In this chapter, the following sub-heads will be discussed:-
- Background of the Study
- Statement of the Problem
- Purpose of the Study
- Research Questions
- Significance of the Study
- Scope of the Study
- Delimitation of the Study
1.1 Background of the Study
Successive administrations in Nigeria had, over the years initiated different community development projects and programmes. Each of these was expected to achieve some objectives. This entails that every development programme or project aims at achieving some objective(s) which will improve the lives of the people. To buttress this assertion, Ogili (2004: 85) states that the objectives of community development can be summarized as follows:-
- to improve life at the local community level as fast as our human and material resources can carry us;
- to develop all aspects of community living simultaneously so as to avoid imbalance or neglect of any area of living;
- to explore and use technical assistance available from outside the community;
- to demonstrate special capabilities, projects and resources which will be useful to other communities;
- to cooperate with and coordinate state and national development plan.
From the above, one can rightly assert that Community Development projects and programmes are result oriented and generally positive. They are meant to impact on the lives of the people. Thus, they are supposed to be based on the real needs of the people for whom these projects/programmes are meant to benefit.
Apart from the Federal and State governments, the local government is also set-up to effect Community Development projects and programmes. Hence, Ibezim (1998: 139) states that “one of the features of the local authorities is that they were given wider range of functions to perform in order to complement those of the state and the federal governments in attempting to develop the country”. Nwankwo (1992: 155-156) outlines the following purposes and functions of local government:-
- They assist the central and state governments to carry out some important functions and roles at the grassroots level e.g. rural development.
- They bring the central government closer to the rural people;
- They maintain culture and tradition of the people on behalf of the central government.
Some of the community development programmes and projects initiated by successive administrations in Nigeria that were identified by different writers include:- Rural Water (Agunwamba 1995); Directorate for Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI), (Akpan and Olaniyi); Rural Electrification, (Okonkwo 1995); Better Life Programme for Rural Women (BLP), (Obasi and Oguche, 1995); Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP), (Iheduru, 2002), Rural Banking, (Okoye), etc. It is unfortunate that many of these projects that were expected to achieve some objectives failed. The people for whom these projects/programmes are meant to benefit have not benefited much, rather it was the richer politicians who benefited more from such innovations (Khanye, 2005). Poverty level in the country is on the increase, (Khanye, 2005). Majority of the people were not aware of the presence of some of such programmes (Onyishi, 2005), so they do not participate. It is common knowledge that some projects are abandones and some vandalized/ For instance, low cost buildings located near my village (Edem Ani) in Nsukka Local Government Area are abandoned and vandalized. These, the researcher believes can be traced, mainly to administrative barriers. Hence, Esenjor (1992) declares that one of the major pre-requisites for successful Community Development projects is a strong administrative structure. In other words, failures in community development programmes/projects can be traced to administrative barriers.
Setting up administration is not bad. Problems occur when there are barriers in administering and coordinating development programmes (Esenjor, 1992). Such barriers include lack of people’s involvement (Farrant, 1992), inadequate publicity (awareness creation) (Onyishi, 2005), lack of qualified/inadequate training for development personnel (Agunwamba, 1995), Official protocol (Esenjor, 1992), inadequate finance (Onahd, 1999), etc. Strong administrative set-up, the researcher believes plays significant role in curbing these barriers so that the objectives of community development programme(s) will be realized.
Esenjor (1992) believes that the pre-requisite of development efforts is strong administrative structure which not only coordinates efforts but also provides the necessary thrust, drive and initiative in furthering the objectives. So, the success of any community development programme/project is highly dependent on how strong the administrative set-up is.
Many development programmes and projects have been extended to Nsukka Local Government Area by both the federal and state governments. Such programmes and projects, the researcher believes are meant to make life better for the people. It is unfortunate to note that many lives are not affected positively. Poverty level is not reducing as expected. Hence, Khanye (2005: 18) reveals that it is common knowledge that most projects have good intentions which center on poverty reduction, but which do not actually touch on the poor who should benefit. This, the researcher believes had led to the living standards of many not to be getting better. Many people have not to have been empowered due to “over-centralization” of development programmes, where government prescribe what they feel will be good for the people without consulting them (Qakley, 1991: 14). Many development programmes face the problem of “lack of awareness”, (Onyishi, 2005: 12), so people do not participate. All these and many others emanate mainly from administrative barriers, the researcher believes.
So far, the researcher is not aware of any research carried out to see how far administrative barriers militate against Community Development projects/programmes in Nsukka Local Government Area, hence this study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigeria is obviously a country which is in a haste to develop her people and her communities. Hence, Obasi (2002: 39) remarks that “this has often been done with little or no emphasis on the basic needs of the people.” This, of course will hinder the full realization of the aims and objectives of any Community Development programme, the researcher believes.
Successive administrators since independence had set up one Community Development programme/project or another. There was the Directorate for Social Mobilization (MAMSER), the Directorate for Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI), the Better Life Programme (BLP) for rural women, the Family Support Programme (FSP), and the National Directorate for Employment (NDE). These institutions were set up to empower and develop the people and make life better for them. But despite these programmes and many others which were set up at different times including the poverty alleviation programme of the recent past administration, the level of poverty and marginalization in the country is rising (Khanye, 2005: 71). Life for many is becoming increasingly unbearable and unsafe (Iheduru, 2002).
Paradoxically, many previous studies which looked at the causes of the failure of Community Development projects in Nigeria in general and Nsukka in particular concentrated on the influence of low level of funding, corruption, community conflicts and poor leadership as the sole causes of the failure of Community Development projects and programmes. Many previous researches tended to overlook factors associated with administrative barriers. Esenjor (1992) believes that “strong administrative structure” can lead to successful Community Development projects. According to him a strong administrative structure is essential in providing the necessary thrust, drive and initiative which are necessary for success. On the other hand, administrative barriers can lead to the total failure of Community Development projects and programmes. This study therefore seeks to identify administrative barriers which lead to failures of Community Development projects in Nsukka Local Government Area.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of this study is to identify administrative barriers to Community Development programmes in Nsukka Local Government Area. Specific purposes of the study are:-
- To ascertain the personal characteristics of the respondents.
- To identify administrative barriers which hinder effective identification of community needs.
- To ascertain administrative barriers which lead to low level of mobilization for participation in community development programmes.
- To identify administrative barriers that hinder effective implementation of Community Development programmes.
- To identify administrative barriers which hinder effective funding of Community Development programmes.
- To ascertain administrative barriers that hinder effective supervision, monitoring and evaluation of Community Development programmes.
- Research Questions
The following research questions are formulated to guide the study:-
- What are the personal characteristics of the respondents?
- What are the administrative barriers which hinder effective identification of community needs?
- What are the administrative barriers that hinder effective mobilization of people for participation in community development programmes?
- What are administrative barriers which hinder effective implementation of community development programmes?
- What are the administrative barriers which hinder effective funding of community development programmes?
- What are the administrative barriers that hinder effective supervision, monitoring and evaluation of community development programmes?
- Significance of the Study
A problem is half-solved on identification. It is only when a problem is identified that solution will be sought for. Ugwuzor (2004:4) citing Ali reveals that research in education is useful only to the extent that it provides a basis for solving problem in education and in providing an empirical basis in which actions and decisions are taken. It is, therefore, the aim of the researcher to find out the administrative barriers to Community Development programmes.
The study will go a long way towards revealing the functions expected to be played by administration as regards community development programmes.
Through this study, the ways through which administrative barriers can hinder effective identification of community real needs will be ascertained.
The study will as well reveal administrative barriers to effective funding, effective mobilization for people’s participation, effective supervision, monitoring and evaluation, implementation, etc of community development programmes.
Findings of the study will be useful to both government and non-governmental bodies sponsoring Community Development programmes as corrective measures to the barriers emanating from administering and coordinating Community Development programmes.
When the government and/or non-governmental organizations that sponsor Community Development programmes make use of the proffered solutions, this will lead to a large extent in the realization of Community Development programmes/projects aims and objectives.
Realization of the aims and objectives of Community Development will bring about improvement of the well-being of the people for whom development programmes are meant.
- Scope of the Study
This study is concentrated on the administrative barriers to Community Development programmes. The study will be restricted to Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State.