Creation Of Local Government Orientation Policy In Nigeria
The research observes the role and importance of local government administration in community development with particular reference to Obowo local government area of Imo state. The research work adopted the structural and functional theory as a theoretical framework for analyzing the performance of the local government. This research contains five chapters, chapter one deals with the background of the study, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study, limitation of the study, definition of terms. Chapter two deals with literature review which review all aspect of creation of local government as a development oriented policy in Nigeria, definition of local government, function of local government , statutory status of local government, local government as agent of grass root development and references, chapter three covers research design and methodology, introduction, research design, method of data collection, population and sample size, sample techniques, validity and reliability of measuring instrument and data analysis techniques, while chapter four deals with the presentation and analysis of data, introduction, presentation of data, analysis of data, test of hypothesis, interpretation of data. Finally chapter five deals on summary, recommendations, conclusion, references, questionnaires and appendix.
1.1 Background of the Study
Local government world over play very important role in the governance of any polity and due to this reasons, it was noted that the federal and state government of Nigeria based on large size of the nation will not penetrate much into the rural areas and for this purpose therefore, local government created as the third tier of the government to achieved development in the rural areas.
According to Kemjika C.C. (2004:24) the primary purpose for the creation of local government is to bring the government to local communities, so that the local people can participate fully in the process of government in order to provide essential local services such as the supply of waster and provisions of qualitative education, rural electrification, good road network, good market structure etc and for development to penetrate effectively in Obowo local government, it was crated to attain this purpose in 1980. This local government came into existence for the purpose of bringing government nearer to the citizens of Obowo to provide certain basic services for the citizens at the local level. To solve common problems and needs of the citizens at the local level which could not be solves by the rural people alone.
Anamgba (2001:69) sees the functions of local government as follows:
- Maintaining law and order at the local level
- To serve as a ling between the local communities and federal or state government.
- To bring the government nearer to the people.
- It also collects some revenue such as taxes, rates and licenses.
- It encourages local participation in politics, to provide essential services such as health care center, well electrification, building of markets, parks, maternity, fire services, drainage, control of water, control of beggar and prostitute and settlement of dispute, provision of public utilities, regulations and control of buildings, towns and provisions of banking services.
- Finally, with the existence of Obowo local government the above functions will be achieved.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
The dynamism of a state can be boosted by development or creation of local government in the rural areas to make possible through policy oriented based on research work.
- How level of awareness or ignorance of most members of the Obowo as to the contribution, as well as the benefits derived.
- Retarded economy growth or development.
- Degree of mobilization of the rural populace.
- Measure to be taken to ensure and enhance effective rural development.
- Extent the local government have done in the participation and development of rural areas.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This research identifies the following specific objectives:-
- To shows that creation of Obowo local government brought development ion Obowo.
- To evaluate the viable development programmes and projects initiated by the local government towards the development of Obowo e.g. health project, education, industrialization and agricultural development.
- To access the degree of mobilization of the rural populace towards the increased need for rural development of Obowo by the local government.
- To examine the available sources of internal and external, and matching them into the anticipated development projects in Obowo.
- To shows that Obowo local government has taken an appropriate measure to ensure and enhance effectiveness of development.
1.4 Research Questions
- Do you think that the existence of Obowo local government have brought development to this area?
- Do you think there is even distribution of amenities by Obowo local government?
- Is the internally and externally generated revenue enough to carry out development projects and programmes by Obowo?
- Does Obowo local government generated enough funds internally?
- Have there being any development programme embark by Obowo local government?
- Do you think that Obowo local government programme have embarked on development programme by Obowo local government?
1.5 Significance of the Study
It is important to note that the creation of local government in Nigeria such as Obowo local government will help the chairman and its councilors to work effectively in order to develop the grass roots level. This study will help the decision makers to ratify the problems in Obowo local government faces in generating her internal revenue. This research work will help studies look inward in carrying out research on creation of local government in Nigeria.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study focused on the rural development of Obowo local government and in so doing, it is concerned on how Obowo local government have fairing since its creation.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
This entails the problems encountered during the research work. Some people interviewed during this course of study were ignorant of the creation of local government. Finance was another problem, encountered since a lot of money was involved photocopying of materials and transportation to various place in the course of data collection.
1.8 Definitions of Terms
These concepts are defined within the context of ths research work.
According to Anamgba (2001:67) defined local government as a government created by law to perform local functions ate the grass root level. Anamgba also pointed out that local government also has been seen as the administration at the local level. However the state government where by the former perform local functions.
According to Osigwe (2004:2) defines development as a change process characterized by increasing productivity, equalization in the distribution of the social product and the emergency of indigenous institution whose relation with developed center of international economy are characterized by equality rather than dependence and subordination.
Ojo (1997:10) defines rural development as the development of rural areas especially local communities where social infrastructures are lacking.
Self Help Development
Anyaele (1987:90) defines self help development as the development of a community in which the people of the community contribute vigorously towards improving their community life without government assistance.
The Nigeria journal of public affairs (1990:15) sees community development as the development that fashioned towards improving the societal environment and the wiring condition of a community.
Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion
With the reorganization of the local government system, it became clear who the policy actors were at the local level. Thus rather than continuing as mere implementers of decided or adopted policies as was the case in the past, local governments became masters of their own programmes or policies and also in involving strategies for implementing these programmes.
With their newly found autonomy the focus now shifted to the political interplay amongst the various groups at the local government level. Thus the questions of who dominated the policy process and why were examined. The findings were that the political functionaries, especially the executives represented by the chairman, dominated the policy formulation process while the public servants, including the appointed ones, dominated the implementation stage.
However, as we noted in Igbo-eze south local government, which is our locale for this study, some other parallel agencies or institutions were set up to implement some adopted policies due to the inadequacies of the organizational structure of the institution as well as political exigencies such as the need to ensure that decided policies or programmes were effectuated by institutions favourably disposed towards the interest of the initiators and the need to spread political patronage to their supporters and benefactors.
To further elucidate the reasons for the domination of the policy processes by the political functionaries and public servants certain basic reasons were adduced.
First, during that period of “executive-centeredness”, the chairmen were expected to give both legislative and executive leadership on policy issues and therefore they determined substantially the effectiveness of government at this level.
Second, the system at the time enabled the chairmen to dominate the policy formulation process. Unlike before where the chairman were heads of the executive councils as well as heads of the various legislative councils, the tendency was to look up to them for leadership. Hence in spite of the separation of powers which was intended to make them equal parties in respect of policy issues, the executive chairmen still dominated the process of policy formulation in their various local government areas.
Third, by virtue of the fact that chairmen as chief accounting officers in their various local government areas enabled them to control their own votes and those of the other groups. This made the primus inter pares at the local government level. Hence others have to subsume their own interest to that of the chairmen.
Fourth, although the public servants to a great extent influenced the final output of policies in the course of effectuation of adopted policies, the fact that they were after all responsible to the political functionaries, who were given power to hire and fire them, made them subordinate their interests to the wishes and intent of their political superior in order not to hamper their careers.
On the other hand, the public servant dominated the implementation stage of the policy process due to certain basic reasons.
First, the increasing complexity of policy problems demanded high degree of professionalism, knowledge, skill and experience to tackle. Since the public servants which dominated the agencies possessed these skills, knowledge and experience required, they invariably dominated the policy implementation process.
Second, the need for continuity also necessitated the domination of the implementation stage of the policy process by the public servants. While the political functionaries were constant victims of the political instability, the public servant had a more permanent tenure.
Third, political exigencies did not allow the political functionaries to effectively participate in the implementation of steeled policies or programmes. This made the public servants to dominate the implementation stage of the policy process.
Fourth, is the sophistication of the policy implementation tools. With the benefit of modern technology, implementation tools have become more sophisticated and only the public servants who by their highly specialized training and experience have acquired the needed dexterity in the application of these tools could use them effectively.
Fifth, due to the generally cow-level of educational background of those holding elective positions of the local government, the public servants with relatively superior and more relevant qualifications dominated the policy implementation stage.
Arising out of the findings or observations made in the analyses of the issues raised in this study the following recommendations are made.
- To achieve or realize the intent and goal of adopted policies at the local government level, the local government system should be structurally consistent with the other two levels of government so that the tenures of the council chairmen be elongated and made stable to enable them full implementation of policies already adopted.
- The issue of qualification of those aspiring to elective positions at the local government level should be re-examined. Both the educational qualifications and age limit should be reviewed upward to prevent the present situation where dropouts and people barely coming out of adolescence with little or no experience dominates most of the councils and even the executive arm of the local government.
- The issue of votes control should also be re-examined. The situation where the executive chairman controlled both the executive and legislative votes would certainly negates the independence of the two arms of government and therefore defeats the concept and practice of separation of powers envisaged by the proponents of the system. As a way out after the votes of the two arms have been decided during budgetary allocation, they should be made to take control over their votes without necessarily making the legislative arm dependent on the executive for its functioning as this often made them subservient to the executive.
- The issue of the use of other agencies outside the organizational structure should re–examined in line with its necessity and expedience. Care should be taken to avoid a situation that will lead to duplication of functions and thereby causing conflict and bad blood between competing structures or agencies.
From the foregone analyses, it could be safely concluded that the system of government then at the local level signaled the establishment of the local government system as a distinct and third tier of government in the country with its clearly defined roles and functions.
Thus with the above empowerment local governments did not only become master of their own destinies, but were also expected to assume full responsibilities in matters and issues relating to how they govern and develop their areas of jurisdiction as the tier of government closest to the people at the grassroots.
Therefore, in consonance with our theoretical framework, that is the group theory, establishing an equilibrium among the interests of the various groups at this level of government became paramount. However, the imbalance observed in the power equation at this level could be traceable to some inherent factors in the system during this learning period which needed to be corrected for the evolution of a more stable and balance government at the level.
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