Grassroot Democracy And Youth Development In Local Government Administration
Local government serves as an instrument for rapid actualization of even development at the grassroots. It guarantees commitment to common cause which makes possible the mobilization of natives for the realization of desirable rural progress. A sample of 210 youths in Oredo L.G.A. Edo state was chosen at random for this study. Relying on empirical method of analysis, self-designed questionnaire was administered to collect data just as Chi-square test was employed to analyse and interpret data. The findings indicate that the effectiveness of local government administration to mobilize resources for grass root democracy was minimal. Three research questions guided the study, and recommendations were made which included an effective inclusion of youths in decision making in the local government and also youths involvement in politics at the grass root level.
1.1 Background of the Study
Democracy in its true meaning is synonymous with grassroots democracy. Grassroots democracy is a people/community – driven participation in elections, governance and decision making. Grassroots democracy can be seen as a tendency towards designing political processes where as much decision making authority as practical is shifted to the lowest level of organization. Thus, a local government is a government at the grassroots level of administration meant for meeting peculiar grassroots need of the people (Agagu, 1997). Appadorai (1975) also defined the local government system as government by the popularly elected bodies charged with administrative and executive duties in matters concerning the inhabitants of a particular district or place.
Local government was further defined by Lawal (2000) as that tier of government closest to the people, “which is vested with certain powers to exercise control over the affairs of people in its domain”. Local government is a system of public administration at a local level, charged with the responsibility of bringing the people at the grassroots closer to the government. The local government authorities in Nigeria operate in an atmosphere in which for reasons of high level of illiteracy, general despondency, and political disenchantment, their activities are somehow remote from media scrutiny and the watchful eyes of non-governmental organizations (Jega 2011). The situation is further worsened by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria which places the local government authorities under the crippling and domineering influence of the state governments that are only willing to concede limited autonomy to this tier of government.
Thus, the Nigerian Local Government system which is the third tier of government has no interactive links with the community for which it was designed and created. This has made so many people to wonder if there is grassroots democracy in Nigeria. Though the government is located at the local level, it is run by elites who are alienated from the culture of the people (Akinola 2006). Thus the local government and the communities that ought to be partners in progress have been operating at parallel lines. This has resulted in the poor performance of the local government over the years in grassroots development.
There have been several reforms over the years by the Federal Government of Nigeria aimed at stimulating self government and to encourage initiative and leadership potential at the grassroots level. The Federal government hopes that these reforms will further enshrine the principle of participatory democracy and political responsibility among all Nigerians, especially at the grassroots level (Usman 2010). The hope of the Federal government for rapid youth development at the grassroots have become a mirage as successive local government councils have grossly under-perform in almost all areas of their mandate including youth development. Corruption is at the rooftop as politicians and government officials display their ill-gotten wealth in flagrant opulence.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This study is examining the relationship between grassroots democracy and youth development in Local government administration. Youth development according to UN (1971) is the qualitative changes which are brought about within the youth populations. Youth development deals with details of the process of improving the livelihood conditions of youths in such a way as to bridge the gap between youth from affluent background and ones from poorer background. Diejemaoh (1973) defined youth development as a process of not only increasing the level of per capita income of youths, but also the improvement in the quality of life of the youths measured by education, food and nutritional level, health, recreation and security. This study will examine how local government administration has used the instrument of grassroots democracy in the process of youth development.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the level of grassroots politics being practiced by local government administration.
- To find out if grassroots democracy has translated to youth development in local government administration.
- To determine the method by which grassroots democracy and youth development can be entrenched in local government administration.
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the level of grassroots politics being practiced by local government administration?
- Has grassroots democracy translated to youth development in local government administration?
- What are the methods by which grassroots democracy and youth development can be entrenched in local government administration?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The following are the significance of this study:
- The results from this study will educate the local government leaders and the general public on the benefits of grassroots democracy and youth development in local government administration.
- This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study will cover the grassroots democracy and youth development being practiced by Oredo Local government administration.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
1.8 Organization of the Study
In Chapter One, the study discussed the background of the study by making references to specific considerations of scholars‟ views on youth development. It outlined the problems of the research and developed research questions and objectives for the study. It also discussed scope and limitation of the study, the significance of the study.
Chapter Two reviewed relevant literatures in the area of youth development and grass root democracy from the view points of the psychological approaches to youth development, impact of youth development in traditional Nigerian societies, the history of youth development policy in Nigeria, traces of youth development in Nigeria, morality and youth development in Nigeria, culture and social influence on the youth development in Nigeria, the machineries of policy implementation in Nigeria, strategies of implementing the policy in Edo State, samples of youth workers participations in Edo State and the theoretical framework.
Chapter Three dealt with the method of data collection, sources of data collection, tools of data presentation and analyses.
Chapter Four dealt with data presentation and analyses.
Finally, in chapter five the study summarized the findings, drew up conclusion and made recommendations.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
5.1 Summary of the Findings
- The study examine the relationship between policy implementation strategy and the result recorded, the performances of policy implementors and the result of the performance on the beneficiaries.
- Four research questions were asked in the study and three hypotheses were presented to guide the study. Five categories of respondents were randomly picked from three local governments in the seventeen local government areas of Edo State. The instruments used in collecting data are the primary and secondary sources. In the primary sources or methods of data collection the observation, questionnaire and focused group discussions were the methods adopted, while in the secondary sources various documents of different categories were verified and applied. The total sample of respondents in the primary data numbered 450.They respondents represented the total population and their observed values stand as the input for this study.
- The statistical tool used in testing the hypothesis is the chi-square which led to the test of the hypotheses with contingency tables drawn. The first hypothesis was rejected, the second was accepted and the third is also accepted.
- The study discusses the result of the findings from the standpoint of policy implementation strategy, the input of youth associations and the roles of youth workers, parents, society and government. It came out clearly that all these factors have roles to play in youth development although some are more important than the others.
The implementation of youth policy is the measure taken to ensure right atmosphere and conducive environment for youth development in our society. This is because the youth population is a social force of great importance to the development of any society. No society can progress without the skills, energy and idealism of the youth and also through their actual performance (their labour) and the cultural activities of stakeholders.
Based on the findings in this study, the researcher make the following recommendations to policy users as well as youth stakeholders in all the local government areas under the state governments. They are as follows:
a) The youth continue to remain the backbone of any society, and therefore, their interest must be protected, their cultural values developed and guaranteed, and their focus properly directed to enable them realise their full potentials. To do this, a policy strategy must be upheld and respected so that they get the right input e.g employment, right education and medical assistance in a conducive environment. Youth in problems of education, this limits their chances of getting employment or contributing to the political development of their communities. Hence if government belongs to all irrespective of who you are, then youth development machinery should incorporate all types of youth in the society.
b) The security of the youth is the most valuable engine room of social growth, without which anarchy will rule over the society. The growth of ethnic and religious nationalism and the denial or deprivation of some communities / tribes of government projects in Edo State is becoming a threat to youth development, because the state is losing the ability to guarantee security. This is leading to a situation where the youth take extra measures to protect themselves and violence becomes the order of the day.
c) We should not allow blind sentiment and elitist quest for power and position distract our focus and youth should realise this as a challenge. The policy implementation should ensure the following steps:
- Step 1:The policy should have in place an action plan through a set of theoretical proposals on how to reach a target (the youth), and must have a set of goals on why a policy is formulated.
- Step 2:In this step, there should always be laws designed to guide on how to implement and support the goals of the policy; these laws should interpret the policy principles into rules and regulations as to how to pursue the target of a policy, and help the interpreters in pursuing the goals of the policy.
- Step 3:In this step, there should be designed programmes, which must support the policy, the laws, in hope to achieve a goal. These will guide stakeholders and the stakeholders on the other hand must be educated and trained to be conversant in pursuing the policy goals
- Step 4:There should be a designed schedule of duties to stipulate specific roles for any personnel in order to appropriately implement the policy. This will help in directing them (the personnel) on the use of rules and regulations in step two and the use of sufficient programmes as earmarked in step three above and ensure the success of the policy programmes.
- Step 5:In this step and the final stage of the implementation, there should be designed methods of the assessment of the beneficiaries, the personnel or workers. Hence policy makers must be in charge of supervising and evaluating the executives. The monitoring and supervisions of these roles and functions must be a joint effort sometimes with superior executives through rewards and punishment where appropriate.
d) Youth development policy should not only be kept as research documents in ministries or government organisations, but should be regarded as guiding principles for youth workers who must participate in its implementation and updating exercise, for the proper success of the policies. The process of implementation should involve training and promotion exams. Youth participation, particularly in schools, must be actively pursued in the day- to-day affairs of youth development activities in the society through the formation of associations, updating of strategy and styles of meetings, role playing and participation by members and executives in youth activities and making sacrifices that will benefit others and the society at large.
e) Youth out of school, on the other hand, should be encouraged towards self-help initiatives rather than sentimental cleavages. In other words, workshops for volunteering youth should be constantly organised as a reward for their active participation in the promotion of societal values. Youth should be encouraged to legally form or register organisations that reflect national youth policy interest and get involved in integrating programmes aimed to:
- Articulate the causes of youth unrest and its remedies
- Propose a legal political structure that ensure sustainability of programmes
- Suggest ways and means of engaging the public and private sectors in participatory programmes.
- Government should engage youth from various communities in dialogue and give good prizes to winning association.
f) Chief executives of local governments should encourage all communities in their localities to form associations in their community and youth councils at the local government level in order to discuss youth problems thereby actively involving them in taking local decisions.
g) It has observed by in this study that youth development and other services have been concentrated on the youth with qualification based on in western education and who mostly live in urban areas to the neglect of the illiterates youth, the almajiri, the poor rural youth dwellers who constitute the majority in Edo State. In order to check this anomaly, therefore, there is a need for concerted efforts towards balancing up by providing services that cut across these divides.
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