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The Tempo of development in a nation depends very largely on the extent of infrastructural development. Without adequate infrastructure all social, economic and political programmes are likely to come to grief” (Adefolalu, 2014).
The above statement underscores the critical role of infrastructure in the development process which can be likened to secondary and tertiary arteries of the body system which are as crucial as the main arteries for blood circulation (PCU-NFDO, 2005). Infrastructural facilities refer to those basic services without which primary, secondary and tertiary productive activities cannot be performed. In its wider sense, infrastructural facilities embrace all public services from law and order through education and public health to transportation, communications and water supply (Mabogunje, 2013; Kahn, 2012). In other words, infrastructural facilities are elements in the package of basic needs, which a community would like to procure for better living. Kahn (2012) asserts that rural infrastructural facilities can be classified into three main types; namely, physical infrastructure – such as roads, water, rural electrification, storage and processing facilities; social infrastructure –namely, health and educational facilities, community centres, fire and security services; institutional infrastructure which include credit, financial institutions and agricultural research facilities, among others.
Similarly, Idachaba (2010) classified rural basic needs into physical infrastructure i,e. roads, storage facilities, irrigation facilities and agro-service centres; social infrastructure namely medical facilities, water supply, electricity supply and educational institutions; and lastly, institutional infrastructure which includes cooperative societies, postal services, market facilities, banking services and agricultural extension services. Social infrastructure such as health, education and recreation has both direct and indirect impacts on the quality of life.
Directly, it supports production and trade. Indirectly, it leads to improved productivity which in turn leads to higher real incomes (Budlender et al, 2012; DBSA, 2008).
In Nigeria as in most other developing nations the interest of researchers and planners in aspects of rural development is very much concentrated on economic growth, measured with such indicators as the aggregate output of agricultural produce and income per capita. Using these indicators attempts have been made to measure the spatial differentials in rural development and to monitor the pace of modernization. The common feature of such a rural development surface is that development is delineated along the bold lines of economic indicators and physical infrastructure (Okafor, 2015).
According to Diane (2011) there is widespread agreement that any kind of rural development policy or programme should consider the social as well as the economic aspects of development in rural areas. There are two main arguments in favour of this. One is that the social and economic aspects of development are so closely related that one cannot pursue one aspect without also considering the other. The other argument is that, irrespective of its relationship to economic development, 'social development' is a desirable objective in its own right. There are two main ways of defining 'social' which are commonly used. One is what might be called the 'holistic' approach, which defines 'social' as anything relating to people or society. This is a very broad definition, which could include most aspects of rural development, in so far as rural development implies the development of rural people or rural societies. The other is most appropriately known as the 'residual' approach since it defines 'social' as anything which is not 'economic'.
For the purposes of this research, however, the term 'social development' or the ‘social aspects’ of development will be used to mean positive changes in relation to any of the issues or activities defined as 'social', (Diane, 2011) notably:
• the social characteristics of an area or society, including the demographic structure (eg. size and density of population, age and sex structure, household structure and composition), ethnic characteristics, social structure (eg. leadership structures; class, caste or other social divisions), religious and cultural beliefs and practices, and general attitudes;
• the general quality of life in an area or society, which comprises a number of different factors, including some (eg. income) which are 'economic' in nature but have wider implications in the sense that they influence other aspects of life (eg. income affects health, nutrition, access to various goods and services, leisure activities and the ability to choose between alternative lifestyles, all of which are important components of the quality of life);
• social services (eg. health, education, water and sanitation, welfare benefits), which contribute to the general quality of life; and
• Social justice, which includes issues related to equity, human rights and participation in decision-making, all of which are again part of the overall quality of life.
Measuring the level of social development of a settlement or society at a given point in time is very important because there are variation and disparities in the distribution, accessibility and utilization of infrastructural facilities. In order to do this, appropriate social indicators should be measured to give a good indication of the degree or level of social development (Diane, 2011). For example, there are some fairly obvious and generally accepted indicators of quality of life (eg. per capita income; infant mortality; food consumption; quality of housing) and of access to social services (e.g. distance to the nearest school, health facility or water supply; school attendance; population per doctor) (Diane, 2011). In Nigeria and in Kaduna State in particular, the spatial variation in the availability and access to rural infrastructure results in spatial disparities in living standards both within and between regions and localities. Inequalities exist between spatial units as they do between individuals (Anderson and Pomfret, 2004; Henderson, Shalizi, and Venables, 2001; Kanbur and Venables, 2005). The existence of disparities in living standards of rural people makes the assessment of the impact of rural infrastructure on social development imperative. Only through such an assessment can a major cause of the imbalance in rural development be understood.
1.1 The Research Problem
There is one very important general point which applies to all aspects of social development which is the fact that social development should be seen not as a mechanistic operation but as a process which involves people and their modes of life. This has several implications in terms of the overall approach to rural development programmes and projects (Diane, 2011). Giwa Local Government is more of a rural area and therefore the problem of inadequacy or inequitable distribution of rural infrastructure should be expected. However, using the available rural infrastructure in the local government which includes roads, health care facilities, markets as well as recreational facilities and so on, the study attempt to assess the impact of these rural infrastructures on the social life of the people living in Giwa Local Government. In other words, the central problem of this research is to determine the extent to which the available rural infrastructure impact on social development in the local government. Without this basic understanding we cannot bring about practical solution to the problems of rural underdevelopment, poor accessibility, poverty, inequality as well as migration.
1.2 Statement of Research Question
1. What are the available inventory rural infrastructure in Giwa Local Government Area?
2. What are the spatial distribution pattern of rural infrastructure in the study area?
3. What is the relationship between rural infrastructure and level of social development in the study area?
1.3 Study Aim and Objectives
The aim of the study is to assess the impact of rural infrastructure on social development in Giwa Local Government Area. The aim will be achieved through the following specific objectives:
1. To develop an inventory of the available rural infrastructure in Giwa Local Government Area
2. To determine the spatial distribution pattern of rural infrastructure in the study area
3. To determine the relationship between rural infrastructure and level of social development in the study area
1.4 Scope and Limitation
The study is limited to Giwa Local Government Area, located between latitude 10°50’N and 11°25’N and longitude 7°15’E and 7°28’E. The Giwa Local Government Area has a total number of 11 wards. A survey was conducted to take an inventory of the rural infrastructure available in the different wards. However, this study was limited to the impact of the following infrastructure on rural development namely; commercial, education, administration, public utility, recreation, health, transport and communication infrastructure.
1.5 Justification of the Study
A survey of existing literature has revealed that a lot of studies have been conducted on rural infrastructure and services in Nigeria. For example, Madu (2007) investigated the underlying factors of rural development pattern in the Nsukka Region of southeastern Nigeria. He was able to determine the strength of the various underlying factors by using factor analysis, and concluded that four factors (rural markets, land resources, accessibility and the influence of local government administration) accounted for more than 70% of the total variance.
Similarly, Ajala and Adeyinka (2005) indicated in their study of accessibility to healthcare facilities in Osun State, that serious inadequacy of health facilities and services exists in rural areas which results in many preventable deaths among rural people. Other studies carried out on rural infrastructure and services include that of Olayiwola and Adeleye (2005) in which they investigated and documented a comprehensive report on rural infrastructural development in Nigeria between 1960 and 1990 pointing out the problems and challenges.
All these studies examined and explained the problem of rural infrastructure and services while focusing more on either the availability of the physical infrastructure or their spatial distribution. The ‘social aspects’ of development which is always referred to as positive changes in relation to social conditions has received little attention. This research therefore serves as a guideline focusing on the social aspects of rural development planning at local level. It can be used as part of a broader planning approach, which recognizes the linkages between social and economic issues, between rural and urban areas, and between national, district and local planning.
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