LOCAL GOVERNMENT AS A VERITABLE INSTRUMENT FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT (A STUDY OF IZZI LOCAL GOVERNMENT)
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.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The main aim of the establishment of local government all over the world is to enhance development at the rural area. However, despite the fact that numbers of local government in Nigeria increases more often, nothing much can really be said to have been realized, especially regarding the effort to develop the rural areas.
Inspite of the huge financial resources invested in the local government since its creation, access to basic education is still a problem. Most roads connecting different villages are in dilapidated condition and has hindered access to markets. Farmers have found it difficult to evaluate their farm produce to the markets especially in the urban centers. Electricity supply is in epileptic condition and small scale business men and women largely rely on generators, and this has increased the cost of their goods and services. It is also worrisome the state of health care facilities and government insensitivity towards improving healthcare system. Access to safe drinking water is still a problem. Children of school age are often seen roaming the streets even during school hour while some indulge in trading for their parents. Basic education appears not to have been given desired attention. It is most unfortunate the attitude of top government officials who intervene in the local government affairs and influence developmental decisions, programmes and projects. The above coupled with attitude of the public and the culture of poor maintenance of government projects stare local governments in the face. In view of the above, the researcher raised the following questions for the study.
- To what extent has Izzi local government contributed towards the development of the communities in the area.
- To what extent has Izzi local government reduced the level of poverty in the area?
- To what extent has Izzi local government contributed towards human capital development in the area?
- To find out factors that militate against the contribution of izzi Local Government towards rural development.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The board objective of this study is to examine the contributions of local governments toward rural development in Nigeria with a specific focus on Izzi local government.
The Specific objectives are as follows:
- To examine the extent to which Izzi local government has contributed towards the development of communities in the area.
- To determine the extent to which Izzi local government has reduced the level of poverty in the area.
- To find out the extent to which Izzi local government contributes towards human capital development in the area.
- To ascertain the factors that militate against the contribution of Izzi Local Government towards rural development.
1.4 Research Hypothesis
H1: Izzi local government has significantly contributed to the development of communities in the area.
H0: Izzi local government has not contributed to the development of communities in the rural areas.
H1: izzi local government has significantly reduced the level of poverty in the area.
H0 Izzi local government has not significantly reduced the level of poverty in the area.
H1: izzi local government has significantly contributed to human capital development.
H0: izzi local government has not significantly contributed to human capital development.
H1: State – Joint local account significantly militate against at contribution of Izzi Local Government towards rural development.
Ho: State – Joint Local account has not significantly militate against the contribution of Izzi Local Government towards rural development.
1.5 Significance of the Study
In view of the reasons behind local government existence are some significance of the study. This is divided into two namely theoretical and empirical significance.
The work well serves as a ready made material and a stepping stone for the future researchers and students or out academicians who consider this area interesting and it will also be of immense benefit for them.
- It will be of great importance to executive and staff of Izzi local government council as it will guide them in the realistic development programmes of rural area by finding out the best way to correct the hindrance in the system for rural transformation.
- The study will help public appreciate and understand objective and reasons for local government existence.
- It will also help government to know the basic need of the rural people in other to increase their standard of living.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this work cover Izzi local government. The study is meant to appraise the local government as a veritable instrument for rural development.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
In carrying out research of this nature, it is only natural that certain factors will limit the scope and contents of the work. One of the major problems encountered is inadequate time. This is so because the researcher is a student and have other academic undertakings to attend to which are also important.
Secondly, finance constituted a barrier, right from the onset it is noted that to carry out a research of this magnitude requires a lot of funding, given the financial condition of the country today, one can begin to appreciate the financial adjustment the researcher made in order to effectively carry out the work.
Above all, unfriendly attitude of some respondents was a major setback to this endeavour. This problem not withstanding, the researcher succeeded in getting accurate and up to date data and information and objective of the research were realized.
1.8 Theoretical Framework
The study adopted structural functional theory. Structural functional theory was propounded by Gabriel Hammond and James Coleman; this theory became popular in 1960. Structural functional theory assumes that a bounded system exists, and studies structures in terms of their function within the system. This theory is of the idea that specific structure performs specific function, that is to say that where ever there is function to perform there is need for structure.
In relation to this study, local government is one of the tiers of government with certain function to perform. As a structure local authorities operate with specific geographical area called local government while in terms of function the local government is a body responsible for delivering a broad range of services in relation to roads, housing, economic, rural development and amenity services etc.
Structural functional theory was considered appropriate by the researcher, since local government exists for the development of rural area this means that local government is a structure and have a certain function to perform which among other things includes development at the rural areas.
1.9 Operational Definition of Key Concept
- Government: It is a machinery through which will of a state or local government is formulated or carried out.
- Local Government: Local government is seen as an organized authority which ensures effective administration at the grassroots. It could be seen also as government at the local level exercised through representative councils established by law to exercise specific power within defined areas.
- Rural: It is a place where there is no infrastructure that make it appear like urban area such infrastructure as electricity etc.
- Development: This is qualitative improvement in the living standard of members of the society or gradual and progressing ground from one state to a better one.
- Rural Development: It is a method design to enhance the economic and social life of the rural dwellers.
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