Community Development – Local Government Councils Efforts Towards Community Development

Community Development – Local Government Councils Efforts Towards Community Development

Community Development – In this literature review, the research will deal with formal theories, research procedures, research finding and even unsubstantiated observations of others who have studied issues related to this research work.

The review was divided into sub-topics

2.1     CONCEPT AND DEFINITION OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

In looking into the concept of community development, it will not be out of place to give some brief definition of what we mean by “community” as defined by Biddle and Biddle is whatever sense of the local common good citizens can be helped to achieved it is also the local society and its institution with which residents identify themselves Enugu state blue print for rural development descried community as “a unified body of individuals with common socio- economic and political interest”

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Development on its own is a process concerned with peoples capacity in defined area over a defined period to manage and induce change that is to predict, plan, understand and monitor change and reduce or eliminate unwarranted change.

The concept of community development is based on the faith in the ability of people to learn how to help themselves attain an improved standard of living by building better community taking a step at a time. The above definition s of community ad concept of community development bring us to the 8question of community development. Barten T.C, says that “there is no precise and generally accepted definition of community development. Many people would agree with the authors of a recent community development report in defining it as a process during which people in a small community first thoroughly discuss and define their wants, and then plan and act together to satisfy themselves”.

As early as 1944, Cambridge conference on Africa administration regarded community development as a movement but a cate conference at Aylesbuny in 1957 spoke of community development as an idea.

Philosophical aspect of community development in summary looks at community development as the ethically right way of working. It attempts at mobilizing and directing the populace towards their goal, using the slogan- popular participation is good and right”. It looks at community development as a way to achieve grass root democracy and improvement of opportunities for the common man through voluntary self help.

According to Emeka J.A et al (1979) is made in order to facilitate significant increasing employment opportunities in rural communities.

Community development is therefore not restricted to community project but also including

  1. Finding effective ways of stimulating, helping and teaching people to adopt new methods and to learn skills;
  2. Ensuring the preservative of the community

2.2     HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AS OBTAINED IN NIGERIA:

The concepts and process of community development is as old as man itself. But before the world war 11 emphasis were based on communications and transportation and material resources. Emphasis were not made on how lower small scale development could be achieved on issues relating to the needs and welfare of the people in their local communities.

Recently, this need and awareness has been aroused as many African government are fostering development in local community as well as at the national level. Government now have special programmes to stimulate and help people to improve their own local way of life. Nigeria experience goes back to 1900 when Fredrick Lugard was appointed the high commissioner for northern protectorate of Nigeria. He was faced with problem of how to govern people in this vast area without adequate staff and with scanty financial resources.

Between 1900 and 1906, Lugard was able to conquer the area and established a system of indirect rule. The establishment   of indirect rule yielded much fruits o government decided on amalgamating the northern and the southern protectorates in 1914, though later found out that the southern political administration were not as developed as that of the north to guaranteed indirect rule. Lugard also wanted to improve the economic position of people in Nigeria especially when the railway system was established to link spirit. These will ensure better living both materially and socially in the community. The united nationally (1956) defined it to be the process by which the efforts of be people themselves are united with those of the governmental authorities to improve the economic, social and cultural condition of communities, to integrate them into the life of the nations, and to enable them to contribute fully to national progress.

Ugwu I. (1993) define it as “any method by which people discover their fit needs, plan for achievement of their set goals, either worthy or their own resource or through the help of outside agencies where possible”

Owuamalam B.I. (1978) expresses his own idea that community development draw great inspiration from the desire for a change through voluntary methods ad through the participation of individuals and groups in the development process for the achievement of definite groups”.

The international co-operative administrative magazine (1956) describes community development as “a process of social action in which the people of a community organize themselves for planning needs and problems, execute these plans with a maximum of reliance upon community resources; and supplement these resources when necessary with services and materials from governmental and services governmental agencies outside the community” North and South.

However, the indirect rule was very difficult to be practiced in the whole of southern Nigeria. Before 1914 when Lugard became the governor general of Nigeria, those British administration in the south had established Native courts, with district commissioners as presidents and the warrant chiefs who where indigene as visionary members of the court.

The warrant chiefs represent the government at the village level.

The spread of Christianity, and its education had tremendous effect of increasing breaking down the old custom of living in groups. Church authorities succeeded in getting the people to build by communal labour, such things as churches and schools. The term community development was not then used but the principle underlay their efforts were the same.

The birth of Native administration in the early thirties (1930’s) modified the warrant chief system. While the warrant chief was the representatives of government at village level, the native authority councilors were chosen from among the village held and they held their position according to the tradition of the people. Before the native authority councils had the opportunity to prove their worth, the second world war was started with the end of war in 1945, and the prevailing measure of education existing in the then eastern states, proposals to create local government councils were made, and the first country council was established.

In the Eastern Nigeria, at Ikot Ekpene, in the present Akwa Iblm state in 1951. the Ikot Elpene experience encouraged the government to establish more country councils and by 1955, the local government law was promulgated, giving these councils responsibilities for community development.

Today, apart from trunk roads, express highways, electrification and other sophisticated projects clustered around the cities and urban areas, nearly every new project undertaken in any rural area is either built through the communal effort of the people concerned.

2.3     ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:

Local government is surely one of the best organized agency for generating and encouraging development, as well as inducing wider policy making processes at the local level. Given the necessary financial support by both state and federal government, it is better placed than any other level of government to provide to a large. Extent social facilities and services as provided in the 1976 local government reform, edicts, and 1979 constitution such as making recommendation to a state commission on economic planning to the collection of rates, issuance of licenses, construction and maintenance of roads, streets, parks and other public facilities. Local government councils may participate in functions that are normally carried out by other level of government.

These include:

  1. The provision and maintenance of primary schools,
  2. The development and maintenance of agricultural and natural resources, other than exploitation of minerals.
  3. The provision and maintenance of health services.
  4. And such other functions as may be conferred on local governments by the hose of assembly of the state. These functions and objectives can only be carried out if the local government council are on good financial stand undeniably, local government is much better positioned to ascertain local requirements, weigh and determine community demands the local political temperature and set priorities out of the many and varied competing demands; pool together resources and foster a sense of action involvement in the management of the peoples affairs.

Since the inception of the local government system as the third tier of government through out the nation, the federal government has set up specific noble objectives towards the enhancement o community development into rural areas. To some extent, these objectives have been appreciably pursued from 1992 to the end of the dissolution of deformed council in November 1993.

Most of this area of development was centered on agricultural development. Community health centers and maternity homes, child welfare clinic, maintenance of community wad net work and building of market and other recreational and social facilities such as schools adult education, and sports group. However, with the enthronement of care taken committee administration throughout the federation, these ideals gradually stared to degenerate.

  • MAJOR CONSTRAINTS IN ENUGU NORTH

The following factors can be attributed to the reason while most of the council in the area of community development have failed in recent years.

  1. Mal administration: the caliber of care taker committee chairman were not fully trained in local government administration
  2. Greed and selfish interest: most of the chairman is selfish and greedy. This result to contracting out revenues. In Enugu North local government now, all the revenue yielding area like collection of property rate, market toils, license fees and lots more have been given out to contractors. This has rendered lots and lots of money are lost, because contractors only paid to local government on agreement, amount not up to half of the total monthly collection made.
  3. There is lack of manpower in most of the local government particularly over the northern zones.
  4. Misappropriation of funds: This problem has been hereditary as for as the management of fund is concern most of the field officers such eg Environmental Health officers, midwives, Agric officer and Ventinary assistance who go to field to discharge the council functions divert the income for the purpose for which they meant (e.g purchase of fertilizers, drugs etc) it is now generally the talk of the town that most of the councils had not paid up their staff salaries such frustration may account for the reasons why the councils funds diverted into personal pockets.
  5. Attitude of the native/citizens: The entire citizenry are not very much enlightened in the objectively of the local government administration, local, in most communities very negative and poor attitudes are given by the natives when they are called upon to embark on certain projects even for the benefit of the communities involved.
  6. Politics: Nigeria have in recent years indulged in playing the sort of “Katango politics that is politics of victimization, selfishness, sectionalism, and winner have it all.
  • ACHIEVEMENTS OF ENUGU NORTH:

In spite of the facts that the council has become embriod in gross mis-management of fund, lack of infrastructure/developmental facilities and other socio-economic constraints, a lot of achievement has been recorded:

  1. Establishment of hospital, health centers and maternity homes have gone far into the hinterland of most villages in the communities that make up the council.
  2. Most of the communities within the council have been provided with the agricultural material for mechanization of the farm system, seedlings, tree plantation.
  3. Adult education organization has been intensified in most rural areas to wipe out mass illiteracy.
  4. Road construction and maintenance have been extended into most communities particularly areas that produce foods for consumption
  5. Market-building, renovation, maintenance of market withn the council area of administration.
  6. Rural water supply- In most locality where drastic water supply shortage is experienced the government had built water supply and wells, although much still desired tom be achieved, most of the inhabitation within the community need re-orientation in order to reduce politics of bitterness and Hancock, to understand how to joint hands together and work with team spirit in order to achieve an aggregate implementation of community project to the advantage of everybody.
  • IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES TO RURAL DEVELOPMENT

It is now to draw attention to some of the strategies for rural development, since we cannot talk effectively about community development without taking about its implementation strategies.

This is because for an effective (community) development, there must be laid out guidelines that will help to make an effective rural development.

We are concerned with the communities in the rural areas, because this is where about seventy percent 70% of our population live.

Implementation can be seen as the capacity to actually deliver programmes as designed in the formation process where polities are converted into concrete, meaningful public services. According to Jeffrey L. pressman and Aaron Wldavsky (1973) implementation means to carry out, accomplish, fulfill, produce, complete.

A policy is being implemented. There must be something mapped out prior to implementation; other wise there would be nothing to move towards in the process of implementation.

This brings us to the issue of strategies Koontz O’ Donnel and Weithrich 91980) said, ‘strategies” most often denote a general programme of action and an implied development of emphasis and resources to attain comprehensive objectives”

It is these programmes, resources and objectives which when limited with strategies that will eventually be carried out during the process of implementation without objective, programme and resources there will e nothing to implement.

The concept of rurality must therefore take into consideration the characteristics of the rural inhabitants as well as physical characteristics of the locality itself.

The essential ingredients the participation of the people with reliance on their own initiative and the support of internal and external technical services which encourage initiative and self-help. The elements should create in the masses a sense of responsibility and involvement in the improvement of their own environment for their own well being.

  • STEPS FOR EFFECTIVE RURAL DEVELOPMENT:
  1. For rural implementation to take effective steps, the country (Nigeria) must have to change its development strategy. It must reliance on a self-reliance strategy. In concrete terms, the strategy, will involve a fundamental restructuring of the economy. In such a way as to ensure self generating

growth.

  1. Again, there must be objectives that will expose us to ideas and tools that will enable us attain better perception of the development problems of our environment and how to take such problems.

iii.      Finally, there must be mapped out plan of action which include a methodology for formulating concrete and specific proposals for major developments, which should be within the framer work of goals, objectives and guidelines and they must be uniform through out the country, analysis, preparation and evaluation of development projects should e encouraged and enforced, efficient mobilization and management of resources for local government should b carried out; and so many others. If the above objectives are followed, we may find solutions to our development problems.

2.5     OTHER ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Recognized organizations involved in community development dated as far back as pre-colonial era Nigeria. During the pre- colonial period, in most part of the Eastern Nigeria referred today as Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Abia, Imo Enugu, Rivers, Ebonyi and Bayesian states, the man agents of community development were elders, the age-grades, women organization.

There was council of elders in almost every village meeting at which important matters affecting the well being and development of its area of jurisdiction were discussed. At such meetings the need of the people were articulated and decisions taken as how to meet such needs. The implementation of decisions reached. However, the actual execution of plans, decisions and projects was the responsibility of three organization. Age grade, woman organizations and the villages councils, but the age-grade -who were the executive arm of village government.

Another important agent of community development during the period were the secrete societies.

Such societies include the masquerades which were used to punish law offenders and for the implementation of decisions reached by the elders.

Other organizations that participated actively in the area of community development during the colonial. Era were government (both local and state), the missionary group trading concerns, community improvement unions, and youth and humanitarian organizations. During this era, the activities of trading concerns such as royal Niger company in the area of building markets for raw materials, those of the missionaries in building schools and churches, the improvement unions and youths associations in building civil centers and organizing scholarships for their sons cannot be over emphasized.

During the independence period, such agencies that saw the development of the rural communities include the ministry of housing and environment, ministry of education, health, water resources, and agriculture.

In recent days, the organization that gives active thrust on community development include such bodies as Enugu state Agriculture development project (ENADEP) structural adjustment programme )SAP) and of course petroleum trust fund (PTF).

This article was extracted from a Project Research Work Topic

AN APPRAISAL OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILS EFFORTS TOWARDS COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT. (A CASE STUDY OF ENUGU NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA)

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