The paper is a critical examination of rural development programmes and the challenges of rural development in Nigeria (An analysis of the challenges militating against rural development in Nigeria). It emphasizes the need for a paradigm shift in the development of rural areas in Nigeria. The “development space” between urban and rural areas in Nigeria is very broad (in terms of the provision of economic development, quality of life, access to opportunities, amenities, social services and standard of living). Adopting the ‘elite theory,’ rural development policy makers and implementers pursue elite interests at the expense of broader community interests. This can be achieved if policies and programmes are made relevant to the rural people through their participation in the determination of their needs, bridging the gap between the intention and the actual implementation of policy and realistic goal setting. The study makes use of primary and secondary data. Questionnaires were administered and analysed. The findings reveal that there have been constraints in developing the rural communities in Nigeria such as: unrealistic goal setting, corruption, lack of consideration of socio political environment and lack of participation of target beneficiary in policy decisions. The study therefore, recommends that there is the need for the government to supply necessary inputs that can improve people’s livelihood, productivity and increase their level of income. These inputs can be in form of fertilizers, farming machines, seeds, training programmes, skill acquisition programmes, credit facilities and other desired development in the rural communities in Nigeria.




1.1  Background Of The Study

Human settlement activities existed in Nigeria long before the penetration of colonial masters and the establishment of port cities and market towns. Historically, man built to protect himself, his activities, and possessions against enemies and climate. The major population of Nigeria was largely rural until recently, when rapid urban and industrial growth negated the corresponding growth of rural areas. Rural settlement in Nigeria, which manifests the cultural and historical values of the people, has therefore suffered. With the surge of population from the rural area into the old residential areas of the city, characterized by low incomes and rent, squatting and overcrowding problems were the result. These migrants, when faced with the disappointing realities of the urban scene and with the recent economic retardation in Nigeria, have no reason to remain in urban areas, but have to return to the villages, where the only chance of improving their economic conditions is from a transformation of their agricultural and rural production system. The truth is that this is exactly the trend of events taking place in Nigeria, as people are leaving the urban scene en masse for the former subsistence agricultural rural areas. This paper examines the trends towards developing rural areas and reviews the efforts of the past and the present governments of Nigeria in supporting and encouraging the people in the rural area by way of several programmes and policies, especially the new programme of the Directorate of Foods, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI).

Asian Development Bank (2014) asserted that rural  development has become one of the major aims of various assistance/intervention programmes  of both individual developing countries and  multilateral institutions/donors. Over the past five decades, Nigeria has never been short of programmes and reforms aimed at alleviating the failing rural economy, livelihood, insecurity and other specific policies associated with poverty alleviation and rural community sustainable development. The Document of Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) at 50 (2010:618) illustrated that, majority of these programmes developed complications over the years. Since Nigeria gained her political independence in 1960, there has been a great impetus attached to the rural community development as a factor that advances the overall socio-economic development of Nigeria. It is this reality as highlighted by Alege (2005:55) that has made the government at different times to set up various programmes and specialized credit institutions in an attempt to transform and develop rural areas in all its ramifications and thereby moving rural dwellers from abject poverty and squalor to economic and social prosperity. Some of those programmes and credit institutions are yet on-going, some are moribund and others have gone with the regimes that initiated them. Ibietan and Oghator (2013:308) noted that successive governments have indicated desire to transform the country, be it in terms of provision of infrastructure, human capacity development and even in the realm of social and political development. In this wise, Nigeria has experimented with several development plans from pre-independence era till date, yet the needed transformation has continued to elude its citizenry in spite of the robust plans. (PAUL, December, 2014)

Although rural areas in Nigeria harbor over eighty percent of the national population, they can only boast of about ten percent of the infrastructure and other indices of development. (African Jornals Online2014). The billions of dollars, which the three tiers of government and international agencies budget for the development of rural areas are often frittered away. Otherwise, with the level of attention and the amount of money expended on efforts at developing the rural communities in Nigeria the disparity and lopsidedness between the rural and urban areas of the country with regard to the level of poverty and socio-economic infrastructure should have been a thing of the past. It appears that the more money is spent on the rural areas the greater the disparity in the level of development between the urban and rural areas. (African Jornals Online2014).

Due to the rapid growth of underdevelopment in Nigeria, this research project looks into the challenges militating against rural development on Odogbolu local government area of Ogun State. The area presently constituted into Odogbolu Local Government had been under the jurisdiction of various councils from the defunct Western Region and later Western State, when it was under Ijebu Division, with headquaters in Ijebu-Ode. Odogbolu Local Government is strategically located on a large expanse of land of about 640 square kilomitres and has a projected population of 200,000, Christianity and Islam are the two major religions of the people. However, there still remain sizeable number of committed traditional worshippers. The people of Odogbolu Local Government share common cultural traits with other Yorubas found in South Western Nigeria.  (local governments in ogun state)

1.2       Statement Of Problem

The majority of Nigerians live in rural areas, with an average settlement having 5,000 or less inhabitants.  However, the rural dwellers are less vocal, characterized by a culture of poverty, as most people still live barely above subsistence level. According to the World Bank (1997), the number of rural poor in Nigeria is roughly twice that of the urban poor. The depth of poverty (i.e. the average shortfall from the poverty line) is more than double in rural areas. Rural areas in Nigeria are generally deprived of the basic needs of life such as clothing, housing, medical care, postal communication, education, transport facilities, recreation, neighbourhood amenities, credit facilities and horizon for self-improvement. Rural development demands attention if the living condition of people is to improve  particularly those in the rural areas. The understanding of rural development  as a concept  and its principles will afford the extension agent the opportunity to collaborate with other  stakeholders in order to come up with all encompassing development agenda for the rural  people. Also this unit will be an eye opener to the fact that developing rural areas is  developing the urban areas as they are interrelated. In other words, the neglect of one will  definitely affect the other. In terms of level of economic development, quality of life, access to opportunities, facilities and amenities, standard of living and general livability, the gap between the urban and rural areas in Nigeria is very wide. This leads to what is appropriately characterized as the rural urban dichotomy. The rural areas are usually grossly neglected as far as development projects and infrastructure are concerned. As a result of the relative  underdevelopment of the rural areas when compared with the urban  centers, rural areas are usually zones of high propensity for out-migration. The challenges and prospects of rural development in Nigeria have been of great concern to the different tiers of government due to the rate of rural-urban migration. The various policies of the Nigerian government on rural development are to improve the living condition in the rural areas with a view to curbing the streaming  rural-urban migration. These policies show the zeal of different governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which has led to the proliferation of development agencies. Despite the countless numbers of rural development policies introduced at different times by successive governments coupled with the huge financial and material resources employed, little or nothing is felt at the rural level as each policy has often died with the government that initiated it before it starts to yield dividends for the rural dwellers. Onuorah (2006) support this claim when he states that not minding the lofty objectives (policies and government initiatives) such efforts ever endured beyond the government that initiated the schemes.

The key to successful development in all countries according to Mulgunji (1990) is the promotion of viable rural economy. Mulgunji (1990) revealed that the problem of rural development cannot be viewed as a narrow technical problem of increasing output, but that of the development of appropriate organizations and institutions to mobilize and induce members of the rural society to greater productivity, to help them overcome the constraints in the way of utilizing available resources, and to enable them to distribute the results of their efforts equitably among themselves. Consequently, past governments have put in efforts to develop the rural areas. Despite these efforts, the condition of the rural people is still below the acceptable level. Despite the realization of the above facts and the huge resources committed to rural development in Nigeria, rural development still remains a mirage simply because the local government authorities who are saddled with the responsibilities have not been able to Perform up to expectation.

1.3       Objectives Of The Study

The objectives of this study are:

  1. To identify the challenges militating against rural development in Odogbolu local government area.
  2. To identify the policies that aid rural development in Nigeria
  3. To assess the level of development in Odogbolu local government
  4. To evaluate the effects of corruption on rural development in Odogbolu local government area.

1.4     Research Questions

  1. What are the challenges militating against rural development in Odogbolu local government area?
  2. What are the policies that aid rural development in Nigeria?
  3. What is the current level of development in Odogbolu local government?
  4. To evaluate the effects of corruption on rural development in Odogbolu local government area?

1.5       Significance of the Study

It is absolutely necessary to examine the challenges militating against rural development in Odogbolu Local government area (i.e. lack of education, lack of food, cloths, lack of good healthcare, good road network etc) as a consideration for raising the standard of living on the populace especially the people living in the local government. This will help to achieve a sustainable socio-economic development. Unless Nigerians began to adequately tap their human resources, many of them may remain in poverty for long. Simply because Nigeria as a country is richly endowed in both material and human resources, in spite of this, majority of the people still suffer under abject poverty. Also despite various programmes undertaken by successive governments to alleviate poverty, level of poverty tends to increase over the years. As the government strives once again to make a fresh start at turning the table of pervasive poverty and enhancing the well being of the poor populace, hence this research has been largely rationalized by the motivation to fill in the gap in knowledge.

Since the socio-economic development of any nation is measured by the general welfare, the standard of living of the citizens, thus, this research is designed and carried out to address the challenges militating against rural development in Nigeria with a view to recommending ways out of the problems.

1.6       Scope Of The Study 

This research is going to be carried out based on the various challenges that has been militating against rural development, specifically in Odogbolu local government in Ogun State.

1.7       Operational Definition


Development seeks to explore ways of standards of living, and the human condition generally, by examining potential solutions to problems such as: poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, disease, lack of shelter, environmental degradation, inadequate scientific and technological resources, trade and payment imbalance, international debt, gender and ethnic discrimination, militarism, civil conflict and lack of popular participation in economic and political life.

            Rural Development

Rural development is the process of improving the quality of life and economic well being of people living in relatively isolated and sparsely populated areas. Rural development has traditionally centered on exploitation of land-intensive natural resources such as agriculture and forestry. However, changes in global production networks and increased urbanization have changed the character of rural areas. The need for rural communities to approach development from a wider perspective has created more focus on a broad range of development goals rather than merely creating incentive for agriculture or resource based business. Education, entrepreneurship, physical infrastructure, and social infrastructure all play an important role in developing rural areas.

1.8       Organisation Of The Study

The study is reported in five chapters

Chapter one starts with the general introduction and presents the background to the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study, operational definition of keywords, organization of the study, limitation of the study.

Chapter two focuses on the review of literature and theoretical framework. It contains literature review on rural development programs in Nigeria, rural development and rural area, effect of rural underdevelopment, poverty and underdevelopment. The chapter further reviews rural development and poverty eradication in Nigeria and states the specific theoretical framework relevant to the research.

Chapter three describes the research methodology, research design, population of the study, sample and sampling procedure, source of data analysis, research instrument, method of data analysis and validity of the research instrument in the conduct of the research.

Chapter four covers presentation of findings, discussion of findings, discussion of research question 1, research question 2, research question 3, research question 4 of the research work.

Chapter five presents the summary, conclusion, contribution to knowledge and recommendations for further study.

1.9       Limitation Of The Study

There are some limitations of this study, despite the fact that this Research would be successful. The research was limited to cover the challenges militating against rural development in Nigeria and number of factors which militate against the need to limit the scope or area of coverage.


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