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. As Aguda (1997) has observed, activities of secret cults like, Human Leopards and Human crocodiles, have been recorded in Central Africa. In Nigeria, secret cults have always existed in many parts of the country.
The origin of the secret cults in the Nigerian universities can be traced back to the Pyrites confraternity, also known as National Association of Sea Dogs, that was founded at the university college, Ibadan(now called the University of Ibadan),in 1953 when the institution was still a satellite campus of the University of London. It has the skull and crossbones as its logo. Culture of hypocritical and affluent middleclass, different from alienated colonial aristocrats.
Professor Soyinka also explained that confraternities are not cults. (Dixon 1994) According to him, Confraternity was part of the social life of the institution. Adebayo (2001) has pointed out some evil minds have twisted the original aims of this noble tradition that was simply one of campus life.
Soyinka further points out that the original confraternity did not swear any oath of secrecy, no binding of blood and the identities of members were known to both students and staff Adiamoh (2003).
Long after the founding fathers had left the University of Ibadan, the Confraternity (seadogs) continued to thrive. Unfortunately towards the end of the 1960’s the social, political and educational changes which were occurring in Nigeria 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, Buccaneers, Mafia, dragons, Black beret and others. The female cults include, Temple of Eden, Frigrates, Barracudas, Daughters of Jezebel and others. Today in Nigeria, there is hardly 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
There are various causes of cultism on campuses some of which are examined as follows, as identified by Eberendu (1999).
1. Influence of peer Group; there is no doubt that peer group influence is a potent factor that compels young undergraduates to join secret cults. Ibeh (2005) posited that, the period of adolescence is marked by intense social relationship in any environment he/she finds himself.
At adolescent, there is a shift of emphasis on social relationship from the parents to the peer group. As adolescent breaks the total reliance and contact with his\\ her parents, he\\she shifts same to the newly acquired group which in most cases is any group on campus he\\she embraces.
Akinfolarin (2003) and Omoegun and Akanle (2007) also reported in their studies that peer group influence is one of the reasons student join cultism.
2.Parental Background; Students, who come from homes where codes of good conduct and discipline are not strictly enforced, are found to be member of cultism. Olajuigbe (2001) reported that parental background, lack of moral instruction at home and the manner in which the child is brought could be a factor in enrolment as a member of a cult.
The excessive control by parents, too many rules could make individual tense and anxious 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 to go free from the offence. They grow up with such negative habit and consequently imbibe criminally-oriented behavior which leads them to joining cult groups, Owoeye (1997) also established a very strong 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 and frustration, such child is easily induced into cultism.
According to Ogunbameru (2004), Freud’s frustration-Aggression hypothesis stipulated that frustration leads to aggression either towards the perceived sources of interference or displaced to another object. Thus some students joined cult to get over the frustration they encountered because of broken 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 standards in the educational system. Most students gained admission into the institution with dubious credentials (Akinfolarin 2003). Such students, because of their low self-image 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 has many faces among which are military Coups, state sponsored violence, political assassinations, activities of ethnic militia and communal clashes. 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. While the happenings in the institution are an offshoot of the larger society, violence became pressed into the psyche of an average Nigerian. Poor economic prospects that accompany democratic governance in Nigeria seem to make cultism an attractive option for youths.
Besides, efforts by some power-drunk politicians to gain power at all cost, make them to train or recruit members as things in order to suppress their political opponents.
Other reasons for 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 the students in a very high proportion. It sometimes leads to incarceration, rustication or expulsion of both innocent and student members (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.
In the Niger-Delta where cult violence is widespread in recent times, properties worth billions of Naira have been destroyed in communities in the area. Communities have been sacked as inhabitants flee to different places for safety (Adewale 2005).
The peace on campus is adversely affected whenever there is cult invasion, this may result in suspension of academic activities for some time. 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.
In reality, cultism seems to put some lecturers who may want to punish students unjustly on their toes, as they may not want to be the next victim of cult’s unwholesome activities. Besides, politicians who want to get to power by force, employs the cultists as political thugs to threaten opponents, and also to manipulate the electoral process.
Due to the activities of the cultists and their sponsors who supply them with sophisticated weapons to prosecute communal clashes or to gain upper hand in power struggles, there are illegal weapons in all nooks and crannies of the tertiary institutions. 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.
The youths, especially those from broken homes, destitute and youngsters who have flexible minds easily fall prey to the entreaties from cult members (Omotunde 1984).
Youngsters who 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 observed those who are tall, masculine and naturally tacit and those who consciously limit much 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. Like any other social organization, recruitment must occur so that membership which might be lost through graduation, rustication, or even death, must be replenished. 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 demonstrate the ability to use weapons, while ability to consume alcohol and use drugs are added advantages .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 most popular 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, and she must be familiar with and, if possible, possess a pistol or an axe.
She must also be rich, bold and have’’ big ‘’ men friends. To guarantee her acceptance, she must pass the torture test. Being a lesbian is an added advantage. She must also cultivate the habit of wearing jeans (Okwe 2002). 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 in an attempt to shape, change, and\\or reinforce perception, affect (feelings), cognitive (thinking) and\\ or behavior’’.12 As Miller and Levine stated,’’ At a minimum a successful persuasive attempt generates some type of cognitive, affective, or behavioral modification in the target’’.13 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 to persuasive messages. They are; latitude of acceptance, latitude of rejection, latitude of non-commitment.
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.
3.2.11 Empirical Framework
A research carried out by Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) November 6, 1982. Public Relations help our complex, pluralistic society to reach decisions and function more effectively by contributing to mutual understanding among groups and institutions. It serves to bring private and public policies into harmony. Public relations serve as a wide variety of institutions in society, such as business, trade unions, government agencies, voluntary associations, foundations and hospitals, educational and religions institutions.
To achieve their goals, these institutions must develop effective relationships with many different audience or publics such as employees, members, customers, local communities, shareholders and other institutions and with society at large.
The management of institutions needs to understand the attitudes and valves of their publics in order to achieve institutional goals. The goals themselves are shaped by the external environment.
The public relations practitioner acts as a counselor to management and as a mediator, helping to translate private aims into reasonable, publicly acceptable policy and action.
A research carried by former American leader, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) and 16th President (1861-1865) state that public sentiments are everything; with public sentiment nothing can fail, without it, nothing can succeed.
He who moulds sentiment goes deeper than he who executes statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decision possible or impossible to execute.
A research carried by I.A. Ajayi, Haastrup T .Ekundayo and F.M. Osalusi(2010) States that ,it has been established in the course of this study that the problem of cultism, among others ,is a symptom of society ,which is embroiled in moral decadence and where institutionalized and personal violence has become a way of life.
Realizing the havoc which cultism has wrecked on both members and non- members of the academic community, all hands must be on deck to combat the menace. Besides ,if the tertiary institutions’ administration would come back to its glorious past as well as prepare the nation for the better days, there is need to rediscover and teach the people concerned the goals of Tertiary institution.
A study carried out by EKEANYANWU NNAMDI TOBECHUKWU AND ANGELA IGBINOBA (2007) THE MEDIA AND CULTISM IN NIGERIAN HIGHER INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING. States that, Cultism is a subject matter that is of National significance .It has permeated the country at an alarming rate, particularly the country’s tertiary institutions.
The normal vulnerability of the adolescent\\youth to insecurity has been exacerbated. By social and economic, opportunities problems such as absence of employment, disregard for merit and ethnic favoritism, which refuse to abate in Nigerian Society.
A research carried out by ADEWALE ROTIMI (2005) on the menace of Secret Cults in the Nigerian Universities. States that, the problem of cultism is a symptom of society which has undergone total moral decadence and where institutionalized and personal violence has become a way of life.
Where brute force has supplanted vigorous intellectual debate and with a conspicuous absence of dialogue as a veritable element of conflict resolution. Nigeria is a society where more money is yearly allocated to ‘’defense’’, to the detriment of social, welfare for citizens and education.
To successfully combat the problem of secret cults, some changes must occur both in general society and within educational institutions.
A study was carried out by Assay Benjamin Enahoro on an Evaluation of Public Relations ’Role in crisis Management in Tertiary Institutions. State that, the ultimate test for management of institutions is dealing with crisis since the phenomenon has become a regular feature in the higher education system.
In these days when tertiary institutions are being choked by recurring crisis, institutional heads and their public relations personnel are under obligation to apply appropriate strategies to achieve three goals which crisis management experts have generally counseled their clients to do; terminate the crisis, limit the damage, and restore credibility.
A research carried out by Samuel Amaele(2013) state that, cultism, whether in the larger society or schools, is detrimental. Everybody is a target. Despite its hydra headed nature, however, cultism on the campuses can be eradicated. Parents ,various institutions of learning, the government and host communities as well as all other well-meaning Nigerians must work together to end cultism.
It will take genuine commitment by all concerned to restore the lost glory of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions. Fighting and winning this battle is a task that must be done, however, if schools and their graduates are to remain relevant in the twenty first century and beyond.
A study carried out by ERNWACA RESEARCH GRANTS PROGRAMME (2007) state that, cultism is becoming a menace in our society. All indications have shown that cultism is responsible for the spate of violence in tertiary education institutions. This state of violence is very worrisome to not only college authorities of the colleges under review but to the general populace. In fact, it is believed to be filtering into secondary schools.
The behavior of students in the secondary schools today is very disturbing. Resorting to violence to settle conflicts and common misunderstanding among them is common practice. What makes it quite disturbing is the Sierra Leone as a nation is just emerging from a brutal civil war. Tertiary education institutions are expected to be the resource base for the supply of human resource to take of the political, social and economic development of any nation.
But if these young men are engaged in activities that do not enhance progress, then the development of such a nation become very bleak.
This chapter explains the method of investigation, data collection and method adopted in the course of this project. The relevance of this existence is to lend credence to subsequent chapter as well as enable reader to access the quality of the work.
This procedure will allow for more and accurate information to be collected and analyzed for the purpose of meaningful interpretation, research design, population, sample size, research instrument, data collection and method of data analysis will be discussed.
4.2 Research Design
The research design for this study is descriptive design type. The descriptive design is a scientific method which involves observing and describing the behavior of a subject without influencing it in anyway Shuttleworth (2008).
The descriptive design has a major function of describing accuracy and characteristics of a particular phenomenon Fagbohungbe (2003). Therefore descriptive design will be employed in the study to show how public relations strategies and fight against cultism in Nigeria tertiary institution.
4.3 Research method
The research method applicable to this study is survey. A survey research method according to Orah (2007) focused on people, belief, attitudes and behaviors and also helps the researchers to systematically document current opinion and information on research work.
Afolabi (1994) emphasized that survey research method saves times and money, as well as ensure efficiency .it involves gathering a sample data about a target population.
From the sample, a generalization is made about a target population, the method was chosen so that the variable will not be manipulation.
The random sampling will be used to study only the student of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic and primary data being used was questionnaire.
4.4 Research instrument
The appropriate research instrument used in gathering information in this study is questionnaire, which is printed set and set as a structured and detailed question design to elicit information from respondent
Questionnaire shall be the major instrument of this study and questionnaire shall be into two sections, section A and B.
Section A consist of question on bio-data of the respondents such as age, educational background, sex etc. while B will consist of questions related to the research work and general questions which shall be useful in answering different research questions.
4.5 Population of the study
A population is made up of all conceivable element subject or observation relating to popular phenomena of interest to the researcher
Asika (200) defines population as asset of all object units or observations about conclusion are to be drawn. All individuals object within a certain population usually have a common kindling characteristic or trait.
The population of this study comprises of the undergraduate of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic which their total numbers is 500, they involve male and female, within the age of 18yrs-25yrs, 26yrs-30yrs, 30yrs and above.
4.6 Sample and sampling techniques
In order to arrive at a trusted and reliable result, the sample size of this study is drawn at (25) ND 1, (25) ND 2, (25) HND 2, student. Which are within the age range of 18-25, 26-30 and above?
This is done to avoid difficulties that may emanate from sampling of some of the students in Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta .
4.7 Validity and reliability of research instrument
Validity determines the extent to which the instrument truly measure or how truthful the research generally determine validity by asking series of question as related to the research study and will often look for answers in the research. Validity also involves collection and analyzing data to access the accuracy of the instrument.
This will be in the study. The questionnaire will be drafted and design with assistance from expert from the field of public relations in the institution .the draft will be given to the supervisor whose suggestions and correction will also be incorporated into report.
While reliability, some of the instrument shall be given to some randomly selected part of the sampled respondent and their responses collated and tested for consistencies in order to ascertain the reliability of the instrument for the purpose intended for the research.
The reliability of the instrument shall be further ensured by using simple and easy to understand question in the design so that the respondents are necessarily confused while reading through the instrument.
4.8 Method of data analysis
This analysis will be done using percentage to present, interpret and compare data gathered from the questionnaire items which makes use of frequency table.
The data and information gathered will be used to answer research objective realized in chapter one.
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
This chapter reveals the presentation of data and outcome of the data analysis as carried out with the use of descriptive statistics such as frequency count percentage.
5.2 data presentation