Decentralizing Rural Development Practice in Nigeria: The Challenges and Opportunities
Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume 3, Issue 5, September 2015, Pages: 185-192
Received: Aug. 21, 2015; Accepted: Sep. 2, 2015; Published: Sep. 12, 2015
Views 3827      Downloads 76
Nseabasi S. Akpan, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
Article Tools
Follow on us
The decentralization of economic and political powers has been an important tool for developing the rural and remote areas across the world. But how does decentralization work in some contexts and what are the challenges and opportunities? This paper discusses these issues in relation to Nigeria’s rural development experiences and practices. Various Nigeria’s rural development programmes have been reviewed to assess how their implementations have benefitted from decentralization practices. The results demonstrate that decentralization has not been strictly applied as a framework for the development of the rural areas. Colonial and post-colonial rural development plans have always been centrally directed. Even when constitutional reforms were effected to grant political, administrative, fiscal and financial autonomy to the rural areas through the local council authorities, actual implementation hardly reflect the ideals of decentralization. The paper argues that while the prospect of decentralization implies enormous opportunities for the development of the rural areas, such opportunity may hardly be realized due to a lack of local capacity to participate in local governance activities. Given this limitation, decentralization, in whatever form, will continue to be a tool to consolidate the State and elite powers.
Local Government Autonomy, Local Capacity, Participation, Decentralization, Nigeria, Rural Development
To cite this article
Nseabasi S. Akpan, Decentralizing Rural Development Practice in Nigeria: The Challenges and Opportunities, Humanities and Social Sciences. Vol. 3, No. 5, 2015, pp. 185-192. doi: 10.11648/j.hss.20150305.14
Abass, I. M. (1993). The challenge of rural development strategies in a deregulated economy. Paper prepared for a national seminar on rural development-doing more less developing rural resources in a deregulated economy-organized by New Nigerian Newspapers Limited in collaboration with Arthur Green consultants held at Shiroro Hotel Minna, Niger State from 10th-12th February.
Abdu, M. S. and R. Marshall (1990). Agriculture and development policy: a critical review of Nigerian experience in the period upto 1985. Journal of Rural Studies, 6(3): 311-323.
Akpabio, E. M. (2010). Integrated Water Resources Management in Nigeria: Local factors and institutional challenges. Lap Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany.
Aluko, S. (2006). Abacha’s vision 2010 Blueprint reviewed. #airaland Forum. Tuesday May 09, 2006.
Brinkerhoff, Derick and Charlotte Leighton (2002). “Decentralization and Health System Reform: Issue in Brief.” Washington, DC: U.S. Agency for International Development. Partners for Health Reform plus Project. Insights for Implementers. No. 1, September.
Brinkerhoff, D. W., with O. Azfar (2006). Decentralization and community empowerment: does community empowerment deepen democracy and improve service delivery? Paper prepared for: U. S. Agency for International Development office of democracy and governance. RTI International, Washington DC.
Conyers, D. (1986). Decentralization and development: a framework for analysis. Community development journal 21 (2).
Everett, J. and M. Savara (1987). Institutional credit as a strategy toward self-reliance for petty commodity producers in India. In A. M. Singh and A. Kellas- Vitanen (eds). Invisible hands: women in home-based productions. Pp. 207-228. New Delhi: Sage.
FGN (1981). Fourth National Development Plan (1981-85). Federal Republic of Nigeria, Lagos.
Finger, M. (1994). NGOs and transformation: beyond social movement theory. Environmental NGOs in world politics: linking the local and the global. T. Princen and M. Finger. London, Routledge: 48-66.
Friedmann, J. (1988). The barrio economy and collective self-empowerment in Latin America. In: J. Friedmann (ed). Life space and economic space: essays in third world planning. New Brunswick: Transaction Books. Pp. 108-146.
IFAD (2011). Rural Poverty in Nigeria. International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Isa MK (2015). Nigerian local government system and governance: lessons, prospects and challenges for post 2015 development goals. Presented at the International Research Society for Public Management Conference, University of Birmingham, UK 30th March to April 2nd.
Iwuagwu, O. (2006). Rural development in eastern Nigeria: an assessment of colonial and post-colonial development plans in the former Owerri Province, 1946-1976. Lagos Historical Review, 6: 118-132.
Johnson, Ronald (1995). “Decentralization Strategy Design: Complementary Perspectives on a Common Theme.” Washington, DC: US Agency for International Development, Implementing Policy Change Project, August.
Kiser, L. and Ostrom, E. (1982). The three worlds of action. In E. Ostrom, B. Hills (eds): strategies of political inquiry. Sage, pp.179-22.
Nikkhah, H. A. and Ma’rof Redzuan (2009). Participation as a medium of empowerment in community development. European Journal of Social Sciences. Vol. 11, No. 1: 170-176.
Okafor J. (2010). Local government financial autonomy in Nigeria: the State Joint Local Government Account. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance. Issue 6: 127-131.
Osagie, E. (2007). The New Nigerian Economy: from poverty to prosperity. Benin City: AFBSN Publications.
Panda, B. (2007). "Top Down or Bottom Up? A Study of Grassroots NGOs’ Approach." Journal of Health Management 9(257).
Prud’ home, R. (2003). Fiscal decentralization in Africa: a framework for considering reform. Publication Administration and Development, Vol. 23, pp.17-27.
Sabastier, P. A. (1986). Top-down and bottom-up approaches to implementation research: a critical analysis and suggested synthesis. Journal of Public Policy 6 (01): 21-48).
Sanyal, B. (un-dated). The myth of development from below. Pp.1-20.
Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom. Oxford University Press. Oxford.
Stearns, K. E. (1985). Assisting informal sector microenterprises in developing countries. Ithaca: Cornell International Agricultural Economics Study.
World Bank (2004). World Development Report 2004: making services work for the poor. Washington, DC: World Bank.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186