CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORMS IN NIGERIA
Local Government in Nigeria faces series of critical challenges like creating critical social services and how to sustain them. No Nation can boast of excellent performance within the public sector at the grass root if a large percentage of her rural inhabitants are facing uncontrollable abject poverty, needs/wants, socio-economic dilemmas, and basic social amenities.
However, in Nigeria, a series of social amenities at the grass-root reveals that the third tiers of government are lacking performance in the area of service delivery, and over the years has caused the citizens to lose both faith and trust in local government, the closet tier of government to them… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
Background of Study
The system of local government administration practiced anywhere in the world, is dependent largely on the historical, geographical, sociological, political and economic life of the people. This is no less true of Nigeria with a long history of slavery and colonization as well as civilian and military administrations and these have to a large extent determined the system of local government administration in Nigeria up till today.
We intend in this work to look at the various reforms that local government system in Nigeria has witnessed since 1914 (Oyediran O., 1988). The Native Authority (NA) system was the first colonial system of local government administration whereby indirect rule and exploitation was the order of the day. A unified local government system was established in Northern Nigeria before it was extended to Southern Nigeria with varying degrees of success.
This system of local government as found in the Native Authorities did not satisfy the needs and aspirations of the local people, hence there were intense agitations from the local citizens, particularly the educated elites in Southern Nigeria craving for greater participation in their own affairs… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
Statement of Research Problem
Local government reforms are a welcome development in Nigeria because it tends to evaluate the performance of the local government administration; hence implement new policies to favour the local government in order to achieve socio-economic development.
But from all indications, it would appear that the problems with the various reforms have to do more with the operators of the systems and not the system per se. It is to this regard that the researchers desired to carry out an analysis on the challenges and prospects of local government reforms in Nigeria.
The main aim of the research work is to examine the challenges and prospect of local government reforms in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study are:
- to determine the effect of local government reforms on political stability and national development in Nigeria
- to determine the relationship between government policies and the operators of the systems… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
Local government has been the concern of every responsive political system in the world. This is because; local government basically, is the involvement of grassroots people in the provision of social and economic amenities to the local areas. It is based on the principle that local problems and needs can be understood by the people of the locality better than by the Central or State government (Arowolo, 2008:4).
The existence of local government has always been defended on the basis that it is a crucial aspect of democratization and intensification of mass participation in the decision-making process. No political system is considered complete and democratic if it does not have a system of local government (Shah, 2006:15)… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
Municipal research and services centre (MRSC, 1993) defines service delivery as the actual producing of a service such as collecting refuse and disposing it or lighting the streets. Staus (2005:5) supports this view and suggest that in economic transactions, it is specialized skills and knowledge that are exchanged for money rather than physical resources.
Whitaker (1980:11) observes that depending on the kind of service being offered each service has primary intention of transforming the customer and that the client himself/herself is the principal beneficiary… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
Local Governments as an Instrument of Service Delivery in Nigeria
Service delivery refers to the provision of social or public goods that will promote socio-economic wellbeing of the citizens. Public services offered by government are numerous and may include the provision of public utilities, security, economic development projects, and the enforcement of the law and so on.
The delivery of public goods and services at the local government or the grassroot is aimed at moving the standard of living of the populace to the next level (Angahar, 2013:15)… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
This work adopted the Structural functionalist theory as postulated by Gabriel Almond, James Coleman and Bingham Powell. Almond (1960) started his study of the various political systems with an attempt at defining what a political system means. He disagreed with the definition provided by Max Weber, that a political system is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory (Weber, 1946:78).
He argued that this definition with its emphasis on the territory as one of the characteristics and on the right to use physical force being ascribed to other institutions or to individuals refers only to the state rather than to the political system. To Almond (1960), “Physical” means separating out a certain set of interactions in society in order to… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
THE EVOLUTION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORMS SYSTEM IN NIGERIA
Local government system has undergone three phases in Nigeria. These are: Pre-colonial, Colonial and Post-Colonial Phases.
Local Government System in the Pre-Colonial Nigeria:
Local administration at the grassroots level in Nigeria had always been in operation since time immemorial among the various people now called Nigeria, even before the colonial masters set their feet on the soil of Nigeria (Awofeso, 2004:14).
Put differently, it is not debatable that the history of local government system in Nigeria is older than the advent of the erstwhile colonial masters. Colonialism, however, helped to widen the course of history of Nigerian administration systems as it contributed significantly to the evolution of modern local government in the country (Fatile, 2011:17)… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
Local Government System in the Post Colonial Nigeria:
The third phase took effect from Nigeria‟s independence of 1960. This phase was characterized by a multi-tiered local government structure in the Eastern and Western regions, where both elected and traditional elements were accommodated (Agagu, 2004; Ukwo, 2006; Agba, Akwara, and Idu, 2013). At this period different states operated the different systems of local government.
However, local government administration took a new dimension in 1976 local government reforms initiated by the Obasanjo led Military government. The 1976 local government reforms introduced a uniform system of local government administration throughout the country, recognized local government as third tier of government and granted financial and functional autonomy to local government administration in Nigeria… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
One of the fundamental problems of contemporary Nigeria is corruption. It has thrived, progressed and flourished unabated. Corruption has been institutionalized to the point of accepting it as a part of our system. Albeit corruption is ubiquitous, it is found all over the world, but the degree of its manifestation varies from system to system (Lawal and Oladunjoye, 2010: 232).
Corruption is the greatest bane of local government administration in Nigeria. At the grassroots level, corruption has been canonically accommodated, entertained, and celebrated within the system. In the local government setting, corruption is misnomer labeled and euphemistically referred to as “Egunje” (a slogan which means “illegal offer” in Nigeria) and a major hindrance to good government… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The research assessed the services rendered by Local government in nigeria from 1999 and 2011, in areas of education, health care delivery, infrastructural development, etc. The local government in the period under review performed below expectation. There is no doubt that as a third tier of government it has a central role towards her area of jurisdiction, in terms of development.
This is an important reason that led to its establishment. It therefore, means that local government has meaning only when it contributes to the upliftment of the people‟s lives and state of living. Local government in nigeria had not succeeded in the performance of this role in the area during the period covered… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
The study offers some measures aimed at improving the performance of the local government system.
- The local government system in Nigeria needs to be reorganized and restrategized in its policies and programmes to meet the specific needs of the people, in order to make it more functional in the rendering of services such as quality feeder roads, quality and affordable health care services, and improved access to quality educational services. (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Project Material)
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