1.1 Background to the Study
Transportation is an essential part of human activity, and in many ways form the basis of all socio-economic interactions. Indeed, no two locations will interact effectively without a viable means of movement (Ganiya, 2012). In many developing countries inadequate transport facilities are often the norm rather than the exception (Nwosu, 2016). Thus, a good transport system is essential to support economic growth and development. Since the attainment of independence in 1960, the problems of Nigeria transport system include bad roads, inadequate fleets of buses or trucks, irregular, inadequate and overcrowded trains and airplanes and congested parts. These are common features of the developing world. In line with these are physical problems such as death of suitably trained transport managers and planners, capital restricting bottlenecks, serious issues of institutional reforms and ineffective traffic regulations (Raheem, 2014).
Transport of any kind is concomitant and a pre-requisite to the development of any modern society. It is indispensable in the economy of any society hence it has increased the socio-economic development of Ughelli south L.G.A of Delta State.
In recent years, with aid of motorcycle (popularly known as Okada and tricycle (popularly called keke Napep) operation in Ughelli southL.G.A of Delta state. The communities have experienced and unprecedented general economic boom, which has in turn encouraged the increased diversification of local industries and commercial activities especially in the rural areas.
Atubi and Onokala (2004b) pointed out that “in human geography, one of the most fundamental themes is spatial interaction. That spatial interaction involves the movement of goods and services and people between various centres in space. In general, when constructing or improving a road network where economical solution for one road link may not necessarily be the best solution for the network as a whole. That the cost of implementing one project to high standards may consume resources that would be better spent over the whole network, or in filling other gaps in the network with lower standard roads.
Furthermore, for any meaningful division of labour and specialization in production process to take place in any society (such as Ughelli south L.G.A of Delta state) there must be an efficient and effective means of transport (Atubi and Onokala 2004a). The various Feeder roads and paths are constructed to connect the interior parts of the region and this gives room or serve as an advantage to motorcycle (Okada) and tricycle (Keke napep) transport system in Ughelli south L.G.A of Delta State.
Rural areas in Ughelli south L.G.A of Delta State are characterized by poor roads. In virtually all the cases, these roads are perpetually in a state of despair. Yet, it is on these deplorable roads that the rural dwellers trek daily to obtain water, firewood, farm produce and also to secure services from such places as markets, schools and clinic (Okoko, 2011). Rural dwellers also rely on these poorly maintained roads to transport crops, raw materials and food stuff that are meant for consumption in the urban areas. Rural roads plays a governing role in the development of rural areas. Research scholars are unanimous and unequivocal in their assertion that rural development is predicted on efficient rural transportation infrastructure (Idachaba 1981, Adeniji 1987; Ogunsanya and Ojetola, 1993; Oyekunle, 1995, and Ovbude, 2000).
The consensus reached by these scholars is that the inadequacy of rural transportation facilities is an insidious encumbrance to rural development. As Filani (1988) put it, “one of the major pre-requisites of efficient functioning of an area is the facility for the movement of people, people, goods and services quickly and economically” Ogunsany and Ojetola (1993) corroborate this, when they asserted that the need for transport arises in any economy that is distributed over space. Ademiluyi and Solanke (2002) vehemently adumbrated that adequate and efficient rural feeder road network serves as one of the channels for the collection and exchange of goods and services, movement of people and dissemination of information. They went further to over that rural roads are helpful in enhancing rural productivity as well as in strengthening the socio-economic, cultural and political fabrics and processes of the rural communities. To use their words, rural road provision forms intrinsic part of rural development strategies, serving as a mechanism and catalyst for rural transformation. Scholars have further established a close and positive relationship between improved rural transport and economic development (Levy, 1996, Ahmed and Hossian, 1990, Howe, 1981). Their contention is that improved rural accessibility and mobility are capable of reducing the level of poverty of rural people because the basic necessities of life such as health care delivery, education to them. Improved accessibility can reduce the degree of deprivation among rural settlements either within themselves or between them and the urban market (Olawale, Aloba, and Adetunji, 2010).
In recent years, the prohibitive prices of brand new cars and buses have resulted in the reduction of the number of private cars and commercial vehicles generally on our urban roads and rural roads. Even the fairly used imported cars and buses (Tokunbo) are beyond the reach of the majority of our people. As a result of these factors, there has been a tremendous demand for public transport in our towns and villages in recent years. It is against this background that this study is carried out to look intensively at the impact of transportation network in rural development in Ughelli south Loca Government Area of Delta State
1.2 Statement of Problem
Transport is seen as a necessary ingredient in all aspect of economic and social development. It plays a key role in getting land into production, in marketing agricultural commodities and in the development of industries, in the expansion of trade, in the conduct of health and education programmes and in the exchange of ideas (Olawole et al, 2010). Aloba (1985) also highlighted the nexus between rural transpiration and rural development and noted that no society can exist above subsistence level without a measure of improvement in its transport system. In his woods, where good surfaced roads are found in the rural areas, residents have reacted positively to the presence of such rural amenity by stepping up their productivity and the area under cultivation.
Rural settings have their own inalienable and unassailable peculiarities that distinguish them unmistakably from the urban settings. They are often characterized by lack of basic infrastructure like pipe-borne water, electricity, good road and other related infrastructural services. Rural transport is the provision of transport is the provision of transport facilities as well as short distance movements between an urban centre and the surrounding rural areas, between two rural settlements or between rural settlements and the farmlands that belong to them (Ademiluyi and Solanke, 2002). The conditions of most rural roads are often useful and their density is generally low when compared to inter-urban and intra-urban roads. Most of the rural roads are impassable during rainy seasons and IPSO Facto, the affected communities are alienated from other neighbouring communities. Moreover, some of the vehicles that ply on roads are not road worthy and are also unlicensed. Consequently, they are generally slow, irregular, inefficient and unsafe (Aloba, 1983).
Motorized transport costs are usually very high during rainy season because of poor roads and incessant breakdown of vehicles. As Adeniji (1987) noted, the ability of agricultural and forest freight to absorb motorized transport costs varies according to the purpose and type of agricultural concerns are found to be more able to absorb public transport costs than the subsistence primary produces in the rural areas. As a result, a sizeable number of rural dwellers resort to head porterage, bicycles, land-draw carts, pick up vans and other forms of adapted or informed transport modes such as “tro-too” in Ughelli south Local Government Area of Delta State in particular and Nigeria in general.
Decaying infrastructure is one of the deficiencies that Nigeria’s National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) seeks to address (Nwosu, 2016). The government has begun to repair the country’s poorly maintained road network. Because Nigeria’s railways are in a parlous condition, the government is trying to rectify the situation by privatizing the Nigeria Railway Corporation. Similarly, the government is pursuing a strategy of partial port privatization by granting concession to private port operators so that they can improve the quality of port facilities and operations, but all efforts made so far have yielded no result. This is not unconnected to the poor road network and poor transport system in the rural areas which have continued to pose serious threats to lives of the rural dwellers through series of accidents occurring on rural roads.
The major problem associated with the road transportation is the high number of accident cases often resulting in the death of both the cyclist and the passenger or commuter. Also, with the poor condition of roads of Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State especially on rural roads, most parts of the area are denied access to public transport services. In the light of this, a vast number of commuters have now resorted to the services of tricycles transport inspite of the social risks and incessant cases of accidents associated with this mode of transportation.
The high prices of brand new cars and buses have resulted in the reduction of the number of private cars and commercial vehicles generally on our urban roads. It is now a common sight to see hundred passengers at bus stations or along road sides waiting for hours for the few buses and taxis on the road (Okoko, 1998). From the preceding above, it could be concluded that there have been lapses and research gap on the impact of transportation network in rural development in the study area since previous research work have mainly focused on others aspects of transportation. The study is therefore carried out to fill this gap and address the aforementioned problem which hinder the development of rural areas.
1.3 Aim and Objectives
The main of this study is to look intensively and truly point out the impact of transportation network in rural development in Ughelli south Local Government Area of Delta State.
However, the specific objectivities are to;
1.4 Research Questions
The following research question (s) will be asked in the study;
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The following null hypothesis will be tested in this study.
The significance of this study is to look intensively at the impact it transportation network on rural development in Ughelli south Local Government Area of Delta State. It will also afford the management of the transport system in the area and the problems resulting from poor network in rural areas.
This study will also address the problems of road transportation especially road accident which constantly pose serious threat to the lives of the rural dwellers since it has been observed that fatal accidents mostly occur on rural roads.
It is also hoped that this study will create awareness on the role of transportation network in the development of rural areas and the level of development in the rural areas. It is also hoped that people in the area especially road users and commuters will take precautionary measures against road accidents from this study.
And lastly, it is hoped that the methodology and statistical analysis used in this study will provide a useful base for further researchers who might wish to carry out useful investigation in the area.
Ughelli south is one of the major Local Government Area that make up the twenty five (25) Local Government Area of Delta State. Ughelli south Local Government Area comprise of forty seven (47) communities which includes: Alota, Oghrughru, Iwhremahwe, Ete-Efe, Assah, Adjekuo, Ogoda, Orere Atanaza, Iwhregolor, Aravbarian, Iwhreredje, Oguname, Ekpekpe, Iwhorehe, Okparabe, Ovwodokpopor, Okerhe, Otokutu, Uvwiamuge, Uvwiama, Egbo, Ophorigbala, Okpan, Iwhrekain, Otujeremi, Eyara, Imode, Ayagha, Oginibo, Owahwa, Esaba, Otutuma, Okwagbe. These communities have their various kingship institutions and kingdom that lord over them. Most of these traditional ruler are often referred to as ‘Ovie’ meaning king. (Aweto, 2002).
Ughelli south is located in the south-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria and in the Niger Delta region. The headquarter of Ughelli south Local Government Area of Delta State is Out-jeremi which is a major town in the area.
Geographically, Ughelli south Local Government Area is located around latitudes 050 071E TO 060 03IE of the Greenwich meridian. The study area covers a total land area of 280km2. It is bounded in the North by Bomadi L.G.A and in the East by Ughelli North L.G.A.
Fig 1: Map Of Delta State Showing The Study Area
Fig 2: Map Of Ughelli South L.G.A showing the various
1.7.2 Relief and Drainage
The relief of the study area like other areas in the southern part of Delta State is generally low with the lowland rising to 5meters above sea level it has a high water table especially during the well season
The area is drained by the Forcadoe River and the Okpara Creek. Also, the area is riddled with an/intricate system of natural water channels and valleys collimating in fishing activities.
The study area is located within the moderately hot area of the state with a monthly temperature of about 280c and annual average rainfall of with the first in July and the second in October. The prevailing winds affecting the area are the south west and the North East trade winds. The relative humidly is higher (about 98%) during the wet season resulting in damp conditions and varies slightly to (about 96%) during the dry season. Within the period water fall is usually very high in the valley region. This heavy rainfall usually result to flooding of the major roads who in most case leads to road accident and traffic congestion since road transport is the major means of transport in the study area.
1.7.4 Vegetation and Soil
Te natural vegetation is that of the tropical rainforest type with evergreen trees. The vegetation comprises of valuable economic tress such as mahogany, Obeche, etc. In water loggedarea, particularly fringing river valleys, the vegetation comprises raffia palm, oil palm etc.
The soils are predominantly sandy, acidic and deficit in plant nutrient. They are intensively leached and weathered. The soils are mainly ferralite soil derived from sand stone paven materials. The soil in the Northern parts of the study area are poorly drained, though they experience heavy rainfall releasing a composite soil structure. This poorly drained soil often result to accumulation or stagnation of water after heavy rainfall which floods streets and major after heavy rainfall which floods streets and major roads leading accidents and other transportation problems.
Due to rapid industrialization, urbanization and the presence of large quantities of road network and communication network (in Ughelli Main Town), the population of Ughelli South LG.A has increased over the years. However, there came a decrease in the population due to high rate of rural urban migration in the rural areas of the study area leading to the decline in infrastructural development. There was also a mass exodus of resident to adjoining states, towns and villages, not exceeding major oil multi-nationals like shall petroleum development company (SPDC).
1.7.6 Socio-Economic Activities
The people of Ughelli south LGA engage in a wide range of socio-economic activities. These include farming, fishing, hunting, pottery, trading etc. Farming is the largest employer of labour in the area. Over 50% of the people are engage in farming activities. The main tree crops are rubber and oil palm. Although rubber cultivation is becoming less significant. Other crops grown include slope food crops such as cassava, yam, plantain, vegetables etc. Apart from the crop cultivation, there is also rearing of animals such as poultry, piggery, rearing of sheep etc. These crops and animals constitute the commodities trade.
Apart from agriculture, there are also government and private establishments that provide job opportunities to the inhabitants in the areas. They include privately owned business such as filling station, mechanic workshop restaurants, shops, business center (i.e computer and photocopy center), transpiration parks, private schools, hotels etc. Government owned establishment includes the customary court, generally hospital, local government council secretariats, ministries and police station. Sand is also mined locally from the river that flows through the area.
The area also have a gas plant (Utorugu Gas Plant) and a flow station. The gas plant and the flow station have a number of oil wells and gas well, they are operated by the Shell Petroleum Development Company. These establishments also provides job opportunities to the inhabitant of the area.
In terms of transportation, Ughelli main town has a good transportation network as compared to the bizarre situation a decade ago but the rural areas of Ughelli south L.G.A are poorly linked and connected which makes it difficult for the transportation of goods and services especially during the rainy season.
1.8 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The scope of this study was strictly based on the impact of transportation network on rural development in Ughelli south L.G.A of Delta State. Ant to offer suggestion (s) to the problems of transportation.
The scope of the study was initially designed to cover all the streets and communities/quarters in Ughelli south L.G.A. However, because of time and financial constraints, the scope was scaled down. In this regard only selected major quarters/ communities were covered in this study. The time was also short to carry out the research work coupled with academic work.
These limitations notwithstanding, the data generated from this study and research finding will be of invaluable assistance to the management of the rural transport system to enhance development in the rural areas.