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THE ROLE NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (A CASE STUDY OF NGOR OKPUALA SOUTH L. G. A. IN IMO STATE)
Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area is amongst the thirty Local Government Areas in Imo State. It is made up of 16 autonomous communities, which include Amala/Alulu/Obokwe, Elelem, Ezioma, Okpala, Ngor Iihite/Umukabia, Ntu, Obiangwu/Logara, Obibiene, Obike, Obube, Ulakwe Ohekelem/Nnorie/Umuhu, Umuaro-Imeriewe, Umuohiagu, Ozuzu and Agbala.
As each community is large, its responsibilities are necessarily in terms of developmental needs. Needs of communities differ both in importance and priorities. What constitutes “development” in Eziama may not constitute “development” in Ihitte. A community may have as its priority electricity supply, while another may have water supply as its priority. However the important thing is that all the communities under study agree on the need for an enhanced socio-economic, political and cultural life on the community.
Agreeably, Government alone cannot provide these services. Julius Nyerere had said that if people realize that their suffering is not the will of God, they would make efforts and sacrifices. It could have been its realization that spurred non-government organization in Ngor-Okpala Local Government into making. But while non-governmental bodies are making efforts towards improving the living conditions of Ngor-Okpala populace, it must be stressed that there is need for adequate government participation in this development bid, if these organizations in between rural community will materialize.
1.1 GENERAL BACKGROUND TO THE SUBJECT MATTER.
The burden of developing a community is not an easy task. To develop community entails advancement in its socio-economic, political and cultural life, most communities in the struggle for self-improvement. In Ngor-Okpala South Local Government Area, non-government organizations are the moving spirit the field of community development.
They start from the scratch, initiating financing and executing developmental programmes with or without the assistance of government.
The quest for community development should not be left alone in the hands of non-governmental organizations nor in those of the government since both efforts are complementary. It should be seen as joint task and responsibility.
Recently government tried to restore hope in the rural poor through the creation of agencies.
1.2 PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH THE SUBJECT MATTER.
A common task facing development and under-developed nations today, including Nigeria is the development of rural area.
Development of the rural areas or communities means an improvement or advancement in the socio-economic, political and cultural life style of such people. In most rural communities including Ngor-Okpala Local Government Areas, there is insignificant provision of basic human needs like hospitals, pipe-borne water, tarred and motorable roads, schools etc. by Government. This attitude on the part of Government creates an impression in the mind of people that they are not part of the body politics. Consequently, the people reply on what they can afford to fend for themselves.
It is this quest for self-reliance that leads to initiation of community organizations.
The problem of non-governmental development of rural areas spreads across all states of Nigeria but is more pronounced in Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area, which is my area of study.
In this community there is abject neglect of provision of these facilities by Government.
Development activities are borne by non-governmental organizations like Town Unions, Churches, Age Grades, social club etc with little or no contributions from Government.
This study will attempt at identifying the nature and scope of developmental projects undertaken by non-governmental organizations in Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area. It will also find out what kind of problems that confront these non-governmental organizations in their quest to improve the life of Ngor-Okpala citizens.
1.3 PROBLEMS THAT THE STUDY WILL BE CONCERNED WITH.
I. FISCAL LIMITATIONS
Non-governmental organizations in Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area find it difficult to obtain loans from banks because of tight bank lending policies which these agent of change cannot meet up with and also because non-government availability of banks in the area.
Another problem which non-governmental organization encounter in their quest to develop their communities is spiral inflation.
Because of the limited source of revenue generation at their disposal projects embarked upon by non-government organizations in Ngor-Okpala Local government Area most time are caught up by galloping inflation. Due to low co prevalent in these communities, more people find it difficult to pay up their levies consequently, execution of project are delayed and gradually inflation sets in the church building projects. At Nnorie was caught up by inflationary trends to complete work. On this project in which more than N200, 000.00 has been expended, to get up to lintel level, will cost three times the initial estimated cost.
At Ihite Okwu, as a result of high cost of building materials, the community has suspended work on the building of dispensary staff quarters estimated to cost N20,000.00 to enable her complete work on the water borehole project she was also handling. The Oniangwu community has suspended work on the N400,000.00 post office building, she was embarking upon to enable her complete work on the building of a technical workshop being undertaken by the community.
At Umuekwune, the Umuekwune comprehensive secondary school technical workshop estimated to cost about N1.5m requires a generator to put into use the equipment for the technical workshop; to purchase a generator requires money. Also the community complained of escalating cost of metals and maintenance. Mbano-Atulu and other communities in the Local Government Area suffer the same fate.
II. HUMAN RESOURCE LIMITATIONS
Community development project are off springs of the ‘felt needs’ of the people. Non-governmental organization starts from “ear-mark” to “eye mark”. An indigene of the area under study, MAZI HYGINUS MBAGWU, explained that “ear mark” is when a project is being envisaged and proposals put across while “eye mark” refers to the physical state of the project the transformation of ideas into realities.
Some projects, which involves laying pipes for instance, requires the services of able bodied men to dig holes for buying the pipes. In most communities, children with elders and woman represent greater percentage of the population as majority of youth are in town as in various fields of endeavour. Therefore this task, which could have been done by “voluntary donation of energy” will, have to wait for hired labour. voluntary of lack of human labour.
Consequently this otherwise simple assignment will be equated into monetary terms and it chunks off the paltry sum, which would be utilized for other service, which the community could not afford.
III. LACK OF TRAINED PROFESSIONALS
Projects initiated and executed without the guidance and supervision of experts or trained professional often times, end up either being abandoned or collapsing.
But many of the communities in my area of study engage the services of contractors who are seen as “experts” in their respective field. In some instance, the contractors do fine jobs.
In other words, the contracts are poorly executed, which result in colossal waste of human, material and financial resource. The experience of the national president of Nnorie Development Union, ENGR-DESMOND UGWUDI is worthy of mention our journey towards the drilling of our water was not easy one. We encountered a lot of problems ranging from cash, material and technical know how, caused by the first duties.
We engaged the second contractor and signed agreement with him. He started drilling and was unable to struck good drinking water because of poor equipment and machinery he was using. As a result of this, we cost the screen and 20 length of pipe inside the well we could not relent and had no choice than to continue with the struggle unit a portable water was struck at a depth of 273.
This sad and painful experience is not peculiar to Nnorie, it has been shared by other communities in this area. Many of these communities experience engine knocks of their plants and machineries on a regular basis due to lack of trained professionals to maintain them.
IV LEADERSHIP/COMMUNITY CONFLICTS
In Umedi Nnorie, the building of the Edigbali Village Hall complex estimated to cost about N50,000.00 and which was started on 1986 through communal efforts is suffering some leadership problem – this has affected progress of work at this project which has been left at roofing level till today. At Umuekwuene, the N1.5m electricity project being undertaken by the community is infested leadership problems and has led to suspension of work on the project site.
Land acquisition for community projects forms source of conflicts between landowners and non-governmental organizations in Ngor-okpala Local Government Area. In most of the communities visited, there was initial misunderstanding as to whose land would be put to use unit, some sum of money or compensation is negotiated and sealed. In these communities lands that could be described as free are, either owned by gods or goddesses.
Several other factors therefore inhibit human, government into those forests for development purposes. Other factors include the non-contribution of development levies by certain church section who claim that their religious belief prohibit them from participating in meetings with non-members of their religious belief.
1. Interviews, official records and questionnaire responses.
3. Hyginus Mbagwa-Interview 23/7/2004
4. Engr. D.N. Ugwudi- An address of welcome on the commissioning of water borehole project at Nnorie 24/12/88.
5. Interviews, official record and question are responses.
1.4 THE IMPORTANCE OF STUDYING THE AREA.
The essence of this study is to draw the attention of the local, state and federal government.
This research draws the attention of government to the need for stepping up their matching grants as well as provision of human and material assistance to communities, in Ngor-okpala Local Government Area who are embarking on one development project or the other. Through this research communities in Ngor-okpala Local Government Area will realize once again that government owes her a duty to assist her in her development efforts and thereby which government will be made up to perform her own part of the obligation.
Finally, this research will aid students towards making further research in their area as well as serving as an in available source of information on Ngor-Okpala community.
1.5 DEFINITION OF IMPORTANT TERMS
Role-persons task or duty in an undertaking non-government, any group sets that is outside direct government control or involvement.
ORGANIZATION: They are social and technical devices or instrument that help in the accomplishments of goods that are too large and complex to be handled by one person.
COMMUNITY: A territorially bounded social system within which people live in harmony, love, intimacy, and share common social, economic and cultural characteristics.
DEVELOPMENT: A continuous process of position change in the quality and span of life of a person or group of persons.
GOVERNMENT: An authoritative unit of the state provision of welfare services, maintenance of law and order and establishing and maintaining of relations with similar units other states approved by government, while poles for HT and LT been procedure.
The community also embarked on the building.
Chukwoma Nwachukwu (2004: 12): Official Records-Ngor-Okpala Local Government News week April 12, 2004. IMO STATE.
Nyarere (2004: 24): Principles of Economic- Enugu Linco Press Limited.