History Of Cultism In Nigeria And The Subsequent Effect On The Youths
Just before Nigeria attained her Independence in 1960, there were a lot of activistic movements majorly projected at extinguishing the control of the colonialists over the people of Nigeria. Of course, some more than others took an amicable route of expressing their desire to see a united Nigeria as a liberated country. Wole Soyinka was one of those who wanted Nigerians to inculcate the values of the Nigerian heritage. He was eager to see youths take pride in their roots and ultimately promote the sense of belonging and nationality. This was the main point agenda of the first ever social association (Cult group) called The Pirates Confraternity Elite of the University College, Ibadan which was formed by Wole Soyinka in 1952 alongside Pius Olegbe, Olumuyiwa Awe, Aig I’moukhuede, Ralph Opara, Olu Ogunloye and Tunji Tubi.
Rebellious members were expelled for not conforming to the Confraternity’s standards and they formed a different association called the National Association of Seadogs around the 1970s. Fast forward to contemporary times, the origin of all the famous secret societies is glued to the division and the consequent agenda. What was supposed to be a non violent Social Association gradually metamorphosed into sort of a militarized structure of people coupled with fiendish activities and quite basically, criminality.
As time progressed, these cult groups totally disregarded the main point agenda which was to preserve the heritage of their country and focused on protecting their own self interests. These cult groups began to proliferate in tertiary and more sadly, secondary institutions. The spread of cultism extended beyond educational institutions as the youths continued to be invested in the vile practices.
Poor parental upbringing: Any child who engages in cultism is known to come from an inbalanced home. It is one of many things; Either the parents are divorced or neither parent has adequate time for their wards or the children are not properly trained, monitored or cared for.
It goes without saying that if parents play their roles properly, their children will not run into the wrong company or feel more appreciated elsewhere. They will not seek security, love and assurance from anti social associations.
Peer pressure: A lot of people have spoken so well about this factor. It is not possible to rule out Peer Pressure, especially when it comes to adolescents who are characteristically known to be rebellious and want to find acceptance from their peers.
Similarly, most students are forced into joining out of their unwillingness because of threats from their colleagues who are already in the system.
Lack of proper Orientation for the students and the general public: Majority of those arrested for homicide, rape, armed robbery and the like are linked in some shape or form with Cultism.
This is why there’s a large troop of youths joining secret societies. It is because there is no adequate training and orientation given not only to students but the general public. Until there is enough training of students and youths in general about the dangers of Cultism, there will be a never ending practice.
False sense of low self esteem is another reason why youths get involved in Cultism. It is all in effort to feel amongst intimidating colleagues as a blanket to cover their insecurities.
Effects of Cultism in Nigeria
The consequences of involvement in cult activities are endless and inevitable. Apart from the reputational damage one will suffer in a long run when he or she is easily associated with past participation in a secret society, there are more grievous ramifications. Some of which include; Destruction of lives and properties.This is the case when rival cult groups clash leading to severe injuries or in worst case scenario, death. Not only do these killings happen among the cult groups but it leads to loss of innocent lives.
The latter usually occurs when the victim is uninterested in joining the cult group despite various demands. School activities get disrupted because of the high level of threat these criminal acts pose to the entire institution.
They have no assurance of their safety in an institution solely established for learning. Properties are destroyed or vandalized by the cultists in a sheer display of their dissatisfaction with a policy. Staff are intimidated to do their biddings.
Possible solutions to curb this ugly trend
Parents and guardians should inculcate discipline in their wards. They should strictly monitor the company they keep and advise them accordingly. They should not be so liberal with their children in regards to what they watch, where they go, the schools they attend. They should also orient their children on what is morally acceptable and otherwise. This also means they should give room for their wards to be heard without overly rebuking them for sharing their thoughts and perception.
Sufficient orientation should be afforded to youths across Nigeria on the dangers of Cultism. And of course, to complement it all, vocalize the ramifications of getting involved in cult group activity according to stringent measures put in place by the Government.
It may be far fetched to curb Cultism once and for all but if we all act according to our abilities, whether in vehemently writing or speaking against it or in exercising a higher power to silence those who are engaged, it will go a long way to bring it to an end. What we are witnessing is fairly newsworthy.
The Government and Institutions are enacting laws and regulations respectively to curb the menace. Other Orientation programmes have been on a fast track to deter youths involved to continue and those not yet in it to avoid the temptation.
One thing is certain; even those who do these unimaginable acts are young, vibrant and quite honestly, significant to the social growth and development of a society. The Government should provide job opportunities to the deserving youths and place them in comfortable roles. That will be an indication that there is always an alternative to wrong doing and there is no profit in doing what will endanger you and your fellow human beings. Will Cultism end? There is always the possibility.
Mamah Ebubechukwu Jennifer