FLASHBACK : fight against cultism: kudos to governor Imoke
by Odunayo Joseph
P.M. News, Monday, 30 November, 2009 – page 4
Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State can be said to have not only taken a bold step but will also be seen as perhaps the only public official in the country after late Head of State, General Muritala Mohamed to have bravely taken the bull by the horn, with regards to the fight against cultism, which arguably ranks second to corruption among the social ills ravaging and militating against the progress of our country.
It would be recalled that the ex-senator-turned-governor started the fight against cultism with vigour and determination when he compelled all political office holders in his state including those even close to him such as his aides, cabinet members, Local Government Chairmen and Councilors, to swear on oath denouncing their membership of secret cults.
In a further demonstration of his seriousness and unalloyed commitment to the fight against the dreadful social cankerworm, he facilitated the suspension of 10 Local Government Councilors in Calabar South LGA from office by the Cross River State House of Assembly.
The governor deserves commendation for using the oath taking strategy as a means of tackling headlong a dangerous and a deliberately unpronounced social ill in the Nigerian society – cultism.
There are many dimensions to oath-taking in Nigeria. Oath taking is employed as a bond between a public office holder and the public that he is to serve. In this category of oath is the one usually taken by government officials and appointees on assumption of office. The other kind of oath which is deadly, and which is solemnly taken to protect the interest of members of a cult or association is common in tertiary institutions nationwide. It is also taken for class protection and class supremacy with the sponsorsing of members by well-to-do people in the society including members of the academic community.
That said, there is no way oath-taking can be alienated from cultism since the bedrock of any secret society is the oath of allegiance usually taken by members for the advancement of the cause of the secret society.
Considering the dangers posed to the current and future generations with the existence of well over 33 secret cults and associations in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, what should preoccupy our minds is the emergence of the likes of Governor Liyel Imoke to occupy positions in authority in Nigeria.
In addition to compelling public officials in his state to denounce cult membership, the governor further proclaimed that no cultist would henceforth be allowed to vie for an office or be considered for appointment into any office at the Federal, State and Local Government levels. This strategy has been paying off as more cases of denunciation of membership of cult groups across Cross River state have been reported in media.
It is in the light of this that the remaining 35 state governors including the Federal Capital Territory Minister should borrow a leaf from the bravery of Governor Liyel Imoke. To this end, all office holders in the public and private sectors should be made to swear to oath denouncing membership of any secret cult. All heads of educational institutions, management, training and human resources consultants, members of professional bodies such as lawyers, journalists, bankers, accountants, religious leaders and members of religious bodies in Nigeria, just to mention a few, should see the example of Governor Imoke as one to be emulated. They should contribute to stamping out cultism in Nigeria beginning with denunciation of secret cults membership as a prelude to fighting the social menace to a standstill in the society. Allowing cultists in our midst to continue to hold sway in governance in Nigeria, in whatever form or capacity, is to continue to toy with our country’s future survival and the institution of an egalitarian society.
A pertinent question we should ask ourselves is: isn’t our country drifting towards producing future killers rather than future leaders considering the proliferation of secret cult groups in our tertiary institutions? The sad aspect of it is the precipitous dimension that cultism is assuming in our country. It is being widely speculated that cultism is not now limited to tertiary educational institutions only but is gradually creeping into our secondary schools. It is in the light of this untoward development in our nation, that all hands must, as a matter of urgency, be on deck in the fight against the menace. Parents of student cultists in our educational institutions should show concern on the dangers posed to the peaceful survival of Nigeria as a nation. It is paradoxical that the children of people in various positions of authority turn round to unleash terror on helpless poor citizens in our tertiary institutions through cultism by which many innocent souls have been sent to their early graves.
It is now clear that the courageous governor must have seen the handwriting on the wall with the damage the lack of drastic measures against cultism is doing to our socio-political fabric, hence his timely intervention at curbing the social menace.
It is hoped that as a start towards stamping out cultism in Nigeria with all seriousness, any of the state governors in any secret society, should lead by example by denouncing his membership of such secret cult either in Nigeria or outside the country. They should equally come together to deliberate on the issue of cultism in the same spirit and manner with which they met in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on 7 November, this year, over the Federal Government’s planned deregulation of the petroleum sector.
It is also high time all Nigerians, at home and abroad, got up to checkmate the inherent dangers in allowing our society to continue to be a largely cult-driven one. There is no doubt that the forging of an egalitarian society will continue to be a daydream should concerted efforts not be made to say no to cultism in all ramifications in Nigeria. Now is the time for all Nigerians in positions of authority, especially the policy and decision makers, to come out openly to identify with the fight against cultism in our land.
Article can also be read in:
1. Daily Champion, Tuesday, December 22, 2009, page 10
2. Democracy Newsline, Friday, 23rd December 2011 – 6 January, 2012, Vol. 2 No. 15, page 11
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