PROJECT TOPIC: Politics of Poverty Alleviation Programme in Nigeria

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Local Government is seen as political subdivision of a nation, which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs. It is regarded as the third tier of government in Nigeria, created for the purpose of grass-root development (UNO, 1961 in Ogbeni, 2007). In Nigeria the system of local government has over the year’s undergone series of changes, beginning from when the British colonial administration introduced the native authority system. In 1921 the basic structure of this native authority system features prominently throughout the country and continued until 1950s, the period Nigerians began to participate actively in legislative functions (Hassan, 2002).

The poverty situation in Nigeria is galloping. Despite several attempts by successive governments to ameliorate the scourge, Eze (2009:447) explains that the level of poverty is geometrically increasing (Okpe and Abu, 2009:205). Poverty is deep and pervasive, with about 70 percent of the population living in absolute poverty (Okonjo-Iweala, Soludo and Muhtar, 2003:1; the Punch Newspaper, 2009:14). The ballooning poverty situation notwithstanding, Nigeria is blessed with abundant resources. Chukwuemeka (2009:405) observes that the country is blessed with natural and human resources, but in the first four decades of its independence, the potentials remained largely untapped and even mismanaged (Omotola, 2008:497). Putting the problem in proper perspective, Nwaobi (2003:5) asserts that Nigeria presents a paradox. The country is rich but the people are poor. Given this condition, Nigeria should rank among the richest countries that should not suffer poverty entrapment. However, the monumental increase in the level of poverty has made the socio-economic landscape frail and fragile. Today, Nigeria is ranked among the poorest countries in the world.

The fight against poverty has been a central plank of development planning since independence in 1960 and about fifteen ministries, fourteen specialized agencies, and nineteen donor agencies and non-governmental organizations have been involved in the decades of this crusade but about 70 percent of Nigerians still live in poverty (Soludo, 2003: 27). Observers have unanimously agreed that successive government’s interventions have failed to achieve the objectives for which they were established (Ovwasa, 2000:73; Adesopo, 2008; 219-222; Omotola, 2008:505-512).

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