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Chapter One

1.1 Background to the study

Communication is the most general form of interpersonal interaction required for

decision-making and interpersonal influence in organizations.To this end, the second half

of 20th century brought a tradition of communication research and practice geared toward

Third World development needs, an area that has come to be known as development

communication (Melkote and Steeves, 2001:1).The objective of development

communication professionals is to work with the individuals and communities at the

grassroots so that they may eventually enter and participate meaningfully in the political

and economic processes in their communities/societies. This calls for grassroots

organizing and communicative social action on the part of the poor, women, minorities,

and others who have been consistently and increasingly marginalized in the process of

social change; all of which result to poverty (Pg.117).

The effect of poverty is obvious as many lives are battered, happiness stifled, creativity

destroyed and freedom limited. The consequence of this povertyalso includesshortage of

income,lack of schools, absence of health facilities, and unavailability of medicines, the

subjugation of women, hazardous environmental features, and lack of jobs.

Unfortunately, many governmentsin developing countries have attributed povertyto lack of

wealth rather than misappropriationof wealth by few powerful individuals in the

communities. Thus, the government‘s bent on seeking for international donors not minding

thatin a country like Nigeria with huge talents and mineralresources there is enough to go

round if good governance thrives.


Furthermore,Green(2008) has it thatin 2007, the earth‘s urban population overtook its rural

population driven mainly by growth in cities in developing countries. Of the three billion

urban residents in the world, one billion live in slums, and are vulnerable to disease,

violence, and social, political, and economic exclusion.In sub-Saharan Africa, the ranks of

extremely poor people increased by 58.3 million between 1990 and 2004.In this dart,

Green(2008:6),Balewa(1994:330- 331), Odugbemi (2008) andFreire (1972),agree with this

study that for poverty to be curtailed in the human society,effective communication and

good governance must thrive. It would be demonstrated from the leaders‘ ability to adhere

to the rule of law, transparency, accountability, responsiveness, equity and inclusiveness of

the (people) citizens in planning and execution of programmes and projects that concern

them. Such act would spur the citizens‘ confidence and support to their leaders as well as

thewillingness to protect government projects in the community.

Communication is the act of interactions among structures, processes and traditions that

determine how power and responsibilities are exercised,including how decisions are taken

and how citizens or other stakeholders have their say in the management of natural

resources. Good governance, on the other hand, is the effective means and democratic way

of passing information, as well as distributing resources among the community people.

Good governance is considered to bring positive change in the condition of lives of the

poor; it requiresdiligence, commitment, andrespect for the rule of law by a leader or those

who are in position of leadership. Leadership can make positive impact in the (human

society) community of a peopleby tackling inequality through effective communication.

Inequality transmits poverty from one generation to the next.Most cruelly, the poverty of a mother can blight the entire lives ofher children. Each year in developing countries around 30 millionchildren are born with impaired growth due to poor nutrition duringfoetal development. Babies born with a low birth


weight are muchmore likely to die, and should they survive, are more likely to face alifetime of sickness and poverty.The World Bank argues for equality of opportunity (for example, access to education, freedom from discrimination, equality before the law), but mentions greater equality of outcome only in relation to avoiding absolute deprivation. Inequality holds the key to the poverty that exists around the world.When people living in poverty are asked to define it for themselves, it is a sense of powerlessness, frustration, exhaustion, and exclusion from decision-making, not to mention the relative lack of access to public services, the financial system, and just about any other source of official support... (Green, 2008:6-8).

Theeffect of inequality is obviousin the Nigerian society andIshielu Local Government Area

in particular. However, it is believed that effective communication and good governance can

help bridge the gapthrough the people participation in government,the leaders‘ openness,

and enhancement ofthe people‘sstandard of living.Balewa (1994:321) says that a leader‘s

ability to maintain and even enhance the confidence of his people therefore serves to make

the very authority reposed in him a vehicle for that community‘s advancement and the

realization of its aims and objectives.Balewa (330- 331) also argues that for good

governance to thrive in any society, the voice of its people must be heard, respected and


Communication and go

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