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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE AUTONOMY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN NIGERIA: CHALLENGES AND WAY FORWARD

 Format: MS WORD   Chapters: 1-5

 Pages: 120   Attributes: COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH

 Amount: 3,000

 Feb 21, 2020 |  07:09 pm |  1593

ABSTRACT

 

The research studied the Local Government and its relationship with other level of governance and how the issues of State-Local Government relations affect the service delivery. Local Government remains the closest level of government to the people at the grassroot level. It was therefore aimed at using as a means through which service delivery could be properly carried out. This was said to not be properly and effectively done as a result of too much State interference in the administration of Local Government. This raises the issue of autonomy, its use and in the Local Government administration. The research applied the theory of federalism to reveal the ideal of intergovernmental relations in the federal system of government. The research also adopted indebting interview and questionnaire technique as a means of eliciting information from the stakeholders in the administration of Local Government. Based on this study it is revealed that the imbalanced relationship affects the service delivery at the grassroot level which in turn revealed the incapacity of Local Government to deliver. It is therefore, recommended that the relationship should be done in a way that the service delivery at the Local Government  will  be  effectively  carried  out.  Emphasis  should  be  on devolution  rather  delegation.  This can be achieved by ensuring the emergence of democratically elected leaders at the grassroot. 

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

1.1             Background to the Problem

 

In October 1960, Nigeria became the fourth federation in the Commonwealth to achieve Independence since 1945 and the only independent country in Africa with a fully operating federal system. The Nigerian experiment with a federal system of government, like all other federal systems evolved with the objectives of addressing problems of diversity. A vast country stretching from the tropical coast in the south to the Saharan desert in the north with a population of over 140 million estimated in 2006 National Population and Housing Census; which were distinguished in every conceivable way; by language, religion, social institutions, geography, history and even political parties. The introduction of the Richard’s Constitution in 1946 created three regional governments, that was Northern, Eastern and Western Regions each relatively distinct as a unit of governance. This regional arrangement only created or reinforced mutual forces, fear and suspicions amongst each of the major ethnic group that was dominant in each of the three regions. It was the struggle to come to terms with these mutual fears and suspicions which created the basis or foundation for subsequent constitutional arrangement leading to creation of a federal system in Nigeria (Otive, I. 2008).

By 1976, some Nigerian scholars have begun to characterized the Nigerian system as military federalism in an attempt to identify the emergent unique features associated with the structure and operations of federal system in Nigeria in contrast to other federal systems. One major factor which has accounted for that uniqueness is related to the massive re- structuring of the system embarked upon by the military through the policies of state creation and local government reforms from a federation of three regions, each relatively self-sufficient. The phenomenon of state creation leads to the splitting of these three regions into component states of federation and the elevation of Local government under military rule to the status of federating units introduced a fundamental uniqueness to the Nigerian federal system with three recognized constitutional levels of governance (Otive, I. 2008).

Local  government  has  been  conceived  and  portrayed  in  different

ways. According to the United Nations Division of Public Administration, ‘’Local  Government  is  a  political  division  of  a  nation  (or  in  a  federal system, a state) which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs, including the power to impose taxes or exact labour for prescribed purposes’’(Cited in P. Maidoki, 2008:1).

The governing body of such an entity is elected or otherwise locally selected. This definition has been upheld by a number of scholars who have also expatiated on it: For instance, Hugh Whalen (cited in P. Maidoki, 2008:1) has stated that:

each unit of local government in any system is assumed to possess the following characteristics, a given territory and population, an institutional structure … a separate legal identity, a range of powers and functions authorized by delegation from the appropriate central or intermediate legislators and lastly with the ambit of such delegation autonomy subject always of the text of reasonableness (Otive,I.2008:).

The 1976 Local Government Reform Handbook defined local government as:- Government at the local level exercise specific powers within defined areas: These powers should give the council substantial control over local affairs as well as the staff and institutional and financial powers to initiate and direct the provision of services and to determine and implement projects so as to complement the activities of the state and


federal government in their areas, and to ensure and through devolution of functions to these councils and through the active participation of the people and their traditional institutions that local initiatives and responses to local needs and conditions are maximized (cited in Gboyega,A.1999:28).

Local government is largely regarded as the lowest tier of government in the world, it is very important because it is very close to the people. As a result, it is multi-purpose in terms of carrying out socio- economic services in the local society, stimulating and encouraging local initiatives in community work, promoting the democratic process, serving as training ground for national political leaders, serving as medium of communication between the people and the higher tier of government;  thus local government must relate with each unit of governance before achieving these purposes (Odoh, A. 2005:1).

By Sections 2 and 3 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (herein after referred to as the 1999 Constitution), Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state consisting of thirty-six states, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and 774 Local Government Areas (768 + 6 Area Councils (Abuja) = 774).

The Constitution thus recognizes three tiers of government in the


country. These are federal, state, and local. Accordingly, local government is not an Island sufficient on itself. It is designed to be part and parcel of  the state in which it is situated. The state, in turn, is an integral part of the federation. The Constitution stated that: ''the government of every state shall ensure their existence. The fact that they are creatures of states governments; the Constitution identifies two major area of state-local relations; these are in the area of fiscal relations and economic planning. Section 162 - subsection 6 of the 1999 Constitution provided that; each state shall maintain a special account to be called 'state joint local government account'' into which shall be paid all allocations to the local government councils of the state from the federation Account and from the Government of the State''.

However, the Fourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria envisages the state-local relations in the area of economic planning between state and local government. According to this Schedule, the main function of the local government include; the consideration and making of recommendations to a state commission on economic  planning or any similar body on  the  economic  development of

the state, particularly in so far as the area of authority of the Council and of


the State are affected, and proposals made by the said commission or body and the participation of such council in the government of a state as respects the following matters; the provision and maintenance of primary, adult and vocational education, the development of agriculture and natural resources, other than the exploitation of minerals; the provision and maintenance of Health Services; and such other functions as may be conferred on a local government council by the House of Assembly of the State among others.

The dynamics of State-Local relations depends always on the prevailing political culture and other contextual/environmental variables within a polity. The overwhelming influence, which the peculiarities of a political culture can have in shaping inter-governmental relations is apparent, following the 1976 Local Government Reforms, the intrusion of State governments into local government affairs was not limited to acting through the appointed secretaries. State government have retained control over policy making at the local level and this control is exercised through the supervision of the activities of the local government councils and its committees  and  also  through  a   direct  intervention  and   administrative

involvement in budget preparation  and financial  management. Therefore,


this research will study the kind of the interactions and relations which do exist between levels of governance in a federal state as they exercise the power and carryout functions allocated to them by the Constitution.

1.2                 Statement of the Research Problem

 

Nigeria as a nation operates a Federal System of government with powers and functions graduated in descending order from the central authority through the other units of governance. However, in most federal system, local government is the preserve of the state. The power of the federal government concerns more of the exclusive and concurrent of which local government is not part. Local government under such arrangement derives its power from Constitution which supposedly guarantees its powers; it is unlike a parliamentary situation where local governments can be created and dissolved through an act of Parliament (Abubakar .U. 2005:1)

Be that as it may, the fact is that whether Local Governments are guaranteed by the Constitution or an Act of Parliament, they still have to relate to some bodies at the state and central levels; such relationship may be   referred   to   as   control,   co-ordination,   co-operation   etc.   These   in

themselves depend on the level of decentralization that take place at the


local level. The deviation or rather manipulative manner of the relationship brings a myraid of problems which are both internal and external to the extent of recent calls for the abrogation of that tier of government in Nigeria. Apart from excessive tampering with the funds in the so-called joint account, the entire local government structure, administration, tenure is at the whims and caprices of the state. Their non - performing nature is a manifestation of the manipulation or deviation of this relationship by the two most powerful units to their own advantage (Abubakar,U.2005:4).

Meanwhile, besides funds, there are other constraints on local government autonomy and these include among other things, inadequate planning, poor implementation of policies, inadequate revenue, corruption and mismanagement, lack of autonomy, lack of participation by the people and inter-governmental conflict as well as the issue of man-power, especially inadequate executive capacity in the area of professional staff in the field of medical services, engineering and accountancy, the control and sometimes usurpation of some lucrative functions of local government by the state government. The inherent policy conflicts and distortions in federal arrangement, which often make local government a lamb as a result

of the right of each of the three level of governance and the epileptic nature


of which has resulted in citizens perceiving government, especially at the grassroot as an alien myth to which they have little or nothing to contribute.

These constraints have hampered the performance of the local governments in discharging their ''Residual'' function which enshrined in the fourth schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The research will assess critically the various factors and forces that constitute impediments to the local government autonomy in Nigeria.

1.3             Research Questions

Moreover, the research will pose the following questions and provide answers to fill the gap of literature pertinent to the relations amongst and between units of governance under federal arrangement in Nigeria.

(i)      How much autonomy must the local government enjoy to ensure its constitutional obligation of effective service delivery?

(ii)    How are the Local Governments deprived of their autonomy?

 

(iii)     What are the precise relations and functions of each unit of governance under federal arrangement in Nigeria?

(iv)          How much control must the central/state exert on the local government.


1.4             Objectives of the Study

Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria spells out the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of the state policy as general obligation of all levels of government, and also the fourth schedule of the same Constitution elaborates on the function of the local government which are described as ''Residual functions''. The objectives of this research are to provide answers to the research question.

(i)       To discern and assess the level of autonomy enjoy by the local government to ensure effective service delivery.

(ii)    To inquire whether the local governments autonomy is being deprived.

(iii)    To assess the precise relations and functions of each unit of governance and their level of control under federal arrangement in Nigeria.

iv) To analyze and assess the relative autonomy of Local government as well as State Local government relation in Kaduna State from 1999-2007.

1.5             Significance of the Study

(i)       The study will contribute to the existing body of literature on the autonomy of local governments in Nigeria’s federal system.

(ii)     The study will provide recommendations for impediments to the local government autonomy.


(iii)      The study will contribute towards an understanding of factors and forces towards ineffective service delivery at the grassroot level.

(iv)       The study will brain on the constitutional relationship amongst the federating units of governance under federal arrangement in Nigeria.

1.6             Research Assumptions

For the purpose of analysis, the research will try as much as possible to prove the following assumptions which are indispensable to the subject matter.

(i)       That the degree of autonomy enjoyed by the local council is still influenced by the relations among the other tiers of government  in Nigeria.

(ii)    That the existing political meddling of state in the local government are responsible for the ineffective service delivery by the local government.

(iii)     That the recent call for the abrogation of local governments in Nigeria is the outcome of their poor performance.

1.7             Method of Data Collection and Analysis

Data for the study are from both primary and documentary sources. The primary data were collected using questionnaire and unstructured interview. For the questionnaire, information on the following variables was collected and these includes; the educational background of the respondents, data on local council performance in some selected areas, issue of joint state-Local projects, state local Governments joint Account system, the fundings as well as the data on the hurdles of Policy making and implementation in the Local government among others.

A multi-stage sampling technique was employed in the selection of the respondents for the study. In the first stage two Local governments areas are selected from each of the three senatorial district, one rural and one urban which was about one over four of the 23 L.G.A’s in the state. The selected Local governments were Giwa and Kaduna North Local Governments selected from Kaduna central (i.e. Zone II senatorial district) Ikara and Sabon-Gari Local Governments are selected from Kaduna North- west (i.e. Zone I senatorial District) while Kachia and Kaura Local Government Area are selected from Kaduna South-East (i.e. Zone III senatorial District). Fifty questionnaires were administered in each of the selected local Governments. Thus, the total of respondents selected for the study are 300 through questionnaire administrations. For  the  interview 12  stakeholders  from  both  the  state Ministry for local Government and the Local government council are interviewed about the issue of autonomy, joint Account System, the state local Government relations and the issue of poor service delivery among others.

However, for analyzing the data a combination of tabular presentation and simple percentage analysis are the major techniques of presenting and analyzing the collected data from field work. Also an analysis of the content of the interview was carried out to substantiate the responses derived from the questionnaires.

The Secondary source includes; records on state local Governments relations from the Department for Local Government Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Kongo, Zaria, Local Government Service Board, Ministry for local Government and from State Printers Kaduna and also Consultation of the relevant text books and documents available in the Library, including newspapers, magazines, unpublished research projects and pamphlets written by academicians and experts administrators.

1.8             Scope and Limitation

Since Nigeria returned to democratic rule after decades of prolonged military rule, the performance of each level of governance is receiving serious attention from the populace. Thus, this study will analyze and assess the relative autonomy of local governments as well as State-Local


Relations in Kaduna State from 1999 - 2007 that was during Governor Makarfi Administration. The selection of the case study is due to the time limit, space and financial constraints.

1.9             Outline of Chapters

 

Chapter One: This Chapter will introduces the study generally by given the Problem of the study, Objectives and significance of the study, the research Assumptions, the scope and limitation, method of data collection and analysis and chapterization.

Chapter Two: The chapter will consists of the evolution of inter- governmental relations and federalism, review of Local Government system in other countries (U,S,A., Britain, France, India with comparison to Nigeria), theoretical framework as well as review of related literatures of inter-governmental relations from (books, journals, magazines, previous thesis and research projects).

Chapter Three: The Chapter will be the general background of Kaduna State (Economy, Culture, and Administrative Division), Kaduna State Local Government Law as well as joint account system.

Chapter  Four:  This  will  be  an  assessment  of  the  local  government

 

autonomy  in  Kaduna  State  as  well  as  presentation  and  analysis  of the


collected data.

Chapter Five: The chapter will contain the Summary of findings and test of assumptions, Conclusion and Recommendation

REFERENCES

 

Abubakar, U. (2005): Legal Implications of State–Local Relations. Paper delivered to the Head of Legal and Special Services Department, Kaduna State Local Government Board; January 10 – 14, 2005.

 

Akande, I.F. (2008). An introduction to Law and Policy on Local Government in Nigeria. Printed by the A.B.U. Press Limited, Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria.

 

Akinyemi, B.A. (2004): Federalism, Inter-Governmental Relationship, Partisan Politics and Development. A critical assessment of Nigeria (1999-2004): A paper delivered at the First Inter-Governmental Quarterly Roundtable on Development held under the auspices of Lagos State Government House of Assembly; November 23rd, 2004, Lagos.

 

Anifowose and Enemuo (1999): Elements of Politics. Lagos: Malthouse Press.

 

Annual Volumes of the Laws of Kaduna State of Nigeria 1978:  Printed by the Government Printers, Kaduna.

 

Annual Volumes of the Laws of Kaduna State of Nigeria 1983 and 1984:

Printed by the Government Printers, Kaduna.

 

Asekhame, O.L. (1995): Local Government in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects (1976-1996). Unpublished B.Sc. Research Project, Department of Political Science, A.B.U. Zaria.

 

Eghosa, E.A. (1994): The Journal of Federalism–Interstate Relation in Nigeria. University of Ibadan.

 

Elaigwu J.I and R.A. Akindele (1995): Foundation of Nigerian Federalism: 1960-1995. National Council on Intergovernmental Relations, Abuja, FCT, Nigeria.


 

Federal Ministry of Finance: Detailed Breakdown of Allocations to Federal, State and Local Governments, June 1999 – December 2005.

 

Federal Ministry of Finance: Planning, Research and Statistics Department, Central Business Area, Abuja.

 

Federal Republic of Nigeria: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Plot 762, Independence Avenue, Central Business District, Abuja. www.nigeriastat.gov.ng.

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