ATTITUDE OF URBAN DWELLERS AND PARTICIPATION IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN YAKURR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, CROSS RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
Background to the study
The desire to do something to improve community life normally implies some aspect of development. The execution of community development projects has become the major means through which various communities get assistance from government and governmental agencies for development. According to Erim, Asor, and Akpama (2017), Community development is the process by which community members diagnose their needs, organize and mobilize themselves to meet their needs, and solve their problems with maximum reliance on community resources. Community developmental projects have the inherent capacity of attracting development to an area. However, in spite of the benefits that could come through these means, many people tend to develop cold feet when it comes to effective participation. Consequently, many projects in some communities are either abandoned or poorly executed because of their negative attitudes (Ering, 2006).
More so, their self-concept, perception of issues, and corruption practice can hinder community development projects.
Participation is a rich concept that varies with its application and definition. The way participation is defined also depends on the context in which it occurs. For some, it is a matter of principles, for others, practice, for still others, an end in itself. To stress the importance of participation in patterning the behavior of people, Dinello and Popov (2007) state that “participation measures the extent to which legal opportunities for mass participation are translated into tangible patterns of citizen behavior.” Erim, Asor, and Akpama (2017) asserted that community members participate effectively in the implementation of projects that are geared towards satisfying their felt needs. Aldashev (2003) considers participation as social behavior, and Rishi (2003) added that attitude is a central element in social behavior and argued that attitude is imperative for making a change of the behavior. According to Rishi (2003), social actions of people or their personal project directed by their attitudes, if the attitude of people is positive toward an event or an action, it is more likely that they divert their
behavior in a more meaningful way (Rishi, 2003). Other scholars have generally agreed that a positive attitude toward community development encourages citizens' participation in developmental projects (Kosecik and Sagbas, 2004, Suzanne et al., 2007). Similarly, Erim, Asor, and Akpama (2017) noted that the purpose of community development is to bring about desirable changes for the better living among members of the community.
Therefore, if urban dwellers in the Yakurr Local Government area have a positive attitude towards community development, it is more likely that they support the developmental/ projects as well as participating more in such projects. Thus, understanding the citizen attitude can help to access the degree/ level of their participation in community development.
It is on this backdrop that this study is carried out to investigate the extent to which attitude, self-concept, perception and corruption influences participation in community development among urban dwellers in Yakurr Local Government Area.
This section provides the theoretical framework of the variables under study. Within the context of this study, two developmental theories are considered and these theories include:
Theory of participation by Karol Wojtyla (1993)
Theory of community development by Johnson and Killby (2006)
Theory of participation by Karol Wojtyla (1993)
This theory was propounded by Wojtyla in 1993. This theory states that humans exist and act together with others because it is only through such interaction with others in the world that they are called upon to perform specific actions that inevitably define them as individuals. Personal fulfillment is something that requires active interaction with the world. Wojtyla’s work focuses on man as an individual who exists and acts in a certain way towards his proper end.
The author described participation as a voluntary activity of the person as well as an ability to share in the ability of others. This affirms the fact that he is a member of a community in the form of “I-you” and a
“we” relationship. It consequently means then that, the constant challenge to seek and to find the answer to the issues regarding one’s personhood and his world is a task that is common to each person and that can also be taken as a task of the entire community.
Wojtyla (1993) comments that actions reveal in the person and people, therefore, look at the person through his/her action. Action constitutes the specific moment whereby the person is revealed. Action gives observers the best insight into the inherent essence of the person and allows them to understand the person most fully. As much as human actions reflect the person, human actions also go back to them in the sense that these human actions always have a moral and existential modality in them. This implies that the action of citizens in a community is a reflection of their will and desires. The implication is that if members of a community support a particular program, they will demonstrate their support by positive action and participation.
Wojtyla (1993), further posits that participation leads to the establishment of harmony between persons in a community because a community of persons participating in the pursuit of the common good
contributes to the growth and development of all persons in the community. A community built on the conscious participation of persons for the common good is a community that brings persons closer to their fulfillment, Wojtyla thus, concludes. This implies that participation allows every person to experience another as a neighbor and a member of the community. This indicates that people are capable not only of participating in the affairs of the community but also of existing and acting in their capabilities in the humanity of others.
This theory is relevant to the study because it highlights the interaction of individuals with one another as critical to the needed community development process. This theory further confirms that community development is a collective responsibility for everyone in the community since participation in a project or program enriches the experiences of the participants, resulting in self-fulfillment.
Theory of community development by Johnson and Killby (2006) The proponents of this theory are Johnson and Killby (2006) in
Ebong (2009). This theory states that programs are usually characterized by careful definition of the needs and resources of the target
population. It takes cognizance of the people’s interest in participating in community development and their attitude towards community projects. The theory further opines that community development should aim at proving improved varieties of goods and services, infrastructures to the targeted communities. The advantages of this in the area of community development is that it focuses attention directly on the needs of the poor communities through diverse ways and ventures, such programs are usually funded by the World Bank and other donor organizations in collaboration with governmental agencies. The implication of this theory is the stress of participation. While participation can occur at many levels, a key objective is the incorporation of local knowledge into the project's decision-making processes because community development is characterized by the role of the community in its developmental programs.
Statement of the problem
Many projects in some communities are either abandoned or poorly executed because of the attitude of the people towards community development projects. In some cases, community leaders erroneously conclude that people lack the material and financial resources to
contribute to developmental projects hence their non/low involvement in such projects.
Peoples’ participation in developmental projects for community transformation is of utmost concern. The elders and community leaders hardly make efforts to address the issue of low or non-participation by the people whom this project is targeted for their upliftment.
In order to depict a useful framework of community development, it is, therefore, crucial to understand not only the external impact of social and economic change but also the influence of individual community circumstances where residents’ attitudes are formed and turned into action for the community betterment.
Therefore, this research seeks to investigate the influence of attitude, self-concept, perception, and corruption on urban dwellers' participation in community development among urban dwellers in Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to assess the attitude of urban dwellers in Yakurr Local Government Area and participation in community development. Specifically, the study sought to:
1. Determine how the perception of urban dwellers influences participation in community development among urban dwellers in Yakurr Local Government Area.
2. Examine the influence of self-concept on urban dwellers' participation in community development among urban dwellers in Yakurr Local Government Area.
3. Investigate the influence of corruption on urban dwellers' participation in community development among urban dwellers in Yakurr Local Government Area.
The following research questions were answered in this study.
1. Do the perception of urban dwellers influence their participation in community projects among urban dwellers in Yakurr Local Government Area?
2. How does the self-concept of urban dwellers influence participation in community development among urban dwellers in Yakurr Local Government Area?
3. To what extent do corruption influence, urban dwellers in community development among urban dwellers in Yakurr Local Government Area?
Statement of hypotheses
The following hypotheses were postulated in this study:
1. There is no significant influence of perception on urban dwellers' participation in community development projects.
2. There is no significant influence of self-concept on urban dwellers' participation in community development projects.
3. There is no significant influence of corruption on the urban dwellers’ participation in community development projects among urban dwellers in Yakurr Local Government Area.
Assumptions of the study
The following assumptions were made:
1. The perception of urban dwellers about participation in community development projects was measurable.
2. The sample is a true representation of the communities in the Yakurr Local Government Area.
3. The variables of the study are normally distributed.
Significance of the study
This study will be of immense benefit to Yakurr urban dwellers and their leaders, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, students, and researchers.
To urban community dwellers and leaders, the study is important as it will sensitize them on the fact that community development projects are a mechanism for enhancing sustainable development, improving efficiency and effectiveness, and allowing poverty initiatives to be community-driven thereby making development inclusive thus empowering the people.
Another significant aspect of this study is that human development projects if properly implemented in the community through effective participation could lead to job creation thus empowering the people
especially women, unemployed youths, and urban poor to become self-reliant.
The study findings would also help community development practitioners, rural and urban development analysts, government policymakers, non-governmental bodies, social developers, etc. in formulating policies that would enhance development in rural and urban communities. It would offer an alternative solution to problems of failure of developmental projects and its implication for policymaking.
To students and researchers, this study will contribute to the existing body of literature in the field of community development, and will also serve as a board for their research.
Limitation of the study
The intention of the study was misunderstood by some community members. Also, some respondents were afraid to respond to the questionnaire. The intention of respondents resulted in the withdrawal of some people from responding to the questionnaire. (No limitation was encountered)?
Scope of the study
This study is limited to the attitude of urban dwellers towards participation in community development projects. The study also limited to the variables under study which include perception, self-concept, and corruption of urban dwellers in relation to community development projects in Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Definition of terms
Attitude: This refers to either negative or positive responses of people towards a situation or targeted objective. It is also a complex mental state involving beliefs, feelings, values, and dispositions to act in a certain way.
Participation: Is the involvement of people themselves in their effort to improve the standard of living.
Perception: This is the process by which people translate sensory impressions into a coherent and unified view of the world around them.
Self-concept: This refers to an idea of the self-constructed from the beliefs one holds about oneself and the responses of others.
Corruption: A form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. Urban: Location relating to or concerned with a city, town, or a densely populated area.
Urban dwellers: People living in a town or city.
Community: Refers to a group of people who live in a geographical area and share common objectives and interests for the purpose of making a living and developing themselves.
Development: This implies the remarkable and sustained improvement of the socio-economic welfare of people and is based on activities such as health education, agriculture, telephone, and postal services, good roads, functional radio and television services, etc.
Community development: This refers to a process of social action in which people of the community organized themselves for the identification of their needs, planning, and action to meet those needs with maximum reliance on their own (Bello, 1980).
Projects: A planned endeavor, usually with a specific goal and accomplished in several steps or stages..