Utilising Non-Formal Education Programs As A Tool For Curbing The Prevalence Of Cultism In Communities In Oredo Local Government Area Of Edo State
Non-formal education programs is a strategy to deal with youth issues such as poverty robbery and unemployment. Empowerment of the youth through non formal education would reduce cultism in communities in Nigeria. The study explores the influence of non-formal education programs on curbing cultism in Oredo L.G.A. The objectives of the study includes: to assess youth’s perceptions on the influence of youth financial education in curbing the prevalence of cultism, to establish youth’s perceptions on the influence of youth education for empowerment in curbing the prevalence of cultism and to determine youth’s perceptions on the influence of youth acquisition of practical skills in curbing the prevalence of cultism in Oredo L.G.A. The study used descriptive research design and targeted 39,873 youth between the age of 18 to 24 with a sample size of 380 and the two officers in- charge of the youth affairs in the L.G.A. The study used stratified proportionate random sampling method while data was collected using a questionnaire for the youth and an interview schedule for officers in-charge of youth affairs. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics with the help of a statistical package for social science (SPSS) version 15.0 for windows. The study established that majority of the respondents were unemployment: an indication that they are in dire need of empowerment due to lack of quality education and skills for employment either formally or informally. Lack of funds was also a hindrance for youth self- enterprise and upward mobility. Majority of the youth had just basic education and skills which did not match the needs of the job market hence were unemployed and depended on others for basic needs. This contributes to their vulnerability to exploitation, recruitment in illegal groups and crimes that undermines security and peace in Oredo L.G.A.
1.1 Background of the Study
The emergence of cult activities in tertiary institutions in Africa can be traced back to the early 1950s. According to Opaluwah (2000), what is known as campus cultism in tertiary institutions started at The University College, Ibadan, Nigeria in 1952. It was formed by Nigeria’s only Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and six others who founded the Pyrates Confraternity. The other six are
Olumuyiwa Awe, Ralph Opara, and Tunji Tubi, Aig Imokhuede, Pius Olegbe and Olu Agunloye. Their main objectives included the abolition of convention; the revival of the age of chivalry and to end tribalism, to elevate the social life of the university campus where orderliness and discipline could be planted in the mind of students/youths who were expected to be future leaders in Nigeria and elitism. Adejoro (1995) lamented that little did Soyinka and his friends realized that they were making history nor did they come to terms with the fact that students and indeed youths radicalism was being given a national boost and the unleashing of a national vanguard. The development was paradoxical to the extent that they little realized that they were laying the foundation for what was to be transformed eventually into gansterism.
In defining cultism, Azelama, Alude and Imhonda (2000) noted that “cult is an assemblage of people united by certain ideals, or symbols and whose rites and ceremonies of veneration are unique and shrouded in mysteries with a secrecy that cannot be broken.” Maxey (2004) traces the meaning of cult from the Latin word ‘cultus’ which means ‘to worship or give reverence to a deity.’ Thus, in its original usage, it was simply applied to a religious worshipful group of people regardless of the object or person they venerated.
Furthermore, Rotimi (2005) cites the anthropological definition of ‘cult’ by Oxford Concise Dictionary of Sociology (1996) as ‘a set of practices and beliefs of a group in relation to a local god.’ The same dictionary gives a sociological definition of a cult as ‘a small group of religious activists whose beliefs are typically secret, esoteric and individualistic.’ Aguda (1997), Ogunbameru (1997) and the Free Encyclopedia (2006) define cult in a similar manner. Langone (1988) indicated that cult leaders have absolute control over the members of the movement and as such they use force to subdue them under their command. The author concluded that because cults tend to be leader centred, exploitative and harmful, they come into conflict with and threatened by the rational open and benevolent system of members’ families and society at large and that it is an exploitatively manipulative and abusive group in which members are induced to serve the group leader(s). From these accounts, it can be deduced that cults and cultism have certain elements in common. They are esoteric, shrouded in secrecy, usually made up of a small group of people with a charismatic leader, and may or may not be religious in nature.
Education can be used as a tool to promote social cohesion and peace. Education instills in the youth knowledge and skills that enhance empowerment . The knowledge that they acquire enable them to get employment hence self independence. Young people who are engaged in some form of employment are active members of the society and therefore no longer idle. The vulnerability and propensity of youth to conflict was highlighted in the
UN Secretary General’s (2001) Report on the prevention of armed conflict, which observed that young, uneducated people are easy recruits for parties to violent conflict. Skills on the other hand are essential in facilitating self- reliance in the youth through self employment. Practical skills can be inculcated through vocational training in institutions such as polytechnics. The institutions can be revived or established and be well equipped.
Garcia and Fares (2008) states that since labor is the most abundant asset of the poor .It is only by harnessing youth’s energy, motivation, capabilities, resilience and ideas that Africa can accomplish the daunting task of moving out of poverty. Employment of the youth is a way to improve their living standards, and deal with idleness thereby enhancing upward mobility.
The Plan of Action (PoA) which is a framework that implements African Youth Charter (AYC 2006) describes non-formal education programs as building knowledge and education through awareness rising, capacity and skills building enhancing accessibility to various opportunities that shape the future youth. Its goal is to empower the youth in Africa. The charter serves as a strategic framework to give direction for non-formal education programs and development at different levels that is continental, regional and national levels. Due to unemployment the youth engage in activities that undermine peace such as robbery and unless they are empowered they may never realize their dreams of becoming self- independent. There are programs to empower the youth in Africa for example in Zambia. Barker et al (2000) report on the Youth Skills Enterprise Initiative Program in Zambia which integrates basic business and life skills training and which also provides access to small loans as a way to empower the young people by providing financial support.
Giving financial support to the youth enhances their financial independence which helps to keep youth off: crimes, idleness, poverty and even negative influence by politicians to carry out activities that may undermine peace. Christiansen, Utas & Vigh (2006) states that large proportion of young people in Africa are growing up in social environment where chances of living decent lives are negligible and in which many find themselves stuck in positions of inadequate life chances and bleak prospects. It is these conditions that the youth find themselves that entice them to engage in activities that are responsible for undermining peace.
The research by Country Social analysis by the World Bank (2007) confirms that youth unemployment especially among males is a major contributor to frustration and tensions, particularly in urban areas and a matter of serious policy concerns in Nigeria. It is therefore relevant to urgently put in place measures that will help realize non-formal education programs in all areas in the country especially now that the youth are being recruited into illegal groups responsible for terrorism. When the young people are financially independent they will be able to afford basic necessities, fight poverty and eventually keep them off petty crimes which will contribute greatly to sustainable peace.
In Maji Mazuri area in Nairobi there is Maji Mazuri Mathare Youth Group Program (M.M.M.Y.G.P) that facilitate the youth members with financial support, guidance and expertise .The youth involved in the program did not engage in violence and initiated activities to promote peace and community cohesion during and right after the conflict erupted (maji mazuri .org, 2012) They have programs such as Stop Bullet Peace Program (SBPP) which promotes peace, cohesion and security in the community. Financial support provided by the program is a strategy to empower the youth financially. Expertise provides them with the skills that they can use to establish businesses and other kinds of projects such garbage collection in towns.
Wanjohi (2004) makes his contribution by stating that the challenges faced by the youth are breeding frustration, anxiety and despair, culminating in crimes, drug addiction and alcoholism. Hopelessness and depression are responsible for the youth joining armed rebel groups and movements. These groups in a way undermine peace for example Mungiki. According to De Boeck& Honwana (2005) Mungiki reposition themselves as a young group and creates an alternative space from which they speak. It gives them an avenue to communicate their dissatisfaction within their sense of societal marginalization of the youth. This group sometimes vent out their anger on the local people in Oredo L.G.A. causing them to live in fear.
Drug and alcohol is a big challenge in our society as the youth die of consuming illicit brews. NACADA (2012) in their study has revealed that drug abuse has permeated all strata of Nigerian society, the youth and young adults being the most affected groups. Drugs are responsible for the youth engagement in criminal activities in order to get some money to buy the status quo. The government of Nigeria has come up with programs and policies to empower the youth deal with life challenges and be self- reliant. This will see a reduction in crimes, idleness and unemployment among the youth.
Youth do not only require financial support to be empowered they also require to have skills to enable them make use of available resources. Education for empowerment would be useful in promoting a culture of peace and also help the youth understand who they are thus not subject to negative influence.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Non-formal education programs have been implemented globally, regionally and nationally to deal with the problem of youth unemployment however the problem still persists. Such programs like Carribean Youth Enterprise Program equips youth with skills between 15-25 years. Youth unemployment is one of the most challenging social economic problems facing most developing countries in Africa and the situation is aggravated by high youth population. In Nigeria youth have been empowered financially through programs like Uwezo Fund and Youth Enterprise Development Fund to venture into business enterprise.
Unemployment in Nigeria undermines social stability and cohesion as the idle youth engage in criminal activities responsible for insecurity. Lately the issues of youth radicalization and terror attacks have demonstrated the state of security in the country. Empowerment of the youth in the country is critical in enabling them to take active roles in the development of their country. They can be empowered through education, skills and funds for self employment. These efforts would prove significant in keeping the youth away from engaging in criminal activities and ensure they are no longer idle. Youth are vital but frequently ignored source of expertise in the development of the country. It would therefore be disastrous not to harness the potential and vitality of the youth which most of the times is not properly utilized by the states.
The Kinoo Paralegal Networks report (28th October 2009) contends that Oredo L.G.A. faces some challenges such as inadequate water, unplanned development and insecurity. The latter is caused by crimes as a result of robberies and the activities of the outlawed group known as Mungiki. Most youths are not employed and this influences them to join the group and engage in crimes.
The youth in Oredo are in dire need of empowerment due to the problem of youth unemployment which contributes greatly to insecurity in the area. Non-formal education programs programs have been implemented in Oredo L.G.A. through financial education to facilitate employment in the informal sector. However despite such intervention measures the situation has not improved hence more need to be considered like empowering the youth with quality education and training. Empowering the youth will increase their employability thereby enhancing their financial independent. Youth who are empowered will not necessarily get involved in criminal activities thereby promoting security in the area. The study therefore investigates the influence of non-formal education programs on curbing cultism in Oredo L.G.A., Edo State.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of non-formal education programs on curbing cultism in Oredo L.G.A., Edo State.
1.4 Research objectives
The study objectives were as follows:
- To assess youth’s perceptions on the influence of youth financial education in curbing the prevalence of cultism in Oredo L.G.A.
- To establish youth’s perceptions on the influence of youth education for empowerment in curbing the prevalence of cultism in Oredo L.G.A.
iii. To determine youth’s perceptions on the influence of youth acquisition of practical skills in curbing the prevalence of cultism in Oredo L.G.A.
1.5 Research questions
The study attempts to answer the following questions:
- To what extent does financial education of the youth influence curbing cultism in Oredo L.G.A.?
- How does youth education for empowerment influence promotion of sustainable peace in Oredo L.G.A.?
- To what extent does youth acquisition of practical skills influence curbing cultism in Oredo L.G.A.?
1.6 Significance of the Study
The information gathered from this study will be particularly important to the policy makers in the country by enlightening them on the need to include the youth in the policy making processes by integrating their views and perspectives on matters that concern them. The government will also benefit from the findings in that they will see the need to empower the youth with quality education, practical skills and more funds allocations for youth enterprises. Other researchers will also get an in depth knowledge from the study which they can use in their studies.
The researcher was constrained for time due to employment responsibilities and limited financial resources. To overcome the challenges the researcher made a maximum use of available resources and time to conduct research.
1.8 Delimitation of the study
The study was conducted in Oredo L.G.A., Edo State. The respondents included the 39,783 youth between the age of 18 and 24 years and two officers from the Ministry of Youth Affairs in charge of youth affairs.
1.9 Basic assumptions of the study
The study assumed that the respondents would be available, cooperative and honest in their responses. As the Table 4.1 shows there was 100% return rate of the questionnaires indicating an excellent level of cooperation.
1.10 Definition of significant terms
The following are the significant terms of the study;
cultism – devotion to a doctrine.
Financial education– Provision of youth with funds to start own businesses for
self-employment and employment of others, access to education and financial independence.
Education for Empowerment-Youth education for self -awareness, acquisition of
quality basic education and education about peace.
Practical skills – Youth provision of skills such as ICT skills, life skills, entrepreneurial skills as well as traditional skills.
1.11 Organization of the study
The study is organized in five chapters. Chapter One comprised of the background of the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives of the study, research questions, significant of the study, limitation and delimitation of the study, basic assumptions of the study, definition of significant terms and organization of the study. Chapter Two dealt with literature review, which included curbing cultism, financial education, education for empowerment and practical skills, theoretical framework, conceptual framework, research gap and summary. Chapter Three dealt with research methodology to be used, research design, target population, sample and sampling techniques, research instruments, validity of the study, reliability of the study, and data collection procedures. Chapter Four comprised of data analysis, presentation and interpretation. Chapter Five provided a summary of the research findings, discussion of the findings, conclusion, recommendations and possible solutions to the problems being studied and suggestions for future research.