1.1 BACKGROUND TO 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. This is not to say that government effort at bringing about desired goals for the masses have been in vain. Taking cognizance of this, various administration since independence have tried in several ways through implementation of schemes of government.
Organizations such as hand programme of Buhari, The Green Revolution Programme of Shehu Shagari, National Poverty Eradication Programme(NAPEP) of Obasanjo to tackle anti-poverty from the local level to the national level. Government inefficiencies and outright failure to use the above mentioned programmes to better the life of the poor has been attributed to duplication of functions by a myriad of agencies involves in anti-poverty schemes and programmes.
Government should therefore not presume that they know what will benefit the poor better than the poor themselves. Projects should be embarked because the people need them not, because some contractors (who stand to profit from the project) are pushing for them. This is because if development is about the people, it can not happen without the participation of the people. The citizens should classify their own needs and priorities. They should speak up and stand up for what they consider their own needs and priorities and speak and act against white elephant projects. In order to avoid the problem of institutional transfer, that is, repeating the mistakes of the past or of throwing away the baby with bath-water, there is an urgent need to identify the problems and constraints associated with Nigeria anti-poverty programme in the past, since such an exercise is considered a logical first step to ensuring that poverty alleviation programme succeeds rather than bogged down by available problems. There is need to tap from the feedback mechanisms or the learning capacity of the Nigerian systems so that we do not resemble the early 19th century Bourbon Monarchs of France, who even after the social earthquake of French revolution had forgotten nothing and were consequently eliminating from French policies (Deutch, 1968;16). Government should in all means give a considerable view to the opinion of the people. This way, meaningful development can be achieved.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Although successive Nigerian governments aimed at alleviating the people’s plight in all areas of life failed at reaching their intended beneficiaries, most of such anti-poverty alleviation programmes introduced failed to target the poor and the underprivileged and bring about meaningful outcomes. Despites relentless efforts made by government and colossal resource expended in their areas, very little progress has been recorded in bringing about desired growth and development. This is principally because, they were mostly not designed to alleviate poverty, they lack a clearly defined policy framework with proper guideline for poverty alleviation, they suffered from instability, political interference, policy and macro-economic dislocation, they also lack continuity, ‘top-down’ rather than bottom-up approach and duplication of implementation agencies. To this extent, the impact of anti-poverty alleviation programme is less felt by the people. Rural Dwellers
1.3 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
1. Unfocused policy programmes tends to bring about insignificant change in the society.
2. The poverty situation in Nigeria is directly related to politics play.
3. Insignificant impact of poverty alleviation programme is a function of lack of continuity of programmes.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH
The objectives of this research is but for a positive impact in the society. A research of this nature is to investigate; discover, examine and proper solution to where it is found wanting. Human development through reduction if not totally eradicating poverty in the society is important.
This research seeks to
1. Investigate anti-poverty alleviation programmes and the reason for its failure.
2. Discover new ways these programmes can be properly carried out and implemented for the beneficence of the rural poor and community at large.
3. Examine the positive and negative impact of these programmes.
4. Bring about solution to the factors impairing these reforms.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this research is to examine diverse programmes that government of different times to alleviate the people’s poor plight especially as affecting rural community of Akwa Ibom State. It seeks to provide made in this areas of poverty alleviation as well as to impact knowledge. Also to look at the success of this programmes, its failures and how to correct the impediment factor for a outcome in the life of the people. Rural Dwellers
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
In this research I gather my data (information) from the primary and secondary source. The primary source includes administering questionnaires. The secondary sources are journals, periodicals, textbooks, magazines and newspapers. The testing of hypotheses is done using the chi-square method. Rural Dwellers