COMPLETE PROJECT-INFLUENCE OF CULTISM TO ACHIEVE GOOD GRADE IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
CHAPTER ONE 1.0
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY Tertiary education institutions include Universities, polytechnics and teachers training colleges. In defining cultism, Azelama, Alude and Imhonda (2000) noted that “cult is an assemblage of people united by certain ideals, or symbols and whose rites and ceremonies of veneration are unique and shrouded in mysteries with a secrecy that cannot be broken.” Maxey (2004) traces the meaning of cult from the Latin word 2 ‘cultus’ which means ‘to worship or give reverence to a deity.’ Thus, in its original usage, it was simply applied to a religious worshipful group of people regardless of the object or person they venerated. Furthermore, Rotimi (2005) cites the anthropological definition of ‘cult’ by Oxford Concise Dictionary of Sociology (1996) as ‘a set of practices and beliefs of a group in relation to a local god.’ The same dictionary gives a sociological definition of a cult as ‘a small group of religious activists whose beliefs are typically secret, esoteric and individualistic.’ Aguda (1997), Ogunbameru (1997) and the Free Encyclopedia (2006) define cult in a similar manner. Langone (1988) indicated that cult leaders have absolute control over the members of the movement and as such they use force to subdue them under their command. The author concluded that because cults tend to be leader centred, exploitative and harmful, they come into conflict with and threatened by the rational open and benevolent system of members’ families and society at large and that it is an exploitatively manipulative and abusive group in which members are induced to serve the group leader(s). From these accounts, it can be deduced that cults and cultism have certain elements in common. They are esoteric, shrouded in secrecy, usually made up of a small group of people with a charismatic leader, and may or may not be religious in nature. Rotimi (2005) cites the anthropological definition of ‘cult’ by Oxford Concise Dictionary of Sociology (1996) as ‘a set of practices and beliefs of a group in relation to a local god’ (p.2). The same dictionary gives a sociological definition of a cult as ‘a small group of religious activists whose beliefs are typically secrete, esoteric and individualistic’ (p.2). Aguda (1997), Ogunbameru (1997) and the Free Encyclopedia (2006) define cult in a similar manner. Langone (1988) indicated that cult leaders have absolute control over the members of the movement and as such they use force to subdue them under their command. Before the mid-seventies, the offer of a university place in any Nigerian University to study for any degree was an honor. It was an achievement both for the prospective under graduate and his parents. Indeed, such feat was worthy of celebration as there were not many universities then, and it was only the best and the privileged few that were admitted into the few available places. That was in the days of the “Ivory Tower” concept of the Universities, when universities were repositories for high ideals and enviable academic traditions (Itedjere, 2006). Today however, the story is different because cultism has invaded and has come to stay in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Capturing the widening scope of the menace of cultism and its accompanying inimical effects, Eneji (1996) in Adewale (2005) asserts that cultism with its attendant violence, torture, suppression and unwarranted intimidation perpetrated by cult groups, has spread beyond institutions of higher learning to secondary schools in Nigeria. Admittedly, the quality of higher education and learning depends not only on the content of teaching and curricular but also on the life on campus. In many Nigerian Universities, criminality, unrest and insecurity seriously harm the study situation. In Nigerian universities, a specific form of such social problems is the presence of secret cults. According to Itedjere (2006), the phenomenon of secret cult is not necessarily new in the Nigerian society. What is new perhaps is their character and methods of operation. Their origins, activities and character are determined by the contemporary social problems and the prevailing social economic exigencies of the time. Many students join cult groups not being aware of the negative effect of membership of cult on their learning. Also, many students perceive the impact of cultism on learning as high and some students perceive cult members as frequently having problems with their learning. Indeed, the existence of cult groups and its activities have been on the increase in our tertiary institutions leading to disruption of academic programs and activities, loss of lives, insecurity and destruction of infrastructures. The activities of cult groups have also led to the killing of innocent students and staff in various tertiary institutions and in some cases, it has led to the closure of schools (Echekwube, 1999). Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria defines a secret cult as any association, group or body of persons (whether registered or not) that uses secret signs, oaths, rite or symbols and which is formed to promote a course, the purpose or part of which is to foster, the interest of its 3 members and to aid one another under any regard without due regard to merit, fairness or justice; whose oaths of secrecy and, the names and activities are held in secret. The numerous and diverse activities of campus cults and confraternities have gained undue and unwanted popularity in institutions of higher learning and the society has borne brunt of their existence. In the tertiary institutions today, these cults are involved in activities that could destabilize the smooth running of academic work in higher institutions. In the tertiary institutions, there are reported cases of murder of students in clashes between rival cults. In some cases, non-cult members are murdered for reasons of provoking a cult member or group. Also female students are raped, disfigured for refusing to yield to love advance from cult members. Despite the fact that many view cultism as abode of evil, where all manners of evil such as maiming, murder, examination malpractice, robbery, rape, arson, intimidation of fellow students and lecturers for good grades, forceful love (girlfriends) and clashes of rival cults groups, some students find it fashionable to blend or join cults groups for different reasons. For this reason, social problems associated with campus cult activities calls for further investigation. In the normal school situation, people feel comfortable as the academic environments in the campuses are usually very conducive without disturbances. As reported by Arogundade (1994), Amachere (1992) and Oriaku (1992), every student was supposed to know why he/she is in the higher institution and as such his/her academic pursuit (aim and objective) must be achieved for he/she has no negative motives. The researcher embarks on this study as a result of observation by meaningful individuals and the media who point out that the issue of disturbances of secret cults in contemporary Nigerian tertiary institution is becoming a progressive social menace and a national question. One may ask if location of the University constitute a factor of secret cult activities happening in tertiary institution. Rotimi (2005) stated that students are attracted to cultist groups for a variety of reasons. He noted that generally, the social atmosphere prevailing in Nigeria Universities provides an inspiring environment for secret cults to thrive. These may include lack of virile student unionism, individual/private universities where the security system is not tight, erosion of the traditional academic culture; absence of intellectual debates and all other activities that are components of traditional campus culture. The researcher is however investigating the influence of cultism and its effect on the grade point of students in higher institution. 1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Universities as higher institutions are places for teaching, learning and researching into the problems of societies and the world. The existence of campus cult activities in our tertiary institution is a serious threat to the realization of this noble objective. It has been observed that cult activities have led to the death of students and even lecturers on campus. Many other tertiary institutions in Nigeria, according to Newspaper reports, live in perpetual fear of cult activities on campus. Observers point out that if these ugly trends are not established and measures taken to check them, the future role of our tertiary institutions as agents of social change and national development will be seriously threatened. It is against this background that this study was faced with the problem of establishing validly the social problems associated with campus cult activities in tertiary institutions in Nigeria and possible measures that can address the problem. 1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THEN STUDY The main objectives of the study is to examine cultic activities and practices and their impact on communities of tertiary education institutions. Moreover, it identified ways and means to prevent or reverse the activities and practices in these institutions. The specific objectives are: 1. Find out the social factors that lead to students’ campus cultism in tertiary institution 2. Identify the social problems associated with cult activities in tertiary Institutions 3. Determine the influence of school type on cult activities happening in Tertiary institutions. 4. Find measures that can effectively control campus cult activities in tertiary Institutions in Nigeria 1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS The following research questions will guide the researcher to achieve the specific objectives during the course of the research. 1. What are the factors that lead to students’ cultism in tertiary institutions in Nigeria 2. What are the social problems associated with campus cult activities in Tertiary institutions in Nigeria 3. What is the influence of institution type on campus cult activities in tertiary institutions in Nigeria 4. What measures can effectively control campus cult activities in tertiary institutions in Nigeria 1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The result of this study will benefit university authorities, parents, counsellors, researchers, government and corporate bodies. This study will be beneficial to the university authorities in the various institutions to assess their shortcomings in their bid to check this menace. It will also help students to take a more rational decision concerning joining/associating with campus cultists. Parents will also benefit from this study because it will provide them with greater knowledge on the level of involvement and viciousness of the operations of the campus cultist problem. Such improved awareness will enhance their advisory role performance to their wards vis-à-vis the consequences of associating with cultists. Parents will also become more co-operative with the appropriate authorities in the handling of issues of secret cults in schools. The findings of the study will be beneficial to the academic community as a whole, since it is a ffort and reference material. Based on the results of the study 1.6 SCOPE OF TH STUDY The study will be limited to the tertiary institutions in Oyo state. The content scope will include social factors leading to students’ campus cult activities, social problems associated with campus cultism and measures that can effectively control/reduce campus cult activities. 1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY The major problem encountered during this research is time and insufficient fund, this study is supposed to cover at least 5 states in Nigeria but due to the financial constraint to visit those the researcher has to limit the samples to just two one state. 1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS INFLUENCE: the ability to have an effect on something CULTISM: devotion to the doctrine of a cult or to the practices of a cult GRADE POINT: average is a number representing the average value of the accumulated final grades earned in courses over time
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