Urbanization In Nigeria; Problems And Prospects (A Case Of Owerri Municipal Council)

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration


One of the most significant developments world wide is the rapid increase in urbanization. This is more so in developing countries where urbanization is proceeding at the alarming rate. Nigeria is not an exception to this trend. The researcher, who has an intense interest to study those problems that befall urban centers in Nigeria, wrote on the urbanization in Nigeria.

Problems and prospects; (a case of Owerri Municipal Urban Council). The aim is to identify the various problems that befall urban dwellers in Owerri municipal council and other emerging urban centers of Imo State. The work seeks also to ascertain the reasons for rural urban migration in Imo State, and Others in the course of the study, the researcher used survey and questionnaire methods and equally conducted oral interviews to gather the required data on the subject matter.

The researcher find out that, crimes, lack of accommodation, or housing, unemployment, urban sprawl, prostitution, and other problem which are existing in Owerri Municipal urban council. It also discovered that other emerging urban centers in Imo State has not attained the status of urban centre.

The researcher concludes with recommendations on how to mitigate urban problems such as; Extension of social amenities to rural areas, creation of employment opportunities by the government etc.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the study
  • 1.4 Research Question
  • 1.5 Statement of Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the study
  • 1.7 scope of the study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the study
  • 1.9 Definition of terms

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Meaning and nature of urban area
  • 2.3 Urbanization in Nigeria
  • 2.4 Trends in urbanization in Nigeria
  • 2.5 causes and consequences of problems of urbanization in Nigeria
  • 2.6 The prospects of urbanization in Nigeria
  • Reference

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Design and Methodology

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Research Design
  • 3.3 Sources and methods of Data collection
  • 3.4 Sample size
  • 3.5 Sample Technique
  • 3.6 Validity and Reliability of measuring instrument
  • 3.7 Method of data analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Presentation and Analysis of Data

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Presentation of data
  • 4.3 Analysis of data
  • 4.4 Test of Hypothesis
  • 4.5 Interpretation of results

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Summary of finding
  • 5.3 Conclusion
  • 5.4 Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendix
  • Questionnaire

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

One of the most significant development world wide is the rapid increase in urbanization. This is more so in developing countries where urbanization is proceeding at an alarming rate. Nigeria is not exceptional to this trend. It is the most urbanized country in Africa in terms of degree and spread of urbanization.

As the population of Nigeria increased from 30.4 million in 1952 and 1953 to 55.6 million in 1963, then to 88.5 millions in 1991 and 107.2 millions in 1997, the number of urban centers and their population also increased tremendously as a result of the influx of migrants (people’s movement) from rural areas to urban areas Ezeani (2001).

Also creation of states in Nigeria has not only bring development in remote areas but has created a certain amount of healthy competition in economic development between states and has also encouraged rapid urbanization in the country. This is because as more urban centers become state capitals, the rate of urbanization also increased. For example, the creation of 12 states in 1967 create eight more urban centers, which include; Bauch, Makurdi, Yola, Owerri, Ikeja, Minna, Abeokuta and Akure. The same trend of urbanization was experienced when the number of states in Nigeria increased to 19 states and 21 states and then to 30 states.

Today, Nigeria has a total number of 36 states with the federal capital territory Abuja and the all the states capitals urban centers.

The local government reform of 1976 also contributed to the high rate of urbanization in Nigeria. The reform shows that local government should serve the population of between 150,000 and 800,000 since it was aimed at bringing people nearer to the government, at the same time share resources, particularly oil revenues more within the federal system like Nigeria.

The state government used those guidelines in the subsequent arrangement for the creation of local government areas. This resulted to the creation of over 302 local government areas in 1980’s and has increased to the current level of 774. also local government headquarters have been selected from existing urban centers and new urban centers where none existed before.

The increased number of urban centers in Nigeria resulted from the creation of states and local government areas as well as other administrative, commercial and industrial activities in the country have resulted in large urban population and this number is likely to continue increasing.

Furthermore, Nigeria being a developing country is experiencing a rapid increase in urbanization. The urban area exists at the expense of the rural areas. Many rural dwellers keep migrating to urban centers due to the backward nature of the rural areas. The process of urbanization continues as more and more people migrate from rural area to urban centers. In 1952 Nigeria had fifty four (54) towns with a population of 20,000 and more. During this time, the total population living in these towns and cities was about 3.1 million. The population and the number of towns and the cities increased tremendously in 1963 with 10.7 million respectively.

It is important to note that some Nigerian states are highly populated and urbanized than others. For instance, every state has urban centers, but the degree of urbanization differs from state to state, city to city and even within the same state. In former Eastern states of Nigeria, some cities are more thickly populated than others. Such as Enugu, Onitsha, Abakaliki, Owerri, Calabar and Aba etc. This does not mean that other minor cities or urban centers were not in existence.

The large population noticed in some of these old urban centers was as a result of early migration (movement) and concentration of people in these areas. Making reference to the western states, some states are more urbanized than others. There is no how the degree of urbanization in states like Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Ogbomosho can be compare with other cities in the West. For instance, in Lagos alone by 1963, 73 percent of the population lived towns with 20,000 or more people and for western states, the comparable figure was 52 percent. No other state had more than 20 percent of its population in the urban areas of this size.

According to 1991 census data, it was indicated that urbanization has increased tremendously. This indication shows that urbanization in Nigeria has taken a geometrical progression, and is likely to continue to accelerate in the next years.

Although urbanization especially in developed nations is associated with industrialization and economic development, it also has certain consequences in the developing countries such as Nigeria. Indeed, a major implication of the spectacular growth of the cities is that Nigeria is threatened by serious urban crisis today. One cannot visit such cities as Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Owerri, Onitsha, Enugu, Abakaliki, Aba and others, and fail to develop a sense of crisis about the human condition a sense of urgency about remedial action, a sense of hopelessness about greatly improving urban conditions.

Thus, urbanization in Nigeria is closely associated with problems such as; degraded environment, unemployment, poverty etc. all these have emerged as major socio-economic issues with potentially important political implications.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

As earlier stated, urbanization is a continuous process, the Imo State government in an effort to develop Owerri municipal council urban in the state has paved way for numerous urban problems, which directly or indirectly affect the live hood of the urban dwellers.

This problems, identified by the researcher include, over population, unemployment, environmental problems of various kinds and magnitude, accommodation, uncoordinated development or urban sprawl, illiteracy, health problems, problem of market (ie sizable market), poor articulated urban policies as a result of fragmented urban political authority, poverty etc. also there are social vices of various kind such as armed robbery, prostitution, fraudulent acts (419) and cultism etc.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

From the above so far, the study will help to identify the various problems that befall urban dwellers in Owerri municipal council and other emerging urban centers of Imo State.
Also through the study the following will be look into;

  1. To ascertain how population explosion is being checked in owerri municipal council.
  2. To know whether the rapid growth of urbanization in the emerging urban centers of Imo State can be restricted.
  3. To ascertain if other urban centers around Owerri municipal council have attained the status of an urban centers.
  4. To ascertain the reasons for rural –urban migration in Imo state and Nigeria at large.
  5. To suggest some possible ways out of the identified problems.

1.4 Research Questions

In the study, the researcher raised the following questions as research questions

  1. What is the nature of those problems confronting urbanization in Nigeria?
  2. What are the causes of the problem?
  3. If these problems abound in the urban areas really, why is it that there is still rural –urban migration?
  4. What will be the resultant effect of rapid urbanization in Nigeria, in ten years to come?
  5. Is government of Imo state making and effort to mitigate those problems in Owerri municipal council?

1.5 Statement Of Hypothesis

From the objectives of study the following hypothesis are proposed by the researcher for verification:

  1. Hi: There is rapid growth of urbanization in Nigeria.
    Ho: There is no rapid growth of urbanization in Nigeria.
  2. Hi: Urbanization is relative to place, space and time.
    Ho: Urbanization does not retate to place, space and time.
  3. Hi: There is population explosion in Owerri municipal council.
    Ho: There is no population explosion in Owerri municipal council.
  4. Hi: Other town around Owerri municipal council have attained the status of urban center.
    Ho: Other towns around Owerri municipal council have not attained the status of urban center.

1.6 Significance Of The Study

In the researchers point of view, the significant of this study is to add to the number of studies carried out in this area in other institutions, both in Nigeria and other countries. To the best of my knowledge this is one of the pioneer projects in the area of urbanization in owerri municipal council, Imo State planning commission and other authorities or government officials will find this study useful for effective control of land use and checking of urban growth in owerri municipal council and other emerging urban centers of Imo state. The study also hope to offer a good knowledge to both business men and women who may need to know about the problems and prospects of urbanization in Nigeria.

The study will also serve as a partial fulfillment for the award of Higher National Diploma in public Administration (HND) in Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri. The study will be useful to teachers, researcher and students especially those in the field of urban and regional planning. The Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri will equally find this study useful as it will contribute in building of the polytechnic research center. To policy makers of urban centers the study will be useful because it will give them good knowledge of the problem facing urban dwellers.

Finally, this study seeks to suggests possible ways out of these problems and to stimulate further research into the subject as time goes on.

1.7 Scope Of The Study

Scope of the study implies the area of coverage in the research work. The research work covers the urban areas in Nigeria with particular reference to Owerri municipal council.

1.8 Limitation Of The Study

The researcher would have carried out a more intensive, elaborate and exhaustive study on the subject matter. But due to some factor the study was limited.
The following were the limiting factor that affected the research work.


As it is well known that finance is the life wire of any organization or activity. The researcher was faced with financial challenge as he has no tangible source of income as a student. With this, one can conclude that without money it is impossible to achieve any thing.


The researcher was limited by time factor. There was no enough time allocated for the submission of the project work in chapters for approval.

Poor Attitude Of The Respondents:

Some of the respondents which were the supplies of data required for the project work were reluctant in providing the answers to the questionnaires issued to them.

1.9 Definition Of Terms

The terms used in this project are defined according to how they are used in the work to facilitate a better understanding and to enhance all the ideas conveyed. The terms defined are without conflict with the ideas they conveyed outside the context.


According to oxford advanced learner’s dictionary urban deals with developed areas of the state. Or heterogeneous settlement developed as a result of the activities that goes on in it.


This is describe as the transformation of an area from rural status to urban status or is the concentration of human population into a discrete area leading to a transformation.


This is a large and important area or center where multiple activities such as education, commercial activities, manufacturing, political and cultural activities take place.


This is a community outside the central city and politically independent of it but culturally and economically dependent on the central city.


This is a continuous urbanized area surrounding large population center.


This is purely a socio-cultural and psychological phenomenon, which refers to the behavioral characteristics of urban dwellers and make them different from the rural dwellers.

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary Of Findings, Conclusions And Recommendations.

5.1 Introduction:

This chapter summarized, draws conclusion and make recommendations on the subject matter, urbanization in Nigeria. The reader is interested in the implications of findings because a mere statement of findings is not enough to convey their meaning.

5.2 Summary Of Findings

The problem of how to make life more meaningful in our urban centers in Nigeria is receiving very high priority or attention in every part of this country. This is because urbanization problems have been eating deep into the fabric of our urban areas. And the worst about the the nature of those problems is that any effort to develop or urbanize more creates a way for other urbanization problems to crop up.

In order to assess critically the validity of this generally held impression, the owerri municipal urban center was studied.

The researcher used Yaro yamani, to determine the sample size, error of margin at 0.05. Also, the following discovering/ findings were made, at the course of this research which include;

  1. It was discovered that the problems mentioned and discussed exist in Owerri municipal urban council and other emerging urban areas in Imo state.
  2. It was discovered that Imo state government is trying in addressing most of the problems of urbanization in Owerri Municipal urban council.
  3. It was established that urban centers have attractive characteristics, which call for rural urban migration.
  4. It was equally observed that transportation problems militate seriously against people living in owerri municipal urban council more than any other problems.
  5. As an administrative political, religious and commercial center, it was discovered that the aforementioned factors are causes of population explosion in owerri municipal urban council because the people involved in those areas have to live owerri for their services.

5.3 Conclusion

From the research, the researcher have been able to conclude that, there are urbanization problems facing people in Owerri municipal urban council and other emerging urban centers of Imo state. Which range from unemployment, over population, environmental problems of various kinds and magnitude, accommodation, uncoordinated development of urban sprawl, illiteracy, health problems, problems of market, poorly articulated urban policies and poverty etc.

Again, efforts have been providing abortive because such effort either eradicate the existing problems or urbanize the areas usually, open a way for other ones to emanate. This is because urbanization is a commercial process which no body dislike.

5.4 Recommendations.

Looking at the numerous problems that exist in Nigerian urban centers, there is need to make recommendations on how to mitigate or solve those problems affecting the system of the society. And some of this recommendation includes;

  1. Extension of social amenities to the rural areas.
  2. Creation of employment or job opportunities by the government to all the cities by the developed (urban) and undeveloped areas ( rural) of the country.
  3. Government should provide more housing scheme or project to reduce the high rate of accommodation.
  4. Skilled personnel working in Urban local governments should be retained by improving their condition of service.
  5. There is need for greater interdependence and cooperation between the state and federal agencies, and urban local government.
  6. It is recommended that there should be monitoring and performance evaluation for all major transportation projects like New face of imo transport programme. This will enable a proper understanding of any problem facing the programmes in achieving their objectives. Also other modest such as rail and waterway should be involved in the programme in the areas where they do not exist in the state.

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