Assessment Of Relationship Between State And Local Government In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Oyun Local Government Area Of Kwara State)

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Assessment Of Relationship Between State And Local Government In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Oyun Local Government Area Of Kwara State)


The mutual working relationship between and amongst the federal, state and local councils in Nigeria, just like that of advanced democracies is germane to this study. The research is an empirical theoretical exposition of the chequered relationship that has existed between the three tiers of government in Nigeria in the Fourth Republic. The position of this research is that the place of local councils as enshrined in the 1999 constitution (as amended) is practically honored in the breach than in strict observance. Hence, local councils in Nigeria have been highly denied of their autonomy as a result of their interrelations with the State Government, and the true position of the constitution on the status of the councils is greatly in doubt. The methodology employed in this study was derived from primary and secondary sources of data collection, such as: newspaper reports, textbooks, and academic journals. It also adopted questionnaire to re-echo how best to manage intergovernmental relation conflicts in Nigerian federal-state. This work concludes that intergovernmental relation is a necessary political synergy for the actualization and implementation of government policies and programmes. The researcher also recommends amongst others, justice, greater autonomy, consensus building, adequate constitutional obligations should be granted to local councils to enhance overall best practices as well as grassroot transformation and sustainable development.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Nigeria as federation operates a three tiers system of government: Federal, state and local government. The federal government known as the government of Nigeria has authority and responsibility of governing the territories {though it usually delegates this role to elected territorial governments}.

At the state level, there are State Governments, such as the Kwara State Government. This level of government has its own political institution and leaders as well as its own jurisdiction {which are provided for under the Nigeria constitution}: such as health care, education, transportation and civil rights Finally, there is the local government which people often refer to as local administration {Awofeso, 2004} and others are of the view that local government should be eradicated. However, this level usually has responsibility over policy field directly related to local communities, such as protection of lives and properties, public utilities, local social- welfare services, parks: recreation and culture. Moreover, like the other levels of government in Nigeria, local government has their own political leaders and institution such as councilors, chairmen and the likes.

Therefore, then main focus of this study is however on the third tier of government, that is, the local government and it must be noted that Nigeria has 774 recognized local government {Nigeria 1999 constitution}. The constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria refers to the third tier of government as the system of local government by democratically elected local government councils. The government of every state is accordingly responsible for their establishment structure, composition, finance and function.

In addition to the above, the Nigeria federal government in the world perhaps in addition to Brazil {Erero, 1998} that have elevated local government to a third tier of government. By so doing the state government do not exercise absolute control over the local government {Imhanlahimi and Ikeanyibe, 2009}.

In view of this and due to the importance of the third tier of Government to the people at the grassroots level, my study shall focus on Local Government autonomy in Nigeria with Oyun Local Government of Kwara State as a case study.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Local government is expected to enjoy the freedom of actions to enable! it operate and perform its constitutional function unfiltered to energy sustainable national development from the grassroots but in contrary, the Nigeria local government is seriously faced with inadequate autonomy to perform effectively.

For instance the introduction of the so-called Joint Account Policy between the State Government when was the beginning of the erosion of the financial independence of local councils. This arrangement is skewed against the local government. It puts them at the mercy of the governors who decide what projects and the contractors to execute them for the local government. A Local Government Chairman cannot decide his own project according to the needs and principle of his people. Most governors deliberately undermine the chairmen by staving them of funds. In the fact they only give them money for salaries but maintain the monopoly on contract awards: the poor chairman is left with the burden of rubber stamping project he did not initiate (Garba; 2011}. Nevertheless the State Government is constitutionally empowered to remove local government chairman and put in place a care-taker (Davies, 2012} and this as contributed to the problem combating the freedom of action of Local Government in Nigeria, most especial in Kwara State and which as led to the controlling of the Local Government by the state government . Others challenges includes: grand corruptions and fledging democracy {Imhanlahimi and Ikeayibe, 2009}.

1.3 Research Questions

  1. What are the reasons for lack of local government autonomy?
  2. What are the major forms of control of local government?
  3. What are the factors inhibiting against their performance and the solution to such problem?

1.4 Objectives of Study

The main objective of the study is to examine the reason for lack of local government autonomy in Nigeria, taking Oyun Local Government as a case study. The specific objectives are:

  1. To examine the extent of the autonomy as well as the factors inhibiting the effectiveness of local government autonomy and the forms of control.
  2. To make appropriate recommendation that will/ may assist to improve local government autonomy in Nigeria.

1.5 Scope of the Study

For proper and in-depth coverage, the study is focusing on the local government autonomy with Oyun Local Government council as the case study. Emphasis shall be placed on the extent of autonomy in Oyun Local Government.

The limitations of the study are greatly caused by the followings: firstly, in the area of time. The allotted times for the study of the activities of Oyun Local Government and for collection of data is inadequate.

This is to some extent a hindrance for such a topic as this which time and attention is required to be adequately integrated in to the activities of local government.

Secondly, in the area of cost of caring out an effective research study. There are unbudgeted funds and resources that are exhausted on this research study, which to some extent a hindrance for this research world.

Irrespective of the above mentions constraints, one should still be assure of a better research work.

1.6 Research Methodology

The research methodology methods employed in this study were both descriptive and analytical. The descriptive method used considered the historical development of Local Government in Nigeria with Oyun Local Government council of Kwara State as a case study.

Analytical method on the other hand did a critique of local government autonomy. Data’s were obtained from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data were sourced through participant observation and the use of interview. And the secondary data’s were sourced from literature related to the study, such as a journal, newspaper, web search, text books and the likes.

1.7 Significance of the Study

The significance of this study lies in the contribution which it will make to the knowledge of the readers. The orientation of the research is toward producing a research report with relevance beyond academic frontiers.

The study will build on the existing knowledge of the constitutional functions of the local government.

The study will also serve as reference point for future students of the Nigeria local government system.

1.8 Definitions of Key Terms

In other to makes a clear insight to the topic, term to be use will be separately defined for the understanding of a lay-man.

Local government; is the third tier of government in a federal system, which is created by an act of the parliament or decree to cater for people at grassroots especially rural areas to perform some certain basic faction service, which can best be administered locally on the ultimate knowledge of the needs conditions and peculiarities of the area concerned.

Therefore, will be referring to as the third tiers or grassroots levels of government, because it is closed government to the people.

Local Government autonomy: in the view of the defunct center for democratic studies, local government autonomy refers to the relative discretion which local government enjoy in regulating their own affair. The extent to which local government is free from control of the State and Federal governments in the management of local affairs.

1.9 Organization of the System

The study shall be organized into five chapters. The first chapter, which is the introductory chapter, shall give a general background to the study. Chapter two will deal with literature review and theoretical framework on the problems and prospect of revenue generation in local government. Chapter three explains the research methodology of the study. Chapter four discusses data presentation and analysis. Chapter five captures the summary, conclusion and recommendations.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.0 Introduction

In this chapter, efforts will be made to present the summary, draw some conclusions and finally make some necessary recommendations.

5.1 Summary

In the course of this research work, An Assessment of State-Local Government Relations in Nigeria using Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State as a case study had been examined. The research work is divided into five chapters, these chapter deals with aspects related to the topic of the study.

The first chapter is opened with an introduction; it is followed by the statement of the problems, research objectives, scope of the research and significance of the study and definition of some relevant terms as used in the study were also part of chapter one

Chapter two is wholly concerned about review of related literatures to the research study and theoretical framework.

In chapter three, the research methodology used in this study is discussed. For the gathering of the necessary data, questionnaires were also distributed to the respondents. Thereafter, data gathered through questionnaires were presented and analyzed.

Chapter four gives a clear presentation and analysis of the data collected from the respondents through the use of simple percentage in tabular form and the analysis is also done to substantiate data gathered through questionnaires.

Chapter five marked the last lap of this work. It gave a synoptic overview of the entire project and specified the steps taken in the work. It would provide the findings, conclusion and recommendation for further research as would be discussed in the next subsections.

5.2 Conclusion

The importance of Local Government as the Third tiers of government cannot be over emphasized because of its importance to the grassroots particularly in the provision of essential services to the people. From the responses to the questionnaire, it was discovered that a ‘cold war’ is on between the local governments, the state and federal government. And this has been a derogatory in service delivery in Oyun local government

Quenching the fire of this ‘cold war’ are what the local government officials saw as the lopsided intergovernmental fiscal relations between the local government, state government as the thorny issue of autonomy. Many local governments felt that the revenue allocation formula in force is not equitable.

From the survey, it became evident that many local governments in the Kwara State and Nigeria at large are dissatisfied with the control of their senior staff by the local government service commission. Finally, a consideration of the question of local government autonomy, finance, security and staffing relation to the other levels of government were discussed.

However, without any claim to infallibility some recommendations are made in the research work as a solution for desired Local Government Autonomy which is caused by State-Local Government Relations. It is believed that if the recommendations are looked into and adopted, the Local Governments will enjoy the much-needed autonomy and be brought to its rightful place as a true third tier of government and not as appendage of the other tiers.

5.3 Recommendations

With reference to information obtained through this research work, the local governments in Nigeria are belittle with numerous problems as result of State-Local Government Relations, most especially Oyun Local Government in Kwara State and these have been militating against the Local Government Autonomy. The laudable objectives that would have materialized have invariably become unattainable. The research findings necessitate the following recommendations for local government to be properly termed as the third tier of government in intergovernmental relations of Nigeria federation:

  1. A Local Government just like a State Government is supposed to govern and administer its citizens with absolute control. If the Government is truly convinced with establishing people’s government at the Local Level the immensurable chains of control as are presently visible should be scrapped.
  2. The Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs should only serve as an intermediary and supervisory organ for Local Governments. The need to seek clearance or approval from the ministry before vital Local policies are decided and implemented should be abolished.
  3. Another major recommendation to ensure Local Government enjoys its status as the third tier of government in intergovernmental relations is good management. It is good management on the part of the Local Government Administrators that can facilitate prudency in the management of resources and guarantee efficiency and once this is in place, the State and Federal Government will have no business supervising or controlling the Local Government on how and on what to spend its funds on.
  4. Federal and state government should release local government funds due to them as promptly as possible. Most local government complained of late receipt of these funds. There is need to monitor local government expenditure through well trained and qualified corps of internal and external auditors.
  5. The present revenue allocation formula should be reviewed for equitable distribution of national resources to cater for the heavy responsibilities saddled on the local government councils.
  6. Tax, such as value added tax (VAT), liquor licensing, and registration of business premises etc which are currently on the concurrent legislative list should be transferred to the residual list and made the responsibility of the local government.
  7. Finally, for Local Government to enjoy a permanent autonomy, it must be noted that the recruiting and rationing of personnel from the central body, which often not putting consideration the diverse needs of the Local Government should be put to end. Therefore my recommendation from this point is that the Local Government should be given right to appoint and recruit their own staffs. The reason for this is that, the 774 constitutionally recognized Local Government in Nigeria are with their own diverse needs of personnel. One may be in serious need of health service personnel whereas the other may be educational and the likes. Therefore, for Local Government to be effective, it should be given the right to recruit to its taste.

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