Local Government As An Instrument Of National Development
1.1 Background to the study
The Local Government in Nigeria is an indispensable tier of government in the Nigerian federal system. It is deeply rooted in the law of the land and derives its powers from the constitution. Section 7(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, states that “the system of Local government by a democratically elected local government council is under this constitution guaranteed”. From the above, it is clear that the local government is backed by law and administratively should have a democratically elected representative of the people who are charged with the responsibility of moving the government towards attaining sustainable growth for national development. Local government can be defined as a political authority which is purposefully created by law or constitution for local communities by which they manage their local public affairs within the law/constitution (Ogunna cited in McDon, 2013).
The quest for a wide spread development in the country and economic emancipation laid basis for the federal government to create this tier of government which is seen as the closest government to the people. Local government refers to the third level of government besides the Federal and State governments in Nigeria that operates at a level close to the people mostly residing in town, communities and villages (Mbaya, Audu and Aliyu, 2014).
Based on the fact that the Federal government sees to the affairs of the entire nation and has many institutions under it which it needs to coordinate and maintain for national growth, it sees the welfare of the local people as paramount and this prompted the need for the creation of local government as the third tier government in the country and charged with the responsibility of uplifting the lives of the rural dwellers. It is important to observe that the basic amenities which are so dear to the people are left in the hands of the local government such as primary health care, rural electrification, pipe borne water, primary education among others, which are considered by developmental scholars as sine-qua-non for national growth and development. Laski (cited in McDon, 2013) puts it that,
we cannot realise the full benefit of democratic government unless we begin by the admission that the problems are not the central problems and that the results of problems not central in their incidence require decision at the place and by persons, where and whom the incidence is most deeply felt.
The pride of any government is the attainment of higher value level of development in such a way that its citizens would derive natural attachment to governance. However, for a nation to be in a phase of development there must be some prerequisites, which include socio-political and economic stability (Lawal, 2011).
The quest for development has been a major issue of concern to both domestic and foreign scholars of Nigeria. In fact, the issue has arrested the attention of statesmen, politicians, traditional rulers and the generality of Nigerian populace. Despite the attention however, it is evident that a larger proportion of the Nigerian people are yet to see the indices of development. Majority of Nigerians still live in misery, poverty, squalor, anguish and Penury (Otoghile and Edigin, 2011).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Local governments are established to bring about developments. In Nigeria however, this has not been the case. Poverty, unemployment and starvation still pervade the nook and cranny of the country.
With the knowledge that development is essential and critical to growth and sustenance of any country.The local government administration in Nigeria has been put through several political, administrative, structural, and financial reforms since colonial era till date for effective democratic governance and political participation of the rural people in order to attain grassroots development that would translate to sustainable national development. These reforms have not yielded any meaning grassroots development as local government are just playing the puppets, and as such many have called for the scrapping of this third tier of government. Wilson (2011) adds that the zeal for democratic governance at the grass root informed the establishment of local government as a democratic institution and framework for the governance of the rural people. However, it appears the reforms are not giving the local governments the desired capability as a democratic institution to achieve meaning grassroots development across Nigeria.
It is against this backdrop that this research seeks to examine the impact of Local Government on National Development with a special reference to Badagry Local Government Area (LGA).
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The creation of local government by the federal or state government is to bring government closer to the people and also foster the development of the local citizenry.
The following are the objective of this study;
- To identify the relationship between local government and national development
- To examine the impact of local government administration on service delivery at the grassroots.
- To find out if inadequate finance has hindered national development in Badagry Local Council.
- To find out if corruption among Badagry LG personnel has affected the execution of community development projects.
- To identify the challenges facing local governments in performing their functions effectively.
- To make appropriate suggestions on how to make the local government system more efficient and effective.
1.4 Research Questions
This study will be guided by this following research questions:
- Is there a relationship between local government and national development?
- What is the impact of local government administration on service delivery at the grassroots?
- Has lack of adequate finance hindered national development in Badagry LGA?
- Has corruption among Badagry LG personnel affected the execution of community development projects?
- What are the challenges facing local governments in performing their functions effectively?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The researcher intends to test the following hypotheses;
- Ho: There is no significant relationship between local government and national development
- Hi: There is a significant relationship between local government and national development
- Ho: local government administration does not have any impact on service delivery at the grassroots
- Hi: local government administration has an impact on service delivery at the grassroots
- Ho: Lack of adequate finance does not hinder national development in Badagry LGA
- Hi: Lack of adequate finance hinders national development in Badagry LGA
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