THE ROLE AND IMPACT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
Over 70% of Nigerians reside in the rural areas which are poorly served with social amenities, and programmes formulated and implemented by the governments for the development are not yielding the desired results. A study was conducted to determine the role and impacts of public relations in rural development in Nigeria. Method of study was the use of questionnaire to obtain information and data from selected rural communities. Two communities were selected at random from each state of the South East Nigeria making a total of ten communities studied. The data were analyzed using percentages, standard deviation and coefficient of variation. Results show that the major rural development projects and activities in the communities include road rehabilitation, health centre, vigilant/ security, school, campaign for immunization, electricity, campaign for mass literacy, sanitation, etc. The projects are either sponsored rby the community alone or in collaboration with the government and/ or non governmental agencies. All the communities use town crier to mobilize the people for rural development programmes. Responses from the communities on the roles of public relations in rural development gave the highest average positive score of 76.92% on mobilization for communal work followed by the role on security of projects with a score of 74.36%. The least score of 48.72% each were recorded on campaign for immunization and campaign for mass literacy. The highest standard deviation of 1.36 was recorded for fund raising and the least (0.82) recorded each for campaign for immunization and mass literacy. The major constraints to rural development in the communities are low awareness index, poor funding, lack of accountability and Logistics support.