1.1 Background of the Study
The primary desire and goal of any community at the local, state or national level is to generate and sustain development. Development entails better welfare, better attitude towards life and positive radical multidimensional changes. However, the attainment and activation of development is intentional. Development does not just happen; it is strategically planned, organized and executed through the instrumentality of public policy. Publiê policies in an ordinary parlance are those definite acts or actions of government geared towards the fulfillment of the obligation of government on the citizens, which are the maintenance of law and order, the provision of social and economic facilities needed for an enhanced standard of living of the people (lyoha, 2000)
Nigeria gained independence in 1960 from the British colonial government. Ever since then, grassroot governance and development have been declared one of the major priorities by the successive governments, be it civilian or military. In this regard, several organizations, institutions and agencies have been set up to undertake and monitor the complicated process of nation-building, development and integration. This post colonial orientation is a deviation from the erstwhilecolonial arrangement whereby development efforts in all spheres were concentrated in the urbanareas to the neglect of grassroot and rural areas. Hence, projects such as the construction of roads, bridges,schools, railway lines, air trip, ports and marketing boards, among others, were all aimed atopening the rural areas as a link for the easy exploitation of export of raw materials (Hilary, 2009)
In Nigeria, over the years the stated objectives and strategies of grassroot development have been pronounced by policy makers and those concerned with• the issue of development. But there still exist enormous gap between public policy formulation and implementation and the reality of the level of the development of the grassroot sphere. For example, several approaches in terms of grassroot development planning and execution have been adopted. Some of these included the creation of states, local government areas, mobilization of people for local participation in planning and implementation of community development projects in order tocreate new centres of deelopment, and thus stem the drift from rural to urban areas. On the part of government therefore there is the realization that there is need to bring the neglected grassroot areas into the mainstream of national development (Michael, 2012).
On the basis of the above, the thrust of this paper is therefore to carry out an empirical analysis of public policy and grassroot development in Nigeria with an empirical focus on Enugu East local government area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years, the speed and consistency df development at the grassroot level in Nigeria have not been impressive. This can be attributed to amongst other factors poor policy implementation. This is because the problem in Nigeria is not about conceptualizing policies, plans, programmes and projects. Neither is it about• putting down development plans. In spite of all the plans and concomitant programmes and projects, there are still lamentation on the state of the socioeconomic development and welfare of the people especially at the grassroot level; the indicators being the low level of human development index, poor infrastructural development and widespread poverty (Mike, 2011). With all the efforts made to uplift the qualitative standatd of living of the grassroot inhabitants
in Nigeria from pre independence to post-independence, it is unfortunate to note the sad situational position of the rural setting. Based on this, this study is motivated to embark on empirically evaluating the linkage between public policy and development at the grassroot level with focus on Enugu East local government area.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to carry out an empirical analysis of public policy and grassroot development in Nigeria with an empirical focus on Enugu East local government area. The specific objectives are therefore:
- To ascertain the impact of public policie.s on grassroot development in Nigeria.
- To evaluate various challenges surrounding grassroot development policy formulation and implementation in Nigeria.
- To ascertain the role of grassroot leaders in facilitating grassroot development through policies.
1.4 Research Questions
In line with the objectives of the study, the following research questions will pilot the study:
- What level of impact do public policies have on grassroot development in Nigeria?
- What are the various challenges surrounding grassroot development policy formulation and implementation in Nigeria?
- What are the roles of grassroot leaders in facilitating grassroot development through policies?
1.5 Hypotheses of the Study
In the course of the study, the following hypotheses will be tested:
Ho: public policy has no significant impact on grassroot development in Nigeria
1-b: There are no significant challenges surrounding grassroot development policy formulation and implementation in Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The significance of a research lies on its usefulness. Therefore, this investigation is considered useful for the following beneficiaries:
Government: The federal/State/local government will find this study highly relevant as it will provide a picture of the impact and existing problems of public policy making on grassroot development in Nigeria and this is expected to generate reforms on the concept of policy making and implementation for grassroot development.
Researchers: Furthermore, this investigation will also be highly significant to subsequent researchers as this research will provide them with relevant literatures.
Students: This research hasthe ingredient of expanding the horizon research students on the concept ofgrassroot development and policies geared towards achieving them.
General Knowledge: Finally, this research is considered highly relevant given that it will be an addition to the existing stock of knowledge and hence creates a capacity building input to the education sector.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The focus of this study is to carry out an empirical analysis of public policy and grassroot development in Nigeria with an empirical focus on Enugu East local government area.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following terms were given their meanings in the context of the study.
Grassroot: This is defined as the most basic level of an activity or organization. 1n the context of this study, it is the local government dimension of the country.
Development: This is a multidimensional radical improvement and the process of developing or being developed.
Public Policy: This is defined as a system of courses of action, regulatory measures, laws, and funding priorities concerning a given topic promulgated by a government entity or its representatives.