Town Union and Community Development: Contributions of Nzuko-Arochukwu to the socio-economic growth of Arochukwu, 1981-2017
Attempts on community development have been viewed from top-bottom approach, this is responsible for the little gains recorded with national programmes towards community development; hence the need for community participation. This study focuses on the contributions of Nzuko-Arochukwu to the socio-economic growth of Arochukwu. This umbrella body of the Aro has played a pivotal role in the infrastructural, economic, social and political transformation of Arochukwu, a society with rich historical and cultural narratives. Just like other towns in Igbo land, the impact of the Nigerian - Biafra war on Arochukwu was severe leading to massive infrastructural decay. The study appraises the concept of community development using the workings of Nzuko-Arochukwu to explore the prospects of town unions and their challenges in developing their communities. The study used the qualitative method based on critical analysis of events from facts available to the researchers emphasizing the combination of primary and secondary sources which include the use of books and journals. The study adopted the community action theory modeled by Paulo Freire which emphasizes on mobilization for community development. The evidence from these sources indicates that Nzuko-Arochukwu has contributed to the socio-economic growth of Arochukwu through construction of roads, provision of potable water, engaged in peace and conflict resolutions in Arochukwu and Aro settlements, educational projects, construction of health centres, completion of the age long Arochukwu civic centre, empowering the community with skills acquisition programmes including the disbursement of low interest loans through the Arochukwu Microfinance Bank and most importantly, the establishment of the Abia State College of Education (Technical), Arochukwu. It was observed that Nzuko-Arochukwu has contributed to the socio-economic growth of the town by mobilizing her people to engage in socio-economic projects. Poor finances, inadequate communication between the leaders and the people and unnecessary rivalry are some of the identified challenges militating against the performance of Nzuko-Arochukwu. The study recommends a closer relationship with government and other town unions for exchange of ideas on community development, engaging members of the community and proper mobilization of the Aro people at home and in diaspora for a better and productive town union.
Keywords: Development, Community, Arochukwu, Mobilization, Community leadership
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