Cultism is dated back to 1952, when Wole Soyinka winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize for Literature-and a group of friends at the University of Ibadan formed the Pyrates Confraternity with the motto “Against all Conventions”. The skull and cross bones were their insignia, cultivating a bohemian style that ridiculed the colonial attitudes mode of dress of the day.
This caught on among students and over the next two decades, the fraternity, a non-violent body, became established in all the tertiary institutions that emerged in post-independence Nigeria.
The emergence of campus cults as they are known in Nigeria today began with a split in the Pyrates Confraternity during the early 1970s when a breakaway group formed the Buccaneers Confraternity followed by the emergence of the Black Axe or the Neo-Black Movement. Inter-group rivalry then set in, even though skirmishes between them were limited to fist fights.
The 1980s saw the multiplication of cults in the more than 300 tertiary institutions across Nigeria as new groups such as the Eiye, Vikings, Amazons and Jezebel emerged, bringing with them more intensely violent rivalry. By 1984, when Soyinka initiated the abolition of the Pyrates Confraternity in all tertiary institutions, the phenomenon of violent had developed a life of its own.
By the mid-1980s, reports had it that some of the cults have been co-opted by elements in the intelligence and security services serving the military government such that they were used as foils to the left-wing student unions which, along with university teachers, were among the only remaining bastions of opposition to military rule.
Cultism includes the activities of secret cults or societies that are very rampant in our institutions of learning today. The founding fathers of such societies do not have the mind of carrying out evils but as a pressure group that can monitor and defend the interest of the immorality of students’ populace without violence. But the activities of the various cults seen day in our institutions are far from the above reasons. They have constituted themselves into gangs of “never-do-well” set of people. Their mission today is to loot, kill, steal and destroy lives and properties at will. The violence associated with them is reported to be as a result of battles for supremacy among them. They have constituted themselves into a big cog in the wheel of Nigeria’s education development. Indeed, the growth and maturation of examination malpractice tendencies in our tertiary institutions have been considered as one of the direct fallouts of cultism.
Hardly a month passes these days, without reports of deaths of students or staff resulting from cult-related violence.
This has not only created an atmosphere of insecurity in our campuses, it is also diverting attention from the primary purpose of the universities which is education. At a time when funding of these institutions are inadequate, and the standard of education is said to be falling, cultism and examination malpractices tendencies are clearly a big problem for the concerned authorities.
Taiwo (2004) declared that “what we are all witnessing today in the education sector is a sad reflection of corruption in the society and the low priority placed on standardization and improvement of the intellectual custodians of our time by those in governance”. This is against the fact that most members of these cults are from rich homes and are never serious with their studies; thus prompting their venturing into examination malpractices. Whenever they fail their courses, they react violently through their cult members against the teachers in charge of their failed courses.
They operate at night and conduct initiation of new members at dawn in these institutions coming out with dangerous weapons at the middle of the nights when students who are ignorant of their activities fall victim. The recent arrest of some students who were believed to be cult members at Esa-Oke Federal Technical College serves as typical case in point.
The fire of cult terrorism on the campuses which raged on for about one year, after the half-heated spray of cult antidote by the Federal Government in 1999, has steadily intensified and burst into flames once more. In the first two weeks of August 2004, 33 students of three universities were brutally murdered in cultic butcheries, suspected to have been perpetuated by cult members among students of tertiary institutions.
To this end, the research seeks to examine the impact of billboard advertising campaign on campus cultism among National Diploma students of Osun State Polytechnic Iree as a case study.
In this research Osun State Polytechnic will be referred to as “OSPOLY” for the purpose of brevity and prevention of repetition.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The basic conditions for sustained academic environment have been eroded in Osun State Polytechnic, Iree. The institution has fallen into disrepute and the products of the institution are no more what they used to be. Cult activities are seriously affecting all academic activities.
Sometimes students are attracted in hostiles classrooms, bus stops etc. daylight and gang raping becomes the order of the day; killing of students by members of cult is no longer news, therefore the need to eradicate this problem in OSPOLY through various media, public relations and other campaign becomes imperative.
Advertising campaign through billboards, radio, television and public relations as problems solving devices are expected to create the necessary enlightenment for the students and awaken them on what is expected of them in an academic community like OSPOLY, Iree.
1.3 Objectives of Study
v To study if students are aware of cultism activities in OSPOLY.
v To know whether billboards erected in some strategic locations on campus educate and enlighten students on the effects of cultism.
v To know why school management employ the use of billboard in campaign against cultism.
v To find out the effects of billboard advert campaign against cultism on students of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree.
v To know if billboard advertising campaign against cultism has prevented students from joining cult groups.
1.4 Research Questions
v Are you aware of cultism activities in OSPOLY through billboard erected?
v To what extent do billboards erected in some strategic locations on campus educate and enlighten students on the effects of cultism?
v To what extent does school management employ the use of billboard in campaign against cultism?
v What are the effects of billboard advert campaign against cultism on students of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree?
v Has billboard advertising campaign against cultism prevent students from joining cult groups?
1.5 Significance of Study.
The research will help to excavate the evolution and the remote causes of cultism on campuses and proffer and enduring solutions to it.
It will awaken the management of institutions on how to use mass media and public relations to curb cultism.
Students will also benefit from this work, by knowing how to resist joining cultism.
Public Relations department will know how to carry out their duties to curb cultism on campus.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This research focuses on the Impact of Billboard Advert Campaign on Campus Cultism among Students of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree.
However, due to time, finance and other logistics, the work has been narrowed down to Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, because it is difficult to study all Higher Institutions of learning in Nigeria.
Therefore, demography of OSPOLY, Iree will be considered before distributing the research instrument such as the number of faculties, department, age, sex, level and others.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
It is not an overstatement that a work of this nature cannot be carried out without some hard experience, however below are some of the constrains to this work.
There are many limitations ranging from not knowing where to start, not knowing who to consult or approach for materials not knowing what next to write in various segment of this study and not actually knowing who to put me through in achieving my work and others are:
1. Stress from other academic activities is one of the limitations to the research work
2. Financial constraint to travel to different places.
3. Duration for the research work is relatively short
1.8 Definition of Terms
Impact: This means the effect or contributions of mass media in eradicating cultism on our campuses.
Billboard Advert: These are various billboard erected on campus of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree with the view to educate and enlighten students to shun cultism and violence.
Campus Cultism: These are group of secret people creating some socio vises on campus such as the Eiye, Vikings, Amazons and Jezebel, Alora e. t. c
Tertiary Institution: It is synonymous to college of higher learning or school for advancement in knowledge such as university, polytechnic, college of education e.t.c.