Cultism and It’s Attendant Consequences
Objective of the study
The primary objective of this study is to comprehensively examine the phenomenon of cultism and its attendant consequences, shedding light on its various dimensions and impacts on individuals and society. Specifically, the study aims to achieve the following objectives:
- To Understand the Nature of Cultism
- To Analyze the Societal Implications.
- To Examine Psychological and Emotional Effects
REVIEWED OF RELATED LITERATURE
Echekwube (1999) traces the origin of the term cultism to the Latin word “cultus” which means worship and is actually associated with the worship of one God or Supreme Being. The word ‘cultism’ originated from the Latin word ‘Occukre’ which denotes something hidden, occulted, concealed, enigmatical, mysterious, mystical, etc. Orukpe (1998: 1) notes that “Cults are a group of people who share and propagate peculiar secret beliefs divulged only to members”. Advancing further, Lalich and Langone (2006) made the following remarks about the behavior of cultists – the group displays excessively zealous and unquestionable commitment to its leader and regards his belief system, ideology and practices as the truth. Cultism is generally believed to be a deadly engagement in ritual practices. Subscribing to this view, Ajakaiye (2002:164-165) notes that: Cultism may be viewed as a system of beliefs binding together people of the same interest for the purpose of promoting and defending the common pursuit. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in Section 318 (4), bans a secret society defined as a society or an association not being solely, a cultural or religious body that uses secret signs, oaths, rites or symbols. Whose meeting or other activities are held in secret; and ii. Whose members are under oath, obligation or other threat to promote the interest of its members or to aid one another under all circumstances without due regard to merit, fair play or justice, to the detriment of the legitimate expectation of those who are not members. X-raying the concept of education, Ukeje (1979) conceives education as a process, a product and a discipline. Meanwhile, Whitehead (1932) and Akinpelu (1981) maintain that education goes beyond knowledge acquisition to the application of such. According to Moore (1978), the concept may be seen as a process involving activities such as teaching, persuading, motivating, learning, and examining programmes in schools and college. However, UNICEF (2000: 4) states that quality education involves “learners who are healthy, well-nourished and ready to participate and learn, and supported in learning by their families and communities; environments that are healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive, and provide adequate resources and facilities; content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life… outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.”
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF ANALYSIS
The socialization theory, using the learning by imitation model of socialization, is used as the theoretical framework for analysis. According to Eguavoen (2006), socialization is the process through which cultural values, norms; behaviors and skills characteristics of a society are transmitted to its young and potential members. This is the principal means by which any society preserves its rich cultural heritage and achieves basic social conformity which are important means for ensuring their survival. Aweriale (2005) explains that learning termed learning by imitation is also known as Bandura’s theory. Learning by imitation deals with learning by observation. This is a rapid form of learning by students and most behaviourare learnt by imitation. The imitation model of socialization is one is which learners themselves learn roles, duties and other values by copying and approximating the expected standards of behavior of their peers, and most importantly of those they wish to be like- significant others (Eguavoen, 2006). These significant others could be celebrities, actors, actresses, individuals within the neighbourhood or community, political figures, etc. Analytically, learning and cultism can be carried out though the agencies of socialization like the peer group and the school for example. The school, an agent of socialization teaches the child or even young adults quite a lot of experiences through learning. Teachers, non- academic staff and other various arrangements within the school setting assist to socialize the individual. The school as an agent socialization has both formal and informal aspects. The peer group as agent socialization is very important is socializing the individual. It should be noted that it is not in all cases peer socialization is beneficial. It can be dysfunctional, especially in cases where values that contradict those previously taught are being propagated- cultism. The decisive role peer group influence plays in instilling social values seems to be in consonance with the maxim, “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”. This becomes imperative when viewed against the biblical injunction of I Corinthians 13:55(NIV) which states that “… Bad company corrupts good character”. Indeed from observations and experiences, most people (excultists) confessed that it was their peers (friends/roommates) that lured then to join secret cults (Echekwube, 1999). Drawing on the above, learning in various educational institutions becomes important in the acquisition and utilization of knowledge for the transformation of the individual and the society. Such learning can take place through the agent of socialization- the school, whether formally or informally. Again, learning in such institutions can be impeded by cultism, which develops out of the process of socialization. Cultism does not exist in a vacuum but comes about through the process of socialization and the agents of socialization. The origin of cultism in Nigeria is traced to the educational institution (University of Ibadan), which is a social institution and an agent of socialization through the peer group which is also an agent of socialization. All these come as a result of learning by imitation. From the foregoing, it can be deduced that the social institution vis- a –vis socialization plays a vital role in the society. So learning and cultism as a process of socialization to a great extent have impact on the individual, the social institution (s) and the society.
In this chapter, we described the research procedure for this study. A research methodology is a research process adopted or employed to systematically and scientifically present the results of a study to the research audience viz. a vis, the study beneficiaries.
Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled. According to Singleton & Straits, (2009), Survey research can use quantitative research strategies (e.g., using questionnaires with numerically rated items), qualitative research strategies (e.g., using open-ended questions), or both strategies (i.e., mixed methods). As it is often used to describe and explore human behaviour, surveys are therefore frequently used in social and psychological research.
POPULATION OF THE STUDY
According to Udoyen (2019), a study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitutes of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description.
This study was carried to examine Cultism and it’s attendant consequences. University of Uyo form the population of the study.
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. A total of eighty (80) questionnaires were administered to respondents of which only seventy-seven (77) were returned and validated. This was due to irregular, incomplete and inappropriate responses to some questionnaire. For this study a total of 77 was validated for the analysis.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain Cultism and it’s attendant consequences. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing Cultism and it’s attendant consequences.
This study was on Cultism and it’s attendant consequences. Three objectives were raised which included: To Understand the Nature of Cultism, to Analyze the Societal Implications and to Examine Psychological and Emotional Effects. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from University of Uyo. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).
As we conclude this study, it is evident that the fight against cultism and its consequences requires a collective effort. Policymakers, educators, community leaders, mental health professionals, and law enforcement agencies must collaborate to develop holistic strategies that prevent the proliferation of cults and mitigate their detrimental effects. By fostering resilience, awareness, and unity, we can work toward a society that is well-informed, vigilant, and prepared to confront the challenges posed by cultism. Through these endeavors, we hope to pave the way for a safer, more harmonious future for all.
Based on the findings of this study regarding cultism and its attendant consequences, several targeted recommendations are proposed to address the issue effectively and mitigate its impacts on individuals and society:
- Curriculum Integration: Integrate critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and media literacy skills into educational curricula to empower students to recognize and resist manipulative tactics employed by cults.
- Awareness Programs: Establish educational campaigns that raise awareness about the signs of cult recruitment and its potential consequences, targeting schools, colleges, and community centers.
- Counseling Services: Develop specialized counseling services to help cult survivors heal from psychological trauma, address cognitive dissonance, and reintegrate into mainstream society.
- Rehabilitation Programs: Create comprehensive rehabilitation programs that provide not only emotional support but also vocational training and life skills to assist survivors in rebuilding their lives.
- Comprehensive Legislation: Enact comprehensive laws that specifically address cult-related activities, including recruitment tactics, psychological manipulation, and financial exploitation.
- Protection for Whistleblowers: Implement legal provisions to protect individuals who expose cult activities from retaliation and harm.
- Community Dialogues: Organize open dialogues within communities to foster understanding, reduce stigmatization, and promote social cohesion among those affected by cultism.