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.



Development and policy analyst with a strong interest in the arts and inclusive social change. Dabbles occasionally into poetry and literary criticism!

8 thoughts on “Signs of confused activism

  1. Reblogged this on FEATHERS PROJECT and commented:
    “embrace a culture of more balanced, evidence based and socially constructive engagements which are the hallmarks of genuine activism.” – Noel Ihebuzor


    1. Nwach, thanks for the reblog. The path of evidence based and facts driven social engagement is the one that all who aspire after the title of activists must walk. For social activism is nothing else but the committed evidence based non-partisan engagement for inclusive socio-economic change.


    1. IKenna, Dalu. The road may be long and difficult but all who aspire after activism must get on it. It is a road characterised by balance, empathy, concern for truth, search and use of evidence, positive engagement and flight from partisanship and cheap emotionalisms. It is a road that demands discipline and one that shuns concern for material rewards and gains. It is road where the ultimate end game is to foster and create the enabling environment for sustained, inclusive and beneficial social change. With time I am sure that a lot of people who see themselves as activists will get on it, and one can only pray that this happens soon.


    1. Ego, dalu for dropping in on my blog! We do not need to be fans of government. We need to be fans of truth, balance, objectivity, facts and evidence.
      We need to reject bias, deliberate distortions, sensationalism and emotionalism. That is all.


  2. I do like your last comment Dr: “We do not need to be fans of government. We need to be fans of truth, balance, objectivity, facts and evidence.”

    And that’s what most of us find it difficult to appreciate. Bearing allegiance to the truth neither means a pathological hatred for the ruling party nor does it mean a rabid or irrational opposition.

    Standing for the truth means a unity between what we claim to abhor on Twitter and what we actually profess offline. It means a unity in our personal conduct and those offences we wish to correct in our polity.

    Standing by the truth means being witnesses of fact based discussion and not the executioners of hate. Instruments that convey the truth and not purveyors of falsehood and hate.

    In the end that’s what genuine activism is all about. Unfortunately, what we have especially in Nigeria’s Twittvilla is false and “Confused Activism”.


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