PRESS AS A VEHICLE FOR EFFECTIVE RURAL DEVELOPMENT (A CASE STUDY OF IDEMILI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ANAMBRA STATE).
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In a complex society like ours the role which the press radio, television, newspapers, magazines and all forms of communication can play in effective rural development should not be over emphasized. Like other agents of development such as learning, the press especially the newspaper is very important in the proper development of our rural communication. The press as the fourth estate of the realm has other vital roles to play in the current campaign for effective rural development apart from its traditional roles as the watch dog of the society.
A lot has been written about rural development. This is because of its importance in the development of the individual, his life style and with a view to making him satisfied, as well as making available those non existing facilities in a rural area, for the good of the inhabitants. “ Rural development, thus according to Akonobi is:
Economic and social conditions not surprisingly, in the past ex-president Babangida’s rural development programme as from the majority of Nigerians and is still hailed to some rural areas. The programme not misery, it makes a progressive shift in publics and its policies are similar to that of general Abacha’s family support programme (FSP) and petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) . In our contemporary existence as a democratically independent nation, the lots of rural dwellers, these inhabitants situated in the hinterlands, far away from the urban areas, pleasure of life goodies and all those aspect that ensure man as a living and existing being has been one of nation’s deprivation, illiteracy, disease and vast poverty and total degradation.
As if the above unseeingly situation is not enough for these rural peasants access roads are completely lacking clean drinking water is luxury while social amenities are practically not available. Research have shown that over 70% (percent) of the entire population live in the rural area, yet, the bulk of nations wealth especially in agriculture are from the uninhabitable rural areas. Hence completely disenchanted and alienated. These peasant, rural inhabitants have come to see the urban dwellers with envy and resentment, seeing the government as being meant for the urban dweller. Past regimes potently ignorant of the realities and of course the practicalities. General Babangida in his blue print for rural development said : “ rural development holds the key, to sustained agricultural transformation and national food security.”
After these too, the IBB administration in her effort to accomplish the prime objective, came up with the directorate for food, road and rural infrastructure, (DEFR). This directorate is changed with the responsibility of carrying the campaign for development in the rural areas.
Extensively, as a part of the idea to make rural dwellers have a sense of belonging and participate in the process of national economic reconstruction and self – reliance. Ikem Nosu is one of his books says that:
“These facilities range, from good water, electricity, recreational facilities, judicial and other institution etc. it is thus all embracing “.
The then Minister of information Col. Anthony Ukpo spoke of government plan to construct information centres, both in the rural area. He explained in an NTA Calabar (not seat) programme. These information board will serve as centre for disseminating informations and explaining government policies to the rural populace”.
Equal too, different local and state government mapped our different programmes aimed at ensuring fast and effective rural development programme that is channeled towards rural development. The joint action on development’ (JAD) is social amenities, good roads etc. Idemili North local government area like every other local government in Anambra state, in line with ‘JAD’s programme has added special programme on adult education as their own contribution towards effective rural development in the state.
From the foregoing, therefore, bearing in mind the continuous existence of development programmes in various states, we shall take a step to examine the role which the press can play in solving the problem s facing these rural dwellers. For the purpose of this work emphasis is more on the newspaper having considered its bearing as compared with the radio and television.
Newspaper plays a prominent / vital role in the information dissemination in our society, in the current campaign for effective rural development despite its traditional roles as an observer of the society. The press is seen as a mirrow to what’s happening and it gives representative picture and giving choices in other words, the print is more accessible in accordance to this Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe said:
“That a newspaper is usually a reflection of the mood of times” apart from its lasting power, its cast is usually lower than that mostly the well to do. In most cases incessant power failures don’t make things better. In other words the print is more accessible. Hence if carefully preserved they will last long.
According to emerg et al. they exist to inform and influence the communities in which they are performing and the man who produces them share a common urge to news and advertising into print. Like wise opubor in one of his unpublished article said that: “the mass media like weather are always then provide constant material for conservation.
Moreover, with the present introduction of different programmes and campaign on development, like social, political and economical programmes ie. Universal Basic Education (UBE) to support the existing programmes like (FEAP) family economic advancement programme, newspaper can work along side with these mapped out programmes to improve the poor man’s well bring (rural dwellers). The newspapers can help by communicating to the masses in the rural areas the government programme aimed at developing them: move to its credit, the newspaper can act as the middle man (ombudsman) between the rural dwellers and the government.
Hence the community newspaper, and urban newspaper and the national newspaper performs the ombudsman’s function for the rural and urban respectively.
Furthermore, the newspaper can encourage the spirit of community development in the people. They can be persuaded to involve themselves in developing their communities through self help project. Yet the newspaper do not exit without problems in carrying out this task of rural development for instance, the government control on newspapers and intervention on ownership makes it impossible for them to perform out rightly, instead they serve as government mouthpieces. Illiteracy is another type of problem which the press do encounter: A large population of the ruralities are illiterates and this hinders any progress newspaper can make. In view of these situations therefore, this research is set to find out the parts which the press (especially newspaper can play in rural development.). hence the focus is on Idemili Local Government Area Anambra State.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In a democratic country like ours, the importance of the press cannot be over emphasized the press despite that is an important key to success but it is very useful in development process. The press encompasses the responsibilities of informing, educating, persuading the entire populace. Apart from these traditional functions of the press, they still harness rural skill and agriculture. Stem the fide of urban migration etc. all these are to help the rural folks to participate in the development of the nation and instill a sense of competition among the populace.
As a means of accomplishing the above objectives, it is imperative to make information flow across the nation a two – ways process. Before now, dissemination of information fend to from the urban to peripheral regions. No serious moves were made to understand the needs serious moves were made to understand the needs of the people that are situated in the hinterlands. Far away from the urban cities, which form a part of their readership audience.
It should re noted that without understanding, the needs conditions and desires of these ruralities, they cannot be developed. Information should be made to flow from every direction in multiple ways. As a result of this, there is the need to establish a rural radio forum, informations booths should be introduced and should be encouraged.
Through the press has undergone may transformations resulting in setting up of many community newspapers how far they have gone in improving the lots our rural dwellers is till doubtful and the fact that they news stand.
More painful is the stance that even now that the country is laying more emphasis on rural development without implementing them some Nigerian newspapers do not realize the need to bridge the information gap by orientating people on the new demands of them. Today’s’ events show that government can no longer do all things for the citizenry especially rural dwellers. So it is necessary for the press (newspapers) to nature and enrich the new direction by bring authentic to achieve an effective rural development.
In agreement with the importance of the press in development, late elder statesman, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe mentioned in a press interview that it would play more for the favourlist to channel greater development in all section. This relates the importance of press in developing and enlighten the rural dwellers not only the urban dwellers.
Hence in this research work, the problems include:
1. finding out whether or not the press is reforming is role in rural development.
2. finding out if the efforts made by newspapers in improving its present plans (efforts at rural development)
3. Finding out whether or not the ruralities view the efforts of the press as effective means of enhancing their rural development.
4. Finally, finding our problems which the press may encounter in its efforts to carry out these responsibilities.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
To find out the actual influence of the press on community development capabilities of rural dwellers in Idemili Local government area. To be precise thee main purpose of this work is to find out how far the press has changed or influenced the attitudes of rural dwellers towards developing their communities.
Apart from the aforementioned purpose. This study will imbibe in their mind, the spirit of self help and peaceful co-existence because development does not start with good, and things rather it starts with people their, orientation, organization and discipline thrives. Therefore, it is the aim of this research to evaluate the efforts of the press.
It is also pertinent to point out that the co-coordinators or the producers of these community development programme would like to know whether they have any influence on the rural dwellers, the extent of such influence and whether there are any completing variables that may also influence the developing capabilities of these ruralities. In view of this situation, this study will Idemili local government area.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
As pointed out earlier, the present administration has viewed rural development as one of universal basic education (UBE) and other social economical and wealth campaign programme at the national level and joint action on development (JAP) at the state level (Anambra state) into support already existing development programmes by the past regime. Based on this research is to find out to what extent the behaviour objective has been met and how to improve on the effort being made.
However, this study is more than necessary in view of the fact that the press is capable of diew of the fact that the press is capable of generating competition which may eventually lead to rural development. Therefore, it is imperative that this study be undertaken to evaluate how well the press has gone in accomplishing the above objectives in Idemili local government area.
In another development though the press is almost available at all, level of the country this research aims at finding out how far the proposition that information flow from the urban cities to the periphery is wrong or correct and since the press has a role to play in the development of rural areas receive information from the available information. This research tends to reveal whether the rural folks in Idemili are properly informed and how far such has influenced their attitudes towards community development.
Moreover, this work is also aimed at making recommendations that will help to improve the lot of rural communities in Idemili local government area. The recommendation will also help to correct any mistake and make possible suggestions that will assist in rural development. These recommendations will come at the end of this research work.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This work is limited to Idemili to local government area of Anambra State. However, this is as a result of several factors as would be seen below. One is finance, which almost hindered the writing of this project. The cost of living ands necessities seem to be rising as days passers by, at an alarming height and the cost of producing this work will not be an exception.
Another factor that is a limitation to his project is time factor. There is no gain saying that time is an essential factor in any undertaking work, since it is known especially in a project like this and a semester that is as short a this. It was very difficult to attend lectures, study privately, have some time on your own, act at the same with this short period travel down to Idemili local government headquarters and finally work on this project.
Again, transportation and bad roads also proved a stumbling block in effort to make this research work a success, bearing in mind the high cost of transportation. It was also difficult reach the communities the unwelcome attitude of fact finding. the unwelcome attitude of some of the villagers proud too reluctant and uncivilized despite the good sense/ manner of approach used. One of those interviewed at Oba village in Uke for instance asked what right the researcher had to confront him with question and why it was him that is being interviewed. Perhaps, he must have thought that the researcher was trying to find out the taxable adults in the locality.
Moreover, lack of communication books and well equipped library was a set back in efforts carry out this research work, to worsen the carryout this research work, to worsen the situation the ones found in stock, no time make enough research on them because are too expensive.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What efforts have the press made in improving its present performance towards rural development?
2. What are the problems facing such effort .
3. What are the possible solutions to the problems?
4. To what extent does the influence of the press effects the improvement of rural development?
5. what are the problems that tends to influence the efforts of the press in improving rural development?