Over the years, institutions of higher learning have come under intense pressure as cultism, which as brewed internal wrangling; frequent students’ unrest and industrial disharmony now characterize the higher education system. In spite of concerted efforts by government and institutional heads to arrest the drift engendered by these undesirable factors, not much success has been recorded. As the problems continue to Fester, many have reasoned that there is need for a more pragmatic public relations approach described as purveyors of knowledge, nursery of intellect and character rediscover their mission of inculcating proper value orientation for the survival of society as well as building individual and institutional capacities. It is against this background that this study was designed .Data were sourced from one hundred respondents drawn from Moshood Abiola polytechnic through the use of questionnaire. Opinions expressed by the respondents revealed that institutional heads owe it a duty, in collaboration with their public relations personnel, to ensure the creation of a conducive atmosphere on campus devoid of rancor, bickering and incessant students’ unrest. The study identified the nature of crisis that has bedeviled the institutions and the strategies applied to manage the crisis and their level of effectiveness. The study we help to checkmate and manage students and staff related crisis on campus; Institution of administrative disciplinary measures-the rustication or expulsion of students caught in cult related activities that disturb the peace and tranquility of life on campuses.
KEYWORD; Public Relations, Campaign, Cultism, Tertiary Institution, Tools.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Public is as old as mankind. Public Relations affect almost everyone who has a contact with other human beings. All of us in one way or the other practice or experience public relations daily.
Public Relations are the planned and sustained effort to establish a mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. According to British Public Relations as an art and social science analysis trend, predicting their consequence, counseling organization, leader and implement planned programme of action which will serve for both the organization and its public interest, the world assemble in Mexico City in August(1987).Public Relations consist of all form of planned communication inward and outward between organization and its publics for the purpose of achieving specific objective concerning mutual understanding. The most important and embarrassing problem facing tertiary institutions in Nigeria today is the menace and aggressiveness of cult members and cult related activities.
The term cult is a Latin word which refers to worship, religion and faith. A cult is a group of people who are adherents of a certain type of worship. In the contemporary context, it generally refers to a fraternal relationship between groups of people who are out to achieve set objectives for members, even though these objectives go against the interest and norms of the larger society (Ikudayisi, 1998).Onyechere (1988) defines these cults as a group of people who share and propagate peculiar beliefs only to members. The Oxford concise Dictionary of sociology (1996) gives the sociological definition of cult as a small group or religious activities whose beliefs are typically secrete, esoteric and individualistic. Ogunbameru(2004) defined secret cult as any form of organization whose activities are not only exclusively kept away from the knowledge of others but such activities are carried out at odd hours of the and they often clash with the accepted norms and values of everyday life.
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 Pyrites.
In 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. 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.
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 power’’.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The basic conditions for sustained academic culture have been eroded in tertiary institution. And it has been a negative impact in tertiary institution which little attention has been given to the consequence. Sometimes students are attacked, killing with acids, charms, machetes, Knives, guns, daylight and gang rapping, loss of life, property and harassing of female students. Obada –Obieh(2002).
There is no peace in campus, series of examination malpractice, killing of lecturers. Public Relations as problem- solving communication are expected to create strategies to enlighten the students and make them aware of what is needed of in an academic community .In order to tackle this problem successfully both the students and general public and the government should take the challenges upon themselves.
1.3 Rationale Of The Study
The Research of the study is carried out due to the high rate of moral decadence among student in tertiary institution. It focuses on the relevance measures in which public relations and any external body could adopt to solve social phenomenon in tertiary institution in Nigeria.
The study tries to portray the relationship and effect between the students and the cultism in Nigeria institution.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
1. To examine the different causes of cultism in tertiary institution
2. To examine the role of Public Relations as strategies tool to reach the audience
3. To study the various challenges the cultists group have caused on the school activities.
4. To find out if there are any laws or policies that could restrict students from not joining cult.
5. To ascertain the extent of adequacy of mobilization and encouragement of students to supports the crusade against cultism.
1.5 Research Hypothesis
H1 The non- information on cultism has cursed a lot of damage to students.
Ho The non-information on cultism has not cursed any damage to students.
H2 The public relations department has been mobilizing and encouraging the students to support crusade against cultism.
Ho The public relations department has not been mobilizing and encouraging the students to support any crusade against cultism.
1.6 Research Questions
1. Why do students get involve in cultism in tertiary institution?
2. What roles do the Public Relations play to combat cultism in Nigeria tertiary institution?
3. What are the problems the cultists group caused on campus?
4. What are the tools put in place to mobilize and encourage students on cultism in the institution?
5. What is the extent of student awareness of cult activities and its dangers?
1.7 Significance Of Study
This research is chosen because it will enlighten the student about the risk of joining a cult or being a member of a cult, and help to excavate the evolution and the remote cause of cultism on campuses and proffer and enduring solution to it.
1.8 Scope of the Study
The study focuses on public relations strategies and the fight against cultism in Nigeria tertiary institutions.
1.9 Limitation of the study
The study was limited in scope by the sample size and the instrument employed in collecting the data. The researcher cannot fully ascertain the validity of the information given by the respondents.
1.10 Definition of Terms
Publics; Communication of people at large whether or not organized as group that have a direct or indirect association.
Public Relations; is a deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its public.
Strategies; A plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time.
Cultism; this is an association of people that comes together to form a religious body having common belief, mode of worship and activities are done in an isolated and private place.
Institution; is a social structure in which people co- operate and influences the behavior of people and way they live.
Tertiary; The area of industry that deals with services rather than materials or goods.
Tools; The tools that helped the public relations to achieve their success.
This chapter deals with a review of literature which relate to the topic. Several literatures would be selected and relevant areas would be reviewed.
2.2 Conceptual Framework
2.2.1 Emergence of Public Relations
Public Relations is not new, what is new is the modern method of it. In the ancient world, Priests were believed to be endowed to persuade and mold opinion. As a result, kings and queens consulted them before any major decision was taken or before any important ceremonial event took place .Public Relations projects were undertaken in ancient Egypt. In Greece, the ruling class staged special event such as the Olympic Games to attract attention and to develop national spirit and sense of unity. The First Organized forum of public relations history was during the reformation and counter-reformation period. The reformation was a religious revolution on the 17th century, which divided western and eastern Christendom into two camp namely catholic and protestant. The movement stressed the right of individual conscience. The reformation attacked the absolute ecclesiastical authority of the Catholic Church and so separated itself from mainstream. Ifedayo Daramola (2003; 252).
Lvy Ledbetter, lee can be considered as the father of modern Public Relations. His activities in the united states of American dated back to 1906.Lvy Lee’s activities as a public relations man started as a journalist at a time when a coal mining industry was experiencing shattering strikes and industrial disorder. Lee offered to restore peace in the industry to the striking coal miners on the contribution that he was allowed to communicate all facts as and when necessary to the public. Lvy lee was later to issue his famous’’ Declaration of principles which he gave to all editors. Lloyd (1980; 3).
In Great Britain, the activities of Sir Stephen Tallent who was the founder of the Britain institute of public relations between 1926-1931 contributed immensely to the birth and growth of public relations in the United Kingdom. Colonial government employed public relations practice to persuade people to go into war. Public Relations started as an information office which was an arm of British government. The purpose of information office was to make people go into war. D.C Fletcher was the head of information office. Oriola (2009). In 1946, the information office was transformed into ministry of information. An army of the ministry of information was public relations department that carry out public relations functions.
2.2.2 Concept of Public Relations
Public relations is a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its publics; involves the management of problems or issues; help management to keep informed on and responsive to public opinion; defines and emphasizes the responsibility of management to serve the public interest; helps management keep abreast of and effectively utilize change, serving as an early warning system to help anticipate trends; and uses research and sound and ethical communication as its principal tools. Harlow (1991).
Taye (2002), quoting News and Carel (2001) says that the first world assemble of public relations association regards public relations as the art and science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organization leaders and implementing planned programmes of action which will serve both the organization’s and the public’s interest.
Tejuoso (2003) see public relations as a management function of a continuing and planned character through which public and private organization and institution seeks to win. Johnstone and Zawawi (2004; 6) define public relations as the ’’ethical and strategic management of communication and relationships in order to produce and direct messages to achieve sound outcomes within a socially responsible framework.’’ This activity can be carried out by organizations, groups or individuals as they interact with their various publics or stakeholders to pursue objectives and goals. This view recognizes that communication should not be simply strategic because this implies the potential exploitation of the imbalances of power between the communicator and the recipient.
Meanwhile, Lvy Lee and Edward Louis Bernays (1990) describe public relations as a management function which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interest of organization by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance. Basically Public Relation is an act that can be seen to involved artistic skills, language, writing, and public speaking. It is a social science using social scientific instrument to understand and predict human behavior Nwosu (1968).
LIoyd, (1980; XV) Public Relations practice is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain a mutual understanding between an organization and its public.
Deliberate; an organization’s public relations emanates from the objective which the public relations man has projected as result of the research. Such research is follow up of the feedbacks received from publics of the organization in reaction to issues of mutual interest.
This emphasizes the fact that there is nothing accidental about a public relations programme. Rather, it is done quite willingly, because the management agreed with the proposition of the public relations man to tackle the problem on hand decisively, deliberately.
The objective may be let the publics of the organization know that management is taking urgent steps to correct anomalies identified and reported by customers about goods or services.
Planned; if an objective is to achieve the projected purposes and have the desire impact, it must be properly planned.
Sustained Effort; as psychology have noted through experiments, the human memory is short. Consequently, with different signals competing for people’s attention from the print and electronic media, an organization is obliged to design messages which it must get across to its publics at regular intervals.
Mutual understanding; the concept of mutual understanding in public relations is made manifest by the principle of two-way communication. The public Relation man is the channel for this two- communication. He gathers public’s opinion about his organizations’ and provides these as feedback to management.
The focus of this chapter is to review existing literature relevant to the subject matter of this study. The review covers part of the conceptual framework, theoretical and empirical framework, which reviews past studies related to this research work.
3.1.1 Public Relations Strategies
Generally, the public relations strategies for tertiary institution should be fashioned out of the corporate objectives of such institution from where public relations derive its objectives.
Press release; It serves as the data bank of institutions. It informs the external publics of the institutions about events that is about to take place or have taken place, through press to the media.
Articles/letter to the editors; lauder the image of the institutions by contributing to articles, different newspaper title and letter to the editor to clarify issues that affect the institutions. Article must be balanced, fair, truthful and interesting. The aims and objectives of the articles are as varied as the needs and situations of the institutions.
Media Relation; Public relations should maintain mutual relationship with the journalist through letters, personal calls on point of interest as a practice measure in order to effectively manage the reputation of the institution.
Interviews; It is veritable tools of getting the support and understanding of the student for their popular and unpopular policies and decision.
Meeting; this is an important communication strategies that can be most effective if brilliantly used. However, meeting will be very useful with all classes of the institution executive in order to state specifically the position of the institution with a view to solicitor their support.
Sponsorship; by providing entertaining radio and television programmes to the publicity.
Internet; is a media technology that has greatly enhanced the concept of a global village. Due to the power of internet, it makes institutions to be known (resumptions date, sales of Post UTME, date of Post UTME)
3.2 Public Relations Campaign Planning
Franks Jerfkins (1998), in his model, outline four points for public relations activities in the following order;
1 Appreciation of situation; although public relation activities are meant to place organization in good state before its public in order for the organization to be able to achieve its corporation aims.
Appreciation situation involves tactical monitoring of trends within and around the campuses of the institution making use of formal and informal research techniques relevant to public relations practice.
2. Defining the Objective; Specific public relations campaign objective for higher institutions are;
-To pass information to community on the day to day activities of the board, management staff, student union and other members of the community.
-To fight against cultism in tertiary institution.
-To correct misconception of management activities by staff, students and other members of the community.
3.Defining The Publics; Public relations programme are designed for different publics to the institution, for effectiveness of specific campaigns a clear understanding of the’’ Specific public’’ being targeted is essential for the success of campaign. Therefore, for every programme, a list of target public should be made.
4.Selection Of Media And Techniques; Public relations media serve as the instrument of communication used by an organization to disseminate information to the different publics and also provide feedback needed for further actions on the part of management, before selecting media, public relations must have deep knowledge of the characteristic of both the publics and media. This will enable the public relations executives to put the right peg in the right holes as far as the publics and the media are concerned.
A better knowledge of the media will also help in the design of messages so that the desired response can be received from those the message is meant. Examples of media that can be used are; Radio, Television, Newspaper, and Magazine.
3.2.1 Public Relations for Tertiary Institutions
The present picture that all of us can see of our ivory tower is one of fast depreciating academics values, that has drastically reduced the standard of education in the ultimate institution that all over the world dictates the quality of socio-economic, cultural and technological position of the state. The current state of higher institutions and higher education in Nigeria is the combined responsibility of the governments of these institution; lecturers, parent, student themselves and the larger society Mojaye (2005).
Inconsistent policies on tertiary education which government make from time to time have great impact on the present situation of Ivory Towers. Apparently, in reaction to government policies, a lot of lecturers in Nigeria tertiary institution have found to be involved in so many atrocities that have injured and significantly weakened the pillars upon which sound and quality education were built by the nation’s founding fathers.
The presence of cultism in our citadel of learning has done a lot of havoc to the nation’s educational systems just as it has negative impact on her socio-economic and political systems. Hundreds of promising Nigerians have been killed through violent cult clashes; a great disturbance has been done to the nation’s socio-economic order. No thanks to the nefarious activities of cultist.
Public relations activities in tertiary institution before now had to contend with and contain student’s agitation which usually comes in form of protests against shortage of or unavailability of water supply, power outrage, increase in tuition fees and other matters, bordering on insensitivity on the part of government.
Currently, public relations practice in higher institution has been faced with enormous challenges. The focus of public relation has been directed lately towards getting the institution out of the woods and consequently repositions them to brazen up for the task of extinguishing the extraneous factors that have rotten the system. Adefolakan (2001). Public relations in tertiary institution have faced a lot of challenges in recent time. Chief executive of higher institution of learning have had tough times coping with their institution’s buttered image as a result of series of ugly development that had arisen mostly from neglect of fundamental approaches to public relations in our ivory towers Adefolakan(2001).
It is now evident that tertiary institutions in Nigeria are seeing the need of employ public relation services and strategies to tackle their image deficiencies but it is also true that most manager of these institution often rebuff practitioner’s counsel in favor of the use of contemporary public relations approaches for solving most of the problems that plague the sector Nwosu (2002).
3.2.2 Public Relations As a Management Function In Tertiary Institutions
The dynamic nature of education and educational institution has made it somehow to have stereo-type public relations for educational institutions especially in Nigeria. .Nkwocha (2004). However the following would serve as the basic for articulating function of public relations in tertiary institutions.
1. To serve as communication link between the institution and its internal and external publics.
2. To embark on all activities and programs that would greatly reduce student’s agitation and crisis
3. To secure the understanding and support of major donors and philanthropist for the institution.
4. To secure the confidence and support of government.
5. To undertake community relations activities that will create lasting friendship between the institution and the host communities.
6. To monitor trends in education as they may affect performance and fortunes of tertiary institutions
7 To foster mutual and beneficial relationship between the management of the institution and its workers, workers union and their leaderships.
8 To design programmes that would bring the institution alumni to support its causes at all times.
9. To embark on students’ relations activities that engenders symbiotic relationship between the students’ union leaders and the management.
10. To guide the proprietors and management in building for the institution good image that attracts public’s goodwill.
11. To undertake periodic research, counsel management and put potential plans in place to solve potential and situational occurrence.
3.2.3 Role of Public Relations Officer in Higher Institutions
Operators and managers of higher institutions have since realized the importance of public relations in the day to day running of the institutions. They have come to realized that the institutions cannot survive without the support of its crucial publics(internal and external), and in order for them to function properly there is need to align their policies, goals and objectives with the interest of larger society .Nkwocha (2004).
According to Lattimore el al(2004;328)’’ Public schools as well as higher education institutions have found that public relations is increasingly important to them as they seek funds, deal with crises, or face many of the special situations revolving around education.
This is in tandem with the viewpoint of Biagi (2003;219) universities, colleges and schools often hire public relations people to promote these educational institutions and to handle press attention from the consequences of decisions that educators make.
Hence, not surprisingly, most institutions now have a public relations unit situated in the office of the Chief Executive. Ken and Greenhall(1987;45),while defining public relations practice within higher education system aver that public relations practice is the process of organized two- way communication between an institution and its audiences; its objective is to build a level of mutual understanding and respect which allows the institution’s goal to be more readily met.
Jubril (1997;22) opines that, public relations reduces industrial crises and student unrest, help raise the quality of learning, and the acceptance of certificates, safeguards the tenure of chief academic officers, enhances the employment of graduates, raises the profile of graduate and attract funding for the institutions, thus ensuring sustenance. Ideally, institutional public relations should achieve the following;
The implementation of the institution’s policy, goals and objectives. Assist the news media in coverage of the institution. Reporting to the employees and students on the institution’s activities. Increasing the internal cohesion of the institution. Increasing the institution’s sensitivity to its publics. Mobilization of support for the institution itself. From the foregoing, it has become apparent that public relations in institutions strive to achieve what Jefkins (1988; 9) calls the “transfer process” This entails transforming public perception from negative dimension to the positive. Specifically, public relation is considered as capable of converting public ignorance to knowledge and awareness; apathy to interest and support, prejudice to sympathy and lastly, hostility to understanding and acceptance.
Fayoyin (1992), underlie the national and philosophical basic of public relations which is primarily concerned with achieving understanding through knowledge.
3.2.4 Public Relations and Crisis Management in Tertiary Institutions
The philosophy of public relations places much emphasis on the need for two- way communication in the management of crisis in organizations .Experts have agreed that many forms of misunderstanding and difficulties that lead to conflict in organizations spring from poor or lack of communication, and managements and authorities are constantly encouraged to give information more readily and more often to employees and its public. (Best 2007; Madike, 2005).
For an organization (in this case tertiary institution) to build good image the chief executive must have strategic vision, ensure that the basic responsibility of management is performed dutifully and be certain that the organization is dynamic and responsible to the plight of the staff and students.
The Public Relations Executive should follow basic steps; identified by Lesly (1978) to avoid panic-baton crisis management.
Premeditate; this is the act of developing plans well ahead of crises situation. The plan must be well understood, revised and updated .At the end of all these, the question to ask is’’ Am I prepared to meet any unexpected crisis on this campus?’’ if you can answer in the affirmative then the huddle is crossed.
Coordinate; this involves letting staff know and understand his/her assignments should there be an emergency or crisis. It also involves putting in place, a special task for comprehensive news coverage in the event crisis. The Public Relations man should ensure that everyone knows who is doing what. During crisis, provision should be made for several assignments and those who handle enquire and supply instant feedback.
Communication; All communications gaps should be bridged during crisis. Administration of tertiary institutions should neither fail to communicate during their times of trouble nor delay their responses on matters of protests, demonstration etc. students leaders have to learn to make use of media to prevent their own case to public.
Mediate; during crisis involving students or workers, the media people would always nose for news .Most administration is wary to talk to the gentlemen of the media.
This can be dangerous. Therefore, the public relations man must serve as mediator between the management and \\ or official of the institution who are reluctant and unwilling to talk on one part and the reporter or television ,newspaper who insist on getting a statement on other.
Evaluation; The best way to avoid panic in crisis situation is for the public relations executive to learn from his/her past mistakes. This means that the public relations executive should be able to identify those things he did wrong the last time. It is also advisable for the public relations executive to look outward and seek to discover what other institution around did when they were in the same circumstances. A lot of question should be asked to be able to get a true picture of the present situation. Therefore, an evaluation of yesterday’s activities, actions and programs is a smart way of planning for tomorrow for it would have entailed a revision of today’s practices, actions procedures.
3.2.5 Evolution of Cultism in Tertiary Institutions.
The secret cult phenomenon is not new in Africa. Cultism in Nigeria dates back to pre-colonization when a group of people within the aim of seeking protection from their ancestors conducted rituals.
Professor Soyinka also explained that confraternities are not cults. Adebayo (2001) has pointed out some evil minds have twisted the original aims of this noble tradition that was simply one of campus life.
Long after the founding fathers had left the University of Ibadan, the Confraternity (seadogs) continued to thrive. Unfortunately towards the end of the 1960’ the changes that occur in the various sector of the economic and education in Nigeri began to affect the operations of the Confraternities.
According to Adelola (1997), the first notable departure came in 1968 with the formation of the Eiye Confraternity at the University of Ibadan. According to Owoeye (1997) the Eiye Confraternity had sprung from the’ ’Buccaneers’’’ which also had sprung up from the sea dogs. The protestant groups which sprang up from the Pyrates Confraternity included Black eye, Vikings, Bucaneers. The female cults include, Temple of Eden, Sisterhood, Arcane angels. Hardly is there any tertiary institution which has not suffered the adverse effects of the activities of secret cults which have been characterized by violence.
3.2.6 Causes of Cultism in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions
Eberendu (1999), Identify the following as some of the causes of cultism on campuses.
1. Influence of peer Group; there is no doubt that peer group influence is a potent factor that compels young undergraduates to become member of the cult. Ibeh (2005) stated that, adolescence period is marked by intense social relationship in any environment he/she finds himself.
Akinfolarin (2003) and Akanle (2007) also reported in their studies that peer group influence is one of the reasons student join cultism.
2. Parental Background; parental negligence, lack of discipline at home and the manner in which the child is brought could be a factor in enrolment as a member of a cult.
The child that is well monitor by his or her parent are not easily lure into being members of the cult, while a child whose freedom knows no bound may be a ready candidate for cult membership.
According to Mgbekem (2004), some parents love their children to the extent of pampering them. When they do wrong thing instead of scolding them, they allow the children go free without punishing them, such children becomes arrogant and irresponsible and consequently imbibe criminally-oriented behavior which leads them to becoming members of the cult. Owoeye (1997) stated that there is a link between weak and defective family background and influence and tendencies for students to join secret cults. Parents themselves might be members of secret cults.
Cult members may come from broken homes where child abuse and neglect are very rampant. Ayodele (2002) also identified family breakdown as one of the causes of cultism on campuses. According to him, a child who comes from broken home is exposed to parental negligence.
According to Ogunbameru (2004), Freud’s frustration-Aggression hypothesis stipulated that frustration leads to aggression either towards the perceived sources of interference or displaced of another person. Some students from broken homes become members of the cult to overcome the frustration they face in their home.
3.Societal Decadence; Ogunbameru (1997) lamented that the Nigerian society has willingly or Unwillingly provided an enabling environment for all forms of crimes among which is the problem of campus secret cult. Mgbekem (2005) also lamented that youths nowadays imbibed in immoral values instead of inculcating moral and decent values .The youth see or feel no qualms in joining secret cult. Okeowo(1994) also linked youth’s propensity to join cult to the general state of norm lessens existing in Nigeria.
4. Erosion of Education Standards; The economic downturn in the 1980s and early 1990s in the country encouraged corruption and erosion of the academic system. Some student secure admission into higher institution with dubious credentials (Akinfolarin 2003). Because of this reason they find solace in cultism in order to survive the academic rigors at all cost. For such students, to survive the academic system becomes a game of survival at all cost and as such they join cult groups to intimidate lecturers and the school authorities.
5. Militarization of the Nigerian Polity; Adewale (2005) remarked that the culture of violence which has become part and parcel of Nigerian polity. The emergence of military coups in the Nigerian body polity marked the official introduction of violence as a way of resolving political conflicts.
Ibukun (1999) also highlighted militarization of the Nigerian polity for decades as a factor for cultism in Nigerian Tertiary institutions. The poverty level and bad economic situation of Nigeria seems to make cultism an attractive option for youths.
Most of the desperate politicians attempt to gain power at all cost, make them to train or recruit members as things in order to suppress their political opponents.
Some other causes of cultism in tertiary institutions include lack of recreational facilities, decay in social life and increasing materialism of the society (Omoegun and Akanle 2007); lack of virile students union, erosion of traditional academic culture (Adewale 2005); quest for power, status and protection (Okwu 2006); the desire to hold elective posts in the students’ union and the desire for security (Ajayi and Ayodele 2002).
3.2.7 Effects of Cultism in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions
The attendant effect of cultism on the learning process cannot be exhausted as both intra and inter- cult clashes negatively affect students. (Opaluwah 2009).
A lot of lives and properties have been destroyed through cult violence (Mgbekem 2004).Young undergraduates who are supposed to be leaders in future have fallen victims of trigger happy cultists (Jamiu 2008).Our youth population is being gradually decimated due to cult activities. Times without number, academic activities in these institutions have been brought to a standstill due to cult violence. Lecturers are threatened into awarding unmerited scores to cultist who does not attend classes (Opaluwah 2009).
Mgbekem (2004) lamented that nights are no longer safe in hostels because of frequent cult disturbances and insecurity .Some parents now prefer off campus accommodation for their children in tertiary institutions for fear of being victims of campus cultists’ rampage.
Due to the activities of the cultists and their sponsors who supply them with sophisticated weapons to prosecute communal clashes in the tertiary institutions, cities, towns and villages. The cultists who are in possession of such illegal weapons sometimes used them for perpetration of crimes. Mgbekem (2005).
Those who eventually enlist in secret cult group might have been compelled to do so because of “Sagging egos’’ that needs to be boosted. Others join in order to have a sense of belonging and the need to be “well connected’’(Eneji 1996).Still others may join because of the need for financial assistance, to secure girl friends or for self-protection (Ogunbameru 1997).
Some students are also attracted to cultist groups because they are seeking after meaning, direction, comfort and love (Omotunde1984).Secret cultism seems to have special attraction for youths who are emotionally disturbed and distressed.
Omotunde has further observed ,recruitment into a secret cultist group is ”dressed” up like a Japanese meal with “affection”, ”understanding” and “love” which easily attract the already vulnerable to the fold.
Youngsters who have flexible minds easily fall prey to the entreaties from cult members (Omotunde 1984).Youngsters that are lonely, depressed, dejected, disorientated and frightened sometimes drift into the waiting arms of secret cultists. Apart from the categories mentioned above there are some youngsters who join secret cults out of sheer curiosity.
Eneji(1996) has believed that those who consciously has limit interaction with other students are easy preys for those recruitment “ officers”.
A very important element in the mode of operation of secret cults is recruitment. Recruitment exercise is closely tied to the willingness of students to become members of secret cults.
Apart from some physical and emotional attributes which have been referred to earlier, prospective cult members must be a drug addict. New recruits must also demonstrate some stoic abilities, especially, ability to bear pain. For the prospective female cultists, wearing of provocative dresses that accentuate natural curves and contours is almost a must (Brown 1999).
They must also be able to display an unusual bravado during altercations with uninitiated female students. Some of the female secret cults are, Black braziers, Amazons, Jezebels, white paints, just to name a few. A prospective female cultist, according to Okwe (2002) must be a smoker of all brands of cigarettes; she must be able to consume all kinds of alcohol.
She must also be rich, bold and have’’ big ‘’ men friends. To guarantee her acceptance, she must pass the torture test; she must possess a wardrobe of weird attires that can make heads turn whenever she passes by.
To the psychologically distressed, secret cults offer succor (Omotunde 1984).The succor is in form of love, affection and some degree of emotional security.
3.2.8 Theoretical Framework
3.2.9 Persuasion Theory
Public relations people try to persuade audiences to learn new information, to change emotions, and act in certain ways. Pfau and Wan define persuasion as ‘’ the use of communication to affect (feelings), cognitive (thinking) and\\ or behavior’’. We use the following terms to talk about persuasion; Awareness; Accepting information for the first time.
According to Folarin (1998), the theory holds that for a persuasive message to be considered effective, it must succeed in altering the psychological function of the recipients (students) in such a way that he/she will respond in tune with the behavior desired by the communication.
Aina (2002) further said the theory appreciates new learning awareness through provision of information in order to manipulate the internal psychological structure of individuals which can result in behavioral change as the best ways to effective persuasion communication. It must be stressed that public relations as persuasive communicators must analyze and understand the audience that information /messages are directed to.
Such audience analysis will enable the public relations practitioner to appreciate people he wants to persuade based on their individual psychology traits. The full knowledge of the audience will be incorporated in planning persuasive message and determining the public relations techniques that will be most appropriately used to influence students.
3.2.10 The Social Judgment Theory
Social judgment is proposed by Carolyn Sherif, Muzar and Carl Hovand (1965) as the perception and evaluation of an idea by comparing with current attitudes. It is a study that studies human judgment.
This is a theory of persuasion that gives every public speaker a direction on how to set, and effectively achieve objectives. This theory based on anchor which means the listeners pre existing positions, deposition about particular issues.
There are three Zones within the response ;
Latitude of Acceptance; It refer to position or argument which audience will accept with little or no persuasion.
Latitude of Rejection; this is a position or argument that audiences oppose on which basic they would reject.
Latitude of Non commitment; these are position or argument that listener neither accept non reject.
It is important to note that there is need for every persuasive public relations practitioner to focus on acceptance zones more than non-commitment zone and little on rejection zone.