NIGERIAN FEDERALISM AND LOCAL government AUTONOMY
NIGERIAN FEDERALISM AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTONOMY
1.1 Background of The Study
Federalism, according to K.C Wheare, is a system of separating powers so that the central and regional administrations are each co-ordinate and independent within a sphere.
He stated that the characteristics of this Federal Principle are the division of powers among levels of government, a written constitution demonstrating this division of powers, and co-ordinate rather than sub-ordinate supremacy of the two levels of government with respect to their functions (K.C Wheare, 1953: 10).
The practice of federalism in nigeria is one of the legacies bequeathed to Nigeria by the British colonial masters. Because federalism is concerned with the division of power between the central and component units,
local government is a component in a federal system. It is recognised as a third tier of government that is charged with responsibility at the grass roots.
The constitution assigns specific powers to the local government, and the local government is to be independent in order to carry out all of its responsibilities without interference from the national government. The local government should exercise government in its own right.
The evolution of local government in Nigeria has seen many changes, all of which are focused towards making local government a system that can serve the purpose for which it was created. However, under General Olusegun Obasanjo's rule, the 1976 local government reform was implemented.
The reform recognised local government as the third tier of government in the country, and it is supposed to perform exactly what the name implies: govern at the local level. The reforms also aim to stimulate democratic self-government,
encourage initiative and leadership potential, and entrain the principle of this reform for the local government to be autonomous, with the freedom to recruit and manage its own staff,
raise and manage its own finances, make policies, laws, and provide services within the limits of its resources and functions without interference. (Okoli, 2005: 107).
This study focuses on the Ofu local government region in Kogi state. It will look into the independent nature of the local government area and the degree of services provided in the area. The Federal Military Administration of Nigeria, led by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, established the Ofu local government area of Kogi state in May 1989 from the Idah local government area of Benue state. It is divided into nine districts.
Ugwolawo, Itobe, Igalaogba, Ojokogbe, Aloji, Ejule, Ogbonicha, Igo, Omache, and Ofoke are among them. Ugwolawo, the ancient town that has the only Federal Government college in the Kogi Eastern Senatorial district, serves as the goo-political entity's headquarters.
Graphically, the local government shares boundaries with Kogi state's Dekina Local Government Area to the north and Ankpa local government to the south. Ofu local government shares boundaries with Olamaboro local government area to the south east and Ajaokuta local government area to the west.
The local government area encompasses around 8,747.5 square kilometres of land and has a boundary of 252.5 kilometres. According to the National Population Commission's 1991 census, the population is 112,697 people. Farmers make up the majority of the population.
The land is fertile for large-scale agriculture production of maize, beans, groundnuts, rice, cassava, melon, guinea corn, Barbara nuts, and other crops, while mangoes, cashew, palm trees, cocoa, and other crops provide abundantly for commercialization. Mineral resources such as caoline, lime, marble, galena, fieldpars, and so on are abundant beneath the earth's surface and ready for research.
Cultural activities are extremely important to the people of Ofu since it is a feature that is always endemic in Sub-Saharan African countries. Uloko Amo Waterfalls in Ofokopi, Ugbakoji Hills in Itobe, Egane Waterfalls, Ofakete Natural Bridge, and Ala Natural funnel are among their tourist attractions.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Local government autonomy refers to the ability of a local government to hire and manage its own workforce, raise and manage its own funds, make policies and laws, and provide services within the constraints of its resources and functions without intervention.
Prior to the 1976 Local Government Reform, local governments were directly under the control of the state government, which had the exclusive authority to create and dissolve them. As a result, local administrations have been exposed to a slew of limitations imposed by their respective state governments.
These controls were carried out by their individual state governments by means such as the approval of bye-laws and significant contracts, the appointment of specific types of professional and administrative staff, the approval of annual estimates and loan proposals, and funding through grants-in-aid.
These control methods had a negative impact since they resulted in delays, which hampered many essential policies and projects in the local government sector. Furthermore, state governments could form, modify, dissolve,
or suspend local government councils at any time. The states possessed the authority to dismantle their local governments. Local government was, in fact, at the mercy of the state.
Local government autonomy in African countries such as Nigeria is more theoretical than practical. As Olowu (1988:71) puts it succinctly:
Most governments have opted for direct central government control of their local governments via a battery of legal, financial, and administrative controls… So-called “local government” units of central governments exist as parallel institutions to the government's field administration, controlled by both the central and field units.
Local governments in Nigeria, for example, rely heavily on statutory allocations from the federal government, limiting their autonomy. It makes local governments dependent on the federal government. Furthermore, successive Nigerian governments (both federal and state) have interfered with local government operations.
For example, between 1984 until late 1987, local government councils were disbanded, and the management of local government activities was delegated entirely to a single administrator. Again, in 1994, the military government of General Abacha removed the elected local government councils and replaced them with caretaker committees (Ezeani, 2004).
Local governments' financial sovereignty has also been restricted on numerous times by state governments. This is currently the scenario in Nigeria, where some state governments restrict federal allocations to local governments and allow the chairman whatever money they want to administer the local government. Ezeani (2004):86.
Despite the fact that the 1976 local government reform made it the backbone of Nigeria's modern local government system, one can reasonably argue that the local government still has significant limits that have hampered its development. According to Olugbemi (1986), these are as follows:
– State government retains control over the most significant responsibilities delegated to local governments in the guidelines and as provided in the fourth schedule of the federal republic of Nigeria's constitution of 1999.
– Continued imposition of different central government, it controls the appointment of councillors, budgeting and budget control, policy decision including fiscal policy determination, personnel management, and so on, which tends to reduce the value of government in local governments.
As a result, the study will attempt to provide empirical and verified responses to the following issues.
– Does Federalism safeguard the autonomy of local governments?
– Is the Nigerian local government system (Ofu Local Government) self-governing?
– Does allowing full power to local governments improve service delivery?
1.3 objectives of The study
Every research endeavour incorporates and embodies several goals to be attained at the conclusion of the investigation. Thus, the overarching goal of this research is to evaluate “the Nigerian Federalism and local government autonomy, specifically in the Ofu local government area of Kogi state.” However, the study specifically seeks to:
– Determine whether federalism guarantees local government autonomy.
– Determine whether or if Nigeria's local government system (Ofu local government) is totally independent.
– To illustrate how giving the Nigerian local government system (Ofu local government) full authority can improve service delivery.
1.4 Significance of the Research
This study's significance is classified into two categories: theoretical and practical.
At the theoretical level, it would expand our understanding of Nigerian Federalism and local government autonomy. This research will serve as a resource base for other academics and researchers interested in conducting additional research in this sector, and if utilised,
will go so far as to provide new explanations for the topic. On a practical level, the study will assist our policymakers and those in power in recognising the detrimental impact of a lack of local government autonomy,
and will help leaders see causes or how successful the government at the grass roots (local government) will become if given full authority.
1.5 Literature Review
A variety of scholarly works on this specific field of study had been completed, particularly on interpretations of variables connected to this topic. The significance of reviewing relevant literature cannot be overstated.
According to Fox (1969) and Leady (1974), if proposed study is to contribute to the relevant subject, the researcher must first comprehend the discipline.
They pointed out that reading the basic literature of other philosophers is the most direct approach to accomplish this. This work uses the thematic approach to organise the literature as a method of organising the review. This method evaluates issues based on resemblance, conformance, or ideas.
As a result, the review is organised around three themes that have been recognised as variables under investigation. This is also done to guarantee correct organisation and reader comprehension. In Nigeria, the themes are federalism, local government, and local government autonomy.
Federalism is a tough topic to grasp because there are numerous viewpoints or opinions attempting to describe it (there is no unity of thought). “There are several varieties of political arrangements to which the term is properly applied,” Daniel Elazer (1992) stated (Jinadu, 1980:26).
William Ricker went on to say that “an initial difficulty in any discussion of federalism is that the meaning of the word has been thoroughly confused by dramatic changes in the institutions to which it refers” (Ibid). Federalism derives its name from the Latin word “Foedus,” which means “compact or league.”
The following English words “Federal, Federate,” and the word federation” arose from the same Latin word “Foedus” and found their way into the stream of English language, politics, and law.
In constitutional law, the term “Federal” refers to a league or contract of two or more states to form a United Nation under the central government known as the “federal government.”
According to K.C. Wheare (1953:10), is a means of separating powers so that central and regional governments are each co-ordinate and independent within a sphere.
The elements of this federal principle, according to him, are the division of powers among levels of government, a written constitution demonstrating this division, and the co-ordinate, rather than sub-ordinate, supremacy of the two levels of government in their functions. Wheare's key point is that if people in the constitutional entities support federalism, it will be implemented.
Desire to be subject to a single independent government for some purposes at any rate, while retaining or establishing independent regional governments for others. Wheare, K.C. (1963: 35-36).
According to Wheare's definition of federalism, the constitutional clause safeguards the autonomy of various regional levels of government, and as a result, neither the central nor regional governments are submissive to each other, but rather the two levels of government are coordinated and autonomous.
Beyond the narrow confines of legal formulation, William Livingston (1956:1-2) saw federalism as the result of the interaction of socio-cultural and political factors, while observing that the documentary constitution may be a poor guide to whether a political system is Federal or otherwise. He went on to say:
The essence of Federalism is to be located not in the shadow of legal and constitutional nomenclature, but in the forces, economic, social, political, and cultural, that have given rise to the outward forms of Federalism. The federal government is a vehicle that protects the federal qualities of society. 3 (Livingston, 1956).
This differs from Wheare's legal construct in that Livingston highlights the connection of the constitution's framework and socio-cultural processes. In effect, he demonstrates that the shape of the constitution is independent of the centripetal and centrifugal forces at work in society.
Livingston went on to differentiate between a federal constitution, which is the legal document, and a federal society, which is required by the federal constitution. He defines the federal constitution as the arrangement incorporating federal principles such as the division of powers,
while the federal society is one with a plurality of ethnic groups with different historical, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, but in which each ethnic group occupies a distinct geographical location from the others.
Federalism thus becomes a tool for sacrificing unity in diversity. However, Livingston (1956:3) emphasised the importance of common political tradition for the survival of federalism, stating that “of all the factors that go into the matrix out of which Federations are produced similarly, social and political tradition is probably the most important.”
Livingston stated that once established, the political institutions of Federalism “may shape the pattern of society by determining the channels through which these social pressures will flow; in short, the constitution affects and is affected by societal diversities.”
The problem with the preceding analysis is that it is unclear whether of the characteristics affecting the operation of a federal system are necessary requirements for the formation of a federation. Similarly,
Livingston's concept of a federal system is so wide that any society with a separation of powers can find a place in it. This approach, for example, is ineffective in determining the boundaries between federal states like the United States and decentralised systems like Britain.
Carl Friedrich (1963:35) holds the same opinion as K.C Wheare. Federalism, he believes, should be viewed as a political process that organises unity and variety, and this process should embrace all political events, persons, institutions, and ideas.
A federation, he defined, is a union of group self united by one or more aims but keeping their separate group level, whereas association is on the interpersonal level. He stated that federalism is supposed to strengthen mutual interactions without damaging those who are uniting.
Friedrich believed that federalism should be a gradual development. The process by which a number of separate political communities come together to work out solutions, adopt joint policies, and make joint decisions on common problems, as well as the process by which a unitary political community becomes differentiated into a federally organised whole.
Itse Sagay (2003) agrees with Wheare, stating that Federalism is;
An arrangement in which political power within a multinational country is shared between a Federal or central authority and a number of regionalized governments, with each unit, including the central authority,
existing as a government separately and independently from the others, operating directly on persons and property within its territorial area, with its own will and apparatus for conducting affairs, and with authority in some matters.
Each government in a federation has autonomy, a separate existence, and is not subject to the power of any other government. Each government exists not as an appendage of another government, but as an autonomous institution capable of conducting its business independently of any government's direction.
The preceding definition is consistent with Wheare's own statement that there is no hierarchy of authorities in the Federal system, with the central government ruling over the others. Every government has a horizontal link with every other government.
Austin Ranny (1993: 789) sees federalism as a system of governance in which power is split between a national government and numerous sub-national governments, each of which is constitutionally superior in its assigned realm.
He stated that Federalism was adopted for political reasons, and that it has been universally hailed as the greatest American contribution to the art of government.
A number of different nations have adopted it as a means of bringing together regions with vastly different cultures and interests as one nation. Australia, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland are clear examples, as are Brazil, India, and Mexico.
According to Osaghie (1990), one significant feature that distinguishes Federal character systems from non-Federal character systems is contractual, non-concentration of authority.
According to him, there is an irreversible division of power in a Federal state as a result of the constitutional contract among the ethnicities or sub-communities that comprise the Federation.
Federalism is defined by Tekena Tamuno (1989:18) as a type of government in which the constituent units of a political organisation share powers and functions cooperatively, despite the fact that the combined pressures of ethnic pluralism and cultural variety, among others, tend to pull their people apart.
Delicate arrangements of this type were carefully worked out, provide enough room for the coexistence of center-seeking and center-fleeing forces, peace, for lucky communities which achieve and sustain measure of this,
under these arrangements, is not necessarily that of the grave, where people agree sometimes and disagree sometimes, concerning the goals and means of co-operative governments of this kind, friction and conflict resolution is quite possible through th
According to Professor Attahiru M. Jega (1999), a federal system is a government in which the written constitution or an inviolable statutory precedent specifies that certain fundamental authority belongs to a central government and that other fundamental authority belongs to smaller areas. Eligwu (1996): 88.
Federalism, in this sense, is fundamentally about distributing political and economic decision-making power among constitutional institutions or levels of government.
Some conclusions can be derived from the above literatures on the notion of federalism. The first is that the study of federalism is still in a condition of partial theory, with numerous writers, each speaking his own language.
Close analysis reveals that there is no fundamental dispute among the scholars in their varied approaches to the topic. Each approach is a subset of the larger theme, and none by itself describes the entire federal concept.
Wheare, for example, provides a legal framework for what constitutes a federal constitution, while Livingston looks beyond the surface to the social diversities that the constitutional divisions of powers are supposed to reflect, and Friedrich examines the actual operation of the societal centripetal and centrifugal forces and how they affect the constitutional arrangement.
Overall, it may be concluded that the available literature depicting what is and is not federal government is as hazy as ever. As a result, the federalist student is caught in a bind.
However, for the purposes of this study, the definition provided by K.C. Wheare (1953) would be adopted as a working definition because it is still impossible to specify the prerequisite of federalism and the foundation for determining which countries are federal and which are not without using Wheare's definition.
This section will focus on the perspectives of other researchers, forcing us to ask new questions, consider the perspectives of a varied variety of thinkers, and provide access to opposing explanations of what is truly Local Government.
According to Orewa (1992), local government is the lowest level of administration to which the communities who live in a defined geographical area and have common social and political relations are subject.
In his opinion, the meaning of this is that the territorial jurisdiction of the local government must be clearly decided and defined in order for the people of the local government to be aware of their civic and financial claim for service supply and protection against health and hazard.
He went on to say that decentralised administration produces local government. Decentralisation refers to the arrangement in which the management of a country's public affairs is shared by the central/state provincial and local governments in such a way that the local government is given reasonable scope to raise funds and use its resources to provide a range of socioeconomic services and establish programmes to improve the welfare of those who live within its area of authority. (ibid).
According to the United Nations Office for Public Administration, local government is a political division of a nation or (in a federal system), state that is established by law and has responsibility over local affairs,
including the authority to levy taxes or collect labour for specified purposes. The government of such an institution is elected or otherwise chosen locally (Ola 1984:7).
According to Ola (1984), who agrees with the above argument, there are various factors that led to the development of local government as the third tier of government.
-citizen participation in local government management
-providing vital services in an efficient and equitable manner
– Mobilisation of resources for development purposes
He went on to say that municipal government is a collaborative body that can sue and be sued. As a result, it has its own legal existence. Local governments differ from other social institutions in that they have judicial or legislative authority to enact bylaws and regulations.
It does not produce substantive law, but rather bye-laws and regulations under the authority granted by the constitution.
According to Ogunna (1976), local government is a political body constituted by law or constitution for local communities to administer their local public affairs within the bounds.
According to William Robson in Mahal (2006), local government entails the concept of a territorial, non-sovereign community with the legal right and the required organisation to administer its own affairs.
This, in turn, presupposes the existence of a local authority with the authority to act independently of external control, as well as local community engagement in the administration of its own affairs.
Local government was defined in the 1976 local government reform handbook as “government at the local level exercised through representative councils established by law to exercise specific power within defined areas.”
These powers should give the council substantial control over local affairs, as well as the staff and institutional and financial power to initiate and direct the provision of services, as well as to determine and implement projects in order to supplement the activities of the state and federal governments in their respective areas, and to ensure,
through devolution of functions to the council and active participation of the people and their traditional institutions, that local initiatives are undertaken.
Local needs and conditions are prioritised.
According to Price (1975:160), local governance is:
An attempt to exploit its citizens' local loyalties by delegating local functions to local administrative bodies, which can be of various types, such as a locally elected representative body, a recognised traditional authority, or a local representative, with clearly defined central government power.
Drain (2000) views local government as the lower level of government accountable for domestic enhancement in his book “Local Government Administration.” According to him, growth must begin at the grassroots with an organised structure and public education. Development should be everyone's concern; local government is the closest to the people and the one that listens to them.
Local government is thus all about upgrading and acting as a catalyst for rural or community development.
Under the new structure, Odenigwe (1979) sees local government in Nigeria as the ultimate agency for mobilising population and material resources for rural development. Local governments are now in a better position to mobilise, direct, and coordinate people's rural development initiatives.
Venkataranyaiga and Pattabhiram perceive local government as a threat.
The administration of a locality, a village, a town, a city, or any other area smaller than the state by a body representing local inhabitants,
with a fair amount of authority, raising at least some of its revenue through local taxation and spending its income on services regarded as local and thus distinct from state and central services.
According to L. L. Ademolekun and Ademolekun L. Rowland (1979:1) considers local government to be a tier of government, with official and unequivocal acknowledgment of local government as a distinct level of government with defined limits and explicitly stated functions and provisions.
To expand on the above definition, being a tier means that, unlike in the past, when local government was placed under a ministry or department with limited responsibilities, it is now regarded as the third level of government and charged with greater and additional responsibilities of mobilising, sensitising, and harnessing the human and material resources at the local level for the development of such localities.
The local government now has the following powers as the third tier of government.
Staff: The local government service commission now allows it to recruit, pay, and discipline its employees.
Unlike in the past, the local administration today has high-level personnel.
Financial autonomy: As a third tier of government, the local government now receives its budgetary allocation from the revenue allocation and mobilisation commission. It also has authority over its annual budget.
Fiscal independence: it may now create its own funds through rent, rates, and tolls.
According to the arguments of all the authors discussed above, local government is a third tier of government and, as such, an agent of rural development.
Autonomy of Local Governments
Despite its common usage, there is a lot of confusion and misinterpretation about what the term “autonomy” means, and the genuine understanding of the phrase leaves a lot to be desired.
Furthermore, the numerous scholars and government functionaries who used the term assumed that their audience understood the concept; government reforms intended to preserve or extend local government autonomy fall short of their goals because the full meaning of the term autonomy has not been fully explained (Odunfa, 1991).
Local government autonomy refers to the ability of a local government to hire and manage its own employees, raise and manage its own funds, make policies and laws, and provide services within the limitations of its resources and functions without intervention from the federal and state governments.
The work of many scholars on the concept of local government autonomy will be reviewed.
According to Nwabueze (1983), autonomy under a federal system means that “each government enjoys a separate existence and independence from the control of the other government.” It is an autonomy that requires only the legal and physical existence of a government apparatus such as a legislative assembly,
Governor, Court, and so on, but that each government must exist not as an appendage of another government, but as an autonomous entity capable of conducting its own affairs without being directed by another government.
According to Nwabueze, autonomy is only relevant if one level of government is not legally compelled to accept dictation or instruction from another.
Local government autonomy, according to the defunct Centre for Democratic Studies, refers to “the relative discretion which local government enjoys in regulating their own affairs the extent to which local government are free from the control of the state and federal government in the management of local affairs.”
Davey (1991) writes in this contribution to the literature on autonomy, “local autonomy is primarily concerned with the question of responsibilities, resources, and discretion conferred on local authorities.”
As such, it presumes that local government must have discretion and responsibility in its upkeep. the power to take decision independent of external control within the restrictions established at own by the law.
It must attract efficient resumes, particularly from the finance sector, in order to achieve their obligations. To put it another way, lead autonomy is the freedom of independence in a clearly defined subject, as well as a separate legal identity from other levels of government. In essence, when we talk of local government autonomy in Nigerian policy,
we are referring to the state and federal governments' relative independence from local government control. As a result, the nature and structure of transactions or interactions between the three levels of government reflect the degree of autonomy of local governments.
Local government autonomy in African countries such as Nigeria is more theoretical than practical. As Olowu (1998:71) puts it succinctly:
A slew of legal, financial, and administrative safeguards… dubbed “local government units” Most African governments have chosen direct control by the central government of local governments,
which in reality operate as field administrative units of the central government or, worse, as parallel institutions to the government's field administration controlled by both the central and field units.
The excessive reliance of local government in Nigeria, for example, on statutory allocation from the federal government erodes autonomy and places local government at the mercy of the federal government. Furthermore, successive Nigerian governments (both federal and state) have interfered with the operation of local governments.
For example, between 1984 to late 1987, local government councils were disbanded, and the management of local government activities was put entirely on the solitary administrator. In 1991, the military regime of General Abacha dismantled the elected local government councils and replaced them with caretaker committees.
The State Government has also frequently confisticated local government's budgetary autonomy. This is currently the case in Nigeria, where certain state governments confisticate federal funds to local government and give the chairman whatever amount they choose to administer local government (Ezeani, 2004: 186).
Akpan (1982:160) criticises the government of Nigeria's then-eastern region.
By limiting the financial and executive powers of these central government officials,
By handing over control of staff serving local government and assuming primary financial responsibility for local government services, Nigeria has practiced a veiled form of integrated administration decentralisation since independence, with the so-called local government serving as nothing more than mere arms and agents to the central government.
It is not surprising, then, that Ronald Wraith, who has written extensively on local government, had to change the title of his book from “local government in West Africa” to “local administration in West Africa” because he realised that what existed in most West African countries was merely local administration rather than local government (Wraith 1982: 224).
Despite these far-reaching reforms, particularly in 1976, which established it as the bedrock of Nigeria's modern local government system, one can safely assert that local government autonomy is more of a theory than a reality, and this is an impediment to its success.
These, according to Olugbemi (1986), can be summarised as “continued jurisdiction of state government over the most important functions allocated to local government in the guideline and as stipulated in the fourth schedule of the Federal Republic of Nigeria constitution of 1999.”
The federal government's failure to achieve a more equitable distribution of the tax burden among the three tiers of government. Continued imposition of various central government regulations in the appointment of councillors,
budgeting and budget control, policy determination, including fiscal policy determination, personnel management, and so on, which tend to reduce the value of government in local government.
1.6 Theoretical Structure
Kerlinger (1977:57) defines theory as a group of interconnected constructions, concepts, propositions, or ideas that give a systematic picture of a phenomenon by identifying relationships among variables with the goal of explaining and predicting the phenomenon. Based on the foregoing, we can conclude that theory serves as the cornerstone of all social science research.
It gives a rational explanation for a phenomenon or event while also anticipating its likely conclusion. Igwe (2005: 442-443) defines theoretical framework as “the guide on the school of thought expressing some level or form of existing relevant knowledge and
adopted by the student or researcher as the foundation of his work.” Normally chosen from a wide range of political theories following a comprehensive assessment of the literature.
Saliu (2004:9) emphasised the significance of theoretical framework in social science, claiming that the necessity of applying theories to social science research efforts has long been recognised. According to behavioural approach experts, social science is not scientifically based unless it is supported by a theory.
Saliu goes on to say that a “theoretical frame work” refers to a researcher's conscious and purposeful decision in terms of the theory or a mix of theories that will guide his research endeavours.
Given the aforementioned, and in order to undertake a systematic study, we will base our investigation on the theory and persuasion of structural functional theory.
Structural functionalism, as defined by Haralambos and Holborn (2004: 936-937), is a theoretical framework intended to explain the basis for the maintenance of order and stability in society,
as well as the relevant arrangement within society that maintains from the biological sciences. Gabriel Almond initially adopted structural functionalism as a mode of analysis.
According to Almond, every political system has structures that serve specific roles. It goes on to say that every political system involves structure and functions.
According to Robert Marton (quoted in Nwaogu 2002: 47), functions are “those observed consequences which make for the adaptation or adjustment of a given system” structures, on the other hand, refer to “the arrangement within the system which perform the function” it is thus evident in the above viewpoint that all structures must be allowed for the continued existence of a political system.
Gabriel Almond, the theory's major proponent, identified seven (7) particular functions that every political system must perform.
Political Education and Recruitment
Communication in Politics
Functions of output
Rule interpretation. (Varma (1975: 209) examines almond.)
In agreement with Almond, Varma (1975:211) claims that structural functionalism revolves around two primary concepts: functions and structures, from which three questions can be posed.
– What fundamental functions are carried out in every particular political system?
– Which structure?
– Under what circumstances?
According to the findings of the preceding analysis, the importance of structural functional theory in Nigerian federalism and local government autonomy cannot be overstated. In Nigeria, power is shared among the three levels of government (federal, state, and local),
which are the structures: these structures are expected to be taken care of by the constitution, taking into account the notion that constitution is the frame or composition of government,
to the way a government is actually structured in terms of its levels, the distribution of power within it, the relations of the organs, and the procedures for exercising power.
The constitution of the Nigerian federation assigns particular powers to the administration, legislature, and judiciary. The constitution also defines and limits the authority of the three levels of government, federal, state, and municipal.
It is expected that the levels of government carry out their respective tasks as outlined in the constitution, with the goal and objectives in mind.
According to liberal scholars, the most important aspect of the state is the maintenance of order and stability. Again, the many component units in a federal state are equally structures that are intended to serve certain responsibilities.
Since it is expected that the central and regional governments will exist independently and cooperatively, and not in a situation where the central government will assume a dictatorial role on other levels, performing the functions that the regional government will perform,
it is logical that all component units will be autonomous and economically viable in order to ensure uniformity in the size of the government units, as anything contrary could suggest J.S. Mills' “law of instability” states that if a specific structure is not feasible,
the functions it is expected to fulfil for the federation's continued existence will be limited. Furthermore, because the constitution takes pride of place in federal practice,
it becomes necessary for the various structures in a federation to participate in its creation, as this is also part of their duty. A divergence from this viewpoint could result in the constitution failing to reflect the people's aspirations.
The constitution may as well fail to institutionalise the necessary structures, the functions of which it should also define and limit. In other words, the constitution may establish structures but fails to assign them appropriate functions.
Furthermore, as provided by the 1976 local government reform, the federal system of government has the local government as the third tier and not an administration under any other level of government, and also in the constitution (1999) 4th schedule, it assigns some functions to the local government, thus, in a federal system practice,
the various levels of government are supposed to be sharing powers & functions in such a way that power will no longer be shared. According to structural functional theory, allowing the local government full authority to conduct its functions within its jurisdiction will improve service delivery at the grassroots.
Both the input and output functions should be performed concurrently; output should be a product of the input function; as output functions should reflect the inputs made by various structures. In the event of a deviation from this approach, structural faults develop and, if not appropriately addressed, can lead to system degradation.
This research is based on the following assumptions: Federalism appears to provide local government authority. The Nigerian local government system (Ofu Local Government) is not self-contained. There is a link between allowing local government full autonomy (Ofu Local Government) and improved service performance.
1.8 Data Collection and Analysis Method
A navigator employs a compass to direct his voyage, much as a builder relies on a building design. In this study, we collect data from both primary and secondary sources.
The primary source was based on personal interviews with various Ofu local government officials, although the secondary source is equally warranted owing to its reliable and scientific facts and concepts, which must be reinforced with empiricism.
Textbooks, newspapers, periodicals, government publications, research papers, journals, handbooks, the internet, and so on are examples of secondary sources of data.
Furthermore, we will use content analysis as our study method. This entails interpreting meaning into materials gathered with the goal of reaching a credible and verifiable conclusion.
1.9 definition of Terms
For a better understanding, the following terms will be operationalized:
ii. Municipal government
iii. Autonomy of local governments
vi. Officials from the local government
i. Federalism is a system of government in a country, also known as a federation, in which political and socioeconomic powers are shared between the central government (referred to as the federal government) and the co-ordinate political sub-division of the country, referred to as region in Nigeria but now known as states and local government.
ii. Local government is local government exercised by a representative council created by law to exercise certain responsibilities within designated regions. These powers should give the council substantial control over local affairs, as well as the staff, institutional,
and financial resources to initiate and direct service provision, as well as to determine and implement projects that complement the activities of the state and federal governments in their respective areas,
and to ensure that local initiatives and responses to local needs are maximised through active participation of the people and their traditional institutions.
iii. Local government autonomy refers to the ability of a local government to hire and manage its own employees, raise and manage its own funds, make policies and laws, and provide services within the limitations of its resources and functions without intervention from the federal and state governments.
iv. Functions: observable outcomes that led to the acceptance or modification of a certain system.
v. Structure: the configuration of the system that executes the functions.
vi. Local government reform is an attempt to reorganise local government in order to improve overall operations at that level.