Secret cults and its origin in Nigeria
The paper examined the menace of secret cults in the Nigerian tertiary institutions. The origin of cultism was traced to the Seadog confraternity (a.k.a Pyrates), founded by Wole Soyinka and six others at the foremost University of Ibadan in 1952. The peaceful, and non-violent confraternity set up then, in the 1980s, metamorphosed into a secret cult whose activities have been characterized by some bizarre and violent activities. It was against this background that this paper x-rayed the possible causes and consequences of cultism in Nigerian tertiary institutions. The major causes of cultism in tertiary institutions were influence of peer group; parental background; societal decadence; erosion of education standards; militarization of the Nigerian polity; lack of recreational facilities; quest for power and protection among others. However, some of the effects of cultism include loss of lives and properties, disruption of academic activities on campuses, unsafe university environments. It was therefore recommended that all the stakeholders in the university education system should fuse efforts to combat the menace. It was also recommended that government should be more aggressive in her quest to eradicate cultism in the universities.
Secret Cult In Nigeria
Secret cult is a societal evil in Nigerian primary schools, secondary schools, and universities, even in communities.
The “cult” is derived from the Greek word “culture”, which means tradition or culture of people in the society.
The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines “cult” as a group of persons devoted to a popular craze or fashion.
Its aim is to foster the interest of its members and to protect one another under any circumstances without due regard to merit, fair play or justice, and to the detriment of the legitimate interest of those who are members.
Cults are mafia-like organisation that engage in crimes for their own benefits. Their nefarious activities and their ultimate people lie in the weapons they carry.
Origin of cultism In Nigeria
In 1952, a group of seven students from the collage of Ibadan formed pyrates confraternity. They called themselves “the magnificent seven”.
They observed that the university was populated with wealthy students who were associated with the colonial powers of the time.
Students who were poor were struggling in every manner to be accepted by the more advantaged students. Social life was based on tribalism, this promoted them to form confraternity.
Membership was open to any promising male students regardless of tribe or race, but selection was stringent and most applicants were denied.
For almost 20 years, the pyrates were the only confraternity on Nigerian campuses. In the late 1960s, the pyrates registered themselves as Nigerian Association of Sea Dogs (NAS), and the confraternity expended off campus.
Another confraternity known as ‘Buccaneers’ was registered as the Nigerian Association of Sea Lords. The division was as a result of assertion of leadership of the group where some wanted to hold unto power.
From the 1880s-1990s, over three hundred higher institution in the country have various cultic confraternities. These confraternities were later known as “secret cults” based on the secrecy of their membership.