The study aimed at examining the contributions of izzi local government towards rural development in rural areas. Asserting the extent to which Izzi local government has contributed towards human capital development and the extent the local government has reduced the level of poverty in the area. Structural functional theory propounded by Gabriel Hammod and James coleman in 1960 was adopted to guide the study. A descriptive survey design was also adopted to study the population 234, 074 which was reduced to a sample size of 399 using Taro Yameni’s statistical formular and stratified sampling and random sampling techniques was used. Data were collected from primary and secondary sources, structured questionnaire instrument were used for data collected and frequency distribution table with simple percentage method were also used to analyze the data collection whereas statistical chi-square (X2) was applied in the empirical testing of the hypothese that guided the study. The study revealed the following findings: that the contributions of Izzi local government area towards rural development is significantly high considering their strides in the provision of social amenities, education etc. and another findings is that Izzi local government has contributed in reducing the level of poverty and as well as help towards human capital development. Finally the researcher recommends that the federal government should improve on statutory allocation to local government to assist them undertake capital project that will enhance rural development, and the statutory allocation of the local government should be paid directly into the local government account rather than state joint local account in order to reduce excessive control of the state government.
1.1 Background to the Study
Local Government Administration is seen as veritable instrument for the development and management of affairs of the local populace for grassroot development through its nearness to the local areas. Local government Administration dates back to the colonial period when the British government introduced the indirect rule system of administration. However, it was the famous 1976 local government reforms that ushered in the modern local government system in Nigeria. Local government reform of 1976 remains a watershed in the existence, structure, composition and status of local government in Nigeria. The guidelines for this reform define local government as the “Government at the local level exercised through a representative council established by law to exercise specific powers within a defined area”. Local Government Administration facilitates the devolution or decentralization of the powers, functions, and resources of the central government to the sub-national level government units (Ademolokun, 1990).
However, development is seen as the qualitative improvement in the living standard of members of the society and for development to be measured some indicators are used. Development indicators includes literacy level, rate of employment, good roads, regular supply of electricity, decent housing, medical facilities, education among others. According to Udoh (2005:54) the effectiveness of Local Government Administration is judged through this measures i.e development measures they generate and to the extent that it has catered satisfactorily for the happiness and general well being of the communities it has been established to serve. The principal aims of local government are to facilitate development at the rural area by providing development indicators for rural dwellers. Understanding the emphasis on local government as an instrument for rural development is based on the premise that small units of government stimulate grass root participation in development activities.
Rural development is defined as the process of improving standard of living of the mass of the low income population residing in rural areas and making the process of their development self sustaining (Uma, 1975). Such enormous task no doubt requires a permanent institution structure now legal power to initiate and implement programmes with developmental consequences.
Development programmes are often initiated, co-ordinate and most a times implemented by the political system via the government in a political system, this action may emanate from either the center or the grassroots or both depending on the political values of those in position of authority.
Successive governments in Nigeria have experimented with one programme or the other in the pursuit of rural development. For instance, the creation of institutions and agencies such as Nigerian Agriculture and Cooperative Bank (NACB) now Bank of Agriculture (BDA), Peoples Bank, Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP), River Basin Authorities, Operation Feed the Nation, Rural Banking, Universal Basic Education (UBE), Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), National Directorate of Employment (NBE), National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and other similar agencies (Nwakamma, 2015).
In spite of the above efforts, the issue of development especially at the grassroot level, appears not to have been addressed. States and local governments are still left with dilapidated infrastructure and near absence of social amenities. Ebonyi state was created in 1996 with Izzi local government as one of the local governments of the state. The local government is expected to make the people feel the impact of social and infrastructure development such as human capital development, provision of basic education and other related services, provision of quality road network, enhanced health care facilities, poverty reduction, provision of pipe borne water, take care of the widows and other social welfare services among others. Inspite of state and local governments efforts in this regard, it seems not much has been realized. It is against this backdrop that this study “became imperative.
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