The research on the impact of citizen participation in community development in Ibeku in Aboh Mbaise has analysed the data collected through stratified random sampling techniques. Data came from primary and secondary sources. The finding from the analysis showed that poverty, disunity among the leaders and corruption hindered citizen participation to a greater extent. The research also discovered that the citizens maximally participated in community projects from initiation to execution.

It was therefore needful for government assistance through technical and matching grants. This strategy will boost citizen participation and self-help efforts in the area.







Title        page                                                              i

Approval page                                                               ii

Dedication                                                             iii

Acknowledgement                                                  iv

Abstract                                                                v


1.0  Introduction                                                    1

1.1  Statement of the introduction                                  1

1.2 Research problem                                             3

1.3 Aim/objectives of the research                            6

1.3.2 Objectives                                                     6

1.4  Scope of study                                                       7

1.5 The study area                                                  8

1.5.1 Location                                                        8

Map of Nigeria showing the national context                 9

Map of Imo state showing the regional context                     10

Map of Aboh Mbaise showing the local context                      11

1.5.2 Historical background                                      12

1.5.4 Topography and soil                                       13

1.5.5 Climate and vegetations                                         13

1.5.6 Tradition and culture                                       14

1.5.7 Economic activities                                                14

1.6.0 Research Questions/Hypothesis                        15

1.6.1 Research Question                                          15

1.6.2 Hypothesis                                                    16

1.7.0 Plan of the study                                            17

1.8.0 Significance of the study                                        17


2.0 Literature Review                                              18

2.1 The concept of rural area                                   18

2.1.1 Characteristics of rural area                             18

2.1.2 Problems associated with rural area                  19

2.1.3 Concept of a community                                        20

2.1.4 Concepts of community engagement                 22

2.20 Community participation in rural development     24

2.3.0 Strategies of rural development planning           26

2.3.1 Integrated rural development strategy               27

2.3.2 The community development approach                    28

2.3.3 Buttom-up approach                                       29

2.3.4 Self-help approach as a concept for

community development                                                30

2.40 Community organization as instrument

for community/rural development                             31

2.4.1 Concept of ages grade                                    32

2.4.2 age grade as a tool for community/rural development                                                              34

2.4.3 Function of the age grades                              35

2.4.4 Problems of age grade in community

Development                                                  37

2.5.0 Town union and clubs as tools for community/rural development                                                            38

2.6.0 The union and clubs as machinery for plan implementation and policies in rural communities             39

2.7.0 Citizen participation in community/rural development                                                       40

  • Levels of citizenship participation 41

2.7.2  The importance of citizen participation                    43

2.7.3 Conditions of citizen participation                     44

2.7.4 Facilitating citizen participation in community/rural development                                                             49 2.80 Means of citizens participation in rural development.



3.0 Research methodology                                       55

3.1 Primary data sources                                         55

3.2 Secondary data sources                                     55

3.3 Data requirement                                              55

3.4 Data required, sources, instruments for data collection and sampling techniques                                               58

3.5 Sampling technique                                           59

3.6 Sampling size                                                   59

3.7 Data analysis and presentation                            59

References                                                             60



4.0 Data Analysis and Presentation

4.1 Test of Hypothesis



5.0 Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Findings

5.2 Conclusion

5.3 Recommendations







Citizen participation in community development is a process which provides private individuals an opportunity to influence public decisions and has long been a component of the democratic decision-making process. The roots of citizen participation can be traced to ancient Greece and Colonial New England. Before the 1960s, governmental processes and procedures were designed to facilitate “external” participation. Citizen participation was institutionalized in the mid-1960s with President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs (Cogan & Sharpe, 1986 p. 283).

Citizen participation seeks to engage local population in development projects. It has taken a variety of forms since it emerged in the 1970s, when it was introduced as an important part of the basic needs approach to development. There is universal acceptance of local government as vital instrument for rural and urban development, irrespective of the ideological differences of societies and levels of development.

One of the major reasons for establishing local government is to bring government to local communities so that the local people can participate fully in the process of governance, in order to provide essential local services and this speed up the pace of social, economic and political development (Ogunna 1996).

Most manifestation of citizen participation in community development seek to give the poor a part in initiatives designed for their benefit in the hopes that development projects will be more sustainable and successful if local populations are engaged in the development process. Citizen participation has become an increasingly accepted method of development practice and is employed by a variety of organizations such as town unions, women organization, youths, age grades, formal groups and social groups. It is often presented as an alternative to mainstream “top down” development.

The in ability of government sponsored programmes to induce expected development, particularly in rural communities of developing counties, brought about the thinking by the people of helping themselves, inform of above mentioned strategy.

Finally, this principle in based on the people proper understanding of the fact that governments resources are limited, hence the need to help themselves by coming together as group, age grade and to union will better their living condition and increase the chance of development.

In Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, Ibeku the study area had embarked on self-help projects and there is the need to ensure that community groups such as age grades participate fully in the development efforts.


Generally, it has been observed that rural areas of the world have been neglected in terms of development. However, this general neglect has led to problems to rural areas in the development of infrastructure, housing utilities and services etc.

There is also the problem of inadequate communication between the local government and various communities. The local government authority has the important function of encouraging community cooperation through frequent visits and advisory services in its area of authority. Communication gap can make citizens ignorant of the roles they are expected to play in the developmental process.

Also, shortage of skilled manpower within the communities to assist in the maintenance of development projects services also militates against effective community participation. Maintenance of some of the community welfare facilities such as electricity, health centers and even pipe-borne water require skills, which may not be readily available in rural communities.

Insufficient fund arising from widespread poverty and biting economic conditions militate against effective government community co-operation in programme implementation. Experience has shown that members of various communities are finding it increasingly difficult to pay levies imposed on them for the maintenance of existing community welfare services. For instance, occasionally, electricity transformers break down and water pumping machines develop faults. These cost a lot of money which may not be readily available, hence the common sight of such facilities lying unprepared for years.

       Corruption is another obstacle to effective community participation in development projects or programmes for instance, town union or community development committee officials sometimes misappropriate funds meant for financing community welfare programme. This act aggravates the problems of shortage of fund.

Finally, party politics has also created decision with communities. This has militated against effective community mobilization. The political elites and fanatical party members always disagree among themselves over sharing of available few resources. Consequently, due to politics, they refuse to cooperate in any venture spearheaded by a person from the opposing part. Even where a political opponent is the head of the town union, they refuse to see anything good in what he does. In the same way, such party fanatics discourage unsuspecting citizens from supporting community welfare programes not organized by their party members. For instance, where citizens are levied for the hire of bulldozer for road rehabilitation, they may dissuades them from paying by making them feel that the government had provided the services free of charge and that the organizers were merely extorting money from them, which they would embezzle.


1.3.1 AREA

The aim of the research is to assess the impact of citizen participation in rural development in Ibeku in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State.


  1. To examine the level of enlightenment of the citizens.
  2. To identify the projects embarked on by the citizens in the study area.
  3. To investigate the level of participations of the citizens in the projects.
  4. To examine the level of project completion.
  5. To examine the rate of project abandonment
  6. To identify the factors militating against effective citizen participation in the study area.
  7. To suggest ways of improving citizen participation in the study area.


The study is limited to Ibeku autonomous community in Aboh Mbaise local Government area. The study also will examine various self-help projects initiated by the citizens, those completed, those under construction and those abandoned.

It will also look at the extent to which those projects have attained to the felt needs of the community. It also contains the issues of problems citizen encounter in course of project execution.

Lastly, it will also make recommendations to government and various stakeholders, the need for improved citizen participation in rural/community development activities.