Local Government System And Political Mobilization In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Local Government System And Political Mobilization In Nigeria


Local government system and political mobilization in Nigeria is a colonial creation, it has undergone a lot of vicissitudes and reforms, the most popular of which to a large extent still informs the framework of operation today. The focus is therefore to comprehend the lofty and good ideal about local government that past governments had for the system. Local governments in Nigeria have never been allowed to play their proper roles as institutions and agents for change, progress and development of the rural areas. The local government service as a result of the very long years of decaying service delivery has created negative perceptions towards the corrupt tendencies which characterized the local government public service over the years, which in turns leads to an absence of accountability and transparency. However, most of the attempts at reforms ended up as smoke screen because they were meant to serve the interest of the political elites than the rural populace, the idea of local government system and political mobilization in Nigeria also varies and the average citizenry either from the elite group or the masses would want local governments in Nigeria to be consanguine with their tribal, ethnic, cultural, regional and religious affinities.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The local government system implements the ideals, objectives, programs, and aspirations of the national government at the local level. Local government is the agents as well as the arm of the government at the local level but not a substitute for national government. It merely serves as an instrument for effective and efficient performance and delivery of government services and amenities at the local level. Many local governments in the country have come to be seen as a competent unit of government that is capable of assessing the needs of the local communities and dwellers that can mobilize and harness local resources and talents to satisfy these local needs for sustainable human development.

Local government can also be defined 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”. A local government is expected to play the role of promoting the democratic ideals of a society and co-ordinating development programme at the local level. It is also expected to serve as the basis of socio-economic development in it’s locality. These powers should give the council substantial control over local affairs as well as the staff and institutional and financial powers to initiate and direct the provision of service and to determine and implement projects so as to complement the activities of the state and federal government in their areas and to ensure through devolution of functions to these councils and through the active participation of the people and their traditional institutions, that local initiative and response to local needs and conditions are maximized. Local governments are the closet level of government to the people at the grass-root and are capable of possessing knowledge of the people’s needs, problems and potentials.

The local governments therefore are competent levels of government are capable of reducing political, economic, social, and other congestion of responsibilities in the central government when there is an increase in their competence and resource base. The responsibilities the local government can be enormous especially in the urban/municipal centres where they are expected to provide the basic infrastructures for social and economic development. Local government also serves as a vehicle for increasing people’s participation in the administration of services meant to cater for their needs. These facilitate the adoption of programmes to suit local conditions and needs, thus gaining acceptability for the programmes by the people. We want to have community participation in the management of their local affairs, yet the local governments so created are far from what might be desired in terms of people’s participation. Therefore the systems of checks and balances in the local government must be seen to be coming from the communities in the locality. This can be enhanced through some legal framework that would recognize community power, needs, ideals, and aspirations that do not conflict with or contradict national interest.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

As in-depth examination of local government system and political mobilization in Nigeria reveals that local governments have failed in effective service delivery due to a number of factors. It is on this backdrop that the researcher intends to investigate the factors which militate against the local government system from effective mobilization on the local level

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this research is to review contemporary bases on the local government system and political mobilization in Nigeria in order to underscore the relevance of the federal constitutional framework to the country’s challenges.

The specific objectives through which the aims can be achieved are as follows:-

  1. To ascertain the impact of the local government in political mobilization in Nigeria
  2. To ascertain the relationship between local government and political mobilization.
  3. To ascertain ways of ensuring effective political mobilization by the local government administration
  4. It makes policy recommendations that could restore and protect the status of the local government systems and political mobilization in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Question

  1. Does the local government have any impact in political mobilization in Nigeria?
  2. What is the relationship between local government and political mobilization?
  3. In what ways can we achieve effective political mobilization by the local government?
  4. What are the ways in which the local governments in Nigeria can be harnessed?

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is perceived that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of benefit to the ministry of local government and chieftaincy affairs who are charge with the responsibility of overseeing the affairs of the local government. The study will also be of great benefit to all local government administrators and local government heads or chairmen, as the findings will be a pathfinder on administration.

The study will also be of great importance to researchers as it will serve as a reference point to anyone who wants to carry out research on similar topic. Finally the findings will be of great public to the academia, students teachers and the general public

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The scope of this research covers local government system and political mobilization in Nigeria. However, the researcher encounter some constrain in the course of the study, some of the limitations are stated below:

(a) Availability of Research Material

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

(b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

(c) Finance:

The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.

1.8 Definition of Terms:

Local Government

An administrative body for a small geographic area, such as a city, town, county, or state. A local government will typically only have control over their specific geographical region, and cannot pass or enforce laws that will affect a wider area. Local governments can elect officials, enact taxes, and do many other things that a national government would do, just on a smaller scale.


A set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network; a complex whole.

Political Mobilization

Political mobilization is defined as the actors’ attempt to influence the existing distribution of power. A directional variable is introduced in order to define more precisely the type of relationship which develops between individuals and parties.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the role of the local government system and political mobilization in Nigeria.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of local government administration and political mobilization in Nigeria.

5.2 Summary

It is apparent that local government system have important role to play in the governance and sustainable development in Nigeria. It performs vital functions such as: political education, mobilization of the people for popular participation in governance, vehicle for political accountability, among others. Efforts have geared towards moving the system from local administration to local government with functional political and economic autonomy. However, the path leading to the achievement of these goals is by no means smooth. Local government system in the country is confronted with issues and challenges such as federal and state government’s interventions in the constitutional responsibilities of local government, leadership, structure, organization, attitude and values of the people, poor funding etc. It is seen as avenue for dispensing political patronage to party loyalists. These and other challenges facing local government system have rendered it incapable of producing good governance and political mobilization at the grassroots’ level.

5.3 Conclusion

Nigeria, like other third world countries has adopted various strategies aimed at attaining effective political participation and mobilization at the grass root level. But regrettably the application of the bourgeois oriented prescriptions which are deeply rooted in capitalist mode of production, have rather aggravated and deepened the problem of grass-roots development. Given this fact that the condition of marginalized people who suffers from low levels of education, poverty, unemployment, and lack of nourishment still exist in Nigeria it is pertinent that the local government system which is seen as a driver of dividend of democracy at the local level be adequately managed.

5.4 Recommendation

Haven completed the study, the researcher recommended that the factors militating against the ability of local government authorities in Nigeria which are primarily human factors should be arrested if the state and federal governments introduce more financial discipline into the local government system to curb the endemic problem of corruption. This can only be achieved by introducing effective and stringent measures to check financial and administrative irresponsibility on the part of both the elected and permanent officials of the local government system. In addition, the imposition of imprisonment with no option of fines on any erring members of the local government should be introduced for those convicted of corruption. The study equally call for the removal of powers to award contracts from the local government chairmen and centralized it in a well constituted tender board which the council chairman should only be a member.

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