RURAL INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT A MEANS OF COMBATING RURAL-URBAN MIG…
This study examines Rural Development as a means to combating rural urban migration in Nigeria. The research employed content analysis for secondary data collection and survey research method for primary data collection. Hypothesis was tested using chi-square technique. The Harris – Todaro model (HT) as theoretical framework was used for the study. Finding of the research work includes among others, that respondents are not satisfied with the present level of rural development in Nigeria and while majority of respondents agreed that rural development is good strategy to stem rural urban migration in Nigeria. The research work is organised into five chapters. Chapter one covers the introduction, statement of problem, objective, significance, limitation, research methodology, and definition of terms. Chapter two entails literature review and theoretical framework, chapter three cover research methodology. Chapter four entails data presentation and interpretation last is chapter five that cover summary, conclusion and recommendation.
The rural development constitute strategic sector in every nation’s economy and their rapid development and modernization have gained the attention of policy makers and government all over the world. This is because a sizeable majority of the population lives therein, therefore, the future of most countries especially the developing ones depend largely on it. Schumacher (1983) defined rural development as developing the skill of the masses to make them self-reliant through instructions which supply appropriate and relevant knowledge on the methods of self -help.
Ekpe (2006) viewed rural development as the provision of physical infrastructure. The logic that under-girds this conception is that, the provision of such basic amenities like schools, hospitals, recreational facilities, good road network, electricity and pipe-borne water (portable water) are capable of transforming the rural communities and thus make them attractive for habitation. This is contended to be the most functional way of reversing rural Urban Migration.
However, available literature on rural areas reveal that population is the main characteristic that differentiates rural from the Urban areas especially in the developed countries. Onibokun (1987) had in a policy paper on rural development revealed that rural population constitutes 70-80 % of the entire population of some countries particularly in the third world nations. Based on this single characteristic which is inadequate. Using the census figure 0f 140 million according to the national population census of 2006, over 70% of Nigeria are in the rural areas .population cannot be the only determining factor for a rural area in Nigeria because there are some features that unmistakenly tell people when they are in a rural area (Ladi et al, 2009).
On the basis of this, what constitutes rural population or environment is instructive in this regard. Idike (2000) observes that the main features of rural areas are depression, degradation and deprivation. Many rural populations are immersed in poverty so palpable that the people are the embodiment of it. According to him, in many rural areas in Nigeria, basic infrastructure, where they exist at all, are too inadequate for any meaningful development. Physical infrastructures like motorable roads are often lacking. The villagers and their livestock in many rural villages depend on shallow wells or guinea worm infested ponds for their water supply. The villagers most of whom are farmers, work the land from sunrise to sunset to provide food that are cheaply bought up by middlemen (who can risk playing the usually deplorable roads) for resale to the city dwellers at very high profits.
Elaborating further, he said, in and around the villages one readily comes across children with distended tummies and spindly legs who are obvious of a better milieu from birth these ‘living that are better dead’ infants, toddler’s, youth etc. are Malnutritioned and they have no access to those amenities that make like worthwhile. Many rural communities in Nigeria have built schools through self-help efforts but most of the schools lack necessary teaching aids like science equipment, sitting and writing desks etc. Qualified teachers refuse serving in most of these areas because they are considered inhabitable for human beings without basic social amenities.
The above assertion is not only valid and tenable, it would be out off place to say that what constitutes rural population or environment is less than that.
The American Bureau of census classifies a group of people living in a community as rural, whereas in Nigeria, the Federal office of statistics defined a community with less than 20, 000 people as rural. According to Afolayan (1995), rural area can be easily identified by various criteria; apart from population such criteria include the level of infrastructural development i.e. road networks, educational institutions, water supply, electricity, health facilities, communication, etc. Other criteria used include occupation, housing and the extent of community policy.
In Leah et al (2013) view, rural dwellers are typically less vocal, characterized by a culture of poverty as most people have barely above subsistence level. This position tallies with that of Adefolarin (2015) who argued that rural dwellers are often a subject of poverty phenomenon, whose trade have only being robbed off by the activities of both political and economic elite’s base in the city. In other words rural dwellers in Nigeria have only little to show in attempt to alleviate the hard effects of government policies which barely acknowledge their existence but favor it with only routine care attention, with promise that are hardly fulfilled.
Ezeah (2005) states that rural areas refers to geographical areas that outside the densely built-up environment of towns, cities and the sub-urban villages and whose inhabitant are engaged primarily in agriculture as well as the most basic of rudimentary form of secondary and tertiary activities. The rural sector of Nigeria is vital to the socio-economic development of the Nation. Nyagba (2009) noted that, the most important sector of the Nigerian population is the rural areas. This according to Ugwuanyi and Emmanuel (2013) is because the rural section is the major source of capital formation for the country and a principal Market for domestic and raw materials for industries process. Abah (2010) argued that rural area dwellers have been found to engage in primary economic activities that form the foundation for the country’s economic development.
As it is conspicuously apparent from the foregoing, given the national economy, enhancing the development of the sector should be central to government and public administration. This is necessary as such would further enhance the ability of the sector for increased contribution to the overall national growth and development has become most desires in many countries in order to change and improve the situation and conations of the rural population.
Proceeding from Leah et al views, rural development has become most desires in many countries in order to change and improve the situation and conditions of the rural population.
Rural development has therefore been described in different ways by different authors, depending on the discipline or line of thought. This is because the approach to rural development is multidisciplinary. According to Aslam (1981) rural development is a process aimed at developing the rural poor, their economy and institutions from a state of stagnation or low productivity equilibrium into dynamic process leading to higher levels of living and better quality of life. In other words, rural development can be seen as a strategy which is designed to improve the economic and social life of a specific group of people, most especially the rural poor population. Aliy (199) posit that it involves extending the developmental strides and benefits people who seek a livelihood in the rural areas such as small scale farmers, tenants, artisans, school teachers, small scale business men, and traders etc. in order to improve their means of livelihood and mitigate the massive rural urban migration. However rural urban migration occurs at varying levels in every country.
According to Agyemang (2013) different motives account for rural urban migration amongst rural dwellers such as;
- socio-cultural issues where people are forced to migrate to avoid numerous social problems at their place of origin,
- Poor infrastructural development and lack of basic amenities ;
- Search for better economic opportunities such as job etc.
- Accessibility and ease of transportation and communication has also been noted to facilitate rural urban migration;
- The extension of road network from major towns to the peripheral urban and rural areas that resulted in the decrease in transportation cost and improved communication systems.
However, the situations in Nigeria as pose a discomforting problem facing this country socio-economic development. A situation where the desire for better employment, business opportunities and education push both young and old out of the rural areas to the urban areas. While the reasons for rural urban migration has it negative effect on both rural and urban environment (communities) are as follows;
- Rural urban migration considerably affect agricultural production that end up reducing food supply;
- Decline in production and manpower reduction in the rural areas;
- Slow pace of the rural areas development;
- Pressures on urban housing and the environment in general;
- High rate of population growth in the urban centers;
- Congestion and pressures on the available infrastructural amenities in the urban areas;
- Increased crime rate and insecurity in urban areas.
In addition Lykke (2002) opined that rural urban migration makes the highly educated and most agile people migrate from rural to urban areas, leaving behind the feeble and uneducated people who are not able to combat poverty successfully. This he argues consequently increases the differences in the standards of living of the rural and urban inhabitants. It is against the backdrop that I carried out this research on “Rural Development: A Means of Combating Rural Urban migration in Nigeria”.
Incessant and excessive rural urban migration has brought about a lot of socio-economic difficulties both in the rural and urban areas. McCarthy (2004), opined that ‘excessive urbanization, lead to crime and poor infrastructure such as proper sewage disposal system, safe and potable drinking water, electricity and other amenities, chronic unemployment with the attendant creation of large slums and shanty towns. Many developing countries including Nigeria have made several attempts to resolve these problems of rural urban development. In Nigeria, from colonial period till date, successive administration have tried to reform the rural areas where over 75% of Nigeria live in for the sake of attaining balance growth and development, and discourage rural-urban migration, to no avail (Omonigho, 2013). According to Nwakeze (2004), the Nigerian population is growing at an annual rate of 2.8 percent that of the urban population growing at 5.5 percent, it is pertinent to note that this rate is among the highest in the world today.
Given the contribution of the rural section to the national economy, enhancing the development of the sector should be priority to government and relevant stakeholders.
This is necessary as such would further enhance the ability of the sector for increased contribution to the overall national growth and development.