ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF POLITICAL MOBILIZATION ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background of the study
Every government in Nigeria, whether military or civilian, has shown an appreciable amount of interest in the provision of amenities and facilities in both rural and urban centres. Party governments in the past rightly appreciated that the fortunes of their parties at the poll largely depended on their efforts to meet the needs of the people. A-full appraisal of the performance of the last civilian regime will thus reveal that, in spite of our dissatisfaction with their records, there was a substantial increase in the number of health facilities, educational institutions, etc in every state as each party in power strove to woo the electorate. Equally, the Military governments in this country, both past and present, have tried to justify their claim to power by their interest in the welfare of society. Even where they clamp down on expansion of facilities, they quickly offer a reason, that it is an attempt to ensure the maximization of the existing ones in the overall interest of all. But as Wiseman rightly argued, "no polity can fulfil the gods of society unless it can obtain from it the men whereby the goals are to be achieved". ' Provision of amenities and facilities and their maintenance can not be achieved by the government except in partnership with the people. Thus, records show that educational institutions, health facilities, roads etc have often been jointly built by the people and the government. It is indeed a fact that in this country we can measure the degree of community participation and thus political mobilization through the number and nature of existing development projects. Community development must therefore be seen as part and parcel of the modem system of government. Yet, for various reasons, we can not take community participation in community development for granted. In the first place, as we shall show later, it is often assumed, particularly by the peasant population, who are the target population, that it is the responsibility of the government to provide these facilities. It is necessary then to educate them to have the right orientation towards government. Secondly, the extractive capacity of a government is largely dependent on its performance. Payment of tax, and disNJPALG Vol. I11 No. 2 Novcmber 1985 charge of other civic duties would be expensive for the government to achieve unless the citizenry are convinced that they will be harnessed for their welfare. There is also the problem of the agency through which the government mobilizes the people for community development. This is where the local government comes in. As the government nearest to the people, it is ultimately the responsibility of the local government to mobilize the community for participation in the development projects either alone or with the government. This important function can only be performed successfully by a well structured and responsible system of government. By accountable government, we mean that the government is answerable to the people.It implies a participatory system of government which enables the governed to be fully involved in one form or another in the process of decision-making and to demand accountability from the rulers. Mobilization is thus a key issue in community development and it basically involves orientations and attitudes. This explains why students of political mobilization like Majhemot Diop and ~afeje~ must first try to identify the social classes in a particular setting in appreciation that political orientations differ with classes. The proleteriat, for example, does not share the same political orientation as the petit bourgeoisie.and different strategies have to be adopted to mobilize them for social revolution. In brief,, we observe that community development must be seen as an inevitable strategy for the transformation of rural communities. But its success is tied up with the mobilization of the people to contribute in kind, or cash to development projects. The readiness and willingness of the people to participate is, of course, dependent on their perception of the government as a responsible government, that is to say, on their evaluation of the performance of the government. There must therefore be a meaningful and convincing programme of activities if the cooperation of the people has to be won. There is also the problem of the nature of the agency that will undertake the mobilization process. It is commonsensical that unless the agency can penetrate society and is acceptable to the people, it is not likely to succeed. It is on these issues that we shall focus attention in this exercise.
According to Harter (1998), community development would be regarded as successful when the design of the project calls for the identification of felt needs, and when the objectives of the project are empowerment and capacity building, The implementation of the project requires dialogue and interactions among beneficiaries. Ejiogu (2001) stresses the need to take into account the differences in age, ethnicity, educational level and religious grouping in community development because most communities are not homogenous. It is generally agreed that the core of community development debate is the idea that intended beneficiaries of a development programme or project have to be involved in the decision-making process at every stage of the programme, including the identification of the problem, planning, implementation and evaluation (Oshodi & Imasuen, 2008). According to Anyanwu (1992), the principle of community-based participation is deeply inherent in the very concept of community development, which argues that whatever is done to improve the welfare of the people must endeavour to elicit the enthusiasm and wholehearted participation of such people. An additional dimension to this participatory development process is the understanding that such development activities can not take place in a vacuum. The
The customs of the people, leadership and authority base, their religion, social structure, source of power all demand particular emphasis. Participation is a vital force in the processes involved in community development efforts. It is crucial because it brings insights into the identification of community resources, the implementation of development programmes and maintenance of the existing structures (Scales, Benson, Leffert & Blyth, 2000). It encourages collectivism, which suggests ownership of the project in a collective manner. Since no development can take place in a vacuum, the influence of socio-economic factors on the level of participation is of crucial importance. In addition, the shift from the capital intensive "top down" growth model of development to a people-centred "bottom-up" basic need approach has necessitated the urgent need not only to elaborate this participation process but also to take into cognizance the socio-cultural elements of the community (Eccles & Gootman, 2002). The central task in this exercise, therefore, rests on the consideration of the socio-economic factors influencing citizen participation in community development activities.
1.2 Statement of research problem
Every government in Nigeria, whether military or civilian has shown appreciable amount of interest in the provision of amenities and facilities both rural and urban centres. Party governments in the past rightly did appreciate that the fortunes of their parties at the pollo largely depended on their efforts to meet the needs of the people. A -full appraisal of the performance of the last civilian regime will thus reveal that inspite of our dissatisfaction with their records there was substantial increase in number of health facilities, educational institutions, etc in every State as each party in power strove to woo the electorate. Equally, the Military Governments in this country both past and present have tried to justify their claim to power by their interest in the welfare of the society. Even where they clamp down on expansion of facilities they quickly offer a reason, that it is an attempt to ensure the maximization of the existing ones in the overall interest of all. the problem of the nature of the agency that will undertake the mobilization process
1.3 Objectives of the study
The primary objective of this study are as follows:
1. To know the role of local government mobilization in community development in Nigeria
2. To know how communities cooperates and assist in the developmental project to embark on with the government
3. To know how to improve political mobilization in other for there to be massive development in communities.
1.4 Research questions
1. Does local government play a role in the mobilization and development of communities?
2. Do communities cooperates and assist when deciding on a developmental project to embark on?
3. Do you think there can be improvement in the development of communities?
1.5 Significance of the study
This study is significant because political mobilization and community development goes hand in hand as one cannot do without the other . and development does not happen in a day as it takes time.
The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, marriage counselors, individuals, NGOS, and academia
1.6 Scope of the study
This study intends to examine the role of political mobilization and community development in Nigeria Hence this study is delimited to igbekebo community in Ese-Odo local government area of Ondo state.
1.7 Limitations of the study
This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:
Financial constraint is inevitable considering the present economic situations. Due to lack of finance at the researchers disposal to get materials and in printing of questionnaires. it was not possible to visit some of the communities that have been plagued by bandit activities.
In developing countries like Nigeria, there is the problem of insufficient data.
Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher
1.8 Operational definition of terms
Role: an actor's part in a play, film,
Political: relating to the government or public affairs of a country.
Mobilization: the action of a country or its government preparing and organizing troops for active service.
Community: a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
Development: a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.