Local Government Administration As A Panacea For Rural Transformation
1.1 Background to the Study
The local government is viewed as a semi-autonomous area which is formed under the constitution or general laws of a state to carry out functions within specified geographical area. Agbakoba (2004) stated that the local government is an administrative and political unit that is vested with the powers under law to govern a specified locality. Its philosophy is entrenched on the idea of grassroots level participation in government. Scholars and practitioners have indicated that local government are not only formed as representative arm of the state and federal government ,but as a means by which which goods and services are delivered to the people within the framework of enabling laws which established them.
Consequently it is the need to foster a balanced development in the rural areas and enhance the full participation of the rural dwellers that precipitate the establishment of the local government administration. The local government constitutes as a channel of administrative and political structure and facilitates national integration, rural commitment in governance, and a channel of fostering development at the grassroots. The local government is viewed as a co-partner with the state and federal government, Therefore thisstudy seek to investigate local government administration as a panacea for rural transformation.
The practice of local government administration is to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the local government level under representative officials, since it has been generally agreed that no central government can satisfactorily conduct administration wholly from the capital through the civil servants based at the headquarters. It logically follows, therefore, that there is need for a form of decentralization such that it will enable the government to reach out to the people at the grassroots level.
It is important to assert that before now, different forms of local administration and organization in Nigeria existed. But one important fact is that the first attempt of bringing about a unified form of local government reforms which brought about the first democratically elected local government councils nation-wide and granted them financial autonomy and a statutory recognition as the third tier of government. In fact, the year 1976, is historic and pivotal in the evolution and development administration and finances in Nigeria.
In another hand, rural transformation and local government administration work hand in hand. It focuses on the noticeable effect, influence or strong effect of rural transformation on local government administration.
The study of local government has attracted quite substantial amount of literature in all it ramification. Because of the multifunction roles of local government, scholars have undertaken studies. To find out the functions on management of local government: financing, staffing and man-power development and the role play by rural dwellers on local administration on rural transformation with a view of giving it to the appropriate meaning it deserves.
According to professor Odenigwu (1985), local government administration as “a system of local administration under which local communities and towns are organized to maintain law and order and provide some limited range of social services and public amenities and encourage the cooperation and participation of the inhabitants in joint endeavours toward the improvement of their living. It provides the community with formal organizational frame work, which enables them to conduct their affairs effectively and regulate the action of their members for the general public”.
In Nigerian local government as the third tier of administrative structure, following the federal and state government, the local government is the closet structure to the people at grass roots. And of course, that means the local government is a crucial variable as far as rural area development in concerned.
While it would be highlighted to say the 774 local government areas in Nigeria are not functioning at all, it is however true that are functioning at below average rate due to certain challenges (Ighadalo, A. 2009).
The rural transformation is not about rural societies changing rather than disappearing. Rural transformation is the reorganization of society in a given space, rather than about a space that empties as people and economic activity move away. The rural transformation is embedded within a wider process of structural change that involves the whole of a country and that sees a decline in the relative weight of agriculture in the overall economy, a corresponding increase in industry and services, migration of rural people to cities, and a transitory period of rapid demographic growth (Timmer and Akkus 2008). However, this process transforms rather than destroys rural societies, and in this chapter we are therefore concerned with the changes that take place in the rural space as such wider structural changes unfold.
1.2 Problem Statement
Local governments had over the years suffered from continuous whittling down of their powers. The state government had continued to encroach upon what should normally have been the exclusive preserves of the local government (Eme, O.I. 2009).
One other striking problem is instability in structure and form. Reflecting on this, dilemma, Dare (1988: 14-21) lamented that, “no Nigeria institution has been subjected to as much review, reform; reorganization or revitalization as the local government”.
Corruptions, either bureaucratic or political have been as well recognized as the bane of our development socially and economically. All these have tended to create friction and lack of confidence on the administrators of local government by the people resident in the locality. These are some of the basic research problems which the project topic will likely addressed.
1.3 Research Questions
- Does local government administration play important roles towards the transformation of the rural areas?
- Does local government contribute towards social and economic services to the people?
- What are the challenges confronting local government administration towards the transformation of the rural areas?
1.4 Research Objectives
- To examine the local government as a means of job creation for the local populace.
- To assess the contributions of local government in the area of providing social and economic services to the people.
- To ascertain how to proffer solution to the challenges facing Local government.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study is hinged on the following significance:-
It serves as a means of identifying the importance of local government administration in the area of providing socio-economic services to the rural people. It is very strategic in identifying and training future political leaders in the earth of governance. It equally avail us the opportunity to know the feelings and believe of local people on the need and suitability of local government. It enhances grassroots mobilization for the nation’s development. It will equally avail us the opportunity to identify problems that hamper rural development. Lastly, The study will be beneficial to; policy makers in Gwarzo local government.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
Due to time and financial constraints, the research work covers Gwarzo Local Government area been my case study within the range of year (2019 – 2021) as my reference point.
1.7 Research Hypotheses
- H1a: Effective local government administration is a requisite for the socio-economic transformation of the nation.
H1b: Effective local government administration is not a requisite for the socio-economic transformation of the nation.
- H2a: Local governments as an institution impacted positively on the lives of rural people.
H2b: Local governments as an institution do not impacted positively on the lives of rural people.
1.8 Operational Definition of Key Terms
A role is the assigned duty to an employee or an institution
Is an administrative and political unit that is vested with the powers under law to govern a specified locality. Its philosophy is entrenched on the idea of grassroots level participation in government.
Transformation refers to a gradual or rapid change in the socio-economic, political and cultural lives of the people living in a particular area.
Grassroots / Rural Development:
The term grassroots development as used in this study refers to the act or process of developing and empowering the well-being of the vast majority of the rural dwellers through the provision of basic social and economic infrastructures.
This are the people living in the rural communities.
Rural transformation is the government of the people by the people and for the people. It implies that ultimate authority of government is vested in the common people so that the public policy is made to conform to the will of the people and to serve the interests of the people.
1.9 Organization of Chapters
- Chapter one deals with introduction, background of the study area, statement of the problems/question, objectives of the study, research hypothesis, significant of the study, scope and limitations of the study, operational definitions of key terms and organization of chapters.
- Chapter two will deal with the literature review, introduction, conceptual theoretical framework and review of empirical work related to the study.
- Chapter three will cover research methodology, population of the study, sample technique and sample size, instrument used, method of edition and statistical tools of analysis.
- Chapter four deal with introduction, data presentation and analysis, and test of hypothesis.
- Finally, chapter five includes summary, conclusion, limitation, recommendations bibliography and appendix.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
This research work is on “Local Government Administration As A Panacea For Rural Transformation” A Case Study Of Gwarzo L.G.A, Kano State”
It was discovered that, effective local government system is very essential for the socio-economic transformation of Nigeria. Also, the findings revealed that local government administration remains the best means of reaching out to the people at the grassroots level given its closeness as well as immediate responses to the needs of the rural people. That local government administration is really a training ground for future political leaders is a welcome assertion.
From the perception of those calling for the scrapping of local government administration there is no justification as only a meager percentage supported the idea, while the larger percentage of respondents from the study hold a contrary opinion. This means that, the idea of calling for the scrapping of local government system from the nation administrative and political history is a mischievous one. The ideal thing is where lapses are noticed, necessary adjustment could be made to improve on their service delivery.
Local government system has been accepted worldwide as a necessity. Essentially, the need for the existence of local government has been argued before, is to enhance efficient administration of the practicing states. This imperative is informed by a combination of many factors, two of which will suffice for this discourse growing population and increase in social challenges presently, Nigerian population is estimated to be about 200 million people.
In this way, local government will continue to assume a position of National State and Local concern. It will continue to play the political role as the closest government to the masses, and as a bridge between the local people and other levels of government. A further implication of this is that, as a product of the constitution, neither the federal nor the state government can revoke a local government. The only extreme decision these levels of government can take is to dissolve the councils of local government. Otherwise any existence will be seen as unconstitutional, ultra vires and of no effects.
The research work attempted to identify Local Government Administration as a Panacea For Rural Transformation in Gwarzo L.G.A, Kano State, 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 play 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.
- This research work strongly advocates autonomy for local governments in such a way and manner that enhances its performance of constitutional and ancillary roles.
- Local governments should strive to raise and maintain revenue that would enable her deliver projects and services that guarantee quality living to the grassroots. This has the potency of reducing the incidence of rural-urban drift.
- As a corollary, local governments should be more people-centered in approach, such that necessary collaboration/partnership with communities in its domain can facilitate the process of rural development.
- The research recommends a further review of the revenue allocation formula with improved revenues to local governments as the closest tier of government to the people (rural and urban).
- There is an urgent need for realistic political reforms that can decongest the federal government and whittle down the exclusive list in favour of the local governments.
- As an adjunct to the above, necessary electoral reforms is canvassed as a matter of urgency to redress the disconnection between the representatives at the local government councils and the masses. Credible elections will ensure that council representatives and executives are truly elected people who can deliver people-oriented services and programmes that aid rural development.
- Local governments should play pro-active roles in engaging the services of agricultural extension officers and agents in teaching and dispersing modern farming methods to the farmers. This has the advantage of inculcating the necessary adaptive methods in farming with improved yield which guarantees food sufficiency and reliance.
- The institutions and natural groups that can facilitate the attainment of the objectives of rural development such as cooperative movements, local/town improvement unions, National Directorate of Employment, Cooperative and Agricultural Banks should be strengthened and linked in a positive manner in order to galvanize rural development in a sustainable manner, attention to enhance service delivery to the masses.
- There is also the need to create and sustain democratic ethos as an instrument of local governance. The survival of democracy in Nigeria must take firm root from the local governments. Democracy should not be in terms of civil rule alone but its tenets must also permeate the whole society. Local governments are best placed to disseminate the values of democracy to the citizenry.
- There is the need to elect responsible and receptive people to positions of authority like chairmanship and councillorship at the local level. There is usually a correlation between the quality of candidate and the quality of services rendered. Local government should transcend the concept of being a base of service for those who cannot aspire for higher positions in the political spectrum.
- The need for accountability, probity and transparency as guiding philosophy of administration must be imbibed. This is not to be assumed, it must be perceivable, observable and measurable. Transparency enhances service delivery since it would encourage private initiative in community self-transformation.
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