Dept: POLITICAL SCIENCE File: Word(doc) Chapters: 1-5 Views: 8


The study was intended to examine the Impact of Local Government in the Society, with specific emphasis on Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State. Ten questionnaires were developed from the related Literature Review for the study. They were validated by three experts. The questionnaires were used for collecting data from the 80 (eighty) respondents. The data were analyzed using tables, percentages, descriptive analysis as well as mental interpretation of the Oral Interviews. The major findings revealed that although Local Government is an agent of rural transformation, is still needs more autonomy to independently function efficiently and effectively. The results revealed that government needs more and more facilities, mobilization and sensitization programmes to improve and encourage mass participation in political affairs. The findings on the interviews revealed that there should be adequate manpower both, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled in Njikoka Local Government if th



1.1     Background of the Study

Local government is an administrative body for a small geographic area, such as a city, town, country, or state. A local government administration will typically just have control over its specifically defined geographical region, and cannot pass or enforce laws that will affect a wider area.

Prior to 1976, Nigeria operated multiple local government councils which were based on the British, French and American models. The northern Nigeria then practiced a system of Local government known as the Native Authority System that had a “chief with a council” or as “chief-in-council”. This system of authority was also called the Lugardian Native Authority system because Sir Lord Lugard was the then governor in Nigeria. The system restored and preserved the authority of the traditional rulers making it easy for them to maintain law and order. Due to the sizes of native authorities in Northern regions at that time which were very large, it was difficult to administer from the centre.

In the Southern Nigeria which consisted the Eastern and Western Nigeria, the multiple nature of local government councils were more obvious. The system in the Southern Nigeria had as many as five different kinds of local government councils in each of the Southern Regions of Nigeria. Such local councils include:

All purpose District council;

Divisional councils;

Local councils;

City councils; and, the County.

Although, these local government councils were not subordinate to each other, but the instrument that established them equally specified their functions and powers, and the area of their jurisdictions for efficient and effective administration. It could be said that the structure and organization of these Southern Nigeria local government councils was fashioned out in a way that the territory of Lagos had one-tier system, Eastern Region had two-tier system (Anyaele, 2004).

This history of local government system in Nigeria for grassroots development dates back to the colonial days. Although contact with Europeans dates back to the fifteenth century, it was not until 1861 before the first steps were taken to establish an administration by Britain. By then, the colonial administration that was created was based on indirect rule system. It was then required that that administration should be carried out through traditional rulers and institutions. This necessitated the creation of native authority system in its most rudimentary form from 1890s to 1930s. According to Aghayere (2010), the main function of the native authorities was to maintain law and order.

However, in the early 1950s, the native authority system was modernized and constituted on a representative basis. Anyebe (2002) observed that the old regions of the East, West and North, as well as a result of different levels of development traversed various administration prior to the major 1976 Local government reforms. It was clearly seen that the colonial local administration revolved around traditional rulers, with the unit of local administration referred to as the “native authority”.

The unification of local government in 1976 reform which aimed mainly at unifying the hither to multiple system of local government in Nigeria as a strong third tier of government in practical terms, correct the problems confronting these councils etc., a lot of changes were carried out in the system of local government in Nigeria. For the first time, the country was given a common, single-tie structure of local government in place of the various structures of different states (National Guidelines for Local Government Reform, 1976). The framework for local government autonomy was then put at least in the formal sense; however, the local governments were not issued the necessary administrative and financial autonomy that could enable them to operate as a third tier level of government. Anyebe (2002) posited that Political Bureau set up by the Babangida administration endorsed the Dasuki Commission recommendation and more responsibilities were devolved to the Local Government with some measures of autonomy to function as the third tier of government. Subsequently in 1993, this development was frittered with the dismantling of all democratic structures by the Abacha regime. By 1994, local government was placed as caretaker committees at the mercy of state military administrators.

Sequel to the above, the 1999 constitution simultaneously but contradictorily recognizes local governments as the third tier it and making them to derive their power from the state governments under the State Joint Local Government Account (SJLGA). To this end and by implications, the power of local government to effectively implement its policies and programmes for effective grassroots development agenda seems to be whittled down. This affects virtually all local government councils in Nigeria especially Njikoka Local Government Area, Anambra State in its grassroots development purposes (Onovo, 2016).

 Njikoka Local Government Area has since 2013 renewed its focal points on decentralization such as enacting laws to elevate the degree of fiscal devolution and local autonomy, strengthening Urban (such as Abagana and Enugwu-Ukwu) and local governance and fostering citizen participation (Onovo, 2016). It has equally since 2014 started partnering with civil society organization (CSOs) to support more effective service delivery, citizens’ engagement and local government orientation on the skills and knowledge required via Oye-Agu Market. Njikoka Local Government Area has now started building Local Government capacity and appreciating citizens’ engagement, generating much required educational resources such as books and manuals for Local government employees and developing its internet capacities in offices.

However, despite the improvements in Njikoka Local Government Area, there are number of challenges encountered by the Local Government Area in particular. Such challenges include: Lack of autonomy, financial problems, shortage of trained personnel, lack of infrastructure, political interference, lack of political education, bribery and corruption, poor method of tax collection, poor communication system and among other problem. It is in the light of the above that this study seeks to carry out a research on the impact of local government in Nigeria with a special emphasis on Njikoka local Government Area, Anambra State.

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