ROLE OF local GOVERNMENT IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT
ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT
The purpose of this study was to examine the role of local government in rural development in Jos South Local Government Area, Plateau State, Nigeria. This study examined Local Government as a genuine tool for grassroots democracy and a method for bringing government closer to the people.
It has prioritised the development and general well-being of Jos South Local Government's rural population. This study work on the issue is organised into five chapters to achieve the goal of this research work.
The first chapter introduces the topic under consideration. The second chapter focuses on the literature review. The third chapter provides the study's historical context.
Chapter four is concerned with the presentation and analysis of the Government Area. Finally, chapter five discusses the research findings' summary, conclusion, and recommendations.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Despite modern achievements in the fields of politics, economics, technology, communication, transportation, and so on, the increasing demand for local government in every part of the world is motivated by the desire of the rural populace to contribute directly in the affairs of their communities.
Local government is, in fact, as old as mankind, because it is the only form of human administration that has existed throughout history. Human society theory is wrapped in the necessity of community development via a recognised local administrative system that resulted in local government administration.
Local government in Nigeria was defined by the 1976 local government reforms as government at the local level exercised by representative councils formed by law to exercise particular powers within defined areas.
These rights should offer the council significant control over local issues, as well as the staff, institutional, and budgetary authority to initiate and direct service provision.
It also exists to determine and implement projects that complement the activities of the state and federal governments in their respective areas, with the goal of maximising local initiative and response to local needs and conditions through the active participation of the people and their traditional institutions.
According to the United Nations Office for Public Administration, local governments should have jurisdiction over local affairs, including the authority to levy taxes or exact labour for specified objectives.
It further stipulates that individuals who will govern such body shall be chosen or selected locally. Local governments must also be legally established (Ola, 1984).
Gowon (1990) defines local government as “any form of administration found at the grass roots level with the primary goal of integrating the rural populace into the state's decision making process.”
“Local government is the third-tier of government in Nigeria vested with the responsibility of transforming various communities into effective socio-economic and political advanced structures for national development that is the improvement of the quality of life of communities” (1979 in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria).
As a result, the local government system is an administration of rural areas by people who understand the needs of their community. This type of administration is based on the premise that because the people are aware of the requirements of their community, they will do everything possible to improve the area within the constraints of available resources.
Because of its critical role in mobilising local resources for substantial socioeconomic and political reforms in rural areas, local government is a grass roots development agent. The role of local governments in the development of rural areas.
The role of local government in rural development may be traced back to the period of community-based attempts to build individual societies, when local governments were utilised to mobilise all resources for development (Adamolekun, 1988).
As a result, every government strives to influence the lives of its residents by managing their welfare and overall well-being through economic, social, and political development programmes. According to early scholars, this forms the basis of collaboration and reciprocity between government and society, resulting in the maintenance of that society's well-being.
When members of society combine their efforts and resources, they achieve their common goals more effectively. The ability of government or political institutions to execute such basic responsibilities as providing facilities and security to the governed must thus be the source of legitimacy (Adedeji, 2000).
Every government owes its citizens the duty to develop them by providing portable water, health care, education, roads, food, shelter, and any other socioeconomic variables. Such provisions must also contain a structure that allows them to have a say in what they receive and how they receive it.
Members of society can be expected to execute their civic responsibilities to the government and society at large in this regard. Legitimacy refers to the system's ability to instill and sustain the belief that the present political institutions are the best fit for the society's growth and development. Groups consider a political system as legitimate or illegitimate based on how well its principles align with their own (Lipset, 1969).
The existence of Nigeria's three levels of government is thus anticipated to respond to these roles or obligations. While the three tiers have different geopolitical bounds of jurisdiction, they all have certain shared obligations for the growth of the country in general and their respective regions of influence in particular.
In terms of human resources and financial resources, the federal government is the richest, followed by the states, while local governments are the poorest. However, the latter is the most accessible to the bulk of the country's population, particularly those living in rural areas.
Local government management is best suited for the development of rural areas that are far from both the state and central governments.
In the preamble to the instructions for local government reforms (1976), the Federal government stated through Musa Shehu Yar'adua:
“The federal military government was primarily motivated to embark on these reforms by the need to stabilise and rationalise government at the local level.” In order to harness local resources for rapid development,
several major tasks of the state government must be decentralised to the local level. As a result, the federal military administration has decided to recognise local governments as the nation's third tier of governmental action.”
Local government should do exactly what the name government implies: it should govern at the grass roots or at the local level. He went on to clarify that the reforms are meant to shift political responsibility to where it is most important and helpful, namely to the people.
Since colonial times, these local administrations have been a vital aspect of the administration of the country, reminding the people of the state and central governments. Most of the time, they are made up of locals with whom the members of the society may identify and relate culturally. This explains why rural populations are constantly clamouring for their creations.
Local government councils are the only institutions in this country that have the ability to be more capable and to include physical infrastructure. Local government embodies the widely accepted fact of political life that all government responsibilities cannot be carried out solely through central administration.
As a result, it represents the need for political participation as well as convenience (Hashim, 1981). This is true in recognising that, aside from bringing the government closer to the people, a common cliché frequently employed by government officials, local governments are better positioned to comprehend the development needs of communities.
Despite the establishment of a local government administration in Nigeria, rural development has remained a mirage. There is a lack of portable water, health care delivery facilities, accessible roads, and adequate schools in practically every rural village, among other things, and infant mortality and maternal fatalities are on the rise.
According to Mensah and Ojowu (1989), rural areas in third-world countries have remained backward and static at a time when the global economy has seen and continues to experience great forward development. Indeed, despite our enormous material and human resources,
the poverty level of rural populations caused by this lack of development has earned Nigeria a place among the world's poorest nations. The United Nations' human development index (HDI) has continuously placed Nigeria among the world's poorest countries. This poor state of the nation stems primarily from rural communities, where over 85% of the population resides (Avichi, 1995).
The World Bank (1990) estimated that over 1.15 billion people in developing countries were living below the poverty line (US $350 per year), with the majority of these residing in rural areas, which account for approximately 80% of their national populations.
According to Ijere (1989), Nigeria's rural poor constitute the other Nigeria with poverty-linked characteristics, lacking purchasing power sufficient to maintain a minimum standard of living,
and they are the victims of collective poverty, as opposed to pockets or “Islands” of underdevelopment, the American Style, which are surrounded by regions of abundance.
This arrangement plainly fosters apathy towards government, since a sizable percentage of the population in a number of rural towns is unconcerned with government and issues emerging from official quarters. The level of mobilisation is low, and the communities offer little or no consolation on any concerns.
This trend calls into question the rationale for establishing local government administration, which should serve as a conduit for rural development. An analysis of the history of local government administration dating back to colonial times reveals that successive governments have dealt with the issue of rural development in a less than incisive manner.
Local governments are frequently employed for goals other than social development, rather than as tools for effective rural transformation. Some causes for this tragic situation might be given,
including the fact that prior to (1976), no adequately specified rural development strategies were always imposed on communities by government authorities without regard for their sustainability.
The purpose of this research was to determine the role of local government in rural development in the Jos South Local Government Council.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Despite the vital place that local governments hold in the scheme of things, the majority of Nigerians reside in rural communities that have seen little development. Poverty is prevalent, and it is a harsh truth that people die from preventable diseases.
The main vocations of the inhabitants, farming and tin mining, are dwindling, and the quality of elementary education has declined, as has health care delivery and access roads.
Local government autonomy means that the local government is elected and operates independently of the state and federal governments. The local government is no longer an afterthought or a branch of the state government.
However, in Nigeria today, local administrations lack autonomy due to intervention from both the state and federal governments. They lack the freedom to enact their own laws, rules, and regulations, to establish, implement, and analyse their own plans, and to recruit, promote, develop, and discipline their own affairs.
Efforts have been undertaken over the years to modernise the local government system and promote public participation. Despite these advances, the local government system has flaws. However, some of the issues confronting Jos South Local Government Area are unique to some of Nigeria's local government issues.
These issues include, among other things, a lack of adequate human, material, and financial resources, both in quantity and quality, to carry out its own activities, corruption and poverty mismanagement of funds, and a lack of autonomy. Despite development plans in Nigeria dating back to 1946, local governments in Nigeria remain underdeveloped.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What role does local government play in rural development?
2. Why is Jos South Local Government Area unable to meet expectations despite having all the resources at its disposal?
3. Has the local government been able to build infrastructure for the local population?
4. Have they been able to offer individuals with social amenities?
5. What is the level of citizen mobilisation in the context of rural development?
6. What can be done in Jos South Local Government Council to achieve sustainable rural development through local government administration?
1.4 THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study attempted to analyse the responsibilities and activities of Jos South Local Government Area in rural development, as well as to identify and provide solutions to some of the fundamental issues confronting rural development.
The study specifically intended to achieve the following goals and objectives:
1. To assess Jos South Local Government Area's role in rural development.
2. To investigate the organic relationship that exists between local governance and rural development.
3. To assess the performance of Jos South Local Government Council in terms of rural transformation from 2008 to 2014.
4. To identify the factors impeding the performance of Jos South Local Government in rural development.
5. In light of this inquiry, analyse the prospects for Nigerian local government and coherently offer ways for more effective and dynamic administration and management of local government in Nigeria.
1.5 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this research effort is that local governments in Nigeria today have failed in a variety of ways in providing social services to the local population, making rural development impossible.
However, the purpose of this research is to enlighten and educate people about the importance of rural development. The report will greatly assist local government policymakers in making better judgements for rural development in rural areas.
Following that, the purpose of this research is to provide insight into how local people can participate in community politics and to educate people about the roles and responsibilities they should have in the development of their community. Following that, this research will benefit the researchers, students, and Jos South LGC.
This work is significant because it will contribute significantly to the body of literature and additional research on the issues of local government and rural development in Nigeria.
1.6 OBJECTIVES AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study aims to assess Jos South Local Government's rural development initiatives in light of the 1976 government reform, which expanded local government's obligations and functions in grassroots development.
For the purposes of this research, rather than travelling to research the entire local government in Nigeria or the entire local government in Plateau State, the researcher is limiting herself to rural development in Jos South Local Government Council only, due to a lack of time, funds, and access to necessary materials.
THE STUDY'S methodology IS DISCUSSED IN DETAIL IN SECTION 1.7.
The qualitative approach was used in the research, and the data was analysed descriptively in order to get a logical conclusion. Secondary sources were used to acquire data for this study. These come from written documents including textbooks, dictionaries, newspapers, periodicals, journals, and online resources.
THERE ARE 1.8 HYPOTHESES
Local government fosters an environment in which residents can participate in local issues. However, the following hypotheses are stated in the research:
H1: Plateau State's rural development has been boosted by the Jos South Local Government Council.
H0: Jos South Local Government Council has not improved Plateau State's rural development.
1.9 organization OF THE STUDY
The first chapter includes an introduction, a statement of the problem research questions, the purpose of the study, the relevance of the investigation, the scope and limitations of the study, the methodology of the study, the research hypothesis, and the study's work plan.
The second chapter includes a literature review, the concept of local government, the concept of rural development, theories of local government, the evolution of the local government area in Nigeria, the 1976 local government reforms, the aims and objectives of the 1976 local government reforms,
the strategies for implementing the 1976 local government reforms, current local government administration in Nigeria, the roles of local government in rural development, and the functions and roles of local government in rural development.
The third chapter covers the study's historical context, the evolution of Jos South Local Government Area, the organisational structure of Jos South Local Government Area,
the administrative chart of Jos South Local Government, and Jos South Local Government Area's rural development programme. Finally, Chapter 5 includes a summary, recommendations, and conclusion.