Rural Development Programmes and Rural Underdevelopment In Nigeria: A Rethink
The paper is a critical examination of rural development programmes and the challenge of rural underdevelopment in Nigeria. It emphasizes the need for a paradigm shift in the development of rural areas in Nigeria. The “development space” between urban and rural areas in Nigeria is very broad (in terms of the provision of economic development, quality of life, access to opportunities, amenities, social services and standard of living). This leads to what is suitably characterized as the rural- urban dichotomy. The rural areas are usually abhorrently mistreated as far as development projects and infrastructures are concerned. The initiatives that have been put in place in order to develop rural communities in Nigeria are diverse and multifarious. This paper therefore considered these policies and discovered that rural development programmes exists on paper and their impacts are not being felt by the supposed beneficiaries. The study used mainly observation, interview and existing literature to discuss the subject matter. Adopting the ‘elite theory,’ rural development policy makers and implementers pursue elite interests at the expense of broader community interests . It identified that Agricultural Development and Rural Development are not the same. The paper recommended the creation of the Federal/States Ministry of Rural Development, Rural Development Plan Implementation Review Centres (RDPIRCs) and Rural Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (RIMA) as units/departments in rural communities where implementation takes place.