The central aim of this paper is to highlight the rural development processes in Nigeria and identify the emerging challenges that impede sustainable rural development in the country. In achieving its aim, the paper clarified the concept of development and rural development as postulated by various scholars. It examines the modernization and dependency theoretical underpinning of the concepts. The study analyses secondary and empirical sources of data through qualitative methods. The paper posits that the rural areas have constituted majority of the nation’s population and serve as a base for food production. The paper argues that though various rural development policies have been initiated in Nigeria, the conditions of the rural areas has not changed much since independence. Rather, development policies in Nigeria have been tilted toward the urban areas while the rural areas live in extreme poverty and lack basic health, educational and social infrastructures. It identifies emerging challenges such as corruption and mismanagement of resources, poor policy implementation, famers- herders conflicts and lack of autonomy of the local governments. The study recommends more concerted efforts in implementing rural developments projects, punishment of corrupt public officials, effective budget monitoring, provision of security and conflict resolution mechanisms and participation of the rural populace in development projects.
This study highlights the interaction between settler migrant farmers and their host societies in the Western cocoa producing areas and some food producing areas of central part of Nigeria between the 1920s and 2014. The choice of date is informed by the time of the introduction of commercial cocoa production in Western Nigeria while 2014 is the year in which the dislocation of the peace in the food producing area, occasioned by the Chibok girls kidnap saga began. Using extant literature and field data in the study areas, the paper asserts that contrary to popular generalisations in some literature that ethnicity, economic interest, cultural and religious differences have engendered conflicts among indigene-settler relations, the people in our study area have coexisted peacefully. The paper examined the geo-economic imbalance in the distribution of resources which necessitated migration; the common need for capital formation to exploit the resources; use of non-economic methods like kinship ties, ethnic affiliations, and some customary obligations have remained important indicators in the rural social and economic life. It is the observation of this paper that the rural farming societies of our investigation, though an agglomeration of different ethnic nationalities, yet maintained a symbiotic economic and social cooperation in a system-devised method of absorbing the shocks and sometimes strained relationship among them, in a participatory way.