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1.1   Background to the Study

Public policies in Africa have been formulated and implemented over the years with the help of international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Some have also been formulated single handedly by African political leaders aimed at achieving radical and rapid improvement in the conditions of life after many years of colonial rule (Ozumba, 2014). However, most of these policies are beclouded with politics and implementation bottlenecks. The politicization of public policies in Africa has led to the formulation of overambitious programme by political parties to win political capital coupled with excessive bureaucratic procedures.

Nigeria has been an independent nation for the past 54 years with different policies on development of rural communities, but rural areas are still not developed and the quality of life of people in the rural areas continues to deteriorate throughout all tiers of government of both politicians and the military regimes.

Community dwellers in Nigeria are dominantly peasant farmers, petty traders, middle men or commission agents. The country has the potentials to develop all sectors of human endeavour more especially if public policies are fully implemented in the rural communities throughout the country. The rural communities in Nigeria are the majority in terms of population yet, their neglect and sufferings point to the failure of public policy implementation.

The need to bring rural communities to mainstream of contributing meaningfully to the social, cultural and economic development of Nigeria requires an overwhelming priority to be accorded to its policy implementation. As Larson (cites in Alinno et al, 2012) posits that a policy or programme is a way of dealing with public problems, a sort of concrete socio-economic action or a response to weakness and inability of private sector to supply necessary goods and services or a response to a missing link within the norms of the society. It gives direction to action and activities. In order words, policy refers to a verbal, written or implied overall guide setting up boundaries that supply the general units’ direction in which administrative or managerial action will take.

There is an urgent demand to strengthen and encourage effective and adequate implementation of policies for community development programmes. This will help to stem the challenges of community development which have been of great concern to the different tiers of government in Nigeria -urban migration. The focus of various policies of rural development programme in Nigeria is meant to improve the living conditions in the rural areas with a view to curbing the streaming rural-urban migration.

Despite the countless number of rural development policies introduced at different times by successive governments coupled with the huge financial and material resources employed, little or nothing is felt at the rural level as each policy has often died with the government that initiated it before it starts to yield dividends for the rural dwellers. Onuorah (1996) supports this claim when he states that not minding the lofty objectives of these policies, government’s efforts and initiatives never endured beyond the government that initiated the schemes.

The importance of community development in contemporary Nigerian society cannot be overemphasized, as much as it cannot be relegated to the background; its significance stems from the recognition of the roles it plays in achieving the improvement of economic, political, social and cultural conditions of the communities. As a strategy, community development ensures rapid national development hence Ugwu’s (2009:4) posited:

 “community development is one of the major planks upon which National developmental policies and their implementation are hinged”.

Hence, this research work seeks to explore the effect of public policy implementation on community development in Nigeria, with a special reference to primary health care system in Ojo Local Government Area (LGA) of Lagos State.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The development of a country cannot be completed with the singular act of developing the urban areas at the detriment of the communities which supply the urban areas with food and labour. Disheartening as this may seem, the rural communities in Nigeria are characterized by pervasive and endemic poverty, made manifest by widespread hunger, malnutrition, poor health, general lack of access to formal education. Hence these problems emanated from the unprecedented rural-urban migration which in turn derives from community area underdevelopment, poverty and unemployment.

Implementation of public policies in Nigeria often turns out to be the graveyard of it where the intentions of the designer of policies are often undermined by a constellation of powerful forces of political corruption and bureaucratic red-tapism in cooperation with the people.

It is important to note that, primary health care in any community forms the backbone of its growth and development. But unfortunately observation showed that primary health care system in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State is majorly plagued with inadequate health facilities and structures, poor motivation and remuneration for health care staff, inequitable and unsustainable health care financing, corruption, incompetency, lack of access to health care, shortage of essential drugs among others. Thus one begins to wonder if the lack of community development seen in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State is unconnected to public policy implementation via primary health care in this area.

Whether that public policy implementation is positively or negatively related to community development in Nigeria is a tentative issue that remains open to empirical investigation. Hence, this study aims to investigate the relationship between public policy implementation and community development in Nigeria with a particular reference to primary health care service in Ojo Local Government Area (LGA) of Lagos State.

1.3    Objectives of the Study

The major objective of this study is to assess the effect of public policy implementation on community development in Nigeria. While other specific objectives are:

     i.        To examine the effect of public policy implementation on community development in Nigeria.

   ii.        To investigate the effect of government programmes on poverty reduction in the rural communities.

  iii.        To identify the impact of public policy on primary health care service in Ojo Local Government Area.

  iv.        To identify problems and challenges of implementing public policies in Nigeria.

1.4    Research Questions

This research work will be guided by the following research questions:

     i.        What is the relationship between public policy implementation and community development in Nigeria?

   ii.        How does government programmes affect poverty reduction in the rural communities?

  iii.        How does public policy impact on primary health care service in Ojo Local Government Area?

  iv.        Why do public policies often face the problems of implementation in Nigeria?

1.5     Significance of the Study

There have been some divergent views on the correlates of public policy implementation and community development in Nigeria, hence this study will be a significant piece as it seeks to fill in the gap in literature.

The aim of this study is to look at public policy implementation by successive governments and how these programmes have impacted positively or negatively on the people. To achieve this, the study focuses at public policy from the perspective of community people, who constitute over 70% of Nigeria’s population and prescribe realistic recommendations that will lift communities out of the abyss of underdevelopment.

The study will also serve as a useful tool for scholars and researchers in the field of political science, public administration, who would want to carry out further research in this domain.

The outcomes of the study would be significant to policy makers and implementers at large, who are saddled with the responsibilities of articulating public policies as they will find the results of this research study and recommendations much handy.

1.6   Scope of the Study

The frontier of this study covers the dynamics of public policy implementation and community development in Nigeria with a special reference to primary health care service in Ojo Local Government Area (LGA) of Lagos State. The study will X-ray issues relating to public policies implementation in contemporary time with a view to providing a framework for future solutions.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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