Akwa Labaris and Kpalo Sunday Yusuf
The study ascertained the role of local leaders in community development programmes in Kokona LGA and derived implications for local leadership as an institution for rural development. A total of 104 respondents comprising leaders and non-leaders and selected through stratified random sampling technique participated in the study. Percentage and mean scores were utilized in realizing the objectives. Results showed that the most important roles played by local leaders in community development were; decision-making (_= 3.82); liaison between governmental and non-governmental agencies and the community for financial and technical assistance (_= 3.80); monitoring and evaluation of projects (_= 3.78); and fund raising for projects (_= 3.76). Further results showed that the most important (40%) source of information for community development efforts were through the local leaders themselves. Gender was a major issue in community development as result revealed that women were not given equal opportunity for participation in community initiatives like their male counterparts. Incompatibility of government policies with community programmes (_= 3.84), insufficient sources of funds (_= 3.83), poor implementation of programmes (_= 3.80), and gender bias (_= 3.77) constituted the major constraints to effective leadership in community development programmes in the area. It was concluded that for sustained success to be achieved in community development efforts, there is an urgent need for extension policy that will formally accommodate the local leaders in all community development initiatives of both governmental and nongovernmental agencies.
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