The central aim of this paper is to highlight the rural development processes in Nigeria and identify the emerging challenges that impede sustainable rural development in the country. In achieving its aim, the paper clarified the concept of development and rural development as postulated by various scholars. It examines the modernization and dependency theoretical underpinning of the concepts. The study analyses secondary and empirical sources of data through qualitative methods. The paper posits that the rural areas have constituted majority of the nation’s population and serve as a base for food production. The paper argues that though various rural development policies have been initiated in Nigeria, the conditions of the rural areas has not changed much since independence. Rather, development policies in Nigeria have been tilted toward the urban areas while the rural areas live in extreme poverty and lack basic health, educational and social infrastructures. It identifies emerging challenges such as corruption and mismanagement of resources, poor policy implementation, famers- herders conflicts and lack of autonomy of the local governments. The study recommends more concerted efforts in implementing rural developments projects, punishment of corrupt public officials, effective budget monitoring, provision of security and conflict resolution mechanisms and participation of the rural populace in development projects.