Japheth Omojuwa, founder of www.omojuwa.com, one of the most popular politics websites in Nigeria.
#Factivist Week is a week-long effort to show world leaders at the UN General Assembly next week that ONE members support fact-based activism in our drive to end extreme poverty. Read Mission 1, Mission 2, Mission 3 and Mission 4 here – it’s not too late to take action!
Yesterday, we asked you to look at global protest movements through the lens of music with our #agit8 project. Today, we ask you to read Nigerian social activist and blogger Japheth Omojuwa’s essay on what factivism means to him. We are honored to have Japheth, who is passionate about ending corruption in Nigeria, on ONE and our partners’ Millennial Factivism panel at the UN next week. Read his piece, then tell us what factivism means to YOU in a comment below.
Factivism to me is the natural evolution of conventional activism where we let facts, numbers and everyday realities speak for themselves rather than allow unbridled passion to get in the way of logical arguments for change.
As a Nigerian for instance, I have argued that street protests, while being popular in Nigeria’s military days for obvious reasons (it was illogical for the military to run the government because that was not what the military was set up for), cannot be the default response to a democratic government.
I think that in a democracy, fact-based intellectual debates and engagements must precede street action. In my own experience as an active citizen, all of these have been used. In the run-up to #OccupyNigeria, we made sure to engage the government on all fronts; we discussed on social media, we argued on radio and television, we presented fact-based arguments backed with natural fervor.
Of course we hit the streets when we realized the government was pretending to be listening, yet acted as though it couldn’t hear us. The same will happen with the pay of legislators in Nigeria. There have been debates over the years about their pay and allowances, but the legislators have more or less acted as though it was not an issue. Now the streets are the next natural course of action and we are not just hitting the streets with noise, we are hitting the streets with the energy of facts and figures.
I am of the opinion that we cannot use old solutions to solve new problems, and that is the essence of factivism. While it may be tough to expect a military government to budge in that face of credible facts and figures, a democratic government owes its legitimacy on bowing to superior arguments.
New tools of communication will be increasingly useful in deregulating access to information and the bar of becoming a factivist will be much more lower for an average citizen than that of conventional activism because factivism can be at play everyday! We will always have our tools of anger with us and those who see better than usual know they are powerful tools of change.
Japheth Omojuwa is a Nigerian social activist and blogger on socio-economic and political issues such as governance and corruption. Japheth is also the Editor of AfricanLiberty.org and the founder and curator of www.omojuwa.com, one of the most popular web pages in Nigeria. He is one of the most influential Nigerians on social media and a thought leader among his peers. Japheth was also voted the Best Nigerian Political Blogger in 2011. Follow him on Twitter at @omojuwa.
Your turn: What does Factivism mean to you? Share your thoughts in a comment below.
If you’re feeling gutsy, tweet Japheth and share your thoughts with him using the hashtag #Factivist.