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Cultism in pre-tertiary educational institutions: Concerns of a Nigerian patriot

Cultism in pre-tertiary educational institutions: Concerns of a Nigerian patriot
December 05
08:22 2021

BY MOMOH EMMANUEL OMEIZA

With the speedy passage of time, it is indisputable that Nigerian society is beset by a myriad of socio, economic and political challenges which continue to erupt violently like a ship billowed by the highest magnitude of tempestuous storms. The young ones who one will presume to be blind to all these challenges have found it enthralling to take on these evil ways as the best means of survival. 

For enthusiastic Nigerians, the last few days have been scary and heart-breaking no thanks to the sad news of a twelve-year-old boy who was murdered by his colleagues for his refusal to join cultism. 

A poll of reactions both on the online and mainstream media wondered how such a level of moral decadence could be allowed to thrive effortlessly in such a sane environment which was initially an environment to train intellectuals. For the majority of people I interacted with, news such as this wasn’t a new thing. What really made the #Dowen case interesting was the intricacies that surrounded the case. 

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After a careful analysis, I couldn’t but submit to the fact that Nigeria was truly operating a dysfunctional system, which when left to fester, would become the proverbial Iroko tree which the owner wouldn’t want its branches to be pruned at the earliest stage not until it grows and shakes the foundation of the house, causing massive damage in the end. 

In more recent times, the Nigerian pre-tertiary educational system has become a subject of debate. This without mincing words is largely due to the problem of hooliganism, drug abuse, sexual exploitation, examination malpractice, and more recently cultism. News and media outlets have found a field day capturing some of the news items.

Little wonder, we see headlines such as: “Students arrested during cult initiation activities”… “Pupils chase teachers out of classroom, cause rampage.”

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And the recent being the reports of how pupils of Egba High School and Asero High School in Abeokuta assaulted a high-ranking police officer for attempting to “quell their brigandage”. 

But who takes the reprimand for this challenge of cultism? The parents who most times are clueless and inept about modern-day parenting techniques that boost the highest moral standards or the society which has become a shadow of itself, apparently as a result of various blunders we have plunged into?

What about the educational institutions which have become a get-rich scheme and not an avenue to complement the efforts of the government in investing maximally in the intellectual capacity of the citizenry. Little wonder the sexual assault of some students of Deeper Life High School Uyo and the death of Karen-Happuch Akpagher of Premier Academy continues to make the rounds of disheartening news brought to our ears. 

If only we could trace and fix the fault lines in the system, then the death of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni could have been averted. There could be many more who have sustained life-threatening injuries over their refusal to follow the bandwagon and end up being the society’s most wanted. 

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On a frank note, the prevalence of cultism, hooliganism, and other unruly behaviours in Nigerian secondary and primary schools make one worry about the future of both the Nigerian educational system and the future of the Nigerian youths. If from a young age, teenagers have been exposed to the use of force and violence to ensure that their will is enforced, then we need to entertain fear if they become wild to the extent of being kept in maximum security facilities to ensure their behaviour is kept at bay. 

Well, it doesn’t start one day. What can we say about children who come from homes where they are exposed to all sorts of immoralities without restraint or of parents who are weak-willed to correct the excesses of their wards from the youngest of age. What about those from broken homes?

Presently, one may want to be forced into highlighting more of the causative factors of this ugly trend. However, I would not want to analyse them as the factors are both evident and known to everyone. 

The government as the instrumentality of the state hasn’t been responsive to this challenge despite a series of pleas and attempts to ensure it is on top of the situation. 

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If only both the leader and the led could understand the ticking time bomb called cultism we are sitting on, then we would all work together towards stemming the tide and making our educational institutions a citadel of learning and excellence and not a fountain bringing forth sour waters.

Momoh Emmanuel Omeiza can be reached via [email protected]

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