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  Title page





Table of content

List of tables

List of figures

Chapter one – introduction

1.1       statement of problem

1.2       hypothesis

1.3       significance of study

1.4        methodology

1.5       Scope and limitation of study

1.6       Theoretical frame review

Chapter two: literature review

Chapter three

3.1 A brief history of Opobo

3.2 The economy of opbo (1970 – present)

3.3 The structure of economy of Port Harcourt

3.4 Opobo Migrants in Port Harcourt

Chapter four

4.1 data analysis and testing of Hypotheses migrant’s adjustment

Chapter five

5.1 summary and conclusion


Appendix (questionnaire)


In recognition of the fact that one of the most serious problems facing Nigerian society is that of rural urban migration and much more serious is the problems encountered by new migrants, we have in this research made an effort to examine the following: the socio-demographic characteristics of the Opobo migrants; factors that are responsible for their migrating; the problems they encounter on arrival in the city; processes and mechanisms through which they adjust to the conditions of urban life; what future plans they have.

          From our study, we found out that the level of educational background and the nature of skills that educational background and th3e nature of skills that migrants previously have influenced the type of occupations they engage in when they come to the urban centre. We also found out that voluntary associations; ethnic association in particular; relations; co-ethnics and friends play very important roles in the adjustment of migrants to city life.

          We also discovered that while in the city, the migrant sees himself as an absentee villager who would family return home someday.



          Statement of problem

          The population explosion in most countries of the world has been attributed to both natural increase and migration. But the rate of migration in Africa is greater than that of natural increase. Marigin1 says that the rate of natural increase seems to be declining while that of migration continues to increase. The heavy wave of migration from rural to urban congestion. Urban population concentration and urban areas results in urban areas are areas of opportunity, and people are attracted to them to enjoy their benefits.

          In the case of Nigeria, young and able-bodied youths leaves the rural areas for the urban areas where employment opportunities exist. This may lead to the depollution of the rural areas, or at least to a change in demographic structure. Food production is often adversely affected since it is only the aged (and the very young) who may be left behind. They are not even able to produce enough for subsistence.

          Government has often formulated strategies to limit the rural-urban migration syndrome by building small scale industries in the rural areas. Examples in Nigerian are the modern River Mill and Garry processing Factory in Mbayion-Gboko and Kotic-Youth in Gboko and Vandeikya local government Areas in Benue state2 respectively. These are done to encourage the Youths to be engaged there.

          This study is concerned with the Opobo migrants who leave their home to settle in Port Harcourt, our case study, is an urban area with industries, administrative and commercial opportunities. The industrial, administrative and commercial opportunities. The industries and corporations, government offices and establishments, and the (modern) markers sited at different strategic areas, offer job opportunities to job seekers, and good commercial opportunities to traders, especially those from rural areas.

          The problem of rural-urban migration could be viewed from different perspectives. It could be discussed in relation to different urban settings and also in relation to many problem areas. Specifically this research will address itself to the task of investigating the role of education and contacts in the city in stimulating migration of Opobo people to the city. We will also attempt to find out how the occupations they had at home influences the urban occupations in which they are now engaged. Furthermore, we will attempt to find out how the level of education influence the different kinds of occupation in which Opobo migrants are involved. Finally, we will explore how participation in ethnic associations, the presence of relatives and friends in the city help the migrants to adjust to urban life. Adjustment3, here is used to refer to the individual migrant’s satisfaction with or level of gratification attained in the urban society as well as his outlook with regards to spending his future in town.

          This study is divided into five chapters. Chapters one introduces the work, statement of problem, states the hypotheses, significance of the study. Also methodology, scope and limitations of the work and the theoretical framework are discussed here. Chapter two reviews the existing literature in relation to the study.

          In chapter three, we discusses the brief history of both Opobo and Port Harcourt. It also includes the structure of the economy of both Opobo and Port Harcourt. Opobo migrants in Port Harcourt are also discussed here.

          Chapter four is concerned with data analysis and testing of hypotheses. Mechanisms of adjustments were discussed in this chapter. Summary and conclusions are drawn in chapter five.

Our hypothesis are:

1.   The lower the educational background of the Opobo migrants and the specific nature of their primary skills in the more they are left with the options of adjusting through unskilled labour.

2.   Migrant’s adjustment to city life is a function of ethnic association and extended family system.


          The main objective of this study to describe and analyse the adjustments individual’s makes to modern conditions of urban development in a Nigerian community. The study aims to help us understand the importance of ethnic associations in the urban centres of Africa and Nigeria in particular, especially as regards the assistance they give to new migrants to the city. The adjustment of migrants in the urban centre is a very good point of take-off for any research on the nature and extent of capitalist penetration in Nigeria. This study is particularly significance in the sense that no work has been done on the Opobo people in any Nigerian city, so it should help other students in further research on the Opobo people. Again, it would help to increase the existing literature on other aspects of the Opobo people. Policy makers would find the study useful in that they will understand the problems encountered by migrants in the city and formulate appropriate policies.


          In this study, data was collected from two main sources-personal interviews and textbooks. The personal interview was chosen as a tool for collecting the date for this research because it can yield deeper and more reliable information than questionnaires which can be easily distorted. In the case of the personal interview, the face to face nature of interview enables the researcher to get a deeper understanding of any information through interviewee’s comments, facial expressions and emotional display, all of which provides visual and auditory clues to the problem. Sometimes useful follow up questions could be added after respondent answers to the initial questions.

          Personal interviews were held with the various categories of Opobo migrant’s in Port Harcourt ranging from the age of fifteen years to forty-five years and above. The content of the interview was on the mechanisms through which adjustment was made and the type of job and level of education they had on arrival in Port Harcourt. Reasons education they had on arrival in Port Harcourt. Reasons from migrating and their socio-demographic characteristics.

          In asking questions about the ethnic associations, we wanted to know the kind of assistance that members or new migrants received from them. We also wanted to know if loans are given to members in the event of some unhappy circumstances such as business failure, death of a member etc.

          The data was collected during a survey that was carried out in the months of August, September, October, December, 1986 and March, 1987. These months were chosen because they were the most convenient periods for us. The respondents were interviewed in their homes and places of work. As regards the number of migrants interviewed, of course, not all Opobo migrants population living in Port Harcourt were interviewed as time would not permit. Thus, the sample size used was 70. This includes both males and females.

          The respondents were selected accidental sampling (that is, the method of availability). Sometimes, we used the help of another migrant who introduced us to other people he knows. On other occasions we simply walked up to areas where an Opobo man lives and/or works to conduct the interview. At the beginning of each interview we explained the purpose of the research and how long the interview would last.


          Although there are Opobo migrant’s in other cities such as Lagos, Aba, Calabar, this research is limited to the Opobo migrants in Port Harcourt. On the other hand, Port Harcourt is the meeting point for migrants from other cities who come together to make plans for the people at home.

          In the course of carrying out the interview certain problems were encountered. The first was that of convincing the migrants to respond to the questions. Most of the migrants refused to see reason despite our effort in explaining the need for the research. This may be attributed to the problem of succession to the throne of opobo that has been going on for six years among the people. It has resulted in a division of the people into sections, quarrelling among themselves. Thus, in most cases we were treated with suspicion.

          The research was carried out with the use of native dialect (igbo) or the popular ‘’special English’’ (pidgin) in the case of illiterate migrants; for the educated respondents ‘’good’’ English was used.

          Another problem encountered was that most migrants kept postponing the initial time fixed for the interviews. Sometimes, they would not be at home or they have not come sometimes, they would not be at home or they have not come back from their places of work. Even when the respondent is at home, we were given the excuse that he is sleeping and do not want to be disturbed. With this kind of problem we were forced to forget about the respondents after making several efforts to reach them failed.


          A specific framework was not used in our analysis, but there is a broad theoretical orientation within which out study might be located.

          Based on the mode of production approach, G.J. Taylor4 pounded a theory about the articulation of modes of production as a better theoretical framework within which the problems of third world countries would be better understood. Taylor assents that the articulation of the capitalist mode of production with non-capitalist modes gave rise to the uneven and restricted development that characterises the third world. He based his analysis on the ways in which the capitalist modes at different historical phases of capitalist development, starting with the period of mercantile to industrial and later to that of monopoly capital. The assumption underlying this approach is that the penetration of the capitally at the monopoly stage, takes the form of co-existence between the two whereby elements of the non-capitalist mode of production are retained in order to continue the satisfaction of the capitalist mode.

According to Taylor, this resulted in a disarticulated economy, political instability, high unemployment, extreme inequalities between social classes, absolute poverty as opposed to relative poverty and a dependent neo-colonial state.

          From this point of view, we can see the relationship between colonial processes of disarticulation and differential development, and between the disarticulation of the pre-existing modes and the marge volume of rural-urban migration. The colonial administration paid attention to regions which seems to be the most beneficial to them. These areas or regions include cash crop zones, mining locations and convenient centres for the zones, mining locations and convenient centres for the collection and evacuation of commodities (Port Harcourt is an example). Enclaves were created to the taste for the Europeans and which also served as administrative centres.

          The implication of this kind of differential development was that some regions or areas, especially rural areas were neglected. This neglect of rural areas was repeated in the post-colonial era, thus encouraging rural-urban migration.

          The introduction of western education in Nigeria dates from the incursion of the Europeans Christian missions into the territories bordering the Atlantic Ocean in the South. The curriculum was heavily weighted towards the three Rs-reading, writing and arithmetic. This produced clerk, court messengers, interpreters and so on, who then populated the enclaves which served as administrative centre.

          Particular modes of migration also shed light on uneven development and its consequences. The Lewis-fei Ranis model on rural-urban migration has it that our economy consists of two sectors:

1.   A traditional agricultural subsistence sector characterised by zero or very low productivity and surplus labour;

2.   A modern urban industrial sector into which labour from the subsistence sector is gradually transferred5.

The primary focus of the model is on both the process of labour transfer and the growth of employment in the modern sector.

          Lewis assumed that was would have to be at least 30 percent higher than the average rural income to induce workers to migrate from their home areas.6

          Based on the assumption that migration is primarily on economic phenomenon which for the individual migrant can be quite a rational decision despite the existence of urban unemployment the Todaro’s model postulates that migration proceeds in response to urban rural differences in expected rather than actual carnings.7  the fundamental premises is that migrants consider the various labour market opportunities available to them as between the rural and urban sectors and choose the one which maximises their expected gain from migration. In essence todaro’s theory assumes that members of the labour force. Both actual and potential, compare their expected incomes for a given horizon in the urban sector.

          Todaro’s two sector model of the dynamics of employment in the urban sector stresses three factors of migration, namely:

i.             that most migrates move in search of better income-earning opportunities;

ii.            that migrant’s rationally take into consideration their chance of securing a job at destination; and

iii.           that migrants will continue to move as long as incomes and job opportunities appear better in places other than their places of origin.8

          in sum, todaro suggests that migration is positively correlated with the potential migrants level of education, achievement orientation, propensity for risk taking, possession of urban occupational skills, availability of funds to finance migration and strength of family and social linkages between rural and urban areas.9

          Bogue suggests that determinants of migration include

i.             Migration-stimulating situations of individual migrants (marriage, graduation from school, employment opportunities, military service, political oppression, community disaster, etc.

ii.            Factors affecting choice of destination (cost of moving, the presence of relatives and friends, possibilities of temporary accommodation with someone until established, subsidised transport fares, etc.): and

iii.           Socio-economic conditions that underlie individual migration decisions (major investments in a particular area leading to creation of more jobs, the quality of housing in an area, and the degree of ethnic and racial tolerance).10

According to Mabogunje’s systems approach, increased In economic development and the improvement in transportation and communication linked have integrated rural communities into the national economic, thus sharpening villagers, awareness of the prospects of the urban centres for themselves and their children. As such the rural family, both nuclear and extended, and the village community itself, act as a ‘’rural control subsystem’’ which receives and reacts to migrations stimuli arising from the interaction of several rural and urban adjust ration and voluntary organisations which operate at ‘’the opposite end of the migrant’s trajectory to encourage or discourage his being absorbed into the urban environment’’. This theory is very important in the explanation of the migration urbanization process in Nigeria whereby the family acts at the level of both rural control systems.


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