This research entitled local Government and community development: A case study of Owerri Municipal Council of Imo State is aimed at evaluating the impact and contributions of Owerri Municipal Council in Community development. It is also to identify the problems that are militating against Local Government efforts in the provision of infrastructural facilities, and finally to make recommendations on how Government and rural communities can improve their contribution to community development. To realize these objectives, a number of research questions and hypothesis were developed to guide the research, while the questionnaire method of collecting data was used to generate answers to these research questions and hypothesis. Two hundred questionnaires were distributed, while170 of these questionnaires were returned, the method of data analysis applied is the simple percentage approach. The findings of this study include that lack of adequate finding, poor and/ or incompetent manpower has militated against the capacity of the Council to engage in people oriented projects. To this end, this study among others recommended that there should be adequate financing of local Governments in Nigeria and that in terms of employment and deployment of manpower in local governments, efforts should always be made to put pound pigs in round holes.
1.1 Background of the study
Community development as a concept can be said to be as old as the period man became settled. Hence in his attempt to live a sedentary life, he began to think out ways to better his lots and that of the community he belongs to: the point one is trying to highlight here is that the moment man started living in the community no matter how small or large, the development of the society or community becomes paramount in his mind. According to Abbot, in Ogunna (2007) the concept of community development is theoretically a very old one.
The Athenians were able to build the acropolis through communal labour. The age of pericles for instance was regarded as golden age of Athens because this period, saw the greater attention being paid to the economic and cultural development of Athens. In the east central State of Nigeria where our location of study belongs to, many communities had in the pre-colonial days constructed roads and bridges, cleared village paths provided themselves with clean water supply and built market places through communal labours.
However, recently, the creation of Local Government which is Government at the grassroots level has made community development to take another shape. This task of community development is saddled by both the community and the government. Based on these the study, is consumed with steps the local government takes to play this role.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Irrespective of the fact that Local Government has largely been conceived as the Government at the grassroots, and so being about needed enlightenment and development in the rural areas. It is important to have in mind that despite all these, Local Government is still faced with the problem of interference by the state in the running of the Local Government it also experiences the problem of poor quality man power and the problem of finance.
1.3 Research Questions
- How does state interference in the running of the local government affect their contributions to community development?
- Does incompetent manpower contributed to low performance of local government in community development?
- How can the performance of the local government be rate in financing community development?
- Do you think that the local people participate in local government and community development?
Hi: corruption among Local Government officials is the cause of low community development in Owerri Local Government.
Ho: corruption among Local Government officials is not the cause of low community development in Owerri Local Government
Hi: inadequate financial resources in the Local Government has caused low level of community development
Ho: inadequate financial resources in the local government has not caused low level of community development
Hi: incompetent manpower in the Local Government has caused low level of community development
Ho: incompetent manpower in the Local Government has not caused low level of community development.
1.5 Objective of the study
- The main objective in this research is to evaluate the impact and contributions Owerri Municipal Council makes in community development
- It is also to identify the problem that are militating against Local Government efforts in the provision of infrastructural facilities
- To make recommendations on how government and rural communities can improve their contribution to community development
1.6 Significance of the study
- For the people in the rural areas
- For the Federal and State Government
- For the entire system
- For the people in the rural areas this means that people in the rural area will be giving more chances of joining more groups of the kind they wish to join and by so doing become more competent to live with and gain some control over local aspects of a frustrating and changing world
- For the Government (Federal and State) Local Government is known to be the Government at the grass root. Which is designed to serve as an instrument of national or state government for the performance of certain basic services which could be administered locally on the intimate knowledge of the needs, condition and peculiarities of the areas concerned so as to carryout community development project efficiently and effectively.
- For the entire system According to Amucheazi he posits that it is only through an effective local Government system that the human and material resources could be mobilized for local communication between the Government and the Governors
1.7 Scope of the study
- The study will be conducted in Owerri Municipal Council Imo State of Nigeria. Both male and female in the council will be interviewed
- The study will make recommendation on the best possible means of harnessing the local government efforts towards their development
1.8 Limitations of the study
- Time: Enough time was required for the collection of data and other relevant facts. The researcher as a final year student has to spend most of her time traveling to Owerri Municipal Council in search of relevant and efficient information related and particular for the most important ones for her study.
- Cost: A thorough research work imposes a huge financial burden, which cannot borne adequately by a student for this reason, the researcher has to be restricted to Owerri Municipal Council only.
- Interview problem: most people interviewed were unwilling to give or release information required due to fear that their opponent or competitors may get hold of them and use those information against them.
Therefore, most people interviewed were not able to answer correctly the questions posed to them.
- Definition of terms
Local Government: Is a form of Government created at the grass root level to serve the purpose of rural development in community.
Development: is a state of mind, and tendency, a direction. Rather than a fixed goal, it is a rate of change in particular direction
Government: is a system by which a state or community is governed.
Community development: is seen as where ever the members of any group small or large live together in such a way that they share this or that basic condition of a common life such group is seen as a community.
Community: can therefore be a village, city, ethnic group or even a nation.
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