History Of Aguata Local Government Area
This work is an attempt to trace the History of Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra state. In this attempt, the various stages of Local Governments in Igboland and their attendant characteristics have been dealth with.
Moreso, in the course of the research, the desire for local government reforms in Igboland as a whole has been seen to be natural desire of human beings to desire something better than what was existing, In this case, the old models of local government have been shown to be largely inadequate to meet these aspirations of the people. The work is divided into five chapters, each dealing on specific aspect of the history. Chapter one introduces the area under study. The background information about the lands and people are also contained in this chapter. Chapter two, opens with the recognition of the warrant chief system in 1933. It also shows, through time perspective, the progression of other reforms and their impacts on the people. Chapter three treats the 1976 reforms of local government system in Nigeria, with particular emphasis on Aguata local Government area system.
In the Chapter four of this work, the problems and prospects of this local government system are also treated. With particular emphasis on Aguata local government area, these various problems are treated. The prospect of the local government, and its achievements are also highlighted in chapter four. The last Chapter which is the Chapter five concludes and proffers some recommendations.
1.1 Background of the Study
The pre-colonial Igbo society was a kind of village-democracy. Every member of the society participated in the running of the affairs of the village in one form or another. The Oha-na-eze (usually made up of all adult males) took final decisions in all matters. The age-grade members of the town executed the final decisions. .
Law and Order was highly maintained and observed by all. But the European intrusion disrupted this set-up. The colonial masters, out of ignorance, imposed their own form of government: The Warrant-Chiefs System or indirect rule.
The Warrant-Chiefs exercised absolute powers over the people. They were high-handed in the administration of justice. The Court Clerks and messengers were equally corrupt and dictatorial. Taxes were later imposed on the people. There were general disenchantment with the system. This system was resisted in a widespread riot of 1929. The Aba Women’s riot of 1929 was part of the resentment shown by the people.
Thereafter, the colonial administration embarked upon the reforms of the system. In 1950, a new system of local government was put in place. But the most comprehensive attempt at local government reform in Nigeria was that of. 1976.
1.2 Statement of Problems
Admittedly, before the invasion of Igboland by the Europeans, the political entities in the forms of villages and towns had their individual administrative structures, for local government. These structures had sufficed for their needs. Thus, the towns and villages within the political sphere of the modem Aguata Local Government Area, were no exception to this.
Since the invasion of this area under study. In the present time, these administrative institutions had either been phased out totally, or has undergone changes to suit the present needs of government. Moreso, the history of these institutions in the past are largely left to memory. These memories are unfortunately fast disappearing. This, therefore, gave rise to the need for documentation.
Attempts, it must be admitted, have been made by some scholars of borh history and other disciplines to unearth some information about the area under study. However, none has produced a systematic, constructive and cohesive work on this theme. Rather, only aspects dealing with individual component towns or the modem local government structure had been given attention.
To this end, an attempt would be made to show the dynamic progression from the past types of local administration to the present form.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The attempt being made here is to undertake a meaningful assessment of past experiences pertaining to the ways and means of local governance in the Aguata area from the past to the present time By this, the purpose of this work is to;
- Make it contribution towards the piecemeal recovery and documentation of the various aspects of our historical experience.
- Stimulate debates and further studies on the topic.
- Portray the various systems, their similarities and contrasts.
- Provide information and stimulate public interest in this age of self awareness.
1.4 Scope and Methodology
This work is intended to embrace all the towns which make up Aguata Local Government Area. It begins from the pre-colonial era till 1991.
This research utilises both the primary and secondary source materials:
On the primary source form; oral information have – been collected through the interviewing of people who are reliable owing to their positions in their respective towns, villages or lineage.
Moreover, the services of the National Archives Enugu were fully utilised. Here adequate use of documents relating to administrative activities and information on the Aguata area were also used.
From the secondary ‘source materials, various published scholarly works were utilised in the course of research. Books and journals dealing on the lgbo local administrative systems and the impact of local governments, were consulted.
Summary and Conclusion
The essence of a local government is to keep and’ maintain, among other things, law and order. The pre-colonial local government system of the Aguata area, wad indeed of Igboland in general, had met these aims and objectives of a local government system. It has sufficed for them before the intrusion of the Europeans, and their abrupt re-organisation of Igboland. From that time onwards, the Igbo people had agitated for a local government system that would serve them in the new dispensation and changing society.
Unfortunately, the yearnings and aspirations of the people were far from being met, starting from the abolition of the “Native” Authority system to the elective systems of 1950. Even up tin the pre – 1976 reforms, these local government systems had either lost touch with the people, or were bent on suppressing their needs as a people. All these culminated finally in the 1976 Local Government Reforms, which sought to revolutionize local government System in Igbo land in particular and Nigeria in general.
The new local government area of Aguata, an outcome of the 1976 reform, has gone a long way in trying to meet with the people’s expectations. To bring the local government closer and nearer to the people, Dew ones were either carved out from existing ones or created. The Old Aguata was carved) into two local government areas – Namely Aguata and Orumba in 1991 with the latter being further divided into North and South in 1996. The Old Aguata Local Government area had been the biggest in Old Anambra State both in terms of land mass and population, such that it had more area to govern.
However, despite these creations, the new local government is saddled with problems which hinder its smooth functioning. Some of these problems are inherent in the system arising from the faults of its organisational structure. Such problems are the power tussle which exist between the career civil servants and the politicians, and the denial of autonomy by the instruments establishing the local governments. Other problems arise out of its relationship with both inhabitants ‘Of the local government area, and the Anambra State governments. In this aspect, the irregular financial remuneration on the part of the state, and tax evasion by the inhabitants, readily come to mind.
Inspite of these problems, the prospects of Aguata local government area are still bright. This can be attested to by the numerous achievements it had made, which include building of road and renovation of hospitals among others. More of these prospects would be realized by the restructuring of the organisational structure which hinders the smooth running of the local government council, For instance; the relaying of the policies formulated by the Supervisory Councillors directly to the Heads of Departments, should rather – be channelled through the Secretary of the council to avoid, and put a stop to the clash of authority.
Furthermore, the strict control by the state – government of the Aguata local government council, and of course other local governments in the state, should be relaxed. to allow for greater flexibility in the counsils’ scope of activity. Since this had been the bane of the old local government systems, it is suggested that periodic checks should rather be made on the activities of the council, instead of the present strict supervision.
Moreso, the people of Aguata local government would be made to feel the impact of the local government council’s positive drive towards the provision of basic infrastructure and social amenities by giving the council a measure of autonomy. This would also be realised by de-emphasising allegiance to political parties. The people should be first and foremost: in the minds of the politicians who constitute the decision-making organ of the council.
On the whole, Aguata local government area has recorded some remarkable achievements in the areas of education, health and community developments, thanks to the 1976 reforms and the dedication of the council staff. A greater prospect is envisaged for the local government area, which is blessed with abundant human and natural resources, if greater dedication and hard work are geared towards its actualisation.
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