Soyinka spoke in Port Harcourt on Monday at a two-day education summit organized by the Rivers State government.
Soyinka, who said Nigerian leaders were in the habit of sacrificing animals in order to remain in power, observed that the situation was encouraging students to join cultism.
The renowned author, who chaired the opening session, noted that normal university cultures like fraternities had been misconstrued to mean cultism.
He said, “Give me the name of any head of state who has not been consulting marabouts and prophets and so on, sacrificing goats, animals in the dead of night to receive a third term in office and so on and then you start blaming students, they are imitating the same thing the infirmity society itself has become.
“So, they can no longer distinguish between a genuine fraternity and a secret cult of which society is riddled all the way from the top.
“The rot in our education system is trickling all the way down to secondary schools, into some primary schools. Normal university cultures like fraternities have been misconstrued” he noted.