Cultism is a system or practice of a cult. Cult on the other hand is a group of people with a religious philosophical or cultural identity sometimes viewed as a sect, often existing on the margins of society or exploitative towards its members.
Cultism Popularly called in the neighbourhood as Secret Cult can be said to be an organisation of which people come together to pledge their allegiances under an oath and have a social bond of commitment and dedication for the good of the organisation.
This set of people carry out their meetings when people are not aware of, especially during the odd hours (Midnight) and far away from residence (in the bush most often time). This individuals keep their activities secret from non-members and people in the society.
History Of Cultism In Nigeria
The history of cultism can be traced back to 1952 when the Nobel Laurel Price Winner, Professor Oluwole Akinwande Soyinka and six others formed the ‘Pyrate Confraternity’ (a.k.a See Dogs).
At that time various school of thought are developed, surrounding the actual aim and objective of founding the cult group. The pioneer and its members said it is a platform for the fight of human right and justice (activism) and it is void of evil.
After some years, various other cult groups emerged such as Black Axe, Jezebel Daughters, Black Eye, Black Beret, Black Bra, Supreme Eiye, Vikings, Aro Mates, Buccaneers amongst others whose activities suggest nothing but evil in the society.
These cults groups share some features in common which are initiation of new members, ritual practices, oaths taking, inscription of marks on their bodies, use of sign, symbols and colours.
Their activities involves frequent violent clash among different cults groups which always lead to death or end in casualties, constant abuse of drugs, armed rubbery, sexual assault, vandalization,forceful intimidation of lecturers, examination malpractices, harassment and bullying of fellow course mate, assassination to mention a few.
Cultism is so rampant in schools all over the world, it is known to be at its peak in tertiary institutions but it is no more news that it has expanded it territories to secondary schools and even primary schools as we speak.
This social vice is really eating up the moral and educational standard of the country. As a matter of fact, innocent students are being lured into the act and all other social vices.
The problems associated with cultism cannot be overemphasised, despite the effort of the government and school authorities to put an end to cultism in the country proved abortive.
Causes Of Cultism In Our Present Day Society
Cultism in Nigeria is caused by different factors and the most common causes are
- Quest for power or social identity
- Poor parental training
- Peer pressure/peer group influence
- Emotional instability
- Use of cultists by politicians
- Drug abuse
- Search for protection
Quest For Power and Social Identity
The major causes of cultism is the quest for power and social identity among their colleagues in school. Many students becomes members of the cults because of their quest for power and authority, this is mostly common among those with the aim of fighting of fighting for their rights and other peoples rights.
Whereas, some others join cultism because they want to belong to a class or lifestyles higher to their peers. They desire to gain popularity, respect and admiration from opposite sex in an attempt to be called “big boy”or “mean chick”in the school environment.
In Nigeria universities, the main reason while people become cultists is to fight those who oppress them, wicked lecturers, school authorities and torment from other cult members.
Poor Parental Training
The present day parenthood suffers a bridge of communication and intimacy with their wards(children) and this has lead a lot of students to cultism because most parent fail to inculcate norm, moral, value and discipline to their wards.
Their is a deviation in the parenthood of this present dispensation, the pursuit of career or money had led a lot of children astray. Some in the quest of making a source of livelihood neglect their wards to lack home training.
They have forgotten that communication and closeness are inseparable factors that foster parenthood . and when such is lacking it affect the child when he/she leaves home to school, compromise become a choice of freedom and lifestyle.
When parent focuses more on their businesses and work they open doors to moral bankruptcy in the lives of their children and at the end result in child waywardness through different vices.
Peer Pressure/ peer group Influence
Pressure from peers group can make even a decent person do some awful things at times, that is why peer pressure is another major cause of cultism.Through the process of interaction influence are bound to happen which can either be positive or negative.
Influence goes a long way in changing mindset and behavioural pattern of individual most especially when the pressure is much. At the end individual involve get addicted to their influencer way of like which can be cultism, drug abuse, rapping, clubbing or gambling.
And it will be pretty difficult for the individual to break away from such circle of friends because any attempt to do that will certainly lead to threats from the cult members. And those that are lured into it end up accepting it because of fear of being killed.
Some people who are victims of harassment, Assaults, rape, bullying, child abuse or painful past seek revenge through cultism because they believe the group will give them the platform to fleetly take their own pounds of the flesh.
They believe the team work assistance from the cult members make such mission fast and possible. Also, cultism gives members a high morale to do the unimaginable through the initiation process.
This process makes members so mean to circumstances and life seems so meaningless to them. The drugs they use make the weakling to be a brutal person within months.
Use Of Cultists By Politicians
Politicians who use cultists as thugs during campaigns and elections are part of people who are encouraging cultism in this part of the world. Some even go as far as having direct or indirect affiliation with them.
Most cult groups have government officials or politicians as their patron or patronesses who finance them for their personal dubious motives. They go as far as using cults guys as their hit men to carry out their intentions during election.
Their activities includes snatching of ballot boxes, destruction of election materials, assassination of their political opponents, intimation to the electoral officer etc. All this gives the cultist the high morale to perpetrate their evil deeds being confident they have backbones and godfathers that can always use their highly place influence to get them out of any detention or court case.
Emotion is a physiological response to a situation and it can lure someone into cultism. Individuals who face emotional challenges such as depression, melancholy, or loneliness can end up as a cultist if they find solace at the wrong place.
Most especially when someone is breakdown totally due to circumstances that threatens their happiness most often time have a high tendency to move with a particular circle of friends/course mate in a bid to be comforted and get cheered up from their present state end up falling victim of cultism. This happen mostly when their heart got broken by their boyfriends/girlfriends.
The influence of drug on young people makes them threw away their conscience to the wind. Often than not individuals who constantly crave for drugs connect with other addicts on a daily basis where they get supply of the drugs.
At times they associated with cultist directly or indirectly at the hideout where they usually buy and sell the drugs substances. Through this medium of association an individual can be lured into cultism because those places are highly vulnerable for cultism initiation.
Just like depression finds solace in adventures so also loneliness aid in the company of friends. Friendship have great influence over each other and in such situation they literally protects and look out for them and such feelings gives the individual the comfort and ease through interaction from members of the cult groups
In no time the individual get involved in drugs, gambling, alcohol, partying and sexual adventures thereby finding a sense of peace and happiness.
Poverty place a great role in cultism because many people are lured into this vices due to financial hardship. In their quest for help and assistance they fall victim of cultism members who offered them help in a bid to entice them into their social group.
Some youth are found in this cultism group so as to become known, dreaded and wealthy. The cult members are believed to have influential sponsors and have a lot of money, this myths led a lots of students into this societal ills because they want to be counted among rich individuals in the society and it also give them the avenue to meet wealthy people in the society.
Search for Protection
One of the features of cultism id that members are brother’s keeper to each other. many people join cultism in search of protection from harm or any form of harassement or intimidation.
The sense of security offered to the members gives them boldness and confidence against any threats in any form. Such sense of protection can lead to arrogance in the members. They are constantly conscious of the backup available to them in case of any emergency.
The quest to find a way to express oneself could lead a student with low self-esteem to join cult group to feel important. Cultism offers a fertile ground for such students to find ugly confidence in violence and dastardly acts.
The Effect Of Cultism In Nigeria
Nigeria as a nation has greatly suffered the negative effects of cultism. The split-tribal culture made it a ‘join us or die’ thing. The various groups and their strife for dominance is the big deal. These effects includes:
The death of young people this days is so alarming due to cultism practices by students and non student (thugs, touts, deviants individuals) Little issues that need settlements end up triggering a lot of calamities in the society. They even go as far as killing themselves over a mere issues like girlfriends and the likes.
High Increase In Student Dropout
Cultism has propelled high increase on drop out students. In Nigerian the major cause of student drop out is usually link to cultism. Although it not in all cases because there are several reasons for which a student may be expelled or suspended from school.
Politicians and government officials usually recruits young people that have tendency of been a thug to assist them in their political affairs during elections and campaigns. Even the religious leaders go as far as using them as body guards which in turn make them misbehave in the society basing their life on the survival of the fittest which will definitely increase insanity in the country.
Theft and Robbery’s
Theft and robbery is one of the major effect of cultism because this set of individuals go out as a group to do notorious activities as ordered by their toppers (i.e their Captain, Capon,Don etc) which is mostly in the night. They usually give them assignment to carry out which can either be robbery, kidnap, assassination, rape, car snatching or bather which need to be carry out within a stipulated period of time.
Suggested Solution To Cultism In Nigeria
Cultism if not tackled, will continue to eat down into every of the society with more effects on individuals, families, schools, religious setting and the society at large. The following are the suggested solution to cultism in the country.
Public Campaign Against Cultism
If government, schools, religious gathering, parents and non-governmental organization can organise workshops, lectures, talks, seminars and campaigns on the dangers associated with cultism all over schools without leaving out the primary schools, i think it will help in curbing this social menace faced by everyone in the society
There is this popular saying that goes thus “charity begins at home” if parent should enforce discipline in their wards or inculcate the necessary morals and values in their children i think if this menace is not curb totally, it will be reduced to a controllable manner.
Imperatively, Parent should endeavours to visits their children in their respective schools and also monitors who their children associate with in the school environment. Most importantly parent should also be an exemplary features to their wards by desisting from secret organizations and live a life worth emulating.
Also, school authorities should have high standard discipline with stringent punishments for cultist caught in the school premises or outside the four walls of the school.
3. Government Standard
If the government can put into law the punishment due for anybody grasp with anything that has to do with cultism or racism, it thinks it will go a long way in curbing this social vices. However, the political leaders supporting them should also be put to judgment because they are damaging the lives of other children to make theirs better, this should not be tolerated if truly we want to curb or eradicate this menace in our society.
It is not only by decreeing it, it will be better for the parliament to also pass it into law through the Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution that anyone guilty of cultism will be sentenced to this particular year of imprisonment without penalty or fines.
With all the solutions listed above, if well adhere to it will surely eradicate cultism to a manageable level instead of the continuous escalation of cultism we are hearing all over our community.