Grassroots Participation in Decision-Making Process and Development Programmes as Correlate of Sustainability of Community Development Programmes in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study examines grassroots participation in decision-making process and sustainability of community development programmes in Nigeria. In spite of many policies on development programmes by the government, the physical and socio-economic conditions in most of communities in Nigeria do not seem to have improved significantly. The descriptive survey research design was used. The stratified random sampling technique was adopted to select 1,984 respondents (community leaders (266); change-agents (569); members of community development associations (1,022) and political representatives (127) in nine communities each from Osun (964) and Kwara states (1,020)). A questionnaire: Grassroots Participation in Decision-making Process and Programmes Scale (GPDPPS) and Community Development Sustainability Questionnaire (CDSQ) were used for data collection. One research question was answered and two hypotheses tested at 0.05 level of significance. Data were analysed using Pearson's Product Moment Correlation. Results showed that there is significant relationship between grassroots participation in development programmes (r=.335**; p<0.05); decision-making process (i=.210**; p<0.05) and sustainability of development programmes. Furthermore, political instability, leadership problems, communal clashes, inadequate funding and poor accountability impeded sustainability. It was recommended that the problems of political instability, leadership, inadequate funding, communal clashes, accountability, and communication gap should be considered in grassroots decision making in development programmes.

Keywords: community development, sustainability, participation, decision-making

1. Introduction

The transformation of communities to improve their lives has become the main challenge to the economic and social development efforts of developing nations like Nigeria. This challenge arises from the need to promote the welfare of the people of the rural and urban communities so that they could acquire a better standard of living in their homes (Onabanjo, 2004). Many countries, especially, the developing countries such as Nigeria have embarked on different pragmatic programmes to make better the lots of the citizens at the grassroots, particularly, in the areas of physical development of communities. The rate of development of any community is facilitated by the people's recognition of the need for self-help and their readiness to take necessary actions towards achieving the development. It should be noted that every community in Nigeria needs development, especially, in terms of social amenities (Adegboye, 2005).

Community development has been a veritable tool for mobilizing and integrating people into contributing meaningfully to the growth of their areas in particular and the process of national development in general (Onabanjo, 2004; Abiona, 2009). This awareness has led many communities to embark on activities that could transform their local and rural environment into urban and better developed settings. Osuji (1992) pointed out that the Nigerian communities have employed communal efforts as the mechanism for mobilizing community resources to provide physical improvement and functional facilities in their localities in the social, political and economic aspects of their life. Thus, physical development of a community is an indicator that development has taken place.

Community development is an age-long practice that could be traced to the tradition before the advent of colonial administration. The traditional community development efforts evolved voluntary routine exercise in which able-bodied, young and old participated in the traditional tasks of clearing road-paths and compounds for the protection of land and property. However, with the growing complexity of our society, coupled with increase in population and urbanization, with attendant high taste of the people for modern basic and social amenities, community development witnessed a significant leap and become more complex in process, form and scope in recent years. …