1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria is a country with a federal system of government where there is constitutional division of powers among the levels of government that is the central, state and local governments. Local government is the third tier of government in the country. It is often referred to as the government at the grassroots level. Development would not be meaningful if it does not affect the rural dwellers, it is as a result of this that local government was created to ensure effective and efficient service delivery to the people at the grassroots level. The creation of the local government in many countries stems from the need to facilitate development at the grassroots. The importance of local government among others is a function of its ability to generate sense of belongingness, safety and satisfaction among its populace. In Nigeria socio –political context, with multiplicity of culture, diversity of languages and differentiated needs and means, the importance of local government in ensuring unity and preserving peculiar diversities cannot be underestimated. Inspite of the relevance of local government, there are some problems that have faced it in the performance of its functions especially in areas of service delivery at the grassroots. Since a large percentage of the population are mostly found at the grassroot level, the development of rural areas cannot be over-emphasized. Thus, development of rural areas impacts positively on per capita income and food production. Development of the grassroot has been the concern of every responsible and responsive government. Yusuf (2012) further stated that rural development is the outcome of a series of quantitative and qualitative changes occurring among a given rural population and whose converging effects indicate, in time, a rise in the standard of living and favourable changes in the way of life of the people concerned. In terms of level of economic development, quality of life, access to opportunities, facilities and amenities, standard of living and general viability, the gap between the urban and rural areas in Nigeria is very wide. The rural areas are grossly neglected as far as development projects and infrastructure are concerned. The challenges and prospects of rural development in Nigerian have been of great concern to the different tiers of government due to the rate of rural-urban migration. Onibokukun (2007) sees rural development to be faced with the paradox that the production oriented rural economy relies heavily on non-productive people who are all ill-equipped with outdated tools, technical information , scientific and cultural training and whose traditional roles and access to resources pose problems for their effective incorporation into modern economics systems. The consumption oriented urban economy is flooded with people many of who are either unemployed or unemployable, or marginally employed or underemployed in the urban centres where they choose to live. As a result of this mass exodus, the rural areas have become qualitatively depopulated and are progressively less attractive for social and economic investments while the urban areas are becoming physically congested, socially unhealthy and generally uneconomic to maintain(Onibokukun,2007) Inspite of the huge resources committed to rural development in Nigeria, rural development still remains a mirage because the local government authorities which are saddled with the responsibilities have not been able to perform up to expectation. The expectation was that the third tier of government would act as a catalyst to rapid and sustained development at the grassroots level. Yet, the hope for rapid and sustained development has been a mirage as successive councils have grossly underperformed in almost all the areas of their mandate. Apart from the palpable mismanagement and misapplication of funds currently witnessed in most local governments in the country, the resources available which otherwise should be used for development programmes at the grass –roots are being used to service bloated elected officials and unproductive bureaucracies (Obasanjo, 2009).
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The key problem facing most local governments is lack of adequate finance to implement various developmental programmes. It would be recalled that since early 1990s, there have been tremendous increase in the total amount of funds available to local governments in Nigeria. The reasons for the lack of adequate finance can be attributed to the fact that local government allocations are been hijacked by state governors, used for electioneering campaigns and shared among political God-fathers and members of state assemblies. Local government in modern day life is responsible for delivering basic goods and services to its local communities in faster, easier and more efficient manner. Local government is the level of government in Nigeria at which the momentum to sustain national development is created. The rural development initiated by local government is expected in terms of specific projects such as kilometres of rural roads constructed and maintained; borehole and deep wells sink or rehabilitated and maintained by the local government; rural electrification; and rural people empowerment programmes. This could be expressed in terms of the improved quality of life the citizenry enjoy as optimized in the primary health care programme provided, procurement and distribution of fertilizer to farmers at subsidized rate; effective and efficient management of primary education as well as the regularity and quality of public enlightenment programmes provided and enjoyed by the rural populace. The effectiveness and efficient provision of these services qualifies local government as viable, instrument of rural development. These problem need to be addressed in order to redress the severity of the problem on the Nigerian rural people. However, beyond these reasons, the dismal failure of past regimes in Nigeria to tackle the problem of poverty and living conditions of the rural populace is traceable to the inability of the government to explore the democratic approach to governance in local government. Much attention and thought served not have been given to the fact that beyond government’s efforts, the rural populace themselves can meaningfully contribute to the development of their welfare (Alila, 1998). Also, most rural projects are financed from external source (i.e. statutory allocation) and with emphasis on items of capital expenditures that are not masses oriented. All these corruptive activities had added in no small measure to the problem of inadequate finance which has made effective services delivery at the rural areas to be impossible. This paper therefore tends to address this problem of inadequate finance which has posed serious challenge to the development at the rural areas. Thus, the bogus allocation to local government does not get to the hands of local government practitioners for proper service delivery.
1.3AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine Local government administration and rural development in Idemili South L.G.A, Anambra state. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the roleIdemili South Local Government administration has played in the overall development of her rural areas.
2. To examine whether job creation and provision of infrastructures by the government led to decline in rural-urban migrationin Idemili SouthL.G.A, Anambra State.
3. To examine the impact of local government administration on rural development in Idemili South L.G.A, Anambra State.
4. To examine the extent to which poor capital funding affect the development of rural areas in Idemili South L.G.A.
5. To examine the relationship between level of capital fundingand the rate of rural development in Idemili SouthL.G.A, Anambra State.
6. To examine factors militating against effective rural development inIdemili South L.G.A, Anambra State.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What role does Idemili South Local Government administration played in the overall development of her rural areas?
2. Does job creation and provision of infrastructures by the government led to decline in rural-urban migration in Idemili South L.G.A, Anambra State?
3. How is the impact of local government administration on rural development in Idemili South L.G.A, Anambra State?
4. To what extent does poor capital funding affect the development of rural areas in Idemili South L.G.A?
5. What is the relationship between level of capital fundingand the rate of rural development in Idemili South L.G.A, Anambra State?
6. What are the factors militating against effective rural development inIdemili South L.G.A, Anambra State?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: Poor capital funding does not affect the development of rural areas in Idemili South L.G.A, Ebonyi State.
H1: Poor capital funding significantly affects the development of rural areas in Idemili South L.G.A, Ebonyi State.
H0: There is no significant relationship between level of capital fundingand the rate of rural development in Idemili South L.G.A, Anambra State.
H0:There is a significant relationship between level of capital fundingand the rate of rural development in Idemili South L.G.A, Anambra State.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study will have a number of significant implications. Both the young and the old will gain a lot of things from this work. This research will be of advantage to everybody in the community because the knowledge of how to provide solution to community’s problems will be acquired.The result of the study will be very imperative for future researchers in the area of the assessment of the local government administration and rural development in Nigeria. The result of the study will add to the existing pool of literature on the problems of rural development by the local Government administrators. The result of the study can go to communities in order to give them needed knowledge on how far their enormous efforts and contribution towards rural development projects have been utilized, or can be harnessed. The result of this study would raise the spirits of teamwork and boost the morale of citizens’ critical consciousness during and after execution of community development projects. This study will give credence to the unavoidability of the people in those things that concerns them.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on Local government administration and rural development(a case study of Idemili South L.G.A, Anambra state).
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Development: Relates to realizing potential, growth or expansion of something, or making something more effective. Put together simply, community development is the act of growing, expanding or making more effective groups of people who have mutual interests.
Rural Development: As used in this study, the word “Rural Development” here connotes conscious integrated system and programmes designed to uplift and improve the general standard of living of the rural populace through the provision of basic social amenities in the rural areas by the government through the institutions which amongst other things, encourage the predication of people in the process of development with the ultimate aim of developing human potentialities which is the basis for any development.
Rural Areas: These are local government areas that are lacking in many infrastructural amenities like electricity, pipe-borne water, roads and telecommunications, health facilities, educational structures etc.
Local Government: The term “local government” as used in this study mean local government as that tier of government closer to the people expected to serve as the basis of socio-economic development in the locality to the people at grass-root level. It can also be seen as a government that has been perceived as a panacea for the diverse problems of the diverse people with diverse culture.