Frequent Changes In Local Government Administration As A Bane To Rural Development In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Owerri West Local Government Area).
This research work x-rays the frequent changes in local government administration as a bane to rural development with reference to Owerri west local government area. This forms the basis of this research efforts geared towards injecting new ideas into local government administration and helping to solve problem arising from frequent regime changes. The objective of this research aims at how best to reduce the incidence of frequent changes in the administration of Owerri west local government which has always been a log to the wheels of development. To carry out this research work a sample size of 400 was made out of the population size of 200, 133 questionnaires were made and distributed to selected respondents, when the data collected from the questionnaires were analysed and presented in tables, it was discovered that: i) Development projects are abandoned by successive administration in Owerri west local government area. ii) Council members implement policies without operational guide but as they suit their personal interest. iii) There is no genuine leader to pilot the affairs of the council.
1.1 Background of Study
For any organization to be productive, it must learn the effective usage of its man power. But research has shown that there is a serious decline in productivity and further quest into the reason for this drop revealed that the error is a wrong thinking and attitude. Because local government affairs do not take place in a vaccum, this wrong thinking and attitude often affects the planning, organizing, staffing, coordinating and budgeting of the council. Local government by its nature is an institution established or put in place to promote local politics. It is an organization through which political activities, information and awareness campaign are carried to the grassroots. It is also the political mouth piece of the rural man. The yearnings, needs and aspiration of the local people are conveyed to the state and central government through their various elected representatives. To buttress the above assertions, the 1976 guideline for local government reform in Nigeria vividly defines local government as:
“That government at the local level exercised through representative councils established by law to exercise specific powers within defined areas. These powers should give the council substantial control over local affairs as well as the staff and institutional and financial powers to institute and direct the provision of services and to determine and implement projects so as to complement the activities of the state and federal government in the areas so that the local initiative and response to local needs and conditions are maximized”. When the above definition is examined, it implies that a local government is a representative government; a government empowered by law to undertake certain functions and established to implement developmental projects and policies that affect the rural people. The above definition is true because the existence of local government administration is aimed at the execution of developmental policies for the upliftment of the lives of the rural people (Nworji 2004).In a similar vein, local government administration deals with the role of government in managing the affairs of the local people in a particular locality. It also entails making use of the available human materials and financial resources available to the local government to attend to and achieve stated need, aspiration, goals and objective of the individuals in the local community. Local government is also a grassroots government which is established world over not only for the purpose of authority maintenance, penetration of governance into the rural areas, consolidation of rural loyalty, obedience, political support and commitment of the subjects to the government and state, but also for the realization of rural development goals, increased political participation of the rural people through their representatives who are elected and also for the contribution of the rural people to the decision making process on issues that directly affects them. (Agoha 2004: 273).
Ideally, local government involves both legislative and executive processes operating under democratic principle of popular participation of local people in the management of their affairs. On the other hand, local administration is a bureaucratic process aimed at the provision of local services. Local government administration therefore has to do with authority to determine policies and execute them within a restricted area.After independence, the federal government knew that the establishment of local government was crucial for the development of rural communities. To this end, the number of local government areas in Nigeria increased so as to accelerate national development. To achieve this policy of national development, Owerri west was carved out from the former Owerri municipal council. Since her creation, Owerri west has been abandoned and left to not and decay by successive state chief executives.
Owerri west local government was created in 1996 with its headquarters at Umuguma. The local government is made up of the following communities. Nekede, Ihiagwa, Eziobodo, Emeabiam, Avu, Ofurola, Irete, Okwukwu and Umuguma. These areas have their peculiar problems some of which include bad roads, electricity, and dilapidated road infrastructures, poor health care delivery services etc. These and many other problems are the challenges facing Owerri west since its creation. To this end, different administrations have tried to tackle this problem but the frequent changes in local government administration have always been a log to the wheels of development. This situation explains why policy implantation in Owerri west ends abruptly as soon as there is a change in administration in Owerri west and new ones formulated to the neglect of old projects.
1.2 Statement of Problems
During the cause of this research, a handful of problems were discovered. These problems must not be treated with kid gloves if the federal and state government is really sincere about grassroots development. One of the problems identified was the diversion of statutory allocation into private accounts.Over the years, Owerri west has been abandoned and left to rot. These local government areas suddenly became a town planner’s nightmare with blocked drainages and ubiquitous mountains of refuse here and there. All these are as a result of the incessant changes in local government administration by successive state chief executives. Looking back at the course of history, we shall be going down a bloodstained memory lane. From the 1970’s till now, government has raped the local people by their laisses fait administration. Having elected political representatives, it is expected that there should have been in existence, functional structures or arms of government at local level through which the elected executives can make representations to state or federal government, take decision at local level, implement existing polices, make bye-laws where and when necessary and take other necessary administrative steps to move the local government for ward but this is not the case as every new administration always want to introduce its own policies and strategies. It is against this background that development at the local level continues to suffer a setback.
There is constitutional provision for the federal government to provide statutory allocation for the 774 local government areas in the country. This allocation is meant for developmental projects but one will continue to ask why nothing is being done despite this allocations. Every organization is expected to have control mechanisms especially as it concerns the use of scare financial resources in the execution of developmental projects. One is forced to ask to what extent is this mechanism employed in Owerri west local government financial management to ensure consistency in the use of statutory allocation for development.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This research is structured towards achieving the following purposes:
- To explain why there are frequent changes in Owerri west local government administration.
- To examine how these incessant changes impedes development at grassroots level.
- To explain why new administration in Owerri west local government abandons the projects of their predecessors at the expense of the poor masses who elected them.
- To explain the need for policy continuity in the third tier of government.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
- H0: new administration in Owerri west local government don’t abandon the projects of their predecessors at the expense of the poor masses who elected them
H1: new administration in Owerri west local government abandons the projects of their predecessors at the expense of the poor masses who elected them
- H0: incessant changes do not impedesinfrastructural development at grassroots level.
H2: incessant changes do impedes infrastructural development at grassroots level.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This work aims towards making it possible for understanding that the administration of council areas should remain focused and continuity in programmes be encouraged toward the achievement of development of rural communities. The work also emphasis the importance of expanding the revenue base of this local government area that is an alternative source of revenue other than the statutory allocation, so that development will be rapid.It will also sensitize the rural people on how they should contribute their own quota towards the development of the council area through making the council aware of their needs and emphasized that the recommendation made herein be strictly adhered to by the chief executive of the state for the rapid development of Owerri west local government area. Finally this study will be an avenue for the realization that continuity in planning and programmes no matter who initiated it be encouraged for the development of the entire communities that makes up Owerri west local government area.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study x-rays the incessant changes in local government administration in Owerri west local government area. It also has some limitations that may impede the research work. These include:
This may impede or cause a bridge in this research work because the researcher may not have enough money to cover the required area.
The time given to researcher may be too short there he could not cover the areas he was supposed to.
The attitude of the Owerri west council members also was a problem because these council members are not willing to give out any information for fear of being apprehended.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Frequency could be defined as occurring or things done many times at short intervals or “frequent changes in policy”.
Changes can be defined as the act of Making or becoming different.
Administration is the process or activity of running a business, organization, etc.
A cause of great distress or annoyance or something, especially poison, which causes death
In this context, relating to, or characteristic of the countryside rather than the town.
In this context, community development, refers to the practices and academic disciplines to improve various aspects of local communities
Rural development is the process of improving the quality of life and economic well-being of people living in rural areas, often relatively isolated and sparsely populated areas. Rural development has traditionally centered on the exploitation of land-intensive natural resources such as agriculture and forestry.
This is the expected result to be achieved in a particular task. It is futuristic because it states the predetermined result.
Is the capacity to achieve maximum output with minimum input.
This presupposes the process of developing an effective and efficient broad guideline in a structural manna for its effective implementation.
This is the process of implanting a broad guideline of action. It also embraces the full range of managerial activities associated with putting the chosen policy into place and supervising its pursuit.
This is a broad guideline used by organization in translating strategies into action. Policy aims at mapping out programmes of action that need to be pursed in order to accomplish the goals of the enterprise which are already defined.
1.8 Organization of the Study
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
- Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
- Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
- Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
- Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
- Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
Summary Conclusion and Recommendation
It is pertinent to note that this research was aimed at examining the effect of frequent changing of administrative positions on developments in local governments in owerri, thus the topic “frequent changes in local government administration as a bane to rural development”.
In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges associated with frequent changes in the local government and development.
This study attempted to examine the challenges confronting local government as a result of frequent changes in her administration to rural development with particular reference to Nigerian local governments. The study captioned the conceptual framework of local government, theoretical perspectives on the function and creation of local government, service delivery at local government, factors affecting rural developments at the local government and the measures in which the identified challenges militating against local government performance can be curbed.
The essence of creation of local governments all over the world is to provide effective and efficient social services to the local people. However, most local governments in Nigeria have not fulfilled their constitutional functions in terms of effective and efficient service delivery at the local level due to a number of reasons such as inadequate finance, corruption, undue political interference and so on. Consequently, the paper provided the measures for curtailing corruption and enhancing both financial andpolitical autonomy of the local governments in Nigeria that would improve social service delivery at the grassroots.
The researcher attempted to identify the role or place of local government in rural development from the perspective of being the closest tier of government to the people. It is obvious from the arrangement and federal practice in Nigeria that local governments are emasculated and have not been effectively positioned to place its constitutional roles, let alone play the roles it should in rural development. Self-help as an issue in rural development and the various approaches to rural development were discussed. Local Government is the focus of government efforts at promoting development. To effectively develop, the people’s efforts must be adequately mobilized. A Purposeful combination of local (peoples) efforts and energies with that of government with the objective of improving socioeconomic conditions and encouraging political participation are key factors in rural development. Rural Development as a strategy is designed to improve the economic and social life of the rural people. The core issues in rural development include self-help; attention to needs (felt and latent); integrated community for development; mobilization of human and material resources which could facilitate the provision of social amenities and infrastructures. The organizational environment for enhancing rural development remains the local government. Although the results of the survey suggested that there is adequate provision of infrastructure in the understudied local governments, the rate at which the citizens desired improvement in infrastructural provision in order for them to stay and work in their villages is an indication that the provision is actually inadequate. Finally, it suggested that the available infrastructuresmight not be in ultimate useful condition.
In view of the above, the following solutions are recommended.
- There is urgent need to put in place an effective and efficient institutional mechanism in all the 774 local government area councils across the country to checkmate the menace of corruption at grassroots level which has hindereddevelopment and participation and local level. EFCC and ICPC should establish their offices in all the local government council across the country in order to strengthen anti-corruption crusade.
- Newly elected council administrators must not only shun corruption but join in effort to combat it.
- Local government should motivate their staff by giving better welfare packages or a commensurate salary in order to make them efficient and save them from temptation of stealing government funds.
- Integrity must be encouraged, practiced and enforced. The practice and enforcement of integrity in local government will promote accountability and transparency in their operation and prevent misappropriation of funds.
- Finally, the local governments should provide welfare facilities for the citizens and their children. Out of the five infrastructures (those that were rated 73% and above as in Figure 1) that the citizens noted that would make them to stay and work in their villages, only one is for direct citizens’ employment. So the citizens need comfort and security to stay in the villages. Hospitals, good roads, police stations, churches and factories are criteria for reduction of exodus of villagers to the cities.
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