Investigation of factors affecting rural road maintenance : the case of Sokoto State, Nigeria
The study relates to road management in Nigeria, on one (land locked) state out of the 36 that comprise the country. The state (Sokoto) has a population of over four million people, and the acute shortage of road connections to the majority of its rural inhabitants necessitated the research. The practice of road management in Sokoto is broadly representative of other Nigerian States. Sokoto like all the northern states, is distant from the coast, and its main asset is an abundant supply of cheap labour. Roads provide the principal mode of access, and are a key factor to trade, industry and social development. An intensive literature review was carried out to determine the existing state of knowledge on the problems encountered by practitioners in the field. The review (desk study) occupied the first stage of the research. It rapidly became clear that the topic is seriously under-researched, both internationally and specifically in the study area. The review has also drawn upon a variety of published and unpublished sources, drawing upon the limited amount of quantified and rigorous data that is available, but also assessing the more substantial quantity of partially quantified or impressionistic information to be found in project reports and case studies. For research to be successful, observable indicators must be found for at least some of the abstract concepts used in the theory. In this regard, six months field work (data collection) was carried out in Nigeria as the study's second stage. This translates the research hypothesis into an operational hypothesis. The third stage of the research covers the analysis and validation of data. This includes an interpretation, which serves as a bridge between the theoretical and practical data. The thesis describes how the empirical data has been used in analysis, to spell out parameters that affect rural road management in Nigeria as in many Sub-Saharan Africa. The research revealed the inappropriate use of technology to be the major factor hindering performance. The study suggests some workable operating methods as possible alternatives that can simplify the difficulties of road maintenance under different operating conditions.