Traditional Institutions as Instruments for Rural Development

Abstract

This research work is an attempt to examine the prospects and part played by traditional rulers in community development in Awomama. The objectives of the study are targeted at finding out the community development projects carried out, and assessing the extent of traditional rulers involvement in community development. In the course of the research, four hundred questionnaires were administered based on cluster sampling techniques, where the districts were grouped into smaller unit covering the study area. In the end, the study discovered that traditional rulers in Awomama indeed participated in community development projects. The research came up with some recommendations, through which an effective development will be carried out in Awomama.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The role of traditional institutions such as traditional rulers, Town Unions or community association Age grades, the Umuada and women Development groups in Nigeria with the particular reference Awomama, Orlu East in Imo State. This institutions and agencies act as instrument for coordinating various social-economic activities within such a society and between it and other aims traditional institutions have been social agents as well as mass mobilization facilitators in various communities in Nigeria. Traditional rulers more often than not, negatively affects the development effort of the people. Traditional institutions should be working cooperatively and collaboratively, and not as cross purposes each of the institutions should confine itself within its area of influence, so that their effort towards the development of their area could be optionally utilized. The traditional institution should be people centered and development Oriented in their mission and vision.

Historical reflection often points to the immutable fact that before the advent of Europeans in Nigeria. The various ethnic groups such as Igbo people, Hausa people and Yoruba people had various strategies for organizing the public affairs of their people as well as ensuring progress and development in their respective areas. There were traditional institutions through which public affairs of the people were organized. In Igbo land the traditional institution are the Umuadas, the Age grades, traditional rulers and Town Union.

The Umuada’s

In the pre-colonial era, among the Igbo people women were held sacred and they participated in collective decisions making on certain sensitive issues that touched on their interest. They do this through an institutional group known as Otu Umuada members the Otu Umuada’s were dynamic, powerful and were well respected by their communities they were at times regarded by some guardians of the village traditions the Umuada’s often intervened whenever the constitution of the village were violated and they impose sanction on offenders.

The Age Grades

The age grades are a very important organ of social structure especially in our traditional Nigerian communities. The formation and membership of an age grade is much revered activity. It is a Universal social institution that is highly appreciated by various communities. Over the years age grades in different communities have distinguished themselves in performing such roles that aim at enhancing the socio economic life of the people. They help in such traditional functions as maintenance of I am and order, settlement of disputes between warning members. Constructions and maintenance of roads and markets, ensuring the cleanliness of local streams and above all, protecting their communities from external aggression.

The age grades system is very strong, non- resident community members cannot avoid going home periodically to participate in the activities of their age grades.

Traditional Rulers

The word traditional rulers “entail the reign of a monarchy or a titled ruler vested with that activity to rule over a people in their affairs of life therefore traditional institutions are headed by traditional rulers and these institutions are very vital in bringing development closer to the rural people. Traditional have succeeded in boosting community development through the provisions of bore holders, rural roads, formation of co-operative societies, setting up markets, constructions of culverts, constructions of earth dams, mobilizing people for health programmes and residing disputes within their domains. Traditional rulers are the major people provided; they are answerable to a title ruler vested with the authority of governing the affairs of the people.

Town Unions

The tempo reached its crescendo in Igbo land after the civil war when almost all, public facilities such as markets town halls I maternity homes, dispend same and schools were all damaged as a result of the war because of their well known flair for providing amentias for themselves out of communal funds, all these people started from the 1970 to rebuild their schools, health facilities, markets etc. the town union because very necessary for rural development because the people were neglected by the government the town unions are to disseminate information about government policies, mould public opinion, raise fund, expand and extend the utilities, undertake and encourage group farming activities and also help in the maintenance of law and order.

These are to signify how effective the traditional instructions work for the development of the society.

1.2 Statement Of Research Problem

The traditional institutions in Awomama, Orlu East in Imo State, knowing well of their role and expectations in their area of jurisdiction most often deviate from these roles and expectation which brings about change and usher the community into development. For example instead of the traditional institutions to focus on the needs of the people such as provisions of schools, good reads, pipe borne water etc they do not do it rather deviate if from and think about themselves and their own agenda which do not bring about development in Awomana.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The aim and objectives of this study include:

(a) To know the extent of the involvement of traditional rulers in the community development.

(b) To suggest ways to improve and encourage traditional rulers in development projects.

(c) To fund out the constraints faced by traditional ruler in community development project in Awomama, Orlu East Imo State.

1.4 Significance Of The Study

The study if the role of traditional institutions in community development programmes is sociologically important because the society is geared towards development, either socially, economically, publically or technologically.

The study is also significant because it will help to find solution to the problems hindering traditional institutions from carrying out commonly development programmes not only in Awomama but also beyond. More so, it will help the government to assist traditional rulers in community development programmes.

Theatrically, this research work may help members of the public to have vast knowledge about the role of traditional rulers in embanking on community development porogrammes, as well as, the problems they encounter in Awomama. This may help them to be constructive in their criticism, and may also help subsequent researcher’s top build on it and improve on their work.

1.5. Research Questions

(1) How can this traditional; institution policy decisions to effectively involve and empower the community to make development Awomama?

(2) What type of community development programme have they been able to execute?

(3) What is the nature and specific roles of traditional institutions in the development of the community and how is it expressed containing the Government organization and Non-Governmental organization sectors of development?

(4) What are the mechanisms put in place to ensure that traditional institutions are main streamed in the development of the community?

1.6. Hypotheses

(1) Traditional rulers will be infective in carrying out community development programme in Awomama.

(2) Traditional ruler can make a positive impact in community development programme in Awomama.

1.7. Scope Of The Study

This work is limited to determining the role of traditional rulers in community development porgrammes, on how they initiate, embank and execute projects in Awamama, and make useful recommendations on how traditional rulers should have executed community development programme within 2013 to 2015.

The scope of this research is however limited to Awomama, Orlu-East local government in Imo state due to lack of funds and proximity of time.

1.8. Definition Of Terms

The conceptual and operational meaning of the terms listed below.

(1) Development:

Operational meaning: Is regarded as continuous processes of positive changes in the qualities and span life of the person or groups of persons. It is an advancement of something, people and community. Thus “Development” used in this content is more meaningfully when it has to do with progressive in the quality and living standards of the people pertaining to their aspirations and resources at their disposal.

(2) Role:

Operational meaning: This refers to the part a person or thing plays in a specific situation or operation in this study, it is related to the expected functions that a ruler of a community plays or should play for the benefit of the his subjects and community.

(3) Traditional Ruler:

Operational meaning: A control authority, the reign of a monarchy and the accepted controller by the people over them in their affairs of life in thus study, it means a collectively elected persons selected by the community to pilot the affairs of his people in line with customs and traditions of the community.

(4) Community:

Operational meaning: A place in which an interacting group of people living in the same territory. Town, village, suburb or neighbourhood. In thus study, it means a tract or concern commonly shared by people, children and youths in terms of social relations characterized by personal intimacy, emotional ties and social cohesion.

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