Posted in Prose

Signs of confused activism


Noel A. Ihebuzor

Activism is now one of the fastest growing buzz and fancy words. It has style and appeal. It has class. Quite a number of persons on social media would immediately lay claims to be engaging in this highly rated practice either as a hobby or as a full time professional pursuit. But like all buzz words, the word activism “contains” a lot of fuzz. The fuzz arises because “activism” is gradually becoming a label that has been hijacked and is now being used to describe the activities of a variety of persons from genuine crusaders for social justice through to paid political party agents to social media demagogues. Confusion clearly abounds and an important step in wading through this confusion is to try to come up with a simple scheme that would enable a citizen to distinguish between genuine activism and fake activism. I call fake activism confused activism just to recognise that not all manifestations of it are intentional since some clearly result from situations where unbridled zeal and exuberance have outrun sense, self-restraint, competence and capacity.    Here are some signs of confused activism I have gleaned from social media.

  1. The display of selective moral outrage
  2. The abandonment of reason
  3. The embrace of illogicality and the descent to inconsistency
  4. The rejoicing over any government misfortune
  5. Refusing to see the very obvious
  6. Denying or rejecting clear evidences of government successes
  7. Trivialising landmark events and changes brought about by government policies
  8. Magnifying government mistakes out of proportion
  9. Maintaining total silence on opposition gaffes
  10. Defending glaring flaws in persons in the opposition
  11. Enforcing total silence on the crimes of members of the opposition
  12. Demonizing the government but beatifying anyone opposed to it.
  13. Blanking out the unsavoury pasts of newly turned “progressives”
  14. Revising and photo-shopping the past to fit the present
  15. Purveying inaccuracies and merchandising distortions
  16. Becoming salespersons and champions of exaggerations
  17. Looking before leaping; tweeting before thinking
  18. Commenting on things without any full understanding of them
  19. Consistently condemning government and commending the opposition
  20. Charging into battle like a Don Quixote & engaging in non-evidence/non-fact based utterances

The incidence of confused activism can be reduced if we all begin today to turn our backs to behaviours such as I have listed above and start to embrace a culture of more balanced, evidence based and socially constructive engagements which are the hallmarks of genuine activism.


Posted in Uncategorized


Susan Daniels Poetry

There is choice.  We can die
from the shame of what is done
to us.  We can wear the names
like letters branded into our skin
and quietly disappear,
become the nothings
they say we are, banished and vanished,
or we can wear our own words.

We can show them
women are not sheep.
Girls are not fruit.
There is no shearing of hair
or reaping a harvest from us.

We learn through breath
the difference between being a victim
and becoming a survivor
is subtle, delicate
before it grows strength:

That shift across the line
of being versus agency
is a thing danced, not learned;
sidestepping guilt and spinning it
back where it belongs
with something simple as a lifted head,
a turn around to shout back
at what is muttered under breath,
or the woman who did not stand in shame, wordless,
but blocked a door 
shouting for police,

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ASUU is on strike again. Who cares? SMH

Ikhide takes a hide…

Pa Ikhide

The Academic Staff Union of Universities of Nigeria. ASUU. ASUU is on strike again. Who cares? They are thugs, they are always on strike, nobody seems to know why, except that it involves being paid a boatload of money by their counterparts, those thieves euphemistically called the Nigerian government. ASUU. My contempt for that body of narcissistic thugs knows no bounds. There is really not much one needs to say about how these rogues in academic robes have colluded with any government in power (AGIP) to defraud and rob generations of beautiful children what is their right – a good education. To say ASUU is on strike is to state the obvious, they are nearly always on strike, even when they are at work, they are on strike. Their members want to have sex with every child that walks into their pretend classrooms, when they have satisfied themselves, they pimp their…

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Posted in Prose

The 26th September March


Noel A. Ihebuzor

Our legislators are among the best paid in the world. If you look at their salaries and emoluments relative to either the mean, median and modal wages in Nigeria, then you are forced to take back that statement and to correctly say that they are among the “worst” paid in the world since their salaries are totally out of sync with the socio-economic realities of their environment. The Economist report has it that the basic salary of a legislator is about 116 times Nigeria’s GDP per person. Now if this claim is accurate, such a salary is not just bad, it is sinful. Our legislators ought to, in every responsibility, advocate for an immediate downward review of their salaries and allowances. I will be among the first to support a petition by the electorate for the immediate downward review of the salaries and allowances of these people.

Our history on demonstrations is not the best in the world. We appear to be totally unable to come up with demonstrations with peaceful endings. The fault is at two levels. The first is with the demonstrators.   Some of the demonstrators act with immaturity and are prone to demonstrating the worst forms of self- restraint during demonstrations. The second is with the agents of law and order who are not always “lawful nor orderly” in their conduct and who are not very skilled in handling demonstrations/marches and in crowd control. The combination of an immature group of persons and law enforcement agents who are not too skilled in the management of crowds during demonstrations usually spells disaster. Disaster arrives even faster when mischievous element, anxious to make either political capital or quick financial gains from demonstrations,  join this mix. The descent from a peaceful assembly and parade to confusion, mayhem, anarchy, tire burning, road blocks, extortion and other forms of disorderly conduct is rapid and the consequences can be very  painful, wasteful and socially divisive.

I hear a march to protest NASS salaries is planned for 26th September, 2013. Details are still sketchy as to the locations, route, how and the form of this march. But it is important for the march organisers to recognise upfront the realities of demonstrations in Nigeria and to take steps to ensure that the planned march is peaceful and that their ranks are not infiltrated by elements with other intentions. They must also ensure that the march is not hijacked by persons or groups with party political motives and ambitions. It is important that clearance(s) for the march or marches (if they are planned for several locations) are obtained from the relevant authorities and that designated venues and routes are kept to. The organisers must therefore organise a responsible march and ensure that marchers march with responsibility and keep within the limits of the law. The law enforcement agencies, on their part, also must keep away from provoking the demonstrators. Their roles must focus on ensuring public order and peace and on protecting the lives and safety of Nigerians, including the marchers who they must see as simply exercising their democratic rights. The crowds must be handled with great sensitivity and tough tactics should only be deployed when breaches of the peace are clear and obvious. When this happens, response should swift, targeted and commensurate with the perceived risk and nothing more. We saw such swift and targeted responses in the police handling of the last riots in the UK.

I do not want to be alarmist but I am just calling attention to a planned event that could provoke clashes which then have the potential of snowballing out of control.  Clashes can be avoided if clear commitments are made before the march and adhered to by the marchers and law enforcement agents also agree to abide and actually abide by agreed principles of crowd control during the march. Incidentally, the planned march can still be headed off now (and valuable man hours and agro saved and possible disasters/hard feeling averted) if significant persons representing all the political parties from both houses of the National Assembly were to step forward now and assure the electorate that the NASS would be engaging in discussions with the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in the very near future with a view to a downward and realistic review of the salaries and allowances of their members.


Posted in Uncategorized

Spotlight on Nigeria’s education crisis

A slow onset but protracted emergency and social time bomb! Cry, the beloved country!

World Education Blog

Education in Nigeria is in crisis: 10.5 million children are out of school, more than in any other country, and over half of adults in the country are illiterate, a legacy of decades of poor education. In response, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, attended an education summit yesterday in Abuja, Nigeria, together with President Goodluck Jonathan, state governors and the education commissioners of all 36 states.

The UN Special Envoy and the policy makers were joined by major education partners such as USAID, Qatar’s Educate a Child, the Global Partnership for Education, and the Global Business Coalition for Education. They were expected to announce significant new financial support for education and discuss how it could be used to build more schools, recruit and train more teachers, and implement new technology.

A similar trip by the UN Special Envoy in July helped put the education emergency in…

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The library lives still

The Library is no longer a Building!

Pa Ikhide

For my friend, Uzo Onyemaechi, the Millenium librarian. Biri kwe!

The writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has a lovely piece in Guernica magazine, Why Are You here?. It is a sobering commentary on what passes for education in Nigeria.  Hear Adichie:

“It is not surprising that parents do not want their children to attend university in Nigeria. Many students themselves would leave if they had the opportunity. About ten years ago, I left after almost three years at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, not so much because of the conditions, which were not good, but because I no longer wanted to study medicine. Now, the student complaints are sadly the same—the classes are overcrowded, no books in the library, no computers, no chemicals in the lab, lecturers force students to buy handouts which are just recycled outdated textbooks, incessant lecturer strikes elongate programs, exam schedules are often haphazard. Private universities…

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Remembering Ekwensi’s spirit: Ode to the Sokugo

Pa Ikhide

For Cyprian Odiatu Duaka  Ekwensi (1921-2007)

Deep in America’s grinding labor mines, my memories hear my childhood chiming the Angelus. I pause to luxuriate in the coming pleasure of tugging at the camphor smell of mama’s wrapper. The bugler stands, starched khaki clean, on the hill of many wars, horns hollering Taps for a warrior struck one last time by the sokugo. Our dispatch-rider, high on joy, and apeteshie, stands tall on giant Fanta bottles of ogogoro balanced on his Triumph motorcycle. Uniformed myrmidon of the coming darkness, dispatch rider of generations of Africa’s worst despots takes a break from ushering yet another coming of yet another dictator and performing somersaults on the motorcycle of many memories, and confirms the final journey of the warrior, Cyprian Ekwensi. Here in America, we shiver at attention in our blue suits – alien regalia offspring of our ancestors apologizing in alien regalia.



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Francis: War is Always a Defeat for Humanity!


“Look upon your brother’s sorrow – I think of the children, look upon these – look upon your brother’s sorrow, and do not add to it, stay your hand, rebuild the harmony that has been shattered; and all this not by conflict but by encounter! May the noise of weapons cease!”           

Full Text of Pope Francis Address in the Prayer Vigil for For Peace[Vatican, September 07, 2013]

“‘And God saw that it was good’. The biblical account of the beginning of the history of the world and of humanity speaks to us of a God who looks at creation, in a sense contemplating it, and declares: ‘it is good’. This, dear brothers and sisters, allows us to enter into God’s heart and, precisely from within him, to receive his message. We can ask ourselves: what does this message mean? What does it say to…

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Posted in Uncategorized

The ‘Deintellectualisation’ of the Academia in Africa

Steps to recover, reclaim and redeem our Ivory Towers. A worthy read.


I just read this paper (see pdf below): “REINTELLECTUALIZATION OF THE DEINTELLECTUALIZED ACADEMIA IN AFRICA: PROCESS, PRODUCT AND PATHWAY” by Professor Joel Babatunde Babalola. It was graciously shared by Dr Noel A. Ihebuzor.


Professor Babalola argues that:

[…] the academia in Sub-Saharan Africa has become deintellectualized over the years owing to hostile environmental conditions, depraved resource situation and compromised intellectual processes as well as poverty in the feedback mechanisms. As a way out, a system-approach intellectual revival is proposed to reintellectualize the deintellectualized academia in the continent. To this end, this paper is arguing for a process involving reinvigoration and retooling of non-organic and immature intellectuals who are based in various interacting parts of the knowledge systems in Africa to imbibe and be immersed in the global spirit of intellectualism, thereby catching the intellectual…

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