Obstacle To Effective Implementation Of Policies In The Local Government System In Nigeria

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Obstacle To Effective Implementation Of Policies In The Local Government System In Nigeria


Policy making and Implementation is one issue that cannot be over emphasized because of the important role it plays I the life of any organization wishing to survive and to grow in the face of changing world. Based on the need for organizations to achieve their objectives, the researcher decided to conduct research study on the obstacles to effective Implementation of policies in the local government system in Nigeria with a particular reference to Orlu LGA, Imo state. It has been observed that policy Implementation is one of the major problems confronting Nigeria since inception. Public policies therefore plays crucial role in the state and are equally instrumental to the develop or underdevelopment of any given state. Whereas, there has been no lack of public policies since independence in Nigeria the paradox of public policy Implementation has continued to militate and mar the realization of policy objectives in the country.

The reason being that most policies in Nigeria either terminates prematurely only at the formulation stages or simply mal-implemented to benefit a few individuals, or a section of the society. However, poor policy Implementation is believed by some analysts to be the bane of development in Nigeria. The paper therefore, seeks to highlight the need for proper and effective policy Implementation while identifying some impediments to be tackled of Nigeria is to ensure that policies, particularly those relating to institutional or organizational development are effectively and timely implemented. These impediments include among others; corruption, ethnicity bad leadership, political instability, low public service structures. The paper posits some sustainable development measures, such as effective use of political will, eschewing social vices (like ethnicity, favoritism nepotism and mediocrity), continuity of policies between government, eradication of corruption etc.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

It has been observed that policy implementation is one of major problems confronting local government in Nigeria and organizations within. According to Adamolekun (1983), policy implementation refers to the activities that are carried out in the light of establishing policies. It refers to the process of converting financial, material, technical, and human inputs into outputs-goods and services (Egonwun, 1991). Edward (1980) defines Policy Implementation as a stage of policy making between the establishment of a policy (such as the passage of a legislative act, the issuing of an executive order, or the promulgation of a regulatory rule) and the consequences of the policy for the people whom it affects it also involves a wide Varity of actions such as issuing and enforcing directives, disbursing funds, making loans, assigning and hiring personnel, etc.

Implementation problem occurs when the desired result on the target beneficiaries is not achieved. Such problem is not restricted to only the developing nations. Wherever and whenever the basic critical factors that are very crucial to Implementation of public policies are missing, whether in developing or developed nations, there is bound to be Implementation Problems. These critical factors are communication resources, dispositions or attitudes, and bureaucratic structure (Edwards, 1980). The four factors operate simultaneously and the interact with each other to aid or hinder policy Implementation. By Implication therefore, the Implementation

Of every policy is a dynamic process, which involves the interaction of many variables as would be discussed below.
Communication is an essential ingredient for effective Implementation of public policy. Through communication, orders to implement policies are expected to be transmitted to the appropriate personnel in a clear manner while such orders must be accurate and consistent. Inadequate information can lead to misunderstanding on the part of the implementers who may be confused as to what exactly are required of them. In effect, Implementation instructions that are not transmitted, that are vague or that are in consistent may cause serious obstacles to policy Implementation. Conversely, directives that are too precise may hinder Implementation by stifling creativity and adaptability (Edward III, 1980). Without sufficient resources it means that laws will not be enforced, services will not be provided and reasonable regulations will not be developed.

In addition to communication and resources disposition or attitude is another key factor that affects policy Implementation. Most Implementers can exercise considerate discretion in the Implementation of policies because of either their independence from their nominal supervisors who formulate the policies or as a result of the complexity of the policy itself. The way the Implementation exercise their discretion depends to a large extent on their disposition towards the policy. Therefore the level of success will depend on how the implementers see the policies as affecting their organizational and personal interest. Where a policy will result in reduction of pay, low self-esteem or loss of position to the Implementers, the attitude of disposition will be affected adversely.

On the other hand, if a policy will enhance the status, the pay or the self esteem of the implementer such implementer will be favorably disposed to it. It is to be noted that the fact that communication resources, and positive disposition are put in place there is no efficient bureaucratic structure, the problem of Implementation can still arise especially when dealing with complex policies. As observed by Edward (1980) where there is organizational fragmentation it may hinder the coordination that is necessary to successfully implement a complex policy especially one that requires the cooperation of many people. It may also result in wastage of scarce resources, inhibit change, create confusion leads to policies working are cross-purpose and at the end, result in important functions being overlooked.

However, there are in addition to the above, some problems that seem peculiar to federal Polytechnic Nekede in the area of policy Implementation. These are usually problems that lead to Implementation gap and which can be traced not only to the policy itself but also to the policy maker and the policy environment and it was on this background that research was carried out.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Since the took off of local government administration many policies have been formulated but are not fully implemented due to one problem or the other. In the course of this book, a lot of problems have been identified. Therefore, this work sets out to address the following problems.

Lack of political will/attitude to policy Implementation have been a serious problem to policy Implementation in various organizations and Nigeria at large. Policy Implementation or delivery is negatively or positively affected by the attitude or behavior disposed to a policy. That is, if they are negatively disposed to a policy, there will be lack of commitment to the Implementation process. It has been observed that the Nigerian state is privatized, dependent, weak, and lack autonomy. Therefore, despite the availability of public policies, that stands to better the lot of the average Nigerians, poor Implementation design, conception, and discipline has mar Implementation chances and cause policy failure. This is because the instrument methods, knowledge technology, equipment, models and modes of delivery utilized in Implementation a policy determine whether Implementation and performance would be successful or not. The institution in most cases, down plays the crucial issue of Implementation design of public policies. This trend translates to the advent of public policies without clear-cut modalities or mechanism of Implementation. Policy objectives are therefore in most cases misinterpreted or worst still abandoned.

Poor programme leadership and management: There are poor programme leadership and management personnel who can steer, direct and motivate program efforts. It is only an able, committed and enthusiastic devotion could build and strengthen the commitment devotion loyalty, support and enthusiasm of staff in program Implementation. Unfortunately, the Nigerian state mainly parades an array of misfits for highly sensitive public positions, and this ugly scenario led to the inability of program leaders to create favorable environment for policy Implementation.

Lack of resources has confronted many policies In the institution. When most policies are formulated adequate provision of resources is not made to implement them. There is thus politics of Implementation because the resources needed for adequate Implementation are not provided to realize policy objectives.

Many Implementers have failed in the institution and Nigeria at large as a result of corruption. When corruption penetrates the Implementation process, public policies become muted and the desired goals may not be achieved. Most public policies are formulated and funds appropriate for, but corruption like an octopus has continued to entangle, ruin and make impossible the Implementation process. Due to corruption, Nigeria is still under the yoke of excruciating poverty and underdevelopment despite the several efforts being made to alleviate poverty.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are as follows:

  1. To know the significant relationship between corruption and policy Implementation in Nigerian Local Government councils.
  2. To examine the impact of poor policy Implementation programme in Nigeria economy.
  3. To know if there is a positive relationship between poor leadership and policy Implementation in LGA
  4. To ascertain if inadequate provision of resources or fund affects policy Implementation In Nigeria.
  5. To know if lack of political will to positively realize objectives affects policy Implementation.
  6. To find the problem of policy Implementation in Nigeria.
  7. To proffer solution to the problems.

1.4 Research Hypotheses

Hypotheses One
  • Ho: There is no significant relationship between corruption and policy Implementation in Nigerian Local government councils
  • Hi: There is a significant relationship between corruption and policy Implementation in Nigerian Local government councils
Hypotheses Two
  • Ho: There is a negative relationship between poor leadership and policy Implementation in LGA
  • Hi: There is a positive relationship between poor leadership and policy Implementation in LGA

1.5 Significance of the Study

This work is essential because it will prove itself as a landmark to policy makers, statement, political and even bureaucrats alike which is also reliable and as a veritable guide for future policy Implementation.

It will also provide platform for more indebt research into the art and science of policy Implementation in Nigeria especially within this period of nursing democracy.

This work will expose the flaw inherent with the Implementation of policy Orlu LGA in Imo state. It will be immense help to researchers and students who wants to carry out further research on the same subject to the existing literature on problems of policy Implementation.

Furthermore, it will uphold the reason why various policy formulated in Nigeria failed at the Implementation stage.
Finally, it will proffer solution to the problems of policy Implementation in Nigeria.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study is primary concerned with obstacle to effective implementation of policies in the local government system in Nigeria. This study/project work covers Orlu LGA in Imo state. The researcher encountered some constraints, which limited the scope of the study. These constraints include but are not limited to the following

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.

1.7 Definitions of Term


From the Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary, problems is seen to be something that is difficult to deal with or understand

Policy Implementation:

Policy Implementation is giving help and effect to policy so that objectives of the policy can be achieved.


A programme is a plan of things that will be done or included in the development of anything.


A politics is all human activities that are involved in getting and using power in public life and bring also a decision that influences others in any place.

Public Policy:

Public policy is the connection that refers to those definite actions of government that is towards the fulfillment of the obligations of the state.


Darton Mc. Farland (2006) defined planning as the activity where the manager analyzes present condition to determine ways of reaching a desired future state.


This involves installing check and balances; it is a process of ensuring that the courses of action are maintained and that the desired ends are achieved.

Policy Formulation:

Policy formulation is affirmative decision which entails the approval of a preferred policy alternative, somebody or policy actors.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain a critical analysis of obstacle to effective implementation of policies in the local government system 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 are made, which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefitin addressing the challenges of poor policy implementation in local government system in Nigeria.

5.2 Summary

This study aimed at havinga critical analysis of obstacle to effective implementation of policies in the local government system in Nigeria. Seven objectiveswere raised to achieve the aim of this study.

5.3 Conclusion

Based on the above findings pertaining to the objectives of the study the following conclusions are drawn. There has been a wide gap between the development goals of a policy at the formulation stage and the realization of such goals on implementation. To close this ever-widening gap, there is the need for enhancement in the extent to which the public bureaucracy in Nigeria effectively implements policies. For the realization of this enhancement, the recommended measures need to be considered and or adhered to in the course of policy implementation activities of the public bureaucracy.

5.4 Recommendation

There needs to come into existence focused, responsible and purposeful political leaderships at the heads of the various local government tiers (Federal Local government, State Local government and Local governments).and the emergence of honest and dedicated bureaucratic leaderships at the heads of public organization or public bureaucracies. It is expected that the democratization process in Nigeria will aid and hasten the coming into existence of such visionary and purposeful leaderships that will be more inclined to developing appropriate policies to address Nigeria’s problems and such policies that can be effectively implemented by the Nigerian public bureaucracy.

Local government needs to embark on a programme for improving working conditions of the public bureaucrats as this will help to build their morale, dedication and commitment to implementing policies. Specifically, an improvement in pay packages will, for instance, significantly diminish the corruption tendencies among the public bureaucrats in Nigeria and hence allow for the proper use of allocated fund for implementing policies.

There is also the need for a conscious effort by local government leadership to reduce the extent to which politics infiltrates bureaucratic activities in Nigeria. This will ensure that bureaucrats in authority are allowed to exercise real control and authority and to be able to function freely and apply some basic ideals of weberian model of bureaucracy in their administrative processes and procedures. Such will, indeed, allow for more effective functioning of the public Nigerian bureaucracy.

The culture of discontinuity of policies in cases of changes in local government or organizational leadership should be discouraged. Specifically, the researcher recommends that the National and the State Assemblies should enact a law that will guarantee continuity of policies made forwards growth and development. This is necessary because, even though local government comes and goes, the public bureaucracy remains and should continue the implementation of existing policies unless fundamental developments render their continued implementation impossible or unnecessary. Indeed, if every leader hat comes into position puts aside the ones in place before their tenure, Nigeria will never grow.

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