The Impact Of Democracy On The Grassroot Development

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The Impact Of Democracy On The Grassroot Development


The research work centred on ‘’The Impact of Democracy on Grass-Root Development’’ with a case study of Idah Local Government Area of Kogi State. The research work has the objective of examining the extent at which democracy has affected the grassroot development. Primary and secondary method was used for data collection while simple percentage method was used in analyzing the data, the research work has equally find out that the level of department at the grassroot has militated against democracy at the grassroot level with the recommendations that people should be free to exercise their franchise.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The introduction of democratic government into grass root level i.e local government system can be said to have started specifically from the 1960 local government reforms, which made it possible for local government to function as the third tier of government along with federal and state government.

The 1976 local government reforms therefore led to the introduction of grass root democracy into the administration of local government in Nigeria.

By democracy, we mean that the government is for the people, and is being handled by the people for the development of the grass root i.e. for the entire people within the locality.

However, since 1976 to date, there has been no significant improvement in the lives of ordinary citizens despite the proliferation of local governments in the country.

The questions that come to the mind therefore are;

To what extent has democracy affected the grass root level, how does grass roots democracy affect the administration of the local government using Idah local government area as case study, this study seek to investigate the impacts of democracy on the grass root development.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Since the introduction of grass root democracy in to the local government system in Nigeria in 1976, there have been crisis of political wrangling in the affairs of local government to date. This has led many people to believe that democracy is inimical to local government administration. Those who support this assertion argue that, because of the immaturity of the people at the grass root level to differentiate between political and administrative issues, one elected into the council, the politicians always take the local government as personal estates and would like to dabble into issues, which are purely bureaucratic and thus, hamper the efficiency of local government administration as well as grass root development. The excessive politicking in the administration of local government there has made it closely impossible for the local government to achieve the objectives of the 1976 local government reforms.

Taking the above problems into cognizance, this study will therefore seek ways of ensuring stable democracy for grass root development.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study shall be to:

  1. Examine the extent to democracy has affected the grass roots development
  2. To examine if democratic setting have given the people in the rural areas equal chance to participate in the decision making and administration of their state.
  3. To identify the problems facing the rural dwellers and proffer suggestions, recommendations and solutions to them and
  4. To recommend possible ways of ensuring grass root development under democratic government.

1.4 Scope / Limitations of the Study

This study intends to cover the areas in which democracy has impacted the grass root development. The study, however, will be limited to the period between year 2000-date.

However, the problems encountered in the course of this study include;

Time factor:

The time used in carrying out the research work not enough to bring the best information out of it. However, we hope that the little that is contained in this study will solve very many greater problems.

Inadequate response:

The authority concerned was unwilling to give adequate information required which is one of the most important factors in research work. Also the non fully cooperative attitudes of some staff in the local government who are afraid to talk much about their affairs.

Non availability of enough resources (finance):

A work of this nature is very tasking financially, money had to be spent at various levels of the research work up to the binding stage, such resources which may aid a proper carrying out of the study is not adequately available.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This work is important for a number of reasons;

First, it will be of great importance to local government administration, the political office holders at the grass root level, as well enable them to understand the positive and negative impact of democracy on the grass root development. While the suggestions made will enable both the administration and the political office holders in the local government level or grass root level to streamline the democratic practice in the local government in such a way that will be useful to the administration and the populace.

1.6 Statement of Hypotheses

Runkel et al (1972) and Brown et al (1980) viewed hypothesis as a guess or a statement of conjuncture showing the relationship between two or more variables in the population under certain conditions for the purpose of this study, this research hypothesis is drawn.

  1. Hi: Democracy is the best form of government for grass root development
    Ho: Democracy has much impact on the grass root development
  2. Hi: Lack of funds for the execution of grass root development is due to mismanagement by the top official of the grass root level
    Ho: Under democratic government, unqualified personnel may be elected which may not facilitate grass root development.

1.7 Definition of Key Terms / Concepts

It is important to start this type of presentation by defining some key terms to enable us comprehend the subject in question. The key terms or concepts that demand definitions includes democracy, Grass roots, development and local government.


Democracy is a system of government under which the people Democracy is a system of government under which the people exercise the governing power either directly or through representatives periodically elected by themselves. also, is defined as the government of the people by the people and for the people.

Grass Roots:

Lower level, ordinary members of a political party or common people.


Development is the improvement of societal structures and productive process to guarantee individual and collective well being of the members of a given society.

Local Government:

Local government is the government at the local level exercised through representative councils established by law to exercise specific power within a defined area.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This study is organized into five sub-headings or chapters.

Chapter one deals with background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, the scope and limitations of the study, significance of the study and definition of the terms.

Chapter two deals with literature review, concept of democracy at the grass root development and the factors militating against democracy at the grass root level.

Chapter three deals with research methodology, research design, research population, sample and sampling techniques, method of data collection, administration of instrument and method of data analysis.

Chapter four deals with presentation of data, analysis of data and discussion of findings.

Chapter Five


No doubt we have come a long way. And it is only as we apply ourselves to the challenge of growth and development, that we shall leave for posterity a rich legacy of prosperity in the countryside. The Nigerian local government system must rise up to the challenge of improved revenue generation, the replenishment of our rural entrepreneurship, the development of visionary and effective leadership across the country, and determined boost in overall productivity.

The study offers some measures aimed at improving the performance of the local government system.

  1. The local government system in Nigeria needs to be reorganized and restrategized in its policies and programmes to meet the specific needs of the people, in order to make it more functional in the rendering of services such as quality feeder roads, quality and affordable health care services, and improved access to quality educational services etc.
  2. Enhancement of democratic practices should be encouraged at the local government level to make the system truly emanates from the people. In so doing, it will enhance transparency, accountability and rule of law. By extension, it will also promotes democracy at the local government level, enhances participation and the delivery of services.
  3. The non-involvement of the people in decision making process is counterproductive. The people should be made as part and parcel of development initiative and process. The over-reliance on elite as the only important stakeholder for consultation is not healthy for the system. A holistic approach, concerted efforts and mechanism should be put in place so that local initiatives can be stimulated to enhance the people‟s conditions.
  4. Security of tenure of elected chairman and councilors should be guaranteed in our constitution. The excessive abuse faced by elected representatives of the local government level and lack of adequate protection of their offices calls for concern. They are left at the mercy of the whims and caprices of the State government that can remove an elected representative of the local council at will, and appoint a sole administrator or caretaker chairman without recourse to the people‟s mandate is antithetical to their autonomy and development. This trend should be stopped. A fixed term of office for specific period as enjoyed by their counterpart at the state and federal level will go a long way to protect local government finances and enhances development.
  5. Direct allocation of finances to local government is important for their development. The issue of state/local government joint account is a strangulation of the system, as often state governments makes substantial deduction from the local government funds and uses other financial instruments to control local government chief executives for their selfish interest.

The Impact Of Democracy On The Grassroot Development

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