The Effects Of Policy Formulation And Implementation On The Development Of Local Governments

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Project and Seminar Material for Education

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

“The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among many, distributing to every one exactly the function he is competent to”. Thomas Jefferson writing to Joseph C. Cabell in (1816).

The problem of government at the local level has been a recurring decimal in the political history of Nigeria. According to Jefferson (1816), the local government is the last level of government that is vested with the responsibility of taking care of the people at the grass-roots.

According to the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, each state in the country is legally responsible for proper structuring of their respective governments, however the local government is not granted a full autonomy to carryout effective policies and programmes, even the little autonomy that is granted to the local government is still limited as some of the governors give negative impressions on the local government seeing it as a tier of government that is even supposed to be eliminated.

It is pertinent to understand that every society whether simple or complex will have statutory rules based on the laid down regulations. The dynamic nature of the society requires dynamic policies and programmes in order to develop the country ranging from the federal, state and local government of administration.

The principal priority of formulating any policy is to enhance development of a particular sector; regrettably, policies that are formulated especially at the local government level are not effectively implemented for the betterment of the masses.

Local government in Nigeria started during the colonial era when it was vested in traditional rulers and it operated in a very undemocratic manner. The local is the closest tier of government to the people in Nigeria, yet the resident population in it is denied the benefit of its existence. The failure of the local government in the area of service delivery has made the citizens to loose trust in government as an institution. In some areas, council officials are better known for the harassment of citizens than service delivery Adamalekun (1982). Many Nigerians crave for changes in the local government system as presently constituted in order to not only bring it in conformity with present day realities but also to make it live up to the expectation of the people who have been yearning for grassroots development.

The issue of policy formulation and implementation as it brings about development is very common to all levels of governance. The president together with his ministers and other senior civil servants are faced with the crucial role of how to administer territories and how policies will be designed, while there will be an established parameter to assess and measure performance compliance with the provision of the policy. Policy formulation as earlier highlighted is instrumental at the local government level. The chairman or sole administrator together with his councilors and other high ranking civil officials take charge of policy formulation and implementation for the overall development of the local government areas. This scenario is materialized only when decisions and agreements are reached by the executives of the local government or local council.

It is therefore our major concern to critically examine how policies are formulated and implemented towards actualizing a set goal which is development of local governments, but with particular reference to Konshisha local government area of Benue state.

1.1 Background Of The Study

During the pre-colonial era, Africans operated a single ideology which sustained their living until the advent of colonialism which brought about the suspension of communal ideology for capitalism in order to consolidate their principal motive of economic subjugation. The formulation of policies in any given organization is not for jeopardizing the visions of that sector but to bring about development. Good policies when successfully implemented are bound to bring positive change on the lives of the citizenry.

In Nigeria for instance, from 1963 to date, different leaders introduced different policies which were not synonymous to any other leader ranging from military to civilian dispensations but all geared towards bringing about development in the country. At the state level, governors promulgate policies for enhanced development. In Benue state for instance, the present governor Rt. Dr. Gabriel Torwua Suswam postulated an ideological blue print known as “Our Benue Our Future” and so man other policies which are intended for development and wellbeing of the citizenry. The local government is not an exception for it is the third tier of government closer to the grassroots. The monumental achievements of the local government are determined by policy formulation and implementation.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Statement of the problem involves writing about the effects of policy formulation and implementation on the development of the local government area as it becomes a debatable matter. Many people are entangled with the problem of whether there exists any policy at the local government level; others do not understand the reason why local government councils are created.

The problem lies between poor formulation of policies and programmes at the local level and the negative implementation of such policies in the local government system. This is why the federal and state governments worked modalities for training council workers (Through workshops) on their job undertaken. This research work is to properly identify the problems faced by policy formulation and implementation, make appropriate recommendations and suggestions.

1.3 Hypothesis

Based on the aforementioned problems, the following research hypotheses have been drawn to test the significance of the study:

  1. Low quality of council employees significantly affects policy formation and implementation.
  2. Too much party politics significantly affect the development of the local government areas.
  3. Low academic standard of local government officials significantly affects policy formulation and implementation and cause underdevelopment of local councils.

1.4 Purpose Of The Study

This research work is primarily concerned with the effects of policy formulation and implementation on the development of local government areas of Benue state with a case study of Konshisha local government area of Benue state. The objective of this research work is to bring out problems facing the local government council.

In addition it is to investigate consciously whether there is insufficient lack of qualified staff to handle or man the affairs of the local council and implement decisions for the effective transformation of the local government (Konshisha Local Government to be precise).

To ascertain whether corruption and misappropriation of funds militates against effective policies in Konshisha local government area

Notwithstanding, the research will also investigate whether the local government staffs are not given a proper orientation to execute their respective jobs.

More over, this research will subsequently deal with methodology such as research design, source of data for the collection of information and methods of collecting data.

Sampling techniques and sample size to be used are also not discarded, sampling techniques and procedures employed. The researcher investigates and find out the following:

Whether the local government is lacking in policy formation for development

Whether there is no significant bind between the councilors and the entire local government executive council in Konshisha local government area. It investigate whether there is no uniformity in policy formulation level where it varies, hence there is a need for the local government reforms currently being undertaken. The researcher also investigates whether corruption has been legalized in the local government.

Also worthy of mention is the investigation as to whether there is little or total lack of motivation of staff. The researcher agitates that corrupt officials of the local government be eliminated, the local government should employ competent staffs and the prerequisite for employment should be based on merit and not sectionalism, tribalism or political affiliations.

1.5 Significance Of The Study

As a study of this nature we shall discuss the significance of this study under the following segments; individuals, the local government and the general public as well as the body of knowledge.

a. Individuals:

To individuals, this project work will go a long way in motivating especially the well meaning individuals in society to support good policies that will not only bring development but unity in the country. This research work will also equip individuals who are within to carryout similar research with knowledge and information about previous authors that have written about policy formulation and implementation in the local government.

b. The Local Government:

It is of immense importance to acknowledge the fact that this research work will serve as an avenue for development at the local level. The study will significantly assist the local government personnel to identify how policies are formulated to bring about development of the local government.

c. The General Public:

As a study of this nature, it would help the contemporary generation in comprehending the relevance of policy formulation. The general public is entitled to benefit from this research work because majority of the citizens do not know why there is underdevelopment in the local government system.

In addition, this research work also serves both students and teachers on the rudiments of effective administration in all levels of governance particularly the local government.

1.6 Scope And Limitations Of The Study

Due to lack of space and time, finance and material resources required to do a more viable job, the research is limited to the effects of policy formulation and implementation on the development of local government (A Case study of Konshisha Local Government area of Benue state). It embodies the role of local government executive council, their contributions, achievements and failure to the entire Konshisha local government area. It would be remembered otherwise to extend the research to cover a variety of other local government areas to arrive at a finite conclusion.

However, the conclusion reached by the researcher will establish the true extent of policy formulation and implementation on the development of Konshisha local government area of Benue state. It is also hoped that the study would help both students and researchers whose study capitalizes on the effect of policy formulation and implementation on the development of any local government area nationwide.

1.7 Definition Of Terms

The effects of policy formulation and implementation on the development of local government as a topic of this project refer to the level of effectiveness or ineffectiveness of development and adoption of decisions and strategies in a local government administration.


According to Robson (1976) in the encyclopedia of the social sciences refers to policy as the plan of action, statement of aims and objectives especially those that are made by a government political party, business company or an organized and established system or form of government administrations (a constitution policy) in a state.

Policy Formulation:

George Barkeley (1973), policy formulation refers to the exact plans and clear statement expressed in precise from a state definitely or systematically to device or to develop as a method system or expressed in a formula.

Policy Implementation:

The 1984 policy and administration Cambridge, London defined policy implementation as a technical process of carrying out an undertaken agreement or promise into effect.


Adebayo (1981) defined administration as “The organization and direction of persons in order to accomplish a specified end”. In the view of press thus et al (1962) administration is “An activity or process concerned with the means of carrying out prescribed ends”. Simon, Smithburg and Thompson (1950) illustrated that, when two men cooperate to roll a stone that neither could have moved along the rudiments of administration have appeared. It I the capacity or an individual to co-ordinate both human and material resources to accomplish an organizational goal


the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 8th Edition defined development as the gradual process or growth of a particular thing so that it becomes more advanced and stronger among others.

Chairman And Sole Administrator

One who leads a level of government, guide direct and administer the activities in the local government, he is the executive officer in the local government.

The Executive Council

White (1966) refers to the executive council as the organ of government responsible for the implementation, execution or enforcement of laws, policies and directives made and given by the legislative arm of the government of laws, policies and directives made and given by the legislative arm of the government. It includes the chairman, councilors, in the local government who assist in policy formulation and implementation. It should be noted that the emphasis of this project work is on the local government; therefore, the executive above is referring to the local government executive council.

Local Government:

Ugwu (2002) defines local government as “The lowest unit of administration to whose laws and regulations are vested, a defined geographical area and with a common social and political lies are subject.

The 1976 local government reforms defines local government as; government at local level exercised through representative council established by law to exercise specific powers within defined areas.

Ola (1984) defines local government as a political subdivision of a nation (in a federal system) state, which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs including the powers to impose taxes or to exact labour for prescribed purposes. “The governing body of such an entity is elected, “United Nations Office for Public Administration)”.

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