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Chapter one


1.1 Background for the Study

The construction of local government is necessary to catalyse balanced development, maximise citizen engagement, and increase government responsiveness. Local government acts as a political and administrative structure that promotes decentralisation,

national integration, governance efficiency, and a sense of belonging at the grassroots level. Local government is a unit of administration throughout the world (Mbaya, Audu, and Aliyu, 2014; Agagu, 2004).

The quality, organisation, and administration of a nation’s human resources have a significant impact on its progress. In Nigeria, where diversity has a huge impact on politics and administration,

the ability to increase the benefits and reduce the costs of this diversity poses a massive human resource management challenge in local government administration (Anyim, Ikemefuna, and Mbah, 2011).

In today’s current competitive world, organisations, particularly local government administrations, face new obstacles in the acquisition and optimisation of human resources.

To address these problems, there has typically been a need for comprehensive Human Resource Management (HRM) techniques that can translate an organization’s human resources into long-term performance.

The success of most, if not all, organisations is heavily dependent on its human resources. According to Khan (2010), in a dynamic working environment like Nigeria, organisations must take an articulate approach to implementing HRM practices in order to improve their performance.

Human Resource Management (HRM) is the function inside an organisation that is responsible for recruiting, managing, and directing its employees. Line managers can also handle human resources.

Nigeria’s experience with local government administration, whether under military or democratic regimes, demonstrates that local governments face enormous hurdles in fulfilling their purpose to promote development and provide crucial services to rural people.

Unfortunately, local government, which is statutorily designed to be the closest tier of government to the people, is not doing its job, and the residents who live there are denied the benefits of their existence.

The failure of local governments to deliver services or perform well has caused individuals to lose trust in government as an institution (Ajibulu cited in Adeyemi, 2013).

Existing literature has highlighted the significant impact of Human Resources Management (HRM) practices on local government performance (Ahmed and Schroeder, 2003; Schuler and Jackson, 2007; and Agyapomaa, 2011).

Furthermore, Edgar and Geare (2005) argued that the relationship between Human Resource Management methods and staff performance is a growing research issue in human resource management.

More precisely, HRM is hypothesised to meet the demands of employees, which increases positive attitudes and, as a result, improves local government performance (Edgar and Geare, 2005; Kuvaas, 2008).

The question of whether Human Resources Management (HRM) practices have a detrimental or positive relationship with local government performance remains open to empirical research. Thus, the purpose of this study is to critically investigate the impact of human resource management on local government performance.

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

In Nigerian local government administration, particularly in the Okpokwu local government area (LGA) in Benue State, the human aspect is typically volatile and unpredictable. Work settings are complicated and changing.

Rapid changes in the external and internal environments have an impact on the local government administration, and certain parts of the work force are made redundant.

As a result of the foregoing, human resource management in Okpokwu local government area (LGA) in Benue State is essentially ineffective in managing change. Human resources managers and specialists with proper training, technical erudition, and experience who can provide management with functional and line managers in the council area appear to be in short supply,

not only in Benue State, but throughout Nigeria. Furthermore, human resource management plays an important role in the economic development of any state or country; nevertheless, the issue with human resources in Okpokwu LGA is inadequate service delivery and performance.

Local governments in Nigeria are widely acknowledged to have the worst capacity to launch and administer rural development programmes. This is owing to a serious lack of high-quality human resources at the local government level.

Most authorities are conducting their duties without the necessary qualifications to do so successfully. As a result, available resources for expedited and sustainable rural development are not being used efficiently for their original purpose.

Okpokwu Local Government, as one of the most significant local governments in Benue State, cannot afford to fall behind. This study is being conducted to explore the impact of human resource management on local government performance, with a focus on the Okpokwu local government area (LGA) in Benue State.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The primary goal of this research will be to evaluate the effect of human resource management on local government performance. Other specific objectives include:

i. Determine the relationship between human resource management and local government performance.

ii. To investigate the effect of human resource training on service delivery at the grassroots level.

iii. Determine the challenges to the performance of local government councils.

iii. Make relevant ideas for improving the performance of local government councils.

1.4 Research Questions.

This study will be led by the following research questions.

a) Is there a correlation between human resource management and local government performance?

b) How does human resources training affect service delivery at the grassroots level?

b) What are the challenges to the performance of local government councils?

1.5 Scope of Study

The study’s scope is limited to theories with implications for human resource management. Due to time and financial constraints, the study’s geographical scope has been limited to the Okpokwu Local Government Area (LGA) in Benue State.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will help to broaden our understanding of human resource management and its application to government entities. It will also be counted as a management research.

Furthermore, the study will put certain existing human resource management ideas to the test. It will act as documentary evidence for management scientists and help them construct workable hypotheses.

This study will promote the use of appropriate motivators and work practices in the Okpokwu local government area (LGA) of Benue State. This will provide dependable management approaches for maintaining operational efficiency. This research will also help LGAs examine their aims to ensure that their work ethics are aligned with achieving those objectives.

Overall, the findings of this study will be a source of intellectual pride for the Benue State University library. The study would be significant for scholars, future researchers, and students in the academic discipline of political science since they will find the outcome highly useful.

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