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Taking Responsibility by ajuksobi: 12:11pm On Jan 23

Ajukura, Fidelis O.
23rd January, 2024.

Blaming others for our ineptitude and mistakes is a practice common to man. From the beginning of human history, man has always made frantic effort to refuse to accept responsibility for some undesirable events caused by him. In Gen. 3:9-13, Adam and Eve refused to take responsibility for their failure. While Adam blamed Eve, the woman God gave him, Eve blamed the serpent for making her disobey God's instruction. None of them accepted to take responsibility for their action.

Failing to take responsibility makes a bad case worse: it offends the sensibility of the one being addressed. By failing to show regret or take responsibility for their action, Adam and Eve offended God the more so much so that He drove them away from the beautiful garden of Eden.

Taking responsibility is the opposite of shifting blame. Taking responsibility entails the realization that a mistake or error has been committed hence, the need to show remorse and tender a sincere apology. Taking responsibility is a virtue that is informed by one's knowledge concerning human life. Taking responsibility is a burden that many people are not willing to bear; they always want to present themselves as innocent and flawless. Taking responsibility is an act of honour and integrity - only the brave and courageous take responsibility. In this regard, David in the Bible is a typical example. When David was confronted by Nathan over his atrocity in the house of Uriah, he did not behave like Adam and Eve who shifted blame. Instead, he regretted his action and even condemned himself for committing such wickedness. For this singular act of taking responsibility, God looked upon him with mercy. In our homes, offices etc, if someone genuinely expresses or shows remorse for his/her action, such a fellow is most likely to be looked upon with mercy.

Shifting blame is a grave evil that many people consciously or unconsciously indulge in. In our homes, schools, offices, religious houses etc, people shift blame. Shifting of blame is associated with lies. People who shift blame often commit the fallacy of 'argumentum ad baculum' (appeal to force) even when they know that they're lying. In social media, there is a popular comedy skit of how a young man who's probably a driver or a gateman in a rich home impregnated the family house-girl. When the master of the house found out, he sacked both the young man and the house-girl and; pushed them out of the house. Confused and didn't know where to go with his "accidental" wife, he called one of his brothers in the village that he has lost his job. When his brother demanded to know what happened, he blamed it on the rain that fell one night. When his master and his wife travelled, he was left alone with the house-girl. According to him, that night, there was a heavy rainfall and the weather was cool. NEPA even made the matter worse by cutting power supply. This situation, he maintained is responsible for his present predicament. The skit, reveals how foolish people can be when they try to evade taking responsibility. The young man never saw his lack of self-control as the source of his trouble. Instead, he blamed the cool weather and power outage. What foolishness!

In our society, it is considered almost anomalous to take responsibility for a mistake or a bad action. Whoever takes responsibility for a bad job is often looked upon with derision; it is believed that such a person is not clever. In the history of our national life, individuals and institutions have always engaged in blame games. In areas where they have apparently performed abysmally poor, they still go ahead to look for who to blame. A vivid example of shifting blame was aptly demonstrated by APC when it took over the reigns of authority from the PDP. Having failed to deliver on the campaign promises it made to Nigerians, it turned around to blame PDP. To the APC members, the 16 years of PDP rule is the reason why they're not able to achieve their goals. This is a lame excuse!

Taking responsibility makes people to regard one with seriousness. By owning up or taking responsibility of failure, people recognizes one's sincerity and also understand that, it is possible that the person concerned may have been confronted by situations he/she didn't envisage. But having identified the challenges, it is most likely that he/she will do better if given another opportunity

When people genuinely show remorse for their failures and mistakes, chances are high that such will not repeat itself. Therefore, as parents, children, teachers, preachers, employers, employees etc, let us imbibe the practice of taking responsibility. In the event that we're not able to verbally take responsibility because of the sensitive nature of the matter, our actions should be able to attest or speak for us.

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