INTRODUCTION Background to the Study One of the most disturbing features of the world particularly the third world countries to which Nigeria belong is poverty. It remains one of the most familiar enemies of most third world countries. Poverty is a pandemonium that has eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian populace. It is one of the very many problems of serious magnitude confronting Nigeria today. However, both military and civilian governments who have ruled this country have desired to provide a panacea to the problem of poverty since after independence in October 1st, 1960, without much success. Imaekhai (2000) observes “that the fact that poverty is still very much a problem in Nigeria even on a higher magnitude points to the previous attempts made by both civilian and military governments to tackle the problem”. Also various programmes like the Operation Feed The Nation (OFN), Live above Poverty Organization (LAPO), Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DIFFRI), National Directorate for Employment, Better Life for Rural Women Programme (BLP) etc that have been established for the education of the people and to find a lasting solution to this sickness called poverty have not been able to achieve 100% success because most of them were basically been marred by corruption. Moreover, it is an established fact that Nigeria is among the most endowed countries in terms of human, mineral and material resources in the world but yet it was rated as one of the poorest countries worldwide (Guinness Book of Records). Paradoxically, a country so blessed with rich human and natural resources and yet her people are very poor. Edo State which is among states in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria due to the abject level of poverty in the region demanded for the set up of the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to correct this neglect of the people created by past government administration, considering the fact that most quantity of the country’s major foreign earner (crude oil) is gotten from that region. Hence NDDC and other governmental and non-governmental agencies have embarked on some poverty alleviation programmes and strategies in order to see that development and better living are taken to the grassroots of that region. That is transforming the various local government areas in all the states in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. This study will address the possible strategies for alleviating poverty in Edo State of Nigeria, looking at the various strategies used in the past, their strength and weakness using Egor Local Government Area as a case study. Study Area
Historical Background Edo state was created on the 27th of August, 1991 by the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Before then, Edo State with Delta State make up the old Bendel State with Benin City as the capital of the State. The major ethnic groups that make up the state were Binis, Esan and Afamai. Edo State is made up of 18 Local Government Areas. Egor Local Government is one of the 18 local government areas in Edo State, South-South Nigeria. This local government was carved out of the defunct Oredo Local Government in 1996 with its headquarters at Uselu by the late General Sani Abacha’s regime. Location Edo State is located at the South-South geo-political zone in Nigeria. The state is bounded by Kogi State in the north and Delta state to the east and South Ekiti and Ondo State to the West. The land mass of the state is 19,764km square lying on 05o 44N and 07o 34N Latitude, 05o 4E and 06o 45E longitude of the equator. The state is a low land except towards the north axis where the northern and Esan Plateaus range from 183 meter of Kukuruku Hills and 672 meters of the Samorika Hills. Egor Local Government is bounded in the north east at Isihor in Ovia North East Local Government and in the South by Oredo Local Government. It is divided to ten political wards, ten villages and six camps among which are Uselu, Egor, Evbuotubu, Useh and Okhoro as major towns and Aguiboye, Urumwon village I and II, Iguikpe, Okhokhugbo, Ubioghuoko, Agbodo, Iguedayi, Esesoyan, Iviyeneha etc as villages. Climate The climate is typically tropical with two major seasons the wet (rainy) and dry season. The wet season lasts from April to November and dry season from December to February. A temporary “August break” separated maximum rainfall regime. It is experienced between the last week of July and first week of August. Very high monthly cloud coverage with about 2500 – 300mm animal rainfall. A period of dry, cold, dusty wind known as harmattan occurs between December and February with the temperature of 34o occurring during the dry season. Vegetation and Topography There are two major vegetation belts in Edo State namely forest belt of south and central part while the Guinea Savannah is in the northern part. The topography of the local government area (Egor) is plain surface which favours animal breeding, e,g, pigs, cows, goats etc. The weather is extremely hot and dry during the dry season with some prevalent disease on the highest at that time. Economic Activities of the People Edo State is famous for her works of arts. The arts which are mostly made of brass and sometimes bronze include plaques and Royal figures. Most of the art works were lost in war during the British invasion of the Benin Empire in 1879. Most people in Egor Local Government Area of the State are either engaged in one form of business or the other. Most youths are into vocational trades like barbing, tailoring, carpentry, auto-mechanic, electrical/electronics engineering works, etc. Due to the bad road network linking the communities in the local government area with other communities within and outside the state, the presence of gigantic industries that can create employment for thousands of people have not been felt hence the local government is still seen as an under-developed one. Most companies that are in the local government are finding it difficult to continue because of the problem that this lack of good road network within and outside the local government area. Some have even shut down, e.g. NIPOST Office in Egor Local Government Area. This situation lamented above contributed immensely to the living standard of the people in the area. Though policies and programmes have been put in place in the past to correct this problem, the goals and targets of these policies and programmes have never been achieved. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam on poverty alleviation strategy 2007-2010 prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (2001:2) stated that: “Poverty alleviation is the first priority in the planning and implementation of the socio-economic strategies in each period. The economic development should go with poverty alleviation activities; but if poverty alleviation is not sustainable, no objectives in economic development, life improvement, social stability, implementation of the human rights will be reached”. From the above statement, it is clear that poverty alleviation is to help narrow the gap between the living standard of rural and urban areas; between different population classes; poverty alleviation is to help promote integration process in the globalization tendency; poverty alleviation is also to help maintain and develop the national identify, the cultural traditions and help preserve the ecological environment.
Statement of Research Problem The research problem is concerned with the role of adult education on programmes in poverty alleviation strategies in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State. The rate of community development in Egor Local Government Area seems to be very slow as a result of the poverty level which is higher among its people. As aforementioned, this is attributed to the bad road network in the area. This has made it very hard for any meaningful business to strive in the area. This is because due to the deplorable condition of the roads linking the local government area, transportation into some areas can only be done via motorcycles. Hence, gigantic companies cannot thrive there. In Nigeria, we have witnessed the Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), National Directorate for Employment (NDE), Better Life for Rural Women Programme (BLP), amongst others. In view of these developments, poverty still remains among Nigerian people posing great problem for education programmes that comes to play in helping to alleviate poverty. One therefore wonders if these programmes are capable of alleviating poverty among people.
Purpose of the Study The purpose of the study is as follows: To find out the strategies in solving problems of poverty alleviation in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State. To determine the methods that could be used to eradicate poverty in Ego Local Government Area. To assess the role of the adult educator in eradicating poverty in Egor Local Government Area. To identify poverty alleviation programmes earmarked by the government (LGA) for poverty alleviation in Egor Local Government Area. To suggest measures that would enhance the effectiveness of the programme.
Research Questions For the purpose of this study, the following research questions would be addressed to facilitate the analysis of data that would be gotten from the questionnaire: What strategies have been put in place in Egor Local Government Area for poverty alleviation? What method has been used to eradicate poverty in Egor Local Government Area? In what way would adult education help to eradicate poverty in Egor Local Government Area? What are the poverty alleviation programmes earmarked by the government to reduce poverty in Egor Local Government Area? What measures can be adopted to enhance the effectiveness of the programme?
Significance of the Study This study would be of significance in a number of ways. However, some of these are highlighted below: It will enlighten the public on the state and degree of poverty in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State and also it is expected to provide information on the desirability or potentials of adult education in facilitating poverty alleviation among people. Such information is capable of correcting the misconception commonly believed that adult education is not capable of alleviating poverty. The findings made will also raise the awareness of most people in the area about adult education programmes being able to alleviate poverty amongst them. It will suggest ways by which poverty can be averted, prevented and managed by means of acquisition of adult education through the Edo State Government. Moreover, it will provide source of information on how best poverty can be eradicated, managed and improved or enhanced by the educational planners. In addition, the findings made will enable the Edo State Government authority to become aware of the need to provide or make available both material and human resources and equipments necessary for motivating people to participate in adult education programmes put in place for helping people acquire skills that would facilitate self-reliance and poverty alleviation. Most importantly, the findings of the study will also guide government at all levels to discover and appreciate some of the problems of poverty which can also make the policy makers adopt policies to ensure the success of the programmes put in place. The study will draw the attention of government and make it more committed to the course of providing good road networks within and outside the local government area and also effort should also be concentrated in the grading of earth roads linking various communities in the local government area. Incentives necessary for promoting self-reliance and poverty alleviation among the populace will also be stressed.
Limitation of the Study This study was hindered by such environmental factors as poor transportation system and network available in the areas of Egor Local Government Area. Similarly, the literacy level of most people in the rural areas of Egor Local Government Area is very low. This poses certain degree of problems because it reduces the amount of authenticity of the information gotten from such people in terms of reliability. Statistically, indices of the number of persons living below poverty line is not readily available and when it is available, they cannot be said to be reliable due to the problem of falsification of data that has characterized most agencies in Nigeria to suit their selfish aims. Nevertheless, the researcher has made concerted efforts at ensuring that these limiting factors have little or no effect on the overall findings.
Delimitation of the Study The geographical scope of this study has been limited to Egor Local Government Area of Edo State. The local government which has various towns and villages among whom are Uselu, Egor, Useh, Okhoro, Evbuotubu as towns and Uguikpe, Uhunmwon Village 1 and 2, Okhokugbo etc as villages. But for clarity and accessibility, Egor Community and Skill Development Centre (CSDC), Egor Primary School Literacy Centre and Benin Technical College Uselu were selected for the study.
Definition of Terms Poverty: This is used to describe a state in which a person or group of persons does not have enough resources with which to obtain and consume certain goods and services such as food, shelter, clothing, housing and so on. Poverty Alleviation: This involves or implies the reduction or elimination of poverty to a reasonable level. In other words, poverty alleviation implies the eradication of poverty and the consequence of its existence among the people. Poverty Alleviation Strategies: This implies methods that are formulated and implemented with the aim of the reduction of the existence of poverty to a reasonable level. Adult Education: According to Okedera (1981), adult education is the kind of learning that is expected to catch upon their formal education or who need to use their leisure purposefully or who need to upgrade their skills and knowledge in the fast changing technology. To Eduwen (1997) adult education can be defined as all planned activities for adults that are education oriented to assist them in understanding themselves and participating in active community development. For Fafunwa (1980), he sees adult education as both formal and informal instructions or controlled experience for the mature person so that he may attain social, economic, cultural, political or technical competence or individual independence. We can see in the three definitions a very clear vision of how adult education should be conceptualized. It appears, nevertheless, that the most generally acceptable definition of adult education is the one proposed by UNESCO (1972) which sees it as: “the entire body of organized educational process whatever the content, level and method whether formal or otherwise, whether they prolong or replace initial education in school, colleges, and universities as well as in apprenticeship whereby persons regarded as adults by the society to which they belong develop their abilities, enrich their knowledge, improve their technical or professional qualification or turn them in a new direction and bring about change in their attitudes or behavior in the two-fold perspectives of full personal development and participation in balanced and independent social economic and cultural development”.