Role Of Local Government In National Development

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration


Abstract


The topic of this study is the Role of Local Government in National Development (A case Study of Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State).

This research work is aimed at finding out the role of Local government in achieving National development.
However, the researcher sourced his data through questionnaires, textbooks and government publications. The reliability of the instrument was tested and proved reliable.

Based on the findings of the researcher, the following recommendations were made.

  1. Aninri Local Government should be able to enlighten the residents on the council’s role and objective so as to make them aware of what is going on around them.
  2. The council should device means of eradicating official corruption and enhance accountability
  3. The financial allocation from both state and federal to the council should be increased
  4. The condition of service of the council should be enhanced in order to attract and retain more competent and highly qualified performance on the service
  5. The council should be professionalized.

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the study

Local Government exists to fill the gap, which the national government is too remote to fill. This means that local government complements and extends the national government. It has been recognized as one important instrument for rural transformation and for the delivery of social services development has passed through some stages of reforms since its evolution. In Nigeria, local government as the third tier of government nearest to the people has been recognized as an institution capable of transforming the are’s of the rural inhabitant. Consequently, there has been continuous attempts either to create new local governments or lamp the existing ones in the country with the objective of utilizing them as fulcrums for achieving national development. There has been an increasing upsurge of interest in the literature of development administration and in planning circles on the positive role local government could play in national development. The emphasis is in terms of using local government as a strategic instrument for fostering, promoting and implementing national development projects. Local government administration is used as a form of devolution of powers of the state. It is the government at the grass root level that is designed to serve as instrument of rural transformation and development to the society in general. The local government being the government nearest to the populace, is one of the best agencies for generating motivations and encouraging mobilisation for self-help, as well as including the much needed wider participation of the local population in the decision making process at the local level (Ukah, 2012). According to Edward Scouma, (in Eluwa, 2012:11), The so-called third world is a rural world where any meaningful discussion of community development really means not only “talking of overall national development,” but because “it is in community that the problems of inequitable distribution of resources or a marked lack of purchasing power and of grinding poverty in which the wretched members of society stagnate and stare one in the face with brutal clarity. The raison d’etre of the local government in Nigeria is to, at least stop the deteriorating living conditions in the various communities of the country. An effective local government will be better disposed than the state or federal government, not only to stem the grim reality of the rising tide of grassroots poverty but also be better positioned to evoke communal efforts and networking to manage and mobilize the support of local citizenry in participating in all the programmes that may affect them (Eluwa, 2012). As an agent of development, the major priorities of any local government should include reduction of poverty in the community, increasing the standard of living of the local dwellers, provision of social amenities, enhancing the participation of the local citizens in political activities that concern them, enhancing their individual human capabilities, boosting nationalism, inspiring creativity and innovation as well as educating the local people (Bello-Imam, 2007). Local government in Nigeria plays immense role especially in promoting, co-ordinating and providing community amenities as well as encouraging greater mass participation and involvement in the running of local government affairs and the use of local resources to the optional level. From ideological perspective, local government for tiers the principle of democracy as local government rings government nearer to the people and if properly designed gives room for mass participation in governance. Furthermore, local government are designed to achieve multi-dimensional goals in terms of economic, social and political development local government, which is the focus of this write up is responsible for the provision of basic community requirements. To achieve its objective, Aninri Local Government should be adequately funded, and manned by well trained, dedicated personnel. 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 271 purposefully created by law or constitution for local communities by which they manage their local public affairs within the law/constitution (Ogunna: 1996). 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. Okoli (2005:) defines local government as a unit of government established by act of law to administer the functions of government and see to the welfare and interest of the local dwellers under the local government system. 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 etc. Nigeria operates a federal system with feeble attempts at democratic practice and has three tiers of government namely: the federal government, the state government and the local government being the third tier. It is pertinent to note that the practice of federalism inNigeria has had several interferenceby the military who imported their unitary command system into governance. A semblance of this unitary command still exists in the present democratic dispensation as power is concentrated in the hands of the federal government, impinging on the true practice of federalism as devolution appears shaky. The practice of federalism in Nigeria deviates from the letter and spirit of federalism as advocated by K.C. Wheare who is credited with developing a concise treatise of federalism (Ibietan, 2010:31). Onyeoziri (in Ibietan, 2010:205) further argues that the inconsistencies characterizing the logic of federal practice especially in Nigeria where each level/tier of government which is supposed to be coordinate and independent in its sphere becomes subordinated and this is contrary to the letter and spirit of federalism as advocated by K. C. Wheare (1784) who developed the original idea of federalism (Ibietan, 2010). Onyeoziri (in Ibietan, 2010:205) further corroborated that the imperfections in the state institutions also create some disabilities for the federal practice. He therefore cautioned on the lacuna in discussing federalism without backing it with “asuitable theory of state” (which is the infrastructure) onto which federalism is grafted. Thus, a mutual reinforcement of the two variables offers a reliable strategy in guaranteeing stable federal arrangements (Ibietan, 2010:206). When there is an effective federal practice, then there can be proper deconcentration and devolution of powers to subnational governments, to perform their duties. Laski (1982:411) 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 words of Laski try to inform us that the problems of the rural dwellers differ and are to be tackled on the strength of the problem. The Nigerian federal structure allows the existence of the local government as the third tier of government. Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria specifically guarantees a democratically elected local government system. The fourth schedule of the same constitution similarly defines the roles of the local governments (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999).The Nigerian federation currently has 774 local government units created for grassroots administration and for delivering services to the people at the various local levels as well as creating a relationship with the local people through which the government can be responsive to their needs and demands. In addition, local governments also exists to ensure effective political involvement of the local people in the policy making process as well as in the affairs of government (Afrobarometer, 2013:1). Some scholars are of a contrary opinion that the local governments have not performed their functions as agents of development; rather they have attained disrepute for corruption, fiscal disorderliness and overall irresponsibility. The lack of uprightness, transparency and accountability at the local level of government constitute a heavy toll on the welfare of average Nigerians (Agbo, 2010:20).


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The creation of Aninri local government in 1996 by the military government under late General Sani Abacha’s administration was meant to bring development to the doorsteps of the various communities Viz. Ndeaboh, Mpu, Okpanku, Oduma and Nenwe. It is important to sate that local government should not be abandoned while drafting the constitution in order to strengthen the importance to national development. The autonomy of the local government should be recognized to enable it serve as effective third tier of government as stated in the constitution.

Aninri Local government has not been granted enough financial status and power to sustain itself and be able to provide welfare services. Again, community dwellers hardly assist the local government in implementing government projects and this is serious setback to the delivery of qualitative and qualitative services to the local communities.


1.3 Objective 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;

  1. To ascertain whether Aninri local government council is able to accelerate development in terms of national development
  2. To find out whether corruption among Aninri local government personnel affected the execution of community development projects.
  3. To examine whether lack of adequate finance has hindered national development in Aninri local government area.

All these will be assessed and examined in order to ascertain those things that are likely going to act as a cog on the course of implementing national programmes in the local government.


1.4 Research Questions

Having surveyed the objectives of this study, the following research question arises.

  1. Has lack of adequate financing hindered national development in Aninri local government area?
  2. Has Aninri local government council been able to effectively mobilize the rural people in terms of national development project?
  3. How has corruption among Aninri local government personnel adversely affected national development projects in the area?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

To aid the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher

  1. H0: Aninri local government council has not been able to effectively mobilize the rural people in terms of national development project
    H1: Aninri local government council has been able to effectively mobilize the rural people in terms of national development project
  2. H0: corruption among Aninri local government personnel does not adversely affected national development projects in the area.
    H2: corruption among Aninri local government personnel has adversely affected national development projects in the area

1.6 Significance of the Study

The essence of this project is to contribute to knowledge in bringing a general awareness of the people in relation to national development to the local government. One major task I wish t pursue is to help through this research study to present an impartial report of the performance of Aninri local government. It is also hoped that recommendations of his report will assist government at all levels in implementation their development programmes.

More so, this project work will also e useful to the civil servants especially those at the administrative positions in formulating and implementing government policies and programmes. Political office holders will also find this document useful in tacking the challenges of policy implementation.

Furthermore, the result of this study would assist both the federal, state and local government in meeting the aspirations and needs of the people particularly in the rural area. Finally, this study could be a basic on which further research may be carried out.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This research is actually to ascertain the role of local government in national development in Nigeria. Thus, the researcher selected Aninri local government area he could conveniently cover.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

The researcher however, encountered series of problems in the course of carrying out this study such problems include.

  1. Data collection: many respondents could not feel free to express their opinion
  2. Shortage of fund: lack of adequate fund for carrying out this research work also constitute problem
  3. Time frame to go to the field, libraries and write the report and submit at the required time also constitutes problems to the researcher. In spite of all these problems or hindrances, the researcher did his best.

1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

Local Government

A local government is a form of public administration which, in a majority of contexts, exists as the lowest tier of administration within a given state.

Grass Root

A grassroots movement (often referenced in the context of a left-wing political movement) is one which uses the people in a given district, region, or community as the basis for a political or economic movement.

Local Government Administration

A local government is a form of public administration which, in a majority of contexts, exists as the lowest tier of administration within a given state. Local governments generally act within powers delegated to them by legislation or directives of the higher level of government


1.10 Organization of the Study

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

  • Chapter one is concern 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 the role of local government in national development.

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 in national development.


5.2 Summary

A nation cannot be believed to be recording increases in national developmental indices when human and material resources in its component local government areas remain immensely immobilized. Development is all about improved living conditions for citizens who reside in the various local government areas of a nation-state. Underdevelopment is also about hunger and starvation in these local government areas. Sustainable development is about doing today what must be done for life to be meaningful for the present and future generations. The way forward calls for the empowerment of the local government areas by constitutionally untying them from the apron strings of the State Governments. Indeed, the truth remains that the issue of sustainable national development in Nigeria is immensely intertwined with developments in the local government system. In this regard, this study concludes that one of the best ways of going about the overall development of the Nigerian state is to concentrate on the development of its local government segments.


5.3 Conclusion

The Local government as the third tier government in the Nigerian federation was born out of the clear need to better the lots of local citizens in the country. As an agent of transformation, it has unarguably gone through much process that has placed it on the part of growth and sustainable development in Nigeria. However, its strength lies on the leadership of the country from the Executive (Presidency) to the Legislature (National Assembly) down to the Judiciary. These public officials should ensure that the laws governing the Local government should be in the exclusive list and not con current list that allows the State governments to lay claim over this level of government and the laws been made be strictly enforced and offenders be slammed with the instrument of law. Since the Local governments are given essential services to provide for the people, efforts should be made to ensure that the funds meant for these purposes be released in time and channelled to the appropriate quarters. A well packaged and articulate plan for Local government in the country would reduce criminality, unemployment, rural-urban drift and encourage economic, agricultural growth and political education attained.


5.4 Recommendation

The study recommend that there is a realistic need for synergy and collaborative approach to community development. A bottom-top strategy that harnesses local needs, wishes and aspirations will galvanize efforts for maximum impact. Appropriate political and constitutional reforms that can enhance the autonomy of local governments is seriously canvassed. All portions of the constitution suggesting superintending roles of state governments on local governments, and specifically parts of section 162 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that ties LGCs allocation to state governments should be expunged. LGCs should invigorate their extractive functions in order to boost internally generated revenues to enable them support community development initiatives and activities effectively. The educative functions of local governments can be strengthened through improved information dissemination, management and enlightenment for participation in community development by the LGCs. The appropriate agencies responsible for mobilisation, civic reorientation and election (National Orientation Agency and INEC) should continually improve citizen awareness; ensure credible and transparent process that can produce accountable and good leaders.


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