ASSESSMENT OF COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN MICRO PROJECT PROGRAMME FOR SIX STATES MPP6 PROJECT IN ETSAKO WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF EDO STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Etsako West is one of the eighteen local government areas that make up Edo State. It was created in 1991 and it occupies an area of 360 square meters with a population of 198,973 in 2006 census carried out by National Population Commission. Etsako West is bounded in the South by Esan Central Local Government Area, in the west by Akoko-Edo and Owan-East Local Government Areas, in the east by Etsako Central Local Government Area and in the north by Etsako East Local Government Area. The major occupation of the Etsako West people is farming. Another occupation among the women in particular, is trading. Other business activities that preoccupy the people in the locality are granite business at Imeke and Iyuku villages because of the large deposit of rock in these two communities. This business has attracted both local and foreign businessmen like Arabs and Lebanese to the locality. It is interesting to know that 80% of the granite used in Delta and Edo States is produced in these two communities in Uzairue clan in Etsako West. To ensure meaningful development there should be proper utilization of the available resources through active participation in the community development programme by the rural dwellers. The United Nations (2002) defines community development as: The eorts of the people themselves are united with those of governmental authorities to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions of communities to integrate these communities into the life of the nation and to enable them to contribute fully to national progress.

According to Sander in Omoruyi (2000), community development is viewed as a process, a method, a programme or movement. He explained that: As a process community development lay emphasis or what happens to the people socially, psychologically, in the process of changing on moving from a smaller unit to a larger unit or from pre-industrial to industrial society. As a method, community development lay emphasis on the way in which social changes activities are carried out with a view to attaining the goals set for such activities. Here community development is seen as a means to an end. Community participation is very vital in community development process. Botes and Van Ransburg (2000) stated that “participatory development is very essential to the community development process”. This is because it is only logical that the people, for whom the project is designed, are involved in the decision making process from the initial stage of need assessment to the implementation and utilization stages. In 1996, the World Bank put forward some reasons for community participation which include others: Communities members have the true knowledge of what their felt needs are, and that they equally have self-awareness as to the solution that would or would not work. Participation bridges the gap between professionals and community members with each group learning from the other. It brings about sense of importance and ownership which translate into more commitment to the community development programmes and projects.

It also helps to build members capacity, which in turn, increase available resources. Participation brings about collective effort which is usually greater than the sum total of individual’s efforts. In addition to these important reasons given by the World Bank for participation, Akpomuvie (2010) submitted that “Community participation in rural project development is an important element and a sure way to the speedy development of the rural area in Nigeria”. This could very well explain the significant which the Nigerian government has attached to concept of participation as is presented in this submission by Babajide (1998). In Nigeria the national policy on the environment implicitly invokes the strong necessity for people centre solution to sustainable development in describing people as the instruments, beneficiaries as well as the victims of all development activities and therefore mandates their active involvement for a success of the development process. From the submission it is clearly evident that participation of community members in development activities is a mandate as enshrined in Nigeria’s national policy on the environment. The categorical statement made about participation in the policy signified a good group of the concept at least by the policy makers. Community participation in essence is the involvement of members of a community in the decision making process about issues that aect their lives and socio-economic well-being, when people are involved in the developmental process. MPP6 projects are projects embarked upon by the European Union to assist local communities in six (6) states of the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria, i.e. Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, Imo and Ondo States, its antecedents was the MPP3 project which was established initially to cover three (3) states of the Niger Delta region which were Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers States. One unique policy of micro project programmes (MPP) is that they have the following stakeholders: The Host Community European Union The Local Government Partner Organizations These bodies aim at working together to create Economic Empowerment – through the provision of basic amenities from the centre stage of government economic policies. This is to check the high rate of rural urban drift poverty, illiteracy and other societal ills that are synonymous with economic stagnation or underdevelopment. It is in recognition of this that world economic powers resorted to bring development to less developed economy by way of direct financing of certain micro projects such as building of schools, health centres, pipe-borne water, etc in order to improve the lives of people in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The members of the states involved at every stage of implementation determine the number to be attached to the name. Therefore, MPP6 project was designed in May 2003 to cater for the needs of (6) six states in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

These projects were designed by European Union in conjunction with local government and the host communities to ensure that such projects will have direct impact on the lives of people. Therefore, the success and sustainability of such projects rest on the host communities, by way of emphasis in the overall success of the implementation of the projects. According to Meredith and Mantel (1995) a project is defined as a specific finite task to be accomplished, whether large or small, long or short term project. Thus it calls for all stakeholders to put in their best in order to accomplish the desired goal. More so, for the whole party to be in agreement and ensure strict compliance in order to achieve a desired goal. These projects were undertaken by the European Union Commission in association with the federal government and the local communities. As part of the activities of the commission, in order to ensure speedy and efficient delivery of service, they set up a management unit to oversee the overall management of the projects with offices at the state headquarters. More so, a partner organization plays the role of implementation of projects by acting as a link between management unit and the host communities. Further more, the partner organization help to mobilize, identify and implement as well as provide necessary technical and management assistance to the community in respect of the particular projects and other details specified in the memorandum of understanding. One fundamental fact about these projects is that they are not just executed but one carefully planned out and also ensure that they are of great importance or benefit to the host community. In view of this, any project identified by the host community as their felt need must be in line with the mandate of the European Commission.

ASSESSMENT OF COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN MICRO PROJECT PROGRAMME FOR SIX STATES MPP6 PROJECT IN ETSAKO WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF EDO STATE