Nigeria has earned itself a top place in the league table of politically unstable countries in the Third World. In 1993 it had three different administrations. Teh scramble for power has been the undoing of the country. Politicians as well as the military have indulged in it -- with the cumulative effect that no viable and integrative political and economic order has been established and most of what has been built up since independence has been destroyed by bad governance and dismantled by ever-recurring instability. Nigeria has been so consistently malgoverned and its successive administrations? economic record so lamentable in meeting people's basic needs, that it should come as no surprise to discover in this book that many ordinary Nigerians have taken matters into their own hands and got down to the work of local development themselves, largely bypassing government in the process. As the researchers of a representative cross-section of local government areas from various parts of the country show, whatever hope there is for a better future rests with the courageous and innovative efforts of ordinary people in their communities. The seven empirical case studies analysed in this book not only provide a glimpse as to how the masses of the people through their grassroots organizations are coping and responding to the situation but also raise a number of fundamental questions: What chance has popular participation in a conflict-ridden and divided society? And what is the dialectical relationship between popular participation, democracy and development? This book is the result of research work carried out by a team of Nigerian scholars, led by the renowned economist Adebayo Adedeji and professor of sociology at the University of Ibadan, Onigu Otite. It is a mine of information which throws light on an important dimension of Nigerian economic and social life about which relatively little is known. It is also a contribution to the growing stock of local-level studies of people-driven development efforts in various parts of the world.