. I have had to live with the reality of a Chidinma since her story broke and I can safely state here that there may be more to the quiet-looking, brilliant and unassuming introvert. Now I can add that it is time for parents to be on the knees before them and before God. Before them because it seems they succumb more to the enticing easy-to-grab peer get-it-quick lessons as opposed to rather boring experience-informed virtues of old which they appear to listen to while at home but drop as they turn the corner. If parents must be told, and as Chidinma has told everyone, there is more to young, quiet, unassuming young ones than we all sees. They know too much more than anyone else will ever believe. It’s time for parents to raise the loins and appeal to young people’s good conscience.
Parents need to be on their knees before God for obvious reasons. There is no time for blame games. If any parent is lucky to have his or kids over the hurdle, it is not yet Uhuru. Others still in deep in trenches could come calling as the Ataga-Chidinma combination revealed. One bad apple is capable of spoiling the other good ones. It is time to put them before God and pray he takes charge. It’s time for every one of us, every stakeholder, to take responsibility. That’s the cross before all of us.

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