THE IMPACT OF ALLEVIATION PROGRAMME ON RURAL DWELLERS Public Administr…

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

                The Nigerian government at successive time has always embarked on several measures to alleviate poverty. They have engaged in past time glorifying poverty alleviation on pages of news papers and news conferences, but have failed to deliver. At independence in 1960, and for the best part of the 1960s, poverty eradication efforts in Nigeria concentrated on education which was seen as the key to economic, technological and development of the nation. In recent time, it has been discovered that education, although important in human development is not the only indicating factor for growth and meaningful development.

The concern about poverty alleviation in Nigeria dates backs early 1970s, and since then economists, successive governments and agencies (domestic and international) have concerned themselves with seeking to provide strategies for the reduction of poverty in Nigeria. This concerned caused    Nigeria Economic Society (NSE), at its 1975 annual conference, to deliberate on poverty in Nigeria. The conference identified poverty as a bane to rural development and proffered some measures for its alleviation. In order to tackle this impediment to rural development, government embarked on the implementation of three pilot Integrated Agricultural and Rural development projects in Funtua, Gusau and Gombe (Ekong, 1997). These projects later spread to all the states of the country with the aim to reduce poverty through stimulating and increasing food production, and enhancing income of the rural dwellers.

After  twenty-one years of combating poverty in Nigeria, the world bank, in 1996, disclosed that 58.4 million (73 percent) Nigerians were poor, with 26 million (32.5 percent) living below the poverty  line, existing on less than $1 (that is, less than N21.8861, by 1996 by 1996 exchange rates, as presented by CBN, 1998: 186) daily.

Poverty alleviation programme in Nigeria especially as affecting rural dwellers is seen as the politics of “BIG-MEN” who are a considerable distance from the ordinary people. Their politics is of no accountability, transparency and responsibility. Others practice in personal government are conspiracy, factional politics, clientelism, corruption, purge and rehabilitation and successive maneuvers. In these types of programme, there is little or no time for the governed. When the governed, the ordinary people are eventually remembered, ‘a not well thought of system’ is put in place to alleviate their sufferings. At the end, the beneficiaries of this system (poverty Alleviation Programme) are the same ‘Big-Men’ that the political system is made up of.

Nonetheless, most of these poverty alleviation programme carried out by successive government suffers from the same fate of failure due largely to unfocussed government policies.


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