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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Urbanisation is not a recent phenomenon in Nigeria. Indeed many ancient cities such as Ile Ife, Kano, Ibadan, Benin and such cities as Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka in Anambra State have had a rich history of urbanization. Urbanisation however increased significantly during the colonial administrations. It is apparent that the rate of urbanization in recent period has been alarming and unsustainable.
Urbanization is defined as the agglomeration of people in relatively large number at a particular spot of the earth surface (Onyemelukwe, 1977; Agbola, 2004; Olotuah and Adesiji, 2005). Urbanisation is regarded as a process, whereby an increasing proportion of the world, nations or region’s population lives in developed areas (Falade, 2003).
According to Mabogunje (2002), residents of urban centers in Nigeria in 1950 were less that 15% of the population. By 1975, this proportion had risen to 23.4% and by 2000 was 43.3%. According to him, urban population growth rate is 4.8% annually; markedly higher than growth rate of 1.2% in Developed countries (HDR, 2004). Conversely, another school of thought believes that urbanization is not about the population size, but must satisfy certain conditions like modernization, physical and economic development, as well as the heterogeneity in occupation (Wirth, 1938 and Harvey, 2000 and Oyeleye 2013).
Urbanization has also been linked to poverty reduction and innovation. Almost universally, access to basic urban services such as health, education, water, sanitation and electricity are higher in urban areas than in rural areas and are higher in larger urban areas than in smaller urban areas. With the increasing population explosions and massive rural-urban migration accompanying the urbanization process in the developing countries, global economic integration, increased international trade, capital flows, telecommunication, new waves of technologies, and shifts in the comparative advantage of production continue to play a central role in integrating major urban centers and shaping the spatial organization of the cities (Jiboye, 2005).
Oyesiku (1997) opined that the pressure created by population growth from natural increase and migration on little investment in infrastructure and services in Nigerian urban areas is indeed so great that declines in quality and quantity of these are inevitable. This emigrational factor often results to over urbanization, which constitutes a “strike back” effect on the environment. (Awosusi1 and Jegede 2013).
In Nigeria the phenomenal rise in population from 82 million in 1991 to an estimated population of about 170 million in 2013 (National Population, Commission, 2010) and massive economic growth at over 7% per annum over the last decade (Awojori, 2011) which makes the country the continents dominant economy brought much pressure on the already depressed urban infrastructures to the extent that current estimates put the number of homeless people in Lagos in 2010 at over 250000. Yet Lagos was ranked as one of the most unlivable cities in the world in 2009.
Nigeria’s cities, as elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa, lack adequate infrastructure for housing, sanitation, water, and open space. Much of this is due to the absence of effective, proactive and goal getting local administrations that encompass the evolving functions and responsibilities in the face of massive population growth and continued urbanization. Therefore it is clear that to a large extent, urbanization may not be a problem since it is inevitable to urbanize. However problem lies with the process of managing this phenomenon in order to minimize the negative consequences to the level where it constitutes less of a problem.
Urbanization is the outcome of social, economic and political development that lead to urban concentration and growth of large cities changes in the land use and transformation from rural to metropolitan pattern of organization and governance.Although Urbanization is the driving force for modernization, economic growth and development, there is increasing concern about the effect of expanding cities, particularly on human health, livelihood and environment. The implication of rapid urbanization and demographic trends for employment, food, security, water supply, shelter and sanitation, especially the disposal of waste (solid and liquid) that the cities produce are staggering (UNCED, 1992). The question that arises is whether the current trend in urban growth is sustainable considering the accompanying urban challenge such as unemployment, poverty and environmental degradation especially in the developing countries. The above presented facts therefore go to show that though the country has significantly grown, the issue of how to ensure its continuous growth and sustainability especially developmental wise is important considering the many challenges facing it such as unemployment, poor legislations, poverty, crime and so on and forth. The strategy to ensure is sustainability is what has necessitated this study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Urbanization in Nigeria has suffered great setbacks and impairment in the 21st century basically because of many militating factors such as unemployment, infrastructural deficiencies, government will and maladministration thus the constant search for how to bring about a sustainable urban growth in Nigeria.
Many however believe that urbanization may decrease chances of development in the rural areas but the rural areas can as well be given a modern touch and when this is achieved and urban growth and development sustained, then the challenges would have been agreed.
It is worthy to note also that urbanization leads to increased rural-urban migration and this migration results to over population if not well handled. When perfectly handled and the human capital fully harnessed, the gains are direct on industrialization, improved trade and commerce, and other numerous opportunities and advantages; the full exploitation of this benefits is hampered by many factors such as high crime rates, over population, poverty, unemployment, infrastructural deficiency, poor waste management, corruption etc. and that is why the researcher is looking for strategies to maximizing the full potentials of urbanization in, Awka North L.G.A. and ensuring its sustainability. Some of these failed strategies are the National Housing Policy of 1991, the ASUDEB plan and many more. The failures of these plans are worrisome hence the researcher’s interest in finding out why the plans have failed and what can be done to remedy the situation.
This research seeks to find out exactly what strategies can be deployed in combating these noted challenges and ensuring urban development in Nigeria Awka North L.G.A. since the many benefits of urbanization are enormous.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study is to evaluate sustainable urban development, challenges and strategies in Awka North L.G.A.
The specific objectives of this study include;
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions for this study are as follows:
For the purpose of this study, the following hypothesis will be tested.
H1: Political interference can determine the level of infrastructural development in Awka North L.G.A.
H1: Poor government policies cannot bring about the collapse of urbanization in Awka North L.G.A.
HI: Government dedication and sincerity can bring about a lasting urbanization in Awka North L.G.A.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Theoretically, the study will serve as a reference material for further studies for researchers and students.
Practically, the study would provide a veritable strategy upon which to examine and build a lasting and sustainable urban development and growth in Nigeria.
The study will add to intellectual value of Nigerians. The knowledge of the challenges of urban growth and development and strategies will be very useful as it will broaden individual’s outlook, sharpen their intellect and inculcate in them the habit of balanced thinking.
The study will also educate the government and youth who consciously or unconsciously contribute to the many challenges of urbanization in the country.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is focused on finding out the challenges of a urban development and strategies in Nigeria especially Awka North local government area.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
During the course of this research, there were some visible and invisible problems encountered notably in some areas of data collecting. The problems are as follows: The choice of the right state for this research was also not an easy one as the researcher had to consider accessibility to information needed for the research.
Epileptic power supply was also a problem to the researcher.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Development:Development entails a simultaneous increase in quality and quantity of an effort, an event, a product, an idea moving from the point of conception to better points of usage by those for whom it is meant. It involves improvement in the infrastructure and lifestyle of the people..
Urbanization: this is the process by which towns and cities are formed and become larger as more and more people begin living and working in central areas. Simply put, it is the quality or process of being urbanized.
Sustainability: This answers the question of how a trend, an effort, a system can be continued, how there can be assurances of a continued existence of an idea or a thing without possible future extinction or collapse.