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Public Policy and Administration


William Benet


Rural communities in Rivers State, Nigeria are fraught with underdevelopment crises despite the accrual of wealth from oil and gas. Community Development Committees (CDCs) are established by the Rivers State government in each town and village to facilitate community development. However, the CDCs have failed to generate substantive development in rural communities. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate the perceptions of local stakeholders as to the factors that have contributed to this policy failure. Benet's theory of polarities of democracy was used in this study. Twenty-two participants in the Khana region of Rivers State were interviewed regarding why the CDCs have failed to promote rural development in the Khana Local Government Area in Rivers State, Nigeria. Saldana's method of coding and content analysis were used for data analysis. The results from the analysis revealed that CDCs protected personal and political interests of the elites, excluded the voice of the local citizens, lacked representation from the minority, and CDC officials mismanaged funds and resources. To improve the lives of the rural people in Rivers State, Nigeria, it was recommended that CDCs become more inclusive. Also, CDC leaders need to work closely with all local stakeholders so that each stakeholder and not just the elites of the community will benefit from CDC policies or programs. Implementation of these recommendations might bring about more social justice and equity in the local communities served by CDCs. They might also help to promote reasonable distribution of government wealth through the provision of viable projects in the rural communities in Rivers State, Nigeria.

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