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The Dilemma of Post-Colonial Universities

Yann Lebeau
Mobolaji Ogunsanya

II. Public Institutions in Crisis: Conflict and violence on campus

Violence and Decay within the Nigerian University System: Notes from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso

Sanya Osha

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1The alarming deterioration within the entire Nigerian university system has been sufficiently documented in academic publications and the Nigerian mass media. Evidently, this factor alone may lead one to the conclusion that fresh perspectives on the Nigerian university crisis are unavailable. This viewpoint, however, as this study seeks to establish, is rather erroneous. This is because the crises ravaging the rank and file of the Nigerian university system are being compounded by the day, such that new and troubling dimensions are being added to already existing problems. Furthermore, since Nigeria has about 37 'functional' universities, one can be sure that each of the institutions is bound to have peculiar problems. In other words, a major problem in say University of Ibadan, need not necessarily be the same that faces the academic community in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Each university as a matter of consequence is plagued by a nexus of difficulties that requires sensitive and independent attention. Having said that however, some problems, which are general to many Nigerian universities prevail. Perhaps the problem with which all of them are faced is chronic underfunding. Braindrain has also become a widespread problem. We have the question of unprecedented decay in university infrastructures. The explosion of the student population must also be mentioned. Finally, we have the pervasive problem of secret cults. These are some of the problems that confront most Nigerian universities upon which we will dwell at length later.

2This study focuses on most of these general problems and the issue of violence within the Nigerian university system. In this respect, violence as a conceptual definition assumes a much broader form and range. Thus, it begins by examining the incidents and ramifications of violence at the institution level. By exploring this methodological trajectory, we are compelled to see violence not only as an infringement upon due process, but also in its broader social dimensions. Hence, we are encouraged to address some of the ways the institution of the university becomes an agent or perpetrator of violence together with the more powerful organs of state. This theoretical objective, however, may be difficult to accomplish.

3Nonetheless, if one looks again at the current repressiveness of the structures of state, this theoretical endeavour may appear worthwhile. The argument that the militarization of the Nigerian polity has consequently led to the authoritarian nature of some Nigerian university establishments may be sustained. A better way of explaining this point is to mention that some Nigerian universities are now being run by sole administrators. This aspect of violence as a conceptual usage, forces us to examine broad and rather interesting socio-political categories. The other facet of violence to be discussed has fewer methodological subtleties. Quite clearly, it deals with the question of secret cults in Nigerian universities. The discussion begins on a national scope and then narrows down upon Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso in Oyo State.

4This discursive methodology is informed by the belief that the nature of the problems discussed here have truly national proportions and so, to provide a meaningful historical presentation of them, we need to situate them within a broad conceptual framework even if the ostensible case-study is Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso. Furthermore, because violence as an institutional and state-engendered phenomenon obviously requires a transcendence of our stated case-study, that is, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, we have no other recourse, but to adopt this discursive taxonomy.

Decay by instalment

5The history of decay within the Nigerian university system is a long drawn-out one. Attahiru Jega captures the situation aptly:

  • 1 Attahiru M. Jega. Nigerian Academics under Military Rule. Stockholm: University of Stockholm. 1994, (...)

The Nigerian education sector in general has been experiencing a devastating crisis since the late 1970s. In the Nigerian university system in particular, this crisis has been characterized by a combination of chronic underfunding, rapidly increasing students' enrolment, inadequacy of facilities, deterioration of physical infrastructures, a growing culture of arbitrariness and suppression in managing the institutions, demoralization of staff and students, incessant student riots and periodic staff strikes.1

6It is also Jega's contention that the various Nigerian military regimes have contributed in no small way to the deteriorating conditions in Nigerian universities. The growth of the number of universities is easily traceable to the oil-boom era when one military leader claimed that money is not the country's problem, but how to spend it. The expansion in the number of universities was not, however, accompanied by meticulous planning, budgeting and execution; instead it was marked by undue politicization, parochial interests and needless and cumbersome bureaucracy. In this way, national development objectives were not only derailed, but often ignored. As for university administrators, they also carry a share of the blame. Indeed:

  • 2 ibid, 4.

The meager resources that actually went into the system were often either mismanaged, misapplied or misappropriated by corrupt university administrators. Virtually every report of visitation panels to the universities that has been made public has contained indictments of university authorities for all sorts of financial improprieties.2

7The outcome of this ma/administration and mismanagement is reflected in the deplorable state of the university infrastructure, overcrowded lecture halls and residential hostels, insufficient office accommodation for lecturers and other members of staff, as well as insufficient academic materials of all forms. When all these myriad problems became compounded, lecturers began to leave the system in droves leading to what has been popularly termed 'the brain-drain syndrome" thereby worsening an already undesirable situation.

8When the Academic Staff Union of Universities was founded in 1978, it promised to be a purposeful organization. Among its objectives were:

  1. Organization of academic staff who are qualified for membership.
  2. Regulation of relations between academic staff and employers, and between members
  3. Establishment and maintenance of a high standard of academic performance and professional practice
  4. Establishment and maintenance of just and proper conditions of service for its members
  5. Advancement of education and training of its members
  6. Provision of benefits and other assistance to the members as provided in the constitution
  7. Encouragement of the participation of its members in the affairs of the university system and of the nation
  8. Protection and advancement of socio-economic and cultural interests of the nation
  9. Such other objects as are lawful and consistent with the spirit and practice of trade unionism.3

9Beginning from 1980 when Biodun Jefiyo was elected national president of ASUU, there was a radical shift in the organization toward greater social activism and progressive causes; this was maintained during the tenure of Modibbo Tukur, the late radical historian. It was also under Tukur's leadership that ASUU joined the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).

10The tenure of Festus Iyayi forecasted the type of struggle that would confront ASUU in the immediate future. A university vice-chancellor, Professor Grace Alele-Williams was appointed in flagrant disregard of the statutes governing such matters, at the University of Benin where Iyayi had been a lecturer. Iyayi on his part faulted the appointment. From that moment on, he was set on a collision course with the university authorities. Alele-Williams' working methods sought to depolarize all forms of opposition at all costs and in doing so, due process suffered adversely. Drs Festus Iyayi and Agbonifoh were promptly sacked under trumped -up charges which were sustained until the tenure of the immediate past vice-chancellor of the university, Professor Onokerhoraye. Also affected by the purge were Professors Itse Sagay and Omene. Sagay had been a strong contender for the post of vice chancellor and had strong ASUU sympathies; and Professor

  • 4 Jega, Nigerian Academics under Military Rule, 1994, 42.
  • 5 ibid.. 47.

11Omene was (then) the erstwhile provost of the College of Medicine; both were disallowed from holding any administrative positions in addition to being reprimanded. These executive abuses had nation-wide repercussions. Vice-chancellors continually sought to entrench the culture of arbitrary and high-handed practices to the detriment of the union's cohesion and effectiveness and the establishment of due process within the system. It has also been claimed that 'between 1988 and 1990 more than 1000 academics left the services of the Nigerian universities.'4 Similarly, in 1988, ASUU was proscribed by the Babangida administration. As to be expected, the proscription led to other abuses within the system. Not only was academic freedom contained but financial accountability within the universities became seriously eroded. Perhaps at this juncture, a recap of the problems that confronted ASUU is required: underfunding; poor conditions of service; inadequacy of facilities; poor living and working conditions for students; poor staffing due to brain-drain; crude and intense suppression of students; and infringement of academic freedom and university autonomy by government functionaries and agencies.5

12The militaristic culture had undoubtedly infiltrated the campuses through the government-sponsored university administrators who were in turn backed by the military establishment. This dimension to the crises demonstrated that militarism has an inexorable way of corrupting civil institutions no matter the forms of resistance offered.

13In spite of the obstacles, the Attahiru Jega-led ASUU executive was able to make a landmark agreement with the federal military government in September 1992 after a great deal of toil, tribulations and setbacks. The importance of the agreement lay in its accord with the principle of collective bargaining and also its objective of addressing squarely the frightening rot within the university system. The spirit and letter of the agreement seemed to prognosticate nothing but good for the system. Furthermore, section 7.8 of the accord states that it is agreed that this agreement shall be reviewed every three years.' It was hoped that this clause would serve as a means of bringing both government and ASUU to the negotiating table triennially so as to inject new life into the chronically decayed system. This was, however, a tragically mistaken belief. Fresh crises broke out only a short while later.

14In 1995, when the Assisi Asobie-led ASUU executive invited the federal military government to honour the September 1992 agreement, government stonewalled for many months. When the government finally agreed to come to the bargaining table, the negotiations broke down and ASUU commenced nation-wide strike action that began on 9 April 1996 and lasted till October of the same year. During the strike, ASUU was proscribed again, and since then, the ban has not been lifted. What ASUU demanded was a re-examination of the 1992 agreement and a review of the intolerable conditions of service. What was traded between government and ASUU, however, was acrimony, culminating in the seemingly irrevocable breakdown in relations. Not only did the 1996 strike fail to accomplish its objectives, and not only was ASUU proscribed, Dr. Assisi Asobie, the national president of ASUU was sacked from his teaching position at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

15The university system has not fared very well since the 1996 debacle. The breakdown of infrastructures within the various universities is almost total. The electricity supply has considerably worsened and water shortages have become more acute. The overcrowding in classrooms is not only an eyesore, but has led to even more stressful conditions. The same congestion is also evident in the residential hostels. Arbitrary and high-handed administrative procedures have worsened, and serious teaching and research have become an uphill task. In some cases, research has become impossible. To survive the harsh economic conditions, many lecturers have resorted to the sale of flimsy handouts at exorbitant rates. Although this is disallowed on most campuses, the university authorities are unable to effectively discourage it.

16What is even worse, students realize that oftentimes they need to purchase handouts in order to pass examinations as their performance in them is invariably tied to the almost compulsory patronage of handouts. Most of the conditions just enunciated are to be found in virtually all Nigerian universities. In some instances, however, the problems are indeed slightly more daunting.

  • 6 Chukwuma Nwokoh, The sorry state of the universities. The Guardian on Sunday (26 October 1997); als (...)

17Repression at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka has similarly crippled academic life. Dr. Asobie, the embattled leader of the proscribed ASUU puts it both plainly and bleakly: 'there is no freedom. We and the students cannot express ourselves'6.

18Professor Umaru Gomwalk, until quite recently the sole administrator at UNN was particularly noted for his administrative high-handedness. There were clear cases of favoritism and cronyism in the appointments of departmental heads and deans of faculties, and insecurity was massively entrenched during his tenure.

19This situation demonstrates just how far Nigerian universities are ready to cope with the challenges of the twenty-first century. It also shows that these institutions have not responded favorably to the demanding exigencies of the times. Indeed, perhaps they were not designed to do so (especially the first generation universities which more or less have a pre-colonial orientation). This argument has been formulated in the following terms:

  • 7 N'Dri Therese Assie-Lumumba. Demand, access and equity issues in African higher education. A paper (...)

African universities were born away from their societies and cultures, as European models were reproduced, and they continue to highly hold their grip on European 'mother institutions'.7

20After the oil boom had created another generation of Nigerian universities:

  • 8 Yusuf Bangura. intellectuals, Economic Reform and Social Change. Dakar: CODESRIA Monograph Series 1 (...)

'The Nigerian factor' influenced these institutions. Meticulous projections gave way to haphazardly realized plans. And then of course short-sighted political considerations took precedence over the institution of planning, rigor and quality. . . . Intellectuals are pulled between several contradictory forces: tradition and modernity, sectionalism and universalism and conservatism and radicalism.8

21In this regard, however, we may as well identify another scenario of contradictions. The typical Nigerian university suffers from an identity crisis. It is defined on the one hand by powerful socio-economic forces that threaten to transform its face permanently, and then it is also subtly, even if feebly influenced by the forces of history and tradition on the other, which point to a more distinguished past. This fundamental contradiction is reflected at the level of national education policy. Dr. Mohammed Liman, the former Minister of Education who presided over the helm of educational affairs during the disastrous 1996 strike, remarked blandly when asked by a reporter about the falling state of education in the country:

  • 9 The Guardian on Sunday (4 August 1996).

All right, have your standard fallen? You are not scientific my friend. I think before you were born I have started observation about education in this country and I have travelled far and wide. I spent many years, 12 years, outside this country. I can judge more than you can and then who is the judge for measuring standard, are you? No please my friend you are not qualified to judge the standard because I could remember quite very well when I was in the secondary school when somebody came with American degree we will not look at him, we downgrade him. This standard you are talking about is not falling, it depends on who is judging your own standard.9

  • 10 A pro-democracy organization with a vocal anti-Abacha stance.

22In that famous interview, Liman said that ASUU was 'unpatriotic'. This sharp dichotomy between government education policy and the aspirations of academics has constituted a crippling bane for tertiary education within the country. It is always easy for government to brand recalcitrant academic forces as NADECO10 agents, as was done during the 1996 industrial dispute. Only recently, another former Minister for Education Alhaji Dauda Birma declared:

  • 11 The Guardian on Sunday (29 March 1996).

As a matter of fact, we are all agreed that the standard of education is falling. And if somebody today stops at Bachelors level, that person will have done himself or herself a tremendous disservice. I equate certain high degrees now with the lower degrees of yesterday because of the falling standard of education and therefore, I will be the first person to ask somebody to get into the university and stay in the university.11

  • 12 The Guardian on Sunday (29 March 1996).
  • 13 The Guardian on Saturday (28 February 1998).
  • 14 ibid.
  • 15 ibid.

23What these two opposing opinions evince is clearly the confusion and inconsistency that characterize national education policy. This fact becomes more glaring when one recalls that Birma took over from Liman. And such has been the case since the beginning of the 1980s. Alhaji Birma, around the time he took up his appointment as minister, also became embroiled in a controversy that raged in the pages of the national dailies. Alhaji Birma on a visit to the Lagos State Military Administrator, Colonel Mohammed Marwa, had said that he could not understand the mad rush for Western education by the people of southern Nigeria.12 Immediately, there were reactions from all over the country. One week after his appointment, Birma ordered 'the closure of satellite campuses of all universities' and the 'stoppage of remedial courses in all institutions.13' He was reported to have criticized the stress on paper qualification. His precise words were, 'you don't have to acquire education to become anything in the country. You may even become a professor without passing through the four walls of a university.'14 Needless to add, his words sent shock waves over all and sundry, most especially analysts of the education sector. Shortly after, Birma was able to make clarifications regarding the various controversies within the education sector. At this juncture, it was reported in some national dailies that the National Universities Commission (NUC) had issued directives that universities should cut down their admission quota by as much as 60 per cent.15 Again reactions were prompt and sharp. An observant but embittered newspaper columnist wrote:

  • 16 See The Guardian (22 January and 28 February 1998); Punch (22 January 1998).

if our universities are bad and collapsing, it is not because the people do not want university education, it is because government in the last decade had made the destruction of the university system, an element of politics.16

24One of the great crises facing African universities is how to balance access to higher education alongside the quest for quality. This problem has been conceptualized by N'Dri Therese Assie-Lumumba in this manner:

  • 17 The Guardian on Sunday (25 January 1998).

... a concern about and a search for solutions to deal with the large enrolment, the imbalance between a large number of students and limited facilities, how users can contribute to bearing the cost in the context of shrinking resources, and how equitable access can be guaranteed for various social categories.17

  • 18 NT. Assie-Lumumba, Demand, Access and Equity Issues in African Higher Education. 1994, 1.

25The Nigerian education sector, if the truth be told, has not surmounted this hydra-headed problem. In 1997, a total of 376,000 candidates sought admission in the nations 37 universities and only 90,000 were successful. These figures demonstrate the great gulf between demand and supply. The same angered newspaper columnist also remarked:18

The NUC is itself a version of the lack of vision or consistency about what can be done about university education in Nigeria. But it does not deserve our pity because of the ease with which it continuously shoots itself in the foot.

26To all these controversies, fortunately, the former Minister for Education was able to respond. For example on the furore regarding satellite campuses Alhaji Birma was able to say:

  • 19 The Guardian on Sunday (25 January 1998).

Information available to me is that a lot of things happen in these satellite campuses. Mark you, as Minister of Education, I have the privilege of talking to vice-chancellors, to lecturers and all manners of people in the education industry. Information available to me has it that some of the practices in these satellite campuses are not very wholesome and people end up not getting the degrees, the equivalent value of the type of degrees they get on paper. For instance, I am informed that when some of these satellites campuses are set up, people go in and they register, they pay, the appropriate fees. Having paid the appropriate fees, these people do not even have the time to go through the course content and therefore they pay the fees and some of the course work is done for them by some other people and when they sit for this final examination, some other people sit the final examination for them. But the end result is they come up with a piece of paper which says 'they have attained this level in education and they have obtained this degree'. When you sit with these people, you find that these people have not as persons acquired the knowledge that the piece of paper they are given testifies they have acquired. This would be the acquisition of paper qualification as opposed to getting educated.19

  • 20 The Guardian on Sunday (29 March 1998).
  • 21 The Guardian on Saturday (7 June 1997).

27Another debate going on in the education sector is the one that concerns rationalization. Rationalization means different things to various actors in the sector depending on which side of the ideological divide they happen to fall. In the universities, academics are prone to view rationalization as just another nomenclature for witch-hunting, retrenchment and other forms of victimization. First of all, it has been claimed that the manner in which government seeks to pursue its rationalization programme is counterproductive.20 It is agreed by all that the university system has experienced rapid and unrestrained growth. Nevertheless, it is also claimed that this uncoordinated expansion is the result of the unabashed politicization in the siting and creation of the universities themselves. It is often argued that 'the National Universities Commission seems to have conceived rationalization in line with the World Bank conditionality when the Bank gave the credit sector loan to Nigerian universities. It seems clear that the talk of rationalization is geared towards satisfying the demands of the global financial institution. '21Those who are opposed to rationalization argue that it is merely an avenue for government to avoid due process, destroy academic freedom, and commit acts of victimization.

28The proponents of rationalization argue that it minimizes wastage in the university system, - that apart from reducing cost, rationalization would entail an enhancement of the level of current academic output in the system. In addition, as things stand, the depressed national economy can no longer withstand the onslaught engendered by wastage in the system. Another argument of the proponents of rationalization is that it reduces the duplication of university courses and insufficient teaching personnel. Rationalization is meant to redress these structural anomalies.

29How ever one decides to view it, rationalization is a highly contentious issue, and one in which reason and logic hardly prevail. Ethnic factors will play a prominent role. And then in playing the ethnic card, the principle of federal character would be further rubbished. The creation of many Nigerian universities has been tied to several overt political considerations. If that has been the case, it is impossible to see how politics and ethnic sentiments may be disentangled from the rationalization process. Of course, there is the question of political will to consider. Is government prepared and willing to carry out the process to its logical conclusion without despairing of the consequences midway through? This is a matter only time can resolve. There is also the question of stability in the realm of politics to ponder. Most ministers of education never remain long enough in office to initiate any substantive policies, let alone fine tune the rough edges which invariably is required after implementation has been accomplished. These related issues are surely of utmost importance when discussing policy making in the education sector.

  • 22 ibid

30We may now return to the international context of the problems that confront Nigerian tertiary institutions. Some analysts have convincingly argued that 'the ideology of developmentalism has been a convenient basis for the violation of rights of academics or the repression of academics in many states in Africa and their subordination to IMF and World Bank policies'.22 In other words, African academics who espouse strong anti-Western orientations are excluded from the decision-making processes that concern education so that the structural adjustment programme (SAP) inspired by those global financial institutions may be enforced. Not only does this dimension curtail academic freedom; it also gives rise to donor-inspired research programmes even when they are not relevant to the needs of Africa. Another way of putting it is that:

  • 23 E. Sail and A. Momoh. Academic freedom and its implications for rights politics. Sunday Vanguard (3 (...)

What materials a scholar uses, the tools he/she uses in analysis in a very big way influence the outcome of research. And any value-laden, ideological, outward-directed infrastructure is likely to produce outward-directed no results 23

31The Guardian on Sunday (25 January 1998).

32SAP has definitely transformed the existential terrain of several African countries. In virtually all of these countries, the middle class, to which the academic community belongs, has been wiped out. The struggle waged by the people of Africa against SAP is often seen as a struggle to unleash the democratization process. We would recall that during the Babangida era, the Nigerian academic community was at the very forefront of the agitations to compel the government to abandon its harsh programme of economic reforms. In this light, it could also be safely said that SAP has made most authoritarian African governments even more repressive. On their part, academics have responded to government repression by relocating to the more palatable shores of Europe, America, the Middle East and the more conducive regions of Africa such as the South Africa. Those who have managed to remain behind are those co-opted by the State or those who have become part-time contractors and consultants to the private sector. Either way, Nigerian tertiary institutions are the worse for it. Nevertheless, it is necessary to put the effects of SAP on the education sector in proper perspective:

  • 24 ibid.

The SAP has affected the educational system in several regards; African regimes are increasingly over-sensitive to ideas generated in universities and tertiary institutions; infrastructure are denied higher institutions, including books and journals and the material constitution of teachers and students has deteriorated alarmingly.24

  • 25 ibid.

33This should give us an appropriate picture of the decay that exists in Nigerian tertiary institutions. To gird itself for the challenges of the twenty-first century, the Nigerian university requires certain conditions: 'an emphasis on science and technology; the needed funds for providing the expected quality of education, and the capacity to ensure stability and adaptation within a fast-moving international environment.'25

34Fortunately, Nigerian officialdom recognizes that science and technology are major requirements for the much-needed social and economic progress at national level, but the vital question at this juncture is what is being done to bring about this state of affairs. To answer this vital question one has to turn to the Nigerian political domain as it affects the education sector. Dr. Attahiru Jega, the former president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) provided a large part of the answer when he was asked to compare, the fortunes of the union, under both the Babangida and Abacha regimes. He pointed out that:

  • 26 Assie-Lumumba, Demand, Access and Equity Issues in African Higher Education. 1994, p. 4.

….the state has been able to use more effective, suppressive and repressive measures and to explore and introduce all forms of primordial sentiments in order to weaken and divide the union. The circumstances under Babangida are no longer those the country has to cope with under Abacha and you know it.26

35So what this means is that academic freedom has become a mirage, just as the principle of collective bargaining, which was enshrined in the 1992 ASUU/ government agreement, has been thrown to the winds. On a broader level, the nation's democratic space has narrowed considerably and this, of course, is an index of the complex nature of problems that would beset higher education in particular. Most of all the existing trade unions in the country have become more or less ineffectual due to government interference. Those that betray the merest signs of independence, let alone opposition, are proscribed as is the case with ASUU. As indicated only recently, the implications reverberate well beyond higher education; in other words, it touches upon the democratic future of the nation.

36At the beginning of this study, it was mentioned that Nigeria has about 37 'functional' universities. These universities continue to survive in one form or the other. Some have been able to adapt to the various onslaughts that the system has had to endure in the last couple of decades. Others have become infinitely worse under the impending ruination. Novel coping strategies have been evolved to meet some of these challenges.

37The extent to which a university can generate the amount of funds needed to transform its outlook depends on several factors and varies from place to place. Lagos as a commercial centre can accommodate high levels of commercialization. LAUTECH, sited in Ogbomoso, on the other hand, would not be able to generate as much. Furthermore, not all vice-chancellors would have the kind of clout in government circles that Omotola (V.C. University of Lagos) possesses, and not all of them would agree with his methods of fund generation. What is required rather, are equivocal pronouncements on educational policy that will deal with these issues. This has not transpired. Thus, various individual efforts that appear sporadic and unsystematic may not change the course of events no matter how energetic these efforts are.

The gangster as student

38Having described various forms of violence and malfeasance at the general institutional level, we now also have to consider how students have fared, what sort of violence is to be found within the student body and how this has affected the tertiary institutions. Of course, we can make strong, if initially tentative, connections between decay at the broad institutional level and the numerous ramifications of violence within the student body. In this manner, we shall discover that the sociology of violence may in fact be a pervasive societal trend in which civil institutions, governmental practices and social values are related.

  • 27 The Guardian on Saturday (7 June 1997).

39Juvenile crime in most parts of the post-industrial world has become more baffling. American criminologists are now announcing the advent of the 'super predator'. In 1994, in the United States of America, most voters agreed, that crime by juveniles was a serious problem. In most parts of the United States, juvenile offenders are now being tried as adults. Lawmakers, law enforcement agencies and criminologists are advocating tougher measures on crime, gangs and gun control. In spite of this growing public concern, there is a dearth of solid research on what works in containing crime in the United States.27

40Fractured neighbourhoods, fatherless households, deteriorating inner-city schools, child abuse and poverty have all been identified as potent sources of juvenile crime. To minimize teenage crime, criminologists advocate action at the level of interagency coordination involving police officers, non-governmental organizations on youth crime, criminologists, social workers, policy makers and the clergy. This has worked in several instances.

  • 28 Time, international news magazine (29 January 1996).

41There is definitely some resemblance between the juvenile crime gangs of the inner-cities of the United States and the secret cults presently operating on Nigerian campuses and which have evidently become a national concern. It would not be difficult for a Nigerian secret cult member (youth) to relate to these lyrics by the American rock music artist, Trent Reznor, of the alternative-rock group, Nine Inch Nails: "Maybe, I'll put a hole in your head/You know, just for the f—of it". Reznor - who is regarded as the creator of industrial electronic music, sings about aberrant sex, suicidal melancholy and violent misanthropy - was voted by Time Magazine as one of America's most influential personalities in 1997.28 Moreover, his controversial music has been taken up by the mainstream audience even while there is a heated debate about the offensive and misogynist tendencies of American pop culture.

42In Nigeria, the picture is slightly different. The late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was the only truly influential pop artist who could redefine youth mores in a truly radical and fundamental way. That is in a manner that the Nigerian establishment would find worrying. Fela's bohemian lifestyle was too avant garde for the average Nigerian. Fela's songs reflected his thoroughly anti-establishment attitude, but he never openly advocated violent and mindless crime. Fela's anti-establishment music was tied with what may roughly be regarded as a programme of - even if anarchic - socio-political reform, as well as a pan Africanism, that received its essential impetus from great African figures such as Nkrumah, Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey. His music also drew from the great traditions of jazz and black protest music. In this sense, he was a true traditionalist as his music developed along similar lines. There is a great deal of difference between Fela's ideology of art and Trent Reznor's or the ganster rap of African-America. It is important to make this distinction. Nigerian contemporary music is in no way equivalent to America's cop-killing gangster rap, or explicitly violent rock. Nigerian youths, however, look up to these American forms of music - especially African-American gangster rap - for inspiration.

43These preliminary remarks lead us to the violence engendered by the secret cults on Nigerian campuses. These connections and observations are necessary since the MTV culture or the globalization of culture fostered by the Western-led revolution in communication technology has undoubtedly made the world a smaller place. There are far more linkages at the level of culture, ideas and global values. Since Nigerian university youths are at the vanguard of literate Nigerian youth, they are more likely to be influenced by these global trends which have also been termed 'Coca-colonization'. Obviously, members of secret cults in Nigerian universities have also been influenced by home grown violent crime, such as the 'area boy' phenomenon, which we shall examine in some detail. Before then, let us attempt a retrieval of the history of campus secret cults in Nigeria.

44The first confraternity was established in 1952 at the University of Ibadan by Professor Wole Soyinka and a few other fellow students. The Pyrates confraternity as it is known, strove to abolish colonial mentality and instill noble African oriented values into the academic community. In Soyinka's words:

  • 29 Wole Soyinka, cited by I.O.A. Adelola, Secret cults in Nigerian institutions of learning: A perisco (...)

...we believed that a university education should be fun without the viciousness which was prevalent on campus. We also thought students should map out a character of their own rather than follow sheepishly the norms and traits of our largely European staff. One day, seven of us got together in somebody's room (whose name I can't remember because some of us lived next door to me) and said, 'Let's start something'. Everybody was enthusiastic and full of ideas. One person suggested the name; another thought of the satire and another the initiation ceremony. One thing we all agreed on was that there won't be any room for colonial mentality in 'the club'.29

45The first initiation ceremony occurred in a hut behind Tedder Hall. Discussions were held and an election took place and henceforth, the Pirates Confraternity met there. The revelations of Soyinka indicate that this prototype confraternity was vastly different at its initial stages from the secret cults that plague many Nigerian universities today and whose activities have resulted in a national outcry. The following passages quoted from Wole Soyinka bear this point out. He reminisces:

  • 30 ibid.

Although we might have been a little wild, it was not usually due to the influence of alcohol as most people assumed. We did not drink anything stronger than beer. Our concoction which was one of the mysteries was just 'Krola' (the soft drink at the time); our noisy and boisterous activities were just the letting loose of otherwise restricted and chained youthful freedom and exuberance.30

46Again his observations are of value here:

  • 31 ibid.

Unlike popular beliefs, the confraternity was not designed to be a secret cult. We sailed in my time on the top of platforms. Our performance which was just singing, telling stories and debating (albeit at the top of our voices) were open to anybody. We discussed everything including politics and anybody who liked or wanted to loosen up was free to join.31

47From these revelations, it is clear that mindless violent crime was far from the minds of the originators of the club. Instead premium was placed on debates on politics and purely cultural pursuits. The tragedy is that these preoccupations receded with the transformation of the Nigerian political and socio-cultural landscape. In the political sphere hopes have been dashed through several unfulfilled promises and the dispiriting failures of a number of democratic experiments. Chinua Achebe, the famous Nigerian novelist states simply that the problem with Nigeria is clearly one of leadership. This costly failure of leadership has caused other spheres of national life to suffer immeasurably. The nation's economic fortunes grow worse by the day and this in turn has had untoward cultural social consequences. In this sense, Nigerian youths are rudderless having no positive role models that are readily available. One is reminded of the rebellious student protest movement that engulfed parts of Europe, the United States and Latin America in 1968. It promised revolution but was only able to offer a spectacular fiesta. From this promise of revolution sprang hopes of radical social change. Those hopes were betrayed when the intellectual vanguard of the protest movement could not provide decisive leadership. Disillusionment soon set in and some of the dejected students formed terrorist gangs.

48The Pyrates Confraternity served a useful purpose during the pre-liberation period but the dynamics of the post-liberation era have rendered the objectives and ideals of its formative period nearly worthless. Even If the Pyrates refused to change to the demands of the times, those very times have consequently transformed its orientation, as we shall observe in due course. With the sharp decline in the evolution of a national ethos and to the betrayal of the hopes and aspirations of Nigerian youths, open rebellion became a potent source of seff-expression. Other confraternities were soon formed: the Buccaneers, Eiye Confraternity, Vikings, Black Axe, Scorpion, Ku Klux Klan^ Blood Suckers, the Mgbamgba Brothers, Mafia, Black Cats, Black Beret, etc. And presently new confraternities are being formed to complete with existing older ones. Oftentimes, these various confraternities engage in inter-cult gangster-style fights. It must be noted at this juncture, that a lot of the available information on campus secret cults is quite erroneous largely due to unwarranted sensationalism in the mass media and even the few academic studies available do not appear rigorous enough.

  • 32 For instance O.A. Ogunbameru makes quite a number of unsubstantiated generalizations: that 'the unc (...)

49The point is, if these secret cults are really meant to be as clandestine as they profess to be, then more work has to be done to infiltrate them. Newspaper reports are mainly concerned with reporting outbreaks of violence caused by these cults. In-depth profiles chronicling the nature, origins, psychology and activities of these cults, however, are few and far between. A recent publication, entitled Readings on Campus Secret Cults (1997) apart from a couple of insightful articles does little more than the newspapers.32

50Campus secret cults apparently stage violent initiation ceremonies that go with brotherhoods organized for crime, revenge, extortion, rape, arson, theft, examination fraud and even murder. Furthermore, they engage in fights over females, to protect fellow cult members; they also seek to influence the executive arm of Student Union Governments. Cults are characterized by peculiar traits, such as the use of specialized uniforms, modes of greetings and address, some sort of hierarchical structure in which there is a leader together with roles and functions for other prominent personalities within the cult, and a preference for secrecy.

51The initiation ceremony varies from cult to cult and the standing of an intending cult member may determine the type of rigours he may have to endure during initiation. By and large, the initiation ceremonies are usually meant to be painfully excruciating trials of physical endurance in which the individual's ability to absorb pain is tested. Due to the violent nature of the initiation ceremonies accidents are rather frequent; some initiates have been badly injured and some have even died during these trials. Singing, dancing and rough play occur during these ceremonies in which specially brewed alcoholic concoctions are freely drunk and marijuana is available for those who care to smoke, although it is not usually compulsory.

52Once initiated, a confraternity member can rely on the protection and the loyalty of his fellow brothers. Thereafter, he expects to be 'dreaded' by fellow students who are not members of the cult. To rise within the echelons of the cult, he would have to be daring and engage in some really awe-inspiring 'assignments'. Only these would guarantee him a 'dreaded' position within the cult and on campus among his fellow students.

53Inter-cult violence and conflicts have over time turned most Nigerian campuses into notorious ganglands where guns, knives, axes, acidic substances and other dangerous weapons are freely used. The secret nature of cult activities has posed immense problems, not only for non-cult students and university administrators, but also for law enforcement agencies and government. It is important to note that the constitution states:

  • 33 The Nigerian Constitution, cited by J.D. Ojo In: Student's Unrest in Nigerian Universities, Spectru (...)

Nothing in this section shall entitle any person to form; take part in the activity or he a member of a secret society; and for the purposes of this subsection, a secret society means a society or association not being a solely cultural or religious body that uses signs, oaths, rites or symbols (a) whose meeting or other activities are held in secret and (b) whose members are under oath, obligation or other threat to promote the interest of its members or aid one another under all circumstances without due regard to merit, fair play or justice, to the detriment of the legitimate expectation of those who are not members.33

54Again in 1989, Babangida's military government promulgated the Students Union Activities Control and Regulation Decree (Decree 47) to contain the vibrant student unionism in Nigerian universities. And then under S.3(l) of the decree:

  • 34 J.D. Ojo, Student's Unrest in Nigerian Universities. 1995, p. 35.

... the Minister is empowered, whenever he is of the opinion that public interest or safety so demands, to suspend for any specified period of time, remove, withdraw, or expel any student, under-graduate or postgraduates, from any university, institution of higher learning or similar institution. This power here conferred on the Minister could be delegated under S.3(2) (a) and (b) to any person or body authorized by the Minister to do so on his behalf or the governing council, Vice-Chancellor or any authority or person in charge of or in control of that institution.34

55It is immediately obvious what this draconian decree means for academic freedom and university autonomy. Nonetheless, student unionism in Nigerian universities has been reinstated, but it could be banned anytime the government wishes to do so, given the entrenched authoritarian nature of the state.

56To be sure, law enforcement authorities have to be concerned with the activities of secret cults in whatever form they occur, because they are likely to impede the health and development of civil society. In this regard, it may be argued that the very concept of democracy, becomes jeopardized within the larger social space if and when secret cultism becomes the norm. Democracy entails openness and accountability and in a context where transparency becomes anathema, democratic norms inevitably become endangered. Thus, it has been emphasized that

  • 35 ' E.E. Reutter Jr. cited by J.D. Ojo, op. cit., 28.

... courts have pointed out that secret societies can have a detrimental influence on the schools by tending to destroy good order, discipline and scholarship. They may be considered anti-democratic in their exclusiveness and out of place in a public school open to all on equal terms. Various formulations of themes of individual rights of parents and students have not prevailed.35

57In essence, therefore, if democracy is to prevail, secret cultism cannot be allowed since their values and modus operandi are incompatible with democracy. In this context, secret cultism collides directly with the project of democracy which has become a global trend. The implications of this should be self-evident. To establish democracy on a global scale all obstacles, both large and small, towards the realization of that much-cherished goal would have to be confronted. More specifically, to reduce the influence of secret cults, civil institutions and democratic norms must be cultivated.

58Secret cults may also pose a threat to national security. The Defence Headquarters in Nigeria issued a statement saying the spate of cult activities is becoming a security threat to the nation. Former head of state, Sani Abacha, also urged tertiary institutions to look beyond admitting students on the basis of paper qualifications alone. An institution like Ogun State University, Ago-Iwoye has taken up the challenge by screening students along with their parents before a panel in which the vice chancellor of the institution is also present.

  • 36 The Guardian on Saturday (27 December 1997).

59In 1997, the activities of secret cults in Nigerian universities indicated no signs of abating, even though public awareness about the menace has grown considerably as the mass media have been quite dogged in reporting on them. Most campuses such as Lagos State University, Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu, University of Lagos, University of Port Harcourt, Ogun State Polytechnic, University of Benin, Obafemi Awolowo University experienced violence initiated by secret cults. Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso was not left out. By September 1997, in Nigerian universities, no fewer than 20 students had been killed in cult-related violence.36 We can be sure that many more incidents of violence went unreported.

60Views on means to curb campus secret cults are numerous just as there are several opinions on why those cults proliferate. In this respect, the views of Professor Ayo Banjo, former vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan are highly instructive:

  • 37 The Guardian on Saturday (28 June 1997).

... I think it is too late to try and kick out cultism in our universities. There is very little we can do about it. If we have got things from primary schools, and if education is qualitative, leaving no time for idle hands, the question of cults wouldn't have been here at all. For example, cultism is spreading, I think proportional with the expansion of the educational system. We must be prepared for that, the more people you bring into the system, the more people who don't deserve it. And in this country, you hear all kinds of rumours of people presenting JAMB (Joint Admissions Matriculation Board) results which are not genuine. The university is not a reformatory. It is not a bus-stop where you bring criminals and you ask the university to turn them into decent people. The university doesn't have time for that, rather it wants good people who are morally and intellectually sound to make them better. They are not to reform anybody. You can't blame any university. If you send them the wrong stuff, you cannot pass the buck to them. Universities have more important things to do.37

61To minimize the rapid explosion of the student population in Nigerian universities some analysts have advocated the introduction of fees. To return to Professor Banjo's views, it is clear that the public and student perceptions of what the university ought to be can be misleading. Or perhaps, the university is now expected to enact roles for which it is quite obviously ill-equipped. The university is not a reformatory as Banjo correctly argues, but whether the Nigerian public accepts this view is another matter entirely.

62Initiatives have commenced to combat cultism in Nigerian campuses. Engineer J.A. Adeoti, Deputy Rector of the Yaba College of Technology advocates the blacklisting and expulsion of cultists from institutions. The Ogun State Committee on Tertiary Institutions has resolved not to admit any student who was proved to be involved in cultism in any school within the state. The Committee of Vice Chancellors on its part has set up a computer network connecting all higher institutions within the country to provide information on students implicated in cultism. These are all commendable efforts but what must be remembered is that the university is not a place that provides full reformatory care to people with proven criminal tendencies. Something must also be done about both the disturbing state of primary and secondary education, as well as the unplanned student population in tertiary institutions. Only then will any meaningful progress be achieved in the fight against cultism.

Scenes from LAUTECH, Ogbomoso

63Unfortunately, for our purposes, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso does not provide the most graphic situation of the types of violence and decay which this study attempts to elucidate. Established in 1990, after metamorphosing from a college of technology, LAUTECH is still emerging from the throes of its formative stages. Applying the framework we have adopted so far, we shall now focus on the institution. In other words, we shall examine the ramifications of violence at the institutional level and cultism within the student body. We have demonstrated the grave problems associated with violence in the university.

64Like Ogun State University, Ago-Iwoye, Ondo State University Ado-Ekiti and Lagos State University, Lagos, LAUTECH practices an off-campus residential system whereby students are expected to find their own accommodation. Housing is not provided for staff either.

65To begin a discussion of violence at the institutional level, it may be necessary to know the history of the relationship between the local union of academics and the university management. Dr. B.A. Oyelere initiated moves to found a local branch of ASUU at LAUTECH in 1991, and was the first chairman of the union between 1991 and 1994. During the 1992 ASUU/federal government face-off, the LAUTECH ASUU chapter gave unflinching support to Dr. Attahiru Jega, the national president of the union. Furthermore, the institution's first vice chancellor, Professor Oke, also supported the 1992 ASUU struggle. Oyelere, the first LAUTECH ASUU chapter chairman discloses that:

  • 38 Personal communication, Dr. B.A. Oyelere, April 1998.

... when ASUU LAUTECH was initiated in 1991, the philosophy we adopted was non-confrontational in getting what we wanted from the university authorities for our members and it worked. In this sense, I am a manager and let me say candidly that I believe in participative management. And if you take everybody along in decision-making they will be least embarrassed.38

66He also revealed that the union intimated the vice chancellor on whatever line of action it wanted to initiate and vice-versa. Thus, cases of administrative abuse or major friction between the university management and the local union were minimal.

67When Dr. G.O. Farinu took over as ASUU chairman, the local union continued to have a normal relationship with the university authorities. Interestingly, Dr. Farinu is a departmental head just as Dr. Oyelere had been until quite recently. One can be sure that if they had been unduly antagonistic to university management this would not have been the case.

68The year 1997 was an eventful year in LAUTECH. A sole administrator was appointed in the person of Professor Salau to replace the vice chancellor, by the owner states of the institution, Oyo and Osun states. The Osun and Oyo state military governments conducted an extensive probe into the institution, after which some principal officers lost their jobs. There were several allegations of financial mismanagement and misappropriation made, but Professor Oke was never openly reprimanded.

69In the same year Professor Salau was appointed sole administrator, a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics was dismissed on account of a sex scandal. The matter was reported in great detail in the Nigerian Tribune, along with other irregularities within the university. A probe was conducted by the Osun and Oyo state governments, after which the mathematics lecturer was found guilty and dismissed.

70The Tribune article also revealed that a number of lecturers were holding private lessons for students, charging between N1 000.00 and N3 000.00 naira for each semester. It was also alleged that the specific amount a student paid determined his/her grade. Lecturers were subsequently directed to desist from conducting private lessons. Indeed private lessons had become the mainstay of many lecturers especially in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences where classes are inordinately large. As Ogbomoso does not offer many opportunities for extra income, lecturers were compelled to hold private lessons in order to supplement their meagre salaries. The practice of giving extra lessons had been going on for at least two years, when the pre-degree science programme started. Furthermore, both students and their parents demanded private lessons and some of them openly solicited for them. This not only entrenched the practice, but also made it difficult to abolish.

71In December 1997, six lecturers involved in teaching the pre degree science programme were arrested and kept in two separate police stations in Ogbomoso for a couple of days on the orders of Professor Alabi who was then chairman of the pre-degree science programme board and now the rector of The Polytechnic, Ibadan. They had been accused of collecting monies (N5 000.00 per student) from about 30 students enrolled for the programme through a middleman employed as an office assistant in the Department of Management Sciences. Their arrest created a lot of furore among other lecturers who believed that due process had been contravened. Due process had indeed been violated as the authorities subsequently realized. The university then set up a panel to investigate the allegations made against the lecturers. Before then, the lecturers had been released from detention on bail and as of the time of writing, the results of the investigating panel had not been made public. The incident, created a chill in student/lecturer relations for a while, and also led to the establishment of another panel to investigate cases of lecturers who allegedly collect money from students in order to pass their examinations. Likewise, allegations of sexual harassment were also probed, but the findings of this panel have not been disclosed.

72In conclusion, LAUTECH has only had a few cases of irregularities that concern us. First, it has a sole administrator and second, the sad case of the arrest of the six lecturers is an instance of the violation of due process by the university authorities.

  • 39 The Guardian on Saturday (28 June 1997).

73As for violence on the part of students, there is a lot more to be said, but when compared to an institution like Lagos State University where an estimated 5 to 10 per cent of its 10,00039 students belong to one cult or the other, LAUTECH is still a relatively safe zone.

74In the quest to understand youth psychology and juvenile crime, new academic attitudes are evidently required. For instance it has been claimed that:

  • 40 Angela McRobbie, Different youthful subjectivities. In: The Post-colonial Question, I. Chambers and (...)

While sociology has been interested in the social characteristics of expressions of 'generational consciousness', it has implicitly relegated detailed questions about subjectivity to the field of psychology. It has also treated the voices of young people, as reported in ethnographic studies, as transparently meaningful and as evidence in themselves, rather than as complex social constructs which are the products of pre-given discourses, in effect 'written' in advance as scripts made available by dominant culture for the teenage speakers.40

75We must also bear in mind that:

  • 41 ibid.

… Youth remains a key point for social and political anxiety. It has been one of the areas for concerted government attention right across the spectrum of social affairs; in law and order, where there has been moral panic about the 'new juvenile crime;' in education, where there is an endless debate about declining students; in the family and in the field of public morality where both marital breakdown and the growth of teenage motherhood are taken as symptoms of social decay.41

76These academic observations are of immense importance to us because LAUTECH operates a pre-degree programme which is a veritable recruiting ground for secret cults. Since the programme commenced, quite a number of students have been co-opted into secret cults. It is difficult at this point in time to provide exact figures since some of these students leave after the programme for other institutions or are unable to gain admission into LAUTECH itself. So far, no student has been killed at LAUTECH in the inter-cult conflicts that seem to be increasing daily, but events that occurred in the first half of 1998 appear to indicate this state of affairs may change.

77On 19 April 1998, a dangerous precedent was set in the Sabo area of Ogbomoso. A woman and a male friend of hers were drinking at an open air spot popularly known as 'Down Garage' at about 7.00 p.m. A student of LAUTECH reported to belong to the Eiye Confraternity came around with about seven companions and demanded that all those who were not drinking should leave the spot. The woman, Semia Salmonu refused to budge. Her male companion stood up and made for a toilet; immediately thereafter a LAUTECH student grabbed his bottle of beer and started to drink from it. Salmonu complained about his unmannerly behaviour and the student took offence. He started to hit her with the bottle, which he subsequently broke and cut the woman's ear. Pandemonium broke out. Salmonu was rushed to Baptist Hospital, Ogbomoso where she was admitted and had laceration on her ear stitched. In all, she spent an entire week in hospital and incurred a bill of over N8000.00. A day after the incident, the case was reported to the police. Salmonu, when asked if she had reported the matter to the university authorities, she admitted she had not done so. Thereafter, the touts of Sabo swore to attack any student they found roaming around the area after 7.00 p.m. A few students got molested because of the fracas. Announcements were made by the executives of the Student Union Government to the effect that students should avoid the Sabo area for the time being. When the student who had caused the fracas was asked why he had behaved in such a manner, he had no answer.

78At about 3.00 a.m. on 29 April 1998, members of the Peace Keeping Force, an organization of the students of LAUTECH that is meant to promote anti-cultism went around looking for members of the Black Axe Confraternity. A student who was believed to belong to the Eiye Confraternity had been seriously injured. A Black Axe member was woken up and apprehended by about 20 members of the Peace Keeping Force (PKF) at the Oke Ado area of Ogbomoso and taken to the 'Taki' home of his fellow cult members. Earlier, the student who had been assaulted with axes, in a state of semi-consciousness, kept mentioning "Malick! Malick! Malick!"

79The president of the student union was particularly interested in the incident. At the Taki home of the Black Axe members, all sorts of dangerous weapons such as axes, cutlasses and a locally assembled gun were found confirming their status as cult members. The members of the PKF badly tortured the five members of the Black Axe Confraternity in the home of the President of the Student Union. The cultists were beaten with wooden planks, iron rods and were burnt with boiling rings to disclose their identity which they eventually did. Virtually all of them were injured.

80The impartiality of the PKF is, however, suspect. It was alleged that many of its members belong to the Eiye Confraternity and a few other cults. It is also claimed, that the Eiye Confraternity used the PKF to seek revenge under the guise of legality. From our investigations this allegation appears convincing enough.

  • 42 For an extensive discussion of the 'area boy' phenomenon, see: Jimni Adisa, Lagos: street culture a (...)

81The population explosion among students in LAUTECH definitely provided an opportunity for the growth of cultism. The pre-degree programme in particular, as we have noted, is a breeding ground. A recent development must also be mentioned in this regard. A new student union building complex was opened at LAUTECH and for the first time in a long while the sale of alcoholic drinks flourished. Pool tables were also placed in the large courtyard and snack bars and restaurants quickly sprang up everywhere. Since then, a lot of students prefer to while away the time in the complex where pornographic movies are sometimes viewed in the afternoons. Gambling also became common. Cultists began to extort money from other students especially the freshers, thereby beginning a trend of campus area boys'.42 Fights also became a common feature, and in May 1998, the sale of alcoholic beverages was stopped.

82The pre-degree programme for one, allows for the development of cultism because of the unusually large (almost 2000 in 1998) number of students that enroll in it. In some instances, these students have been known to provide false results or have had distasteful records at other institutions of learning. To be expected, the large number of students does not permit adequate supervision on the part of lecturers, which, as we have seen, opens a window of opportunity for cult activities. Due to the fact that the university authorities are unable to provide adequate security, students who ordinarily may not be willing to join cults are forced to do so. This is surely an important aspect of the problem. Most of the security operatives are not able to cope with the challenge that cult organizations pose. They need to be retrained to be able to deal effectively with gun-toting cultists (some security agents have even been threatened).

83The financial weakness within the institution apart from being an enormous problem in itself, also affects the behaviour of students. The university requires funds which the state governments are unable to furnish; at the same time, the university could not generate funds independently. The pre-degree programme became an inevitable alternative, since it generates the much-needed funds (students who enrolled for the programme paid N12,500 each in 1998). Lack of teaching personnel also meant that most students would continue to be deprived of adequate supervision. Guidance and counselling services are virtually non-existent. Even though open lectures against cults are given periodically, this is hardly adequate. Guidance and counselling must become a paramount priority; similarly, the institution's security network must be improved. These are all issues the authorities in LAUTECH have to ponder seriously to make the institution relatively cult-free.


84Academic Staff Union of Universities. 1987. ASUU and the 1986 Education Crisis in Nigeria, National Secretariat, Ibadan.

85Achebe, C. 1988. The University and the Leadership Factor in Nigerian Politics. Abie Books, Enugu.

86Adelola, I.OA. 1997. Secret cults in Nigerian institutions of learning: A periscopal appraisal. In: Readings on Campus Secret Cults. O.A. Ogunbameru, eds., Kuntel Publishing House, Ile-Ife.

87Adelola, I.O.A. 1997. Campus cults and the mass media. In: Ogunbameru, Readings on Campus Secret Cults.

88Adisa, J. 1997. Lagos: street culture and families in the street. In: Youth, Street Culture and Urban Violence in Africa. G. Hérault and P. Adesanmi, eds. Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique, Ibadan.

89Afigbo, A.E. 1978. Education, urbanization and social change in colonial Africa. In: African Cultural Development. O.U. Kalu, ed. Fourth Dimension Press, Enugu.

90Aina, T.A. 1989. The Nigerian crisis and the middle class. Vierteljahres berichte Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. 1 (16 June).

91Aina, T.A. 1994. Quality and relevance: African universities in the 21st century. Paper commissioned by the Working Group on Higher Education constituted under the Donors to African Education (DAE).

92Ajayi, T. 1989. Managing students' crisis in Nigerian educational system. Management in

93Nigeria: Journal of the Nigerian Institute of Management 25 (2 March/April).

94Asobie, H. 1991. Economic crisis, structural adjustment and the middle class in Nigeria. Paper for the first phase of the UNRISD project on 'Crisis, Adjustment and Social Change'. Assie-Lumumba, N.T. 1994. Demand, Access and Equity Issues in African Higher Education.

95A paper prepared for the Donors to African Education Working Group on Higher Education.

96Ayandele, E.A. 1974. The Educational Elite in Nigerian Society. Oxford University Press, Ibadan.

97Bangura, Y. 1994. Intellectuals, Economic Reform and Social Change Dakar: CODESRIA Monograph Series.

98Brown, S., and M. Aritionette. 1990. The university in modem Africa: Towards the twenty-first century. Journal of Higher Education (61) 4.

99Coombe, T. 1991. A Consultation on Higher Education in Africa. A report to the Ford

100Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation New York.

101Ede, S.A. 1995. University Management in Nigeria: Key issues. Source Publishers, Jos. Fafunwa, A.B. 1977. A History of Higher Education in Nigeria. Macmillan, Ibadan.

102Fawole, O.A. 1997. Menace and solutions to campus secret cults. In: Readings on Campus Secret Cults, op cit.

103Jega, M.A. 1994. Nigerian Academics under Military Rule. University of Stockholm: Stockholm.

104Kalilu, R.O.M. 1995. Cultism on the Nigerian campus: Perspectives from art and history. SOF&Co., Lagos.

105McRobbie, A. 1996. Different, youthful objectivities. In: The Post Colonial Question.

106I. Chambers and L. Curtis. Routledge, London and New York.

107Ogunbameru, O. A. ed. 1997. Readings on Campus Secret Cults. Kuntel Publishing House: Ile-Ife.

108Ogunbameru, O.A. 1997. The sociology of campus secret cults. In: Readings on Campus Secret Cults, op. cit.

109Ojo, J.D. 1990. Law and University Administration in Nigeria. Malthouse Press, Lagos. Ojo, J.D. 1995. Students' Unrest in Nigerian Universities. Spectrum Books, Ibadan.

110Owoeye, J. 1997. Campus cults: A study in urban violence. In: Readings on Campus secret Cults, op. cit.

111Saror, D. 1992. University Education in Nigeria, Bauchi. Committee of vice chancellors. World Bank. 1988. Education in sub-Saharan Africa: Policies for adjustment, revitalization and expansion. A World Bank Policy Study, Washington D.C.

112World Bank. 1990. Progress report on the World Bank federal universities sector adjustment operation, Lagos.


1 Attahiru M. Jega. Nigerian Academics under Military Rule. Stockholm: University of Stockholm. 1994, p. 1.

2 ibid, 4.

3 ASUU, 1984, 3-4.

4 Jega, Nigerian Academics under Military Rule, 1994, 42.

5 ibid.. 47.

6 Chukwuma Nwokoh, The sorry state of the universities. The Guardian on Sunday (26 October 1997); also published in the Constitutional Rights Journal 7 (24) 1997.

7 N'Dri Therese Assie-Lumumba. Demand, access and equity issues in African higher education. A paper prepared for the donors to African Education Working Group on Higher Education, 1994, 9.

8 Yusuf Bangura. intellectuals, Economic Reform and Social Change. Dakar: CODESRIA Monograph Series 1/94, 9.

9 The Guardian on Sunday (4 August 1996).

10 A pro-democracy organization with a vocal anti-Abacha stance.

11 The Guardian on Sunday (29 March 1996).

12 The Guardian on Sunday (29 March 1996).

13 The Guardian on Saturday (28 February 1998).

14 ibid.

15 ibid.

16 See The Guardian (22 January and 28 February 1998); Punch (22 January 1998).

17 The Guardian on Sunday (25 January 1998).

18 NT. Assie-Lumumba, Demand, Access and Equity Issues in African Higher Education. 1994, 1.

19 The Guardian on Sunday (25 January 1998).

20 The Guardian on Sunday (29 March 1998).

21 The Guardian on Saturday (7 June 1997).

22 ibid

23 E. Sail and A. Momoh. Academic freedom and its implications for rights politics. Sunday Vanguard (31 August 1997).

24 ibid.

25 ibid.

26 Assie-Lumumba, Demand, Access and Equity Issues in African Higher Education. 1994, p. 4.

27 The Guardian on Saturday (7 June 1997).

28 Time, international news magazine (29 January 1996).

29 Wole Soyinka, cited by I.O.A. Adelola, Secret cults in Nigerian institutions of learning: A periscopal appraisal. In: Readings on Campus Secret Cults, O.A. Ogunbameru, ed. Ile-Ife: Kuntel Publishing House, 1997, p. 54.

30 ibid.

31 ibid.

32 For instance O.A. Ogunbameru makes quite a number of unsubstantiated generalizations: that 'the unchecked flourish of pop movies, deficient in instructive aesthetics, but redolent in violence and moral stupor, have combined with other factors to breed a new generation of degenerate and decadent Nigerians.’ Or he simply substantiates generalizations made by others. For example, ‘the reign of secret cults and their mind-rending activities are a manifestation of decay in modem day families.’ Finally, honor films like ‘First Order’, ‘Demon Lovers’, ‘In the Name of God’, and ‘The House on Skull Hill’, etc. which show scenes of bizarre cult violence and esoteric practices, go a long way to influence the activities of cult practices on campuses. Another contributor to the volume, O.A. Fawole (probably because of his religious leanings) stated that 'Cultism was a chronic malaise, a weapon used by Satan to hatch his evil machinations.’[see: Readings on Campus Secret Cults, O. A. Ogunbameru, 1997).

33 The Nigerian Constitution, cited by J.D. Ojo In: Student's Unrest in Nigerian Universities, Spectrum Books, Ibadan, 1995.

34 J.D. Ojo, Student's Unrest in Nigerian Universities. 1995, p. 35.

35 ' E.E. Reutter Jr. cited by J.D. Ojo, op. cit., 28.

36 The Guardian on Saturday (27 December 1997).

37 The Guardian on Saturday (28 June 1997).

38 Personal communication, Dr. B.A. Oyelere, April 1998.

39 The Guardian on Saturday (28 June 1997).

40 Angela McRobbie, Different youthful subjectivities. In: The Post-colonial Question, I. Chambers and L. Curtis, eds., Routledge, London and New York, 1996, p. 32.

41 ibid.

42 For an extensive discussion of the 'area boy' phenomenon, see: Jimni Adisa, Lagos: street culture and families in the street. In: Youth, Street Culture and Urban Violence in Africa. G. Herault and P Adesanmi, eds., IFRA, Ibadan, 1997.


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