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ASSESSMENT OF STRATEGIES FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT
ISI –UZO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA IN ENUGU STATE.
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1:1 Background of the Study
Rural development in Nigeria and indeed in Enugu State dates back to the origin of man. Man in a bid to live above nature, saw the need to develop his environment. He started by taking care of the fundamental needs such as food, clothing, shelter and so on. as time went on, when civilization started crippling in, men lived together decided to improve on roads, clear pathways, markets and village squares. Even the government’s intervention in providing the needs of man does not prevent man from contributing his quota in development. This trend continued until this modern Nigeria.
This means that the idea of rural development may have started long before the introduction of local government system or the coming of the Europeans to Nigeria. Onyekwere (1987:7) citing Okunlola (1979:1) stated that self-help mechanism need for rural development had existed in traditional societies before the concept of rural development was introduced by the Western nation. Equally, the National Youth Service Corps Orientation Lecture Series (1979:1) stated that long before the introduction of the science of development planning and studies, many rural communities in Nigeria had learned to provide themselves with functional and physical facilities by co-operation or communal efforts. Also, Nwakama (1986:7) observed that for them to live in big homes with large rooms and windows to admit fresh air they have to seek the aid of other people or their neigbours. From the above, there is evidence that our fore fathers have learned to come together to build roads instead of footpaths, village squares, markets and schools through communal efforts.
So, when the indirect rule was introduced in the 1900’s in the country, the District Officers through their warrant Chiefs did not find it difficult in mobilizing the rural people for self-help projects. With the self-help mechanism already existing in the people , warrant Chiefs were able to organize the people to provide compulsory communal labour needed for public works. As a result, village groups provided compulsory labour which was for the construction of roads, bridges, culverts and other projects.
In 1930’s, direct taxation was introduced, in which Road and River ordinance of1920’s was replaced. Onwumelu (1981:4) stated that many rural communities considered communal labour unnecessary and refused to provide further free labour for public works. The rural dwellers therefore expected the governments to provide them with social amenities since they paid their tax to the government . through this way, the colonial government killed the spirit of rural communities in rural development.
The government in order to reactive the spirit of self-help mechanism in people introduced the local government law of 1955. The law empowered local government to take full responsibilities for rural development within their area of authorities;and equally promised to give matching grants and technical assistance to communities who embarked on self-help project. As a result,the government of the then Eastern Region , backed its promise with the Akagu experience in Udi,which was shut at into a film called “Day Break” at Udi. The film was used as a public enlightment strategy and was shown in every hook and cranny of then Eastern region . The film helped in stimulating the people to take part in rural development project.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite all these laudable programmes and polices initiated by government like Directorate of Food Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DIFRRI). Better Life for Rural Women coupled with the effort of Community Based Organizations in Isi-uzo Local Government to improve their standard of living, the rural dwellers are still living in abject poverty because the development strategies adopted was unable to address/meet the needs of the people. Also, the development strategies were inadequate because the local people were not involved in the project design, implementation and execution. Commenting on the assertion, Ngwu (1999.24) stated that the approaches/strategies have failed to address the peoples concern s, goals, and aspirations.
Although we have some strategies adopted in the rural communities in Isi-uzo Local Government to carry out development projects, their efforts have not produced a true and sustainable development because there are cases of abandoned projects in the rural communities of Isi-uzo Local Government Area. Therefore, the problem of this study is to examine the strategies adopted by government and various Community Based Organizations in the rural development programmes in Isi-uzo Local Government Area that have not been yielding desired results.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to assess the strategies for rural development in Isi-uzo Local Government Area in Enugu state. The specific purposes of the study are:
1 To identify the characteristics of the respondents.
2 To ascertain the objectives of rural development in Isi-uzo Local
3 To identify the types of rural development projects carried out in Isi-uzo Local Government Area.
4 To find out those that participate in rural development projects in Isi-uzo Local Government Area.
5 To access the efforts of the government in promoting rural development in Isi-uzo Local Government.
6 To determine the strategies used for the implementation of rural development projects in Isi-uzo Local Government Area.
7 To examine the problem which militate against rural development in Isi-uzo Local Government Area.
1.4 Significance of the Study
There is a growing emphasis on the part which Community Based Organizations can play to ensure a true and sustainable development in Enugu state and Nigeria in general. Although some scholars have suggested the shift of focus from the government top down approaches/methods in dealing with development issues to bottom up strategies of Community Based Organizations as an effective means of rural development in the country.
So, it is hoped that findings of the study encourage the efforts of rural dwellers who are member of Community Based Organizations, as well as indicates those strategies that are effective as a means of achieving good results in rural development.
More so, findings of the study equally serve as a guide to government and other agencies involved in development activities with respect to strategies that can be adopted when assisting communities in their development.
The findings of the study also provide development activists with information on the better strategies being adopted by grassroots organizations involved in rural development activities in various communities.
Finally, the study provides the much needed material for future research in strategies for rural development.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study covers the objectives and characteristics of rural development, the types of rural development projects, those that participate in rural development, the efforts of government in promoting rural projects, assessment of the strategies used for implementation of rural development projects and the problems which militate against rural development projects.
1.6 Research Questions.
The following questions have been asked to guide the study;
1 What are the characteristics of the respondents?
2 What are the objectives of the rural development in Isi-uzo Local Government Area?
3 What are the types of rural development projects carried out in Isi-uzo Local Government Area?
4 Who are participants in the rural development projects in Isi-uzo Local Government Area?
5 What are the contributions of the government towards the promotion of rural development in Isi-uzo Local Government Area?
6 What are the strategies used for the implementation of rural development projects in Isi-uzo Local Government Area?
7 What are the problems confronting rural development in Isi-uzo Local Government Area?
HO1 There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of the male and female members of the Community Based Organizations on the problems confronting rural development in Isi-uzo Local Government Area.