The Role Of Local Government In The Transformation Of Rural Areas
This research work is poised to look into ‘’The Role of Local Government in the Transformation of Rural Areas (A case study of Ofu Local Government Area’’ The research work is divided into five chapters with each chapter linking each other. The objectives of the research work among others include to highlight, analyze and evaluate the significance of local government administration to the transformation of rural areas. Two methods of data collection were used i.e. the primary and secondary sources of data and the data was analyzed using simple percentage method for easy understanding. The findings revealed that the quality of councilors who were supposed to be the nearest elected officers to the people are very poor and do not possess what it take to have good leadership. At the end of the research work, it was recommended that the local government should embark on programmes or projects as contained in their approved rolling plans and annual estimates to avoid plan destruction while mobilization of the citizens towards self help by local government council should be encouraged.
1.1 Background to the Study
According to Sills (1972), local government is defined as ‘’a public organization authorized to decide and administer a limited range of public policies within a relatively small territory which is a sub-division of a region, state or national government’’.
From this definition, of local government can be characterized as follows:
- It is a micro statutory entity which defined territory, right and obligations.
- Local government is a subordinate level of government to both the state and the federal government
- Its power to service and defined obligation are contained within the macro policies of the central government.
Encyclopedia Britannica (1986) defined local government as ‘’local self government, that is to say, the administration of public affairs in each locality by a body of representatives of the local community, this body while subject subjected to the central government possess a considerable amount of responsibilities and discretionary power.
In another development, the United Nation review of public administration defined local government as a political sub-division of a nation or a federal system of state which is constituted by law and has substantial control affairs including the powers to impose taxes or exert labour for prescribed purpose.
It proceeded to add that ‘’a governing body for such entity is elected or otherwise, locality elected.
The most operational definition of local government which should apply within the federal republic of Nigeria is the one given by the 1976 local government reforms.
It defined the concept as the ‘’government at the local level exercised power through representative council established by law to exercise power with defined areas has substantial control over local affairs as well as the staff and institutional powers to initiate and direct the provision of service and ensure that local initiation and responses to local needs and condition are maximized around the regional capital.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
Since independence, the expected level of socio-economic development of towns and villages have not been appreciably noticeable. Among the various problems militating against the development of our local government to provide the needed services where multiplicity of local government in major ways.
Firstly, development of official of local government to manage the newly created services adopted the staff of local government. This had adverse effect on its service delivery.
Secondly, the abolition of representative local government showed down the place of decentralization of local government and institutional problems, such as political instability, poor statutory allocation, bribery and corruption, excessive control of the state and federal government, poor monitoring evaluation system to mention but few.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
Given this scenario, this project work tries to examine factors responsible for the inability of our local government to exercise and concretize the lofty aims and objectives for which they were established.
- To examine the problems and findings possible solutions to the numerous problems facing a particular reference to Ofu local government council
- To highlight, analyze and evaluate the significance of local government administration to the transformation of rural areas.
- To give recommendations and suggestions to the local government administration for effective and preset decision which will boost local government effectiveness and performance.
- To improve the standard of living of the rural areas (dwellers)
1.4 Research Hypothesis
A research is a tentative statement whose truth can be tested through a scientific method. It is a declarative statement of prediction meant to help in the clarification of research question. Hypothesis is a process by which research problem is reduced in a testable form.
There are two types of hypothesis they are:
- Null hypothesis: Is the process whereby the research state that there is no relationship between two variables. Null hypothesis is represented by Ho.
- Alternative hypothesis: Is an hypothesis within specific any of the possible condition not anticipated in the null hypothesis.
- Ho: The rural areas has enough resources to develop the rural areas.
- Hi: The rural areas has no enough resources to develop the rural areas.
- Ho: The performance of rural development has declined
- Hi: The performance of rural development has not declined.
1.5 Significance of the Study
Upon completion of this study, it will be of significant value to the administration of local government in Kogi State specifically, Ofu local government administration in policy and decision making in the local government.
The research will also be of great importance to macro policy makers in quick formulation and effective implementation of public policy.
Finally, to us as a student of Public Administration, this research work will create an awareness in us that local government are being faced with diverse type of problems, as such, enlighten us on how these problems can be addressed in order to have a more vibrant local administration which will in turn, enhance the lives of the rural dwellers.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The main objectives of this study is to trace the evolution of local government in Nigeria and to identify reasons for its failure to substantially develop the rural areas all between the main reason why this level of government was created.
However, due to lack of time and inaccessibility of vital data, I shall limit the research work to Ofu Local government area. Assessment will be made based on Ofu local government area considering her administrative process encountered, the ways through which these problems can be solved and their effect on rural areas.
On the other hand, the limitations of the research work are as follows:
One of the limitations of this research work is inadequate finance, this is because the researcher is self sponsored therefore, lack sufficient fund to carry out enough investigation which would have widen/enlarge the scope of the research.
Another problem faced in the course of this research work is that the time/duration is very short to embark on a meaningful project or academic journals.
Much still, is that I was not allowed access to some of the so-called classified materials needed for the investigation since I was tagged intruder.
As a result of the foregoing therefore, the problem of coming in contact with relevant materials and documents for the project became highly insurmountable.
1.7 Definition of Relevant Terms
It is conventional to start this presentation by defining some of the subject matter which more or less constitute the key to my understanding the issue under this study.
The key words that required definitions of they relate to the context area; Role, local government and rural transformation.
A role is simply a part presented by any conspicuous actor to carry out a particular function.
Local government is defined by the guidelines for local government, reform of (1979) as ‘’government at local level exercised through representative councils established by law to exercise specific power within a defined areas. One of the simplest definition of local government is the one given by L. Golding which states that ‘’local government is the management of their own affairs by the people of the locality’’.
Transformation means a rapid or gradual change in shape, appearance, quality and nature in the social economic culture and political lives of the people living in a defined area at a particular time.
Having made attempt at defining some of the key words in this paper separately, it is imperative to marry those words together to squarely address the core issues in this study.
Transformation to any nation is so important that almost all countries now chart their course of development through planned economy.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
This study was carried out to examine the role of local government in transformation of rural area with a view to finding out its impact on grassroots/transformation of rural area. The study was conducted in Ofu Local government area and its constituent communities. The study has three main objectives which were specifically to; ascertain whether Ofu Local government area has contributed substantially to transformation of rural area, finding out if inadequacy of skilled workers (like qualified engineers all types, medical doctors, etc) has any effect on the ability of Ofu Local government area council in carrying out transformation of rural area programme and verifying whether inadequate financing by both state and federal governments hinders the council in carrying out developmental programmes.
The study was anchored on the “system theory” of David Easton. The theory argues that in every system, which includes political system, there are subsystems making up the entire system. These subsystems are assigned functions and provided with enabling empowerment, including resources, appropriate authority, etc. to enable them discharge their responsibilities optimally.
The method adopted in this study is a triangulation of survey and descriptive analysis, which provided general impressions, summary of observations and findings made from the data collected. The methodology provided tools for the analysis of the impact of local government on grassroots development with Ofu Local government area as case study.
Generally, it could be seen that Ofu Local government area has not been effective in the development of rural communities. It conclusion reveals that transformation of rural area are in adequately carried out in the local government area. For instance, with exception of the local government headquarters and few other communities are not electrified and the possibilities of embarking on these projects are very remote. This ahs slowed down some other projects like cottage industries, pipe-borne water in equally in short supply in the local government area. The council has not performed well in the provision of medical facilities as most of the communities in the riverine areas travels far for medical services.
The council has performed below expectation in the provision and maintenance of primary schools in the area, in some communities pupils provide their own desks with which to sit and learn, the council fails to utilize its manpower in carrying out projects rather prefer the use of contractors who gives kickbacks. Finance is the bedrock of every business and government, it evident that the council lacks the seriousness in the pursuance of internally generated revenue relying mostly the Federal and State allocation which are not enough even pay workers salaries.
From the findings, I discovered that lack of seriousness on the part of the Ofu Local government area revenue collection staff, dishonesty of revue officials, inadequate vehicles and boats for revenue drive among others contribute to low internally generated revenue in the local government.
We therefore recommend that effort should be made by the council to revive revenue drive in the council and reward dedicated and honest staff. There is also need to procure additional vehicles and boats to help revenue personnel to discharge their duty efficiently and effectively. We recommend that the council should use direct labour in executing of projects rather than the use of contractors, money paid to contractors can be channelled into other developmental projects in the area.
Ofu Local government area should expound it revenue generation to the water ways by collecting tax from the users of the water ways within her territories.
There need for the council to procure tractors and fertilizers that will help the farmers in their production, and also bridge communities that are close with concrete bridge rather than wood walkways which will not last for a long period of time.
The present situation whereby development is concentrated in the local government headquarters to utter neglect of the rural communities does not give the other communities a sense of belonging. A change is required in this regard.
It important for the Federal and State to review the allocation of local governments, because the provision of primary education and health facilities will be improved upon when there is better allocation from the Federal and State governments.
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