impact of urban and regional planning on socio-economic development of nigeria (a case study of abuja city)

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    1. Background of the study

The phrase ‘better city, better future’ is the motto of the ongoing World Expo in China. The World City Expo started in 2002 as a way of mobilising world community towards using the urban centres to mobile resources to eliminate all forms poverty among people and to harness international cooperation and prevailing technology in governing cities. The phrase becomes relevant in examining the experience of Nigeria in urbanization. It is relevant to state that while urbanization is not foreign to Nigeria before colonialism, colonial rule with its attendant economy nationalized urbanization in Nigeria. This is because urbanization became extended beyond its traditional areas of Yoruba land, Hausa-Fulani land and Borno land. This nationalization did not ensure a sufficiently urbanized Nigeria but it laid foundation for what followed after independence in 1960 to the transformation of human settlements in Nigeria. Within the 50 years of Nigeria’s independence, the fact of high level of urbanization has been established by many authors (Mabogunje, 1968, Mabogunje, 1974, Mabogunje, 1981, Ojo, 1981, Lawanson 2006, Fabiyi, 2006, Kofowomo, 2008 and Olujimi, 2009,). These studies have demonstrated that Nigeria is experiencing accelerated urbanization.

Existence of large urban settlements has always been part of Nigeria’s history. During the periods before the incursion of the British colonial masters into the coasts of Nigeria, a number of large cities had emerged on the landscape. Prominent among these were Sokoto, Bauchi, Kano, Zaria and Katsina in the North; Oyo, Ibadan, Ilorin, Ijebu-Ode, Iseyin, Ogbomoso, Abeokuta and Shaki in the West. Others included Benin in the Mid-West and city – states like Opobo, Warri and Calabar in the coastal areas. According to estimates by explorers such as Richard Lander, Barth and Clapperton, as comprehensively documented by Mabogunje (1968), Sokoto had about 120,000 people when it became the religious capital of Outhman dan Fodio’s Muslim caliphate, Kano had about 30,000 and Zaria’s population was put at between 40,000 and 50,000.In the same vein, Guglar and Flanagan (1979) estimated the population of Ibadan to be between 70,000 and 100,000, Abeokuta (60,000) and Oyo (25,000) However, these cities were medieval in outlook, organic in their growth and agro-dependent for their survival in contrast to the industrial cities of the western world. As succinctly captured by Guglar and Flanagan (ibid.) “the Yoruba cities, for instance, presented an odd picture to those who were accustomed to the character of urban areas in Europe and America.

The cities contained such large numbers of farmers and the buildings were so village-like that to the foreign eye, they seemed no more than dense rural settlements”. Colonialism affected the original urban settlements and incorporated them into global urbanization. The colonial urban heritage has continued to thrive. In looking at the planning and management of Nigerian urban centers in the last 50 years, it can be stated that projects have impacts beyond the project sites. Urban planning and development, in particular, has regional implications. The city is not alone, it is located in a region; it affects the region as much as it is affected by the region. The city offers hope for itself and its region while the rural land is repository of resources beneficial to the city. In Nigeria, as in other parts of the world, the rural and urban centers are not in competition; they complement each other and are in continuum rather being sharply divided. Indeed, to some extent, ‘ centre-periphery convergence’ (Gren, 2003) is taking place in the rural-urban continuum in Nigeria. These realities are observable in Nigeria in varying levels of resolution. It is also to be added that both rural and urban areas face similar challenges; the challenges of basic needs, of gainful employment for self- support and the challenge of resource conservation. The planning and development of rural and urban areas have also reflected the political and economic fortunes of the country. They have therefore been shaped by experiences of cash crops-based economy, oil- boom of the late 1960s to mid 1970s, the Civil War of 1967 to 1970, the economic down-turn of the 1980s and 1990s and the attendant economic reforms, political crisis of 1992 to 1998 and relative increased revenue and relative political stability of 1999 to 2010 which has allowed more relaxed thinking and positive actions. In otherwords, the planning and the conditions of rural and urban centres in Nigeria cannot be dissociated 2 form the country’s economic and political experiences; although in most cases analysts take little account of the influence of the macro environment on the development of rural and urban areas. In this presentation too, the general role of the cities in national development is also well recognized. Analysts recognize the role of cities in creating opportunities and stimulating growth and development (North, 1955, 1956, Carter (1981, Todaro (1973, Mabogunje, (1974, 1980.).

The city “furthers efficiency in economic activity” and serves as a place where new forms of economic of economic organisation are evolved’ (UNCHS, 1994). While there are shades of opinion about the external effects of cities, there is a consensus that ‘strong urban economies are the backbone and motor of the wealth of nations’ (Gantsho, 2008). The nature of Nigerian urbanization offers unique opportunities for achieving this social objective. In practice, the city is the centre of the territory to which all activities gravitate. Thus, they remain ‘the focal points of any economy’ (Olufemi and Oluseyi (2007).

1.2   Statement of the problem
The general pattern of economic development in the region has tended to favour locations surrounding the more urbanized areas thereby introducing spatial inequalities and neglect of the more other urban places in the same city. 
1.3   Significance of the study
In North-eastern Nigeria has been one of the least developed since independence. The series of geopolitical reorganizations since 1967 which lead to the gradual and consistent decentralization of the processes of social, economic and political transformation and the reduction of spatial inequalities in development within the country appeared to have little impact on urban development in the region. The concern of this paper is to determine the pattern of urban development achieved in the region as a single administrative entity, to explore the specific and theoretical factors that were responsible for the existing pattern of urban development, and make suggestions on how to guide future planning to influence pattern of urbanization in the region, in the desired manner. 
1.4   Objectives of the study
The objectives of this research include but not limited to;
1. To evaluate the relationship that exists between urban and regional planning and socio-economic development.
2. To determine if urban and regional planning impacts on the socio-economic development of Abuja city.
1.5   Research questions
In order to achieve the above stated objectives, the following questions were asked;
1. Is there a significant relationship between urban and regional planning and socio-economic development?
2. Does urban and regional planning impacts on the socio-economic development of Abuja city?

1.6   Research hypotheses
Ho: There is no significant relationship between urban and regional planning and socio-economic development.
Hi: There is significant relationship between urban and regional planning and socio-economic development.
Ho: Urban and regional planning does not impact on the socio-economic development of Abuja city.
Hi: Urban and regional planning impacts on the socio-economic development of Abuja city.
1.7   Limitations of the study
The study was limited by two major factors; financial constraint and time. Insufficient fund and time tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

1.8   Scope of the study
The study focuses on the impact of environmental planning on rural development using Abuja metropolis as a case study.
1.9   Definition of terms
        Planning: Is the process of making plans for something. 
        Urban Area:  This is the region surrounding a city.
Urban and Regional planning: This is a professional discipline which embraces management of the physical spaces and the environment.
Socio-economic Development:   Is the process of social and economic development in a society. 

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Daramola, A. and Ibem, E. O. (2010), ‘Urban environmental problems in Nigeria; implications for sustainable development’, Journal of sustainable development in Africa; vol. 12, No1, pp 124-145.
Fabiyi, O. o. (2006), ‘Urban Land Use Change Analysis of a Traditional City from Remote Sensing Data: The Case of Ibadan Metropolitan Area’, Nigeria Humanity & Social Sciences Journal 1 (1): 42-64, 2006.
Mabogunje, A. L. (1981), Towards an urban policy in Nigeria’, in Sada, P.O. and Oguntoyinbo, J. S. (eds), Urbanization processes and problems in Nigeria, Ibadan University Press; Ibadan; pp 7-20.


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