Cultism is a major menace in Nigeria that no University, Polytechnics, College of Education, or other higher institution in Nigeria has been able to eradicate.
It is a major vice that is very common in tertiary institutions in Nigeria today.
Cultism itself, according to history, started for a good cause, but over time, things have changed.
Let us look into the history of cultism in Nigeria and how it all began.
History of Cultism In Nigeria
Cultism is a ritual practice by a group of people whose membership, initiation, policies, and activities are in secret.
In contemporary Nigerian society, cultism has constituted a major social problem and vice.
But have you ever wondered how cultism started in Nigeria? This article gives a comprehensive history of Cultism in Nigeria.
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Cultism in Nigeria dates back to the pre-colonial era when a group of individuals gathered together to seek protection from their ancestors and conducted rituals.
Initiation to the cult was a normal routine for those who wanted to belong to the secret cult. Once you join the cult, the secrets of the group must be religiously and sacredly observed.
Such groups include the Ogboni society prevalent amongst the Yorubas. The Ekpe secret cult existed amongst the Efiks and some parts of the South East. The Ekine and Owegbe Cult were popular in Delta and Edo State.
These cult groups provide social, financial, economic and political security for their members.
Origin of Cultism In Nigeria
However, it is paramount to note that Modern day cultism does not tow the same path as that of the Ogboni, Ekine, Owegbe, etc.
The Ku Klux Klan popularly known as (KKK) inspired Modern-day cultism in Nigeria. The Ku Klux Klan was a secret cult founded on the 24th of December 1765 in Pulaski, Tennessee, USA.
Their activities were targeted toward the ex-slaves and those who gave them freedom. KKK sought to restore white supremacy through threats and violence, including murder against Black and those who supported them.
These activities inspired our nationalists to intensify their fight against colonialism in Nigeria and thrive for independence.
It, therefore, led to the establishment of the first recognized Cult group in Nigeria – Sea Dog Confraternity.
The Sea Dog Confraternity that is also known as the Pirates was formed in 1952 at the University of Ibadan.
By a group of seven students whose names are: Wole Soyinka, Pius Olegbe, Olumuyiwa Awe, Aig-I’moukhuede, Ralph Opara, Olu Agunloye, and Tunji Tubi.
Their objective was to fight non-violently but intellectually and effectively against the imposition of foreign conventions, to review the age of chivalry, and to find a lasting solution to the problems of tribalism and elitism.
This Pirate Confraternity consisted of brilliant students who went about their Academic business without trampling on the Fundamental rights of other students.
Cultism In Nigeria
Cultism is the activities or practices of a group of people with one common spiritual, religious or philosophical belief.
The group of individuals involved in these practices is known as a cult. In general sociological studies, the term cult is controversial and has divergent definitions.
But most cults are secret. They are secret cults because their activities and practices are hidden from the public and non-members.
Members of secret cults often swear an oath of allegiance or go into covenant with each other. They are to defend their beliefs and practices down to their last breath.
In the early stage, there is no violence or social vices by the secret cult. All the members of the cult socialized freely, rendered social services, gave gifts to the orphanages and inspired the fight for the liberation of Nigeria from the shackles of colonialism.
Even after the founding fathers had left the University of Ibadan, the Pirate Confraternity waxed strong and dominated the scene for 20 years.
However, unresolved leadership problems in the Cult group and the Social, Political and educational changes in Nigeria began to affect their operations, and members began to leave the cult.
They started as fraternities and they were confined within university campuses with the motive of maintaining law and order on campuses. It was not until the 1990s that they began spreading to the streets and creeks.
The Pyrates Confraternity activities were non-violent dispute resolutions and fighting against elitist nonsense and pretences. The motto of the confraternity was “Against all Conventions.” Their logo was the skull and crossbones.
Sadly, cultism in modern-day Nigeria has constituted more nuisance and danger to the rights and lives of cultists, students, and the entire society.
Modern-day Cultism In Nigeria
In current Nigeria, especially in our higher institutions, cultism turned into another thing entirely.
Members of different cult groups in Nigeria are extremely dangerous, members of a particular cult are always ready to kill their fellow rival cultists at any time without remorse or regret.
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The modern-day cults kidnap people, beat lecturers that offend them and engage in other social vices.
The cult members have dealt with some lecturers and individuals who have relationship affairs with members’ girlfriends and boyfriends.
Many engaged in cybercrimes and armed robberies.
Politicians also employ many cult groups in Nigeria to scare or deal with their political rivals.
Cultism in Nigeria today has nothing to offer society but social vices and evil practices.