1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The achievement of a qualitative degree of development is a critical part of every nation's move to self-reliance, and it is the personal worth of any national government. According to Lawal (2011), progress is a critical component of any vibrant nation's growth and sustainability. As a result, in order to ensure growth, socio-political and economics stability must be assured at all levels of government, as this would encourage citizens' natural attachment to the governance process. Though growth is critical to every country's success, Okereke and Ekpe (2012) noted that there is an uneven degree of development around the world, which has sparked various academic debates and hypotheses as to why certain countries are more industrialized than others. Nigeria, like the majority of African nations, has abundant human and natural resources as well as a diverse cultural heritage. Various Nigerian governments have proposed and attempted ambitious strategies aimed at achieving growth in the country in the past. These policies included programs aimed at improving the general health of people and the country as a whole. Since the country's independence, progress and growth have become top priorities for the nation. This is because development planning is also seen as the only way to effectively manage resource distribution and use (Ibietan & Ekhosuehi, 2013). According to Ogunmike (2015), Nigeria's first substantive development plan was published in 1946, with the basic goal of promoting economic growth and enhancing the general health of the country's people. The development programme, which embodied Nigeria's independence, was initiated in 1962 and lasted for six years. The strategy aimed to keep and boost the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth by relying heavily on multilateral funding, with 50 percent of overall investment coming from outside the country. As a result of the fall of the first republic and the ensuing outbreak of civil war, the first construction initiative came to a sudden end. Furthermore, only about 14% of the planned international assistance was obtained, resulting in a failure to meet the stated goals (Ogunmike, 2015). Following the civil war, the second growth programme, which lasted from 1970 to 1974, was initiated. The second national development plan was implemented at a time when Nigeria's crude oil and other export sales were on the rise. Agriculture, industry, transportation, manpower, defense, electricity, connectivity, water supply, and social services were all prioritized in the programme. The strategy also sought to restructure a country that had been ravaged by post-war aggression. The third action plan, which ran from 1975 to 1980, was vague since it focused on rural development and agriculture. To recap, these measures are all aimed at increasing budget revenue, decreasing the need for imported commodity imports, reducing income disparities, and managing inflation. The strategy was successful in indigenizing the economy, providing free education, and establishing other industrial ventures. The GDP rate increased, and the manufacturing, architecture, and construction industries were not left behind in the transition process (Ogunmike, 2015). The fourth development plan was also developed, accompanied by the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), both with the goal of reforming and diversifying the economy, achieving fiscal and balance-of-payments stability over a specified time span, laying the groundwork for non-inflationary expansion, and enhancing the private sector's potential growth. Other development strategies, such as the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS), the Seven Point Agenda, and the Transformation Agenda, have recently been unveiled as a solution to Nigeria's development issues and a national prosperity programme (National Planning Commission, 2014). As a result, the aim of this research is to explore what development entails, the barriers to development, and the opportunities for development in twenty-first-century Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
After Nigeria's independence in 1960, a number of development plans have been placed in motion to guide the country's development. Aside from development strategies, a number of planning initiatives and methods, such as the rolling plan 1990-1999, vision 2010, vision 2020, structural reform program, National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), among others, have been adopted at different periods to achieve national progress. It is worth noting that these national strategies, as well as all other economic growth programs, have struggled to meet their stated goals and objectives.
Despite the Nigerian government's development plans, there have been many delays in the development process. According to Osakwe (2010), the essence of Nigeria's growth policy has led to the country's sluggish progress in reducing poverty and unemployment, and as a result, the country has not undergone the usual systemic transition phase. This means that the Nigerian government's policies have not resulted in the expansion of productive capacities or economic change, all of which are essential for creating productive job opportunities and reducing poverty to a minimum. As a result, numerous government policy efforts have been in vain, as unemployment, hunger, and inequality continue to climb. According to Ibietan & Ekhosuehi (2013), growth has been hampered by a lack of alignment and harmonization of programs/policies both before and after an administration's term.
Overall, development in Nigeria has been slowed by the Nigerian leadership's inability to adequately foresee true development and position it on the agenda over the years, according to the report. Other reasons cited include misguided goals, weak strategy management, a lack of self-reliance, insufficient executive ability and public sector inefficiency, technology transfer syndrome, and system coherence. In Nigeria, the execution of sustainable development strategies based on practical evidence would necessitate a strong development strategy, sincere commitment to the development agenda, public sector productivity and discipline, public/private sector synergy and partnership, and behavioural improvement. In line with the above, the research point is that, considering the Nigerian government's attempts to achieve growth, why has it been difficult for it to be visible and undeniable by her people, or, better yet, what are the obstacles to development in Nigeria?
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the challenges of development and prospects for Nigeria in the 21st century. Other general objectives of the study are:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research will benefit mankind particularly the average Nigerian citizen who is being ravaged with poverty due to the on-going economic recession that keeps coming back in every administration. It will also help policy makers promulgate sound policies that support economy diversification and condemn the mono-cultural nature of the economy. This research would proffer significant information on the challenges that serve as hindrances to national development. The knowledge garnered and analyzed here would be beneficial to students, graduates in the social sciences as well as business field, policy makers, economists, research fellows or scholars to add more to the knowledge or inspire them to make more critical findings on this issue as well as the government to understand the urgent need for the nation to make quicker steps in formulating plans to diversify the economy away from its mono-product state and in case of having formulated any, make its implementation timely, efficient and more rapid, which would do well in solving a number of the nation's development challenges. It would also bring to light the defects of the attractive but weakly implemented national development plans of the regimes in order to avoid making future errors and ultimately, this research would present workable recommendations that could be useful in solving the nation's development challenges as well as spur the attainment of true national development. This research study would be useful for students who are interested in researching in this area that pertain to Nigeria's economy and development as well as inspire scholars in the academics to embark on a further research as regards Nigeria's development.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the challenges of development and prospects for Nigeria in the 21st century.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
National Development: Is the ability of a county or countries to improve the social welfare of the people e.g by providing social amenities like quality education, potable water, transportation infrastructure, medical care, etc.
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