In what seems to be a global trend, most leaders of national governments place emphasis on the need for development at the grassroots as a foundation and prerequisites for national development. This practice Is particularly prominent among authorities of developing nations Like Nigeria, where there is an obvious divide in the quality of life between rural and urban dwellers. It is generally known that the qualities of life in rural areas are very deplorable, with poverty seething through every facet of rural endeavourers.
The worrisome aspect is the fact that sorority of the citizens live in rural areas, where developmental efforts are very low compared to the urban areas, which usually witness heavy concentration of developmental strides, with the implicit assumption that its effect or impact will trickle down to the masses at the grassroots. However, this assumption has consistently proven wrong, as rural development remains a mirage, given the poverty level among rural dwellers.
It is an empirical truth that one of the characteristics of under-development Is the high and persistent rate of poverty In these rural areas. For several decades, global discussions on third world countries often revolve around under-development, rooted In poverty and other related problems of disease, low literacy, hunger, unemployment, slow economic growth, infant and maternal moralities among others. The recent world’s attention focused on reducing income gap between the world’s richest and the world’s poorest nation is enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals (Megs).
This is necessitated by the uneven distribution of global resources where the world richest 1% controls as much wealth s the poorest 57% of the population (Chug, 2003) Today 60% of the world 6. 4 billion population live in abject poverty (Sampson, 2006). Even though there are other mitigating factors, poverty remains the underlying factor plaguing rural development. Supporting this Is the assertion that “poverty anywhere Is a threat to prosperity everywhere” Along, 2008).
It Is in recognition of this fact and other worrying effects of poverty and Its concomitant consequences that necessitated the world convention on Millennium Development Goals held In New York In the year 2000, where eight placement-threatening issues were brought to a round table with 189 united Nations member states speaking unanimously on the need to pursue the agenda of achieving the eight development goals by the year 2015.
Most of these agreements represent commitment by all countries to reduce poverty and hunger, tackle ill- health, gender inequality, lack of education, lack of access to clean water and environmental degradation. Before the concept of Millennium Development Goals, there have been several efforts by concerned groups and nations across the world to cackle poverty and other retrogressive manifestations peculiar to under-developed countries, whose towns and cities are unsurprisingly largely defined by rural communities. Several International conferences and world summits In the asses preceded the Meds Declarations.
They Included the World Summit for Children held in New York, in September, 1990: UN Conference on Environment and Development Development held in Cairo, Egypt, September 1994; World Summit for Social Development conducted in Copenhagen, Denmark in March, 1995 and World Food Summit held in Rome, Italy in November 1996. While these conferences and world summits attempted to address the barrage of issues bearing on under development and rural development, it was evident that a more holistic and coherent approach to addressing these issues is imperative.
This is in view of the fact that these conferences and summits only highlight and discuss one or two elements of the numerous socio- economic problems of developing and under developed nations. In a similar vein, a clear cut action plan, with necessary delivery date were not identified to be explicitly indicated in the declarations resulting from these summits. On the there hand, the United Nations Millennium Declaration, out of which Millennium Development Goals were highlighted, appears to have provided a well marshaled plan on how to tackle these issues.
Millennium Development Goals provide for eight clearly defined goals, with targets and a series of measurable indicators for each target. Therefore, this research tries to do a holistic assessment of the efforts of government in addressing rural development using the Millennium Development Goals to tackle the endemic problem of under-development in rural areas, in Kite South West Local Government Area Kite State.