1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Life in Nigeria today is stressful and confusing; because of the way the government works. How will a community performs economically, politically and socially depends, in many ways, on the creativity (thinking up new things), innovation (doing new things’), boldness, and vision of its administrator. Nigeria will develop only when the rural communities are developing only when the rural communities are developed. And, this will only happen when the administrators are committed to the development of the communities. Any person, who wants to know why Nigeria is not developing as rapidly as it should, should visit any of the local government areas.
Life is pressed out of almost everything. The people are financing varied development projects (community hospital, road construction, rural electrification, water projects, etc), because monthly allocation to local councils are not properly utilized. Local governments, at least in principle, deal with grassroots politics (keeping law and order, basic sanitation, constructing and maintaining local roads, supplying water, administering local schools, providing skill training and employment for residents, et cetera). However, community development is “the process or eort of building communities on a local level with emphasis on development programs are aimed at improving the quality of life of the people in the community. Are local government administrators in Nigeria performing their functions? If not what are the obstacles? Local government areas are supposed to be the engines of national development. A quiet rural community grows into a busting city, and the local leader makes this possible. However, in developed societies, when people are tired of loving in the cities they relocate to rural communities where life is less strenuous.
However, the opposite is the case in Nigeria; living in a rural community is difficult, because nothing works, as it should. The local government administrators are part of the problem. Like their counterparts at the federal and state levels, they are mired in pursuit of personal goals at the expense of broader community interests As noted earlier, life in the local areas is a bit more difficult that that in cities, party, because some of the council administrators lack the skills and knowledge to perform their duties. An administrator should understand what community development is, and what it takes to develop an economically distressed community. Like a business manger who determines what should be produced, an administrator directs and determines the pace of community development. But, an individual cannot give what he/ she does not have. To develop and implement good policies and administrator must have the skill to develop and analyze social an economic data. Although, data collection and analysis is a serious problem in government agencies in Nigeria, it is more problematic at he local areas. One cannot over emphasize he importance of reliable data. In particular, demographic date helps to identify the buying power and market size of a community and provides investors with information about the economic health of an area. There are inconsistencies and organized chaos in local government administration in Nigeria. The system has elected local government chairs and appointed administrators, and some states are creating development center’ in the local government areas. All these are conduits to channel public funds to cronies of state governors. As mentioned earlier, some of the individuals who administer these ‘looting carter’s are dangerously lacking in the skill and knowledge to develop a community. As it were you cannot give a backbone to an invertebrate; one of such administrators’ in Imo state who parades himself as a “Dr (and other bogus titles) does not even posses a high school diploma. What type of leadership would such a fraudulent and hollow individual provide a community? There are business opportunities in rural in communities, but they lack requisite infrastructure to lure entrepreneurs and investors.
For any community to attract new investment and foster economic growth and development it should have basic infrastructure, effective leadership, and an environment conductive for human habitation, because bad environment cause health problems and negatively impacts property values. To improve their “bad image” local government administrators should change the way they perform their duties. For instance, they (with their oicials) should educate property owners news that there are no access roads to many of the million-dollar residential and commercial buildings across cites and communities in Nigeria. The government (local, state, federal) should also define (zone) residential and business districts, establish building standard (there have been spate of building collapses lately) and ensure proper enforcement. Oddly, people are known to live in business zones, set up structures without approval, and when disasters strike families are affected. A community needs financial resources for development purposes. Nigeria’s skewed federalism is an obstacle to development.
Thus, Nigeria should restructure into a true federal state to enable communities manage resources in their domain. Local government administrator should device effective methods of raising funds (e.g, through property tax, business and personal tax, etc). The federal government should ensure that monthly allocations to local government reach them directly, instead of going through the states. It should provide annual grants to communities for development purpose, and loans to serious individuals and business to enable them invest in economically (mismanagement of rising unemployment, poverty, and crime. Therefore the government should ensure that any funds allocated for community development are properly utilized. Since the local communities are the engines of national development, they should be managed by “transforming leadership” –leadership that builds on man’s need for meaning leadership that creates institutional purpose; and, thus, leadership that can get things done.
However, government (state and federal) should assist local area administrator by giving them training (conducting seminars, conferences) in general administration (community development, social service delivery, human resource management, monitoring of resources, et cetera). They should empower the citizens by creating employment for the rural dwellers and improve their living standard. More important, there should be continuing investment in, and maintenance, of social infrastructures, which is the foundation for economic growth and community development. (1) Nigerian political leadership should take the development of a human being as the first national political priority. The first level o national development is the human person. It is unfortunate that a Nigerian as a person, is not fully trained, prepared and groomed to master his/ her labour and technical potentials as a full human being. He/ she is not fully trained to use labour and technological skills as means of mastering his/ her environment, the land, so he/ she can be capable of creating a viable and healthy community, society and nation. It is a tragedy if a human being cannot provide for himself/ herself the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter and health care. This failure is primarily rooted in the ignorance of the great value of labour and technical skills and purposes, for which God created man placed him/ her on the planet earth, Many are ignorant of who the human being is, what are his labour and technical potentials and his/her destiny. Furthermore, many are ignorant of the true meaning of labour and technology which are the primary instruments of development and transformation. The problem of poverty, unproductively and underdevelopment is rooted in a faulty definition and understanding of man/ woman in himself/herself, his/her role and function on earth and the meaning of labour and technology which produce the economy and create a conducive environment. labour and technology in Nigeria have not been fully defined and utilized. Labour and technology are necessary attributes of being human Labour and technology are the engine of economy and also the engine of development and transformation. Only good and development political leadership can identify this need of developing a human being to his/her full potentials and as a result, develop a strategy of developing a human being to his/her full potentials for both human and environmental development. Nigeria needs development political leaders with this insight and burden for the human person and environment Nigerian Political Leadership should take the development of the environment as the second national political priority.