Democracy and poverty reduction in Nigeria: A case study of Rivers State: 1999 – 2007
This paper seeks to examine the extent to which Nigeria's democratic experience (1999-2007) has elevated the living standards of the majority of the people. It specifically aimed at search lighting the impact of the regime's key poverty reduction strategies vis-à-vis the overall poverty situation in the country in general and Rivers State in particular. The study focused on two poverty reduction strategies: National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and the Rivers State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (RIVSEEDS). The study utilized the primary and secondary sources of data in realizing its central objective. The Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA) method was also adopted in the course of this research work. The sample population was drawn from ten Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Rivers State; Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Ikwerre, Emohua, Etche, Omuma, Ahoada East, Ahoada West, Abua/Odual and Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni LGAs. The research work employed the Political Economy (P.E.) method of analysis. The PE approach elucidates in very clear terms how the policies and reforms of successive governments in Nigeria have debilitated the productive forces of a great number of her population. The findings of this study showed that the democratic experience has impacted little to the poverty situation of the people of Rivers State. It also revealed that the present government's poverty reduction programme is yet to be complemented by other macroeconomic policies to yield the desired results of poverty reduction, wealth creation and capacity building.
KEY WORDS: DEMOCRACY, POVERTY REDUCTION; PARTICIPATORY POVERTY ASSESSMENT METHOD; POLITICAL ECONOMY APPROACH; NATIONAL POVERTY ERADICATION PROGRAMME (NAPEP) AND THE RIVERS STATE ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY (RIVSEEDS)