The question has often been asked by various groups and people: what is a secret cult? A cult can be said to emanate from great and excessive admiration or belief in a person or idea. This could be manifested in rituals, praise songs, chants and worship. It is an unquestionable practice that may be difficult to dislodge even with superior argument.
Secret cult could therefore be defined as a set of practices, belief system or idea whose essence is known only to the inner members and excessively admired and defended even to the point of laying down one’s life. It is this doggedness and strong conviction demonstrated by members that reinforce the importance of and awe for the group especially among non-members.
0-Renown Secret cults in Nigeria include: The Reformed Ogboni Fraternity, Oboni Society (in Ikwerre land), Ekpo Society (in Cross River State), The Odumu Masquerade (in Okrika Land), The Akujane Society (in Igala land), The Ejalekwu Society (in Idoma land),The Eyo Society (in Lagos), to mention but a few.
These societies have their belief system and their main ingredients tightly protected. For instance, The Akujane masquerade is a powerful phenomenon that no person dares to see its head as any intruder is punished with disgrace and even death. But one ‘positive’ thing about the societies is that they do not harm unless provoked and they could serve as an instrument for cleansing the society of any cultural debris and becomes dominant in the midst of social disorder. Some even serve as socialization groups that initiate men and women into adulthood as in Poro and Mende societies in Sierra Leone and the Oviaosese in Ogori land.
Origin of Campus Cults
What is known as secret cult in tertiary institutions started at University College, Ibadan in 1953. it was formed by nigeria’s only nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Aig-Imoukhuede, Pius Oleghe, Ralph Opara, Nat Oyelola and Prof. Muyiwa Awe. Their main objectives included: 1. To abolish convention
2. To revive the age chilvary
3. To end tribalism and elitism
Although the philosophical foundation of this group could be appropriately located in the tales of Treasure Island and the renaissance period of the fifteenth century, their ideas were both patriotic and altruistic as it was not imagined as a secret cult, but simply known as the Pyrates Confraternity or the National Association of Seadogs. Their objectives which revolved around the maintenance of polite behaviour among people of different background and chivalry, portrayed the dreams of the Founders.
Why did the students decide to form such a group? Nigeria in the 1940s and 1950s was on the verge of gaining political independence. The nationalistic fervour in the country gave a warning signal to the colonialists that the sun was about to set on the British empire. Trade union consciousness and militancy soared under the leadership of Michael Imuodu. Political parties sprang up in the major centres of the country which raised political awareness and questioned the continued stay of the colonialists in the country. Nigerian students were not left out of this social change. They questioned the conscription of Kings’ college students into the colonial army to fight in the World war II and eventually created a conducive background for the emergence of the popular National council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (later Citizens) (NCNC). The idea of the students was to respond to the demands of the time, enhance cultural nationalism and fight the tribalisation of politics which was given a boost by the Richards constitution of 1946.
It is noteworthy that the group was not to harm, maim, kill and destroy as their cohesiveness and absolute allegiance to rules made it become an elite club, only for the cleanest, brightest and the politically conscious. They teleguided political events and held important positions within the...