One of the most disturbing developments in recent times in Nigeria is the increasing number of cult membership among Nigerian youths. While “youth cultism” at inception was a harmless albeit socially beneficial activity, today, the story is different
This article highlights possible reasons why Nigerian youths join secrets cult and the implications on them in particular and the country at large.
History of cultism in Nigeria
Down memory lane, cultism in Nigeria was for the adults in the communities and part of traditional religious systems.
Although their activities were enshrined in secrecy, the members were known and revered by everyone in the communities, e.g. the Owegbe cult of Benin kingdom and the Ogboni cult of the Yoruba land.
These secret associations still exist and are powerful in assisting their members to gain political, social and economic recognition in the country. Now cultism is more prevalent among the youths. Cultism activities in tertiary institutions began in the 1950s; the 1990s witnessed a boom and a dangerous twist.
Today, there is said to be over 40 cult groups on our campuses. More worrisome is the existence of cult groups in secondary schools.
REASONS NIGERIAN YOUTH JOIN SECRET CULT
Youths are the engine of national development when their mindsets are channeled in the right direction. Youths don’t join cults because they want to join cults. A good number of Nigerian youths in secret cult today are there as a result of the following reasons.
- The Attractive Offer of the Cult
When someone joins a cult, he or she usually does so because of what the organization offers initially. This may include friendship for those that need it, connections to others, an identity that is lacking, contributing factors and sometimes family. Different cults have varying motivations and someone or something to worship if there is a devotional object.
However, the members themselves are often ordinary persons seeking something to believe in and a sense of belonging. When there is a void of faith in the individual, he or she may seek others to fill this and provide the faith he or she has been looking for throughout life.
- Satisfaction of aspirations and needs
Most youths joined cultism to satisfy their secret desires or aspirations. Secret cults use these desires and wants of individuals to achieve their cults’ goals of getting new members r. Youths who joined secret cult seize the opportunity to explore their secret desires, like sex, money, and power.
- Social identity
Some Youths joined secret cults for popularity. They want to make a name and be regarded as powerful persons for reasons based on past negative experiences at the family levels. It gives them license to do anything and get away with it, a way to finally seek vengeance
- Corruption in the society
Our societal values have depreciated A major cultism among the Nigeria Youths have persisted unabated because our political leaders have vested interests by using the youths to perpetuate violence in Nigerian politics.
Even when they are caught the politicians will still empower, arm, keep, maintain, and protect them at all levels of the social strata.
- Parents influence their children to join secret cults
Youth can actually be a part of a cult not by personal will. Some parents belong to a secret cult where their children must be their successor. They are usually the most loyal members, as they do not have another opinion for the world picture
- Broken homes
The issue of broken homes is on the high side in our society today, this issues can be as a result of death of one’s parents, unwanted pregnancy, poor social background of the family, for instance, the father that is the only breadwinner of the family happens to part ways with his wife that does not have a good educational background or a means to take care of their children; the pressure goes to the children; as words will have it; everything has a limit. The ongoing pressure on the children can equally affect them negatively; because these children are lacking proper parental guides from both parents. Morally and emotionally the children are affected. The children began to learn how to survive on their own; some end up meeting the wrong people; at the end of the day, they might become cultist, thieves etc.
The environment an individual interacts with shapes the person’s behavior. Obviously, a certain set of conditions is required to prepare the young to behave appropriately and failure to understand and provide the necessary conditions will not produce the desired result. The economic situation in the country has left many of the Nigerian Youths helpless, the inability of the government to provide good schools and quality education has lured or encouraged these youths to become cult members. Youths that lack necessities of life, take solace in secret cult to provide for them
To conclude the former President of Nigeria (1999-2007), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo believed that identifying and addressing issues that would enhance the lives of the youth would improve overall national development. He stated that;
It is important for policymakers, parents and gatekeepers, to understand and appreciate that youth are the future of this country; therefore, their mindset and creativity should be a major concern to the nation.