PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF BROADCAST MEDIA REPORTAGE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION IN ENUGU-EAST SENATORIAL ZONE OF ENUGU STATE

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ABSTRACT


The aim of this study was to amongst other things ascertain the perception of the public on broadcast media reportage of local government administrations in Enugu-East Senatorial Zone of Enugu State and to also ascertain how the six local government areas in the zone have so far fared, most especially in the area of administration. To give the study direction, five objectives were raised from where five research questions were drawn and answered using simple percentages. Relevant literatures were reviewed in line with the objectives of the study. The System, Development Media, and agenda setting theories were used to explain the study. The researcher employed survey research method while questionnaire served as instrument for data collection. The data collection instrument enabled the researcher to generate data for the study. The study focused on Enugu-East senatorial zone of Enugu State. In line with the data obtained from the National Population Commission, (NPC), the population of Enugu-East senatorial zone is 19,469,513 from where a sample of 400 was drawn using Taro Yamane formular. The data were clearly presented and analysed which helped in answering the research questions. In the end, it was found amongst others that 98.99% of the total respondents believed that the broadcast media have not adequately reported local government administration in Enugu-East Senatorial Zone. It was consequently recommended that the broadcast media should contribute to the effectiveness of local governments in the zone through adequate reportage.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
            Local Government administration in Nigeria has passed through four distinct phases. The first phase or epoch covered the period between 1914 and 1950; the second period fell within 1950 to 1966, the third epoch 1967 to 1976, while the final era was from 1976 to date (Olasupo, and Fayomi, 2012).
The period (1976-1979) in which the military administration of Murtala/Obasanjo lasted, is usually regarded as a period of watershed in the annals of local government administration in Nigeria. It was the first time a concerted effort would be made by the federal government to brighten the future of local government. Local Government was not only accorded its pride of place in the socio-economic well-being of the country, it was also seen as a way of bringing government closer to the people. Consequently, a uniform system known as single tier structure was adopted throughout the country (Kunle, p.130, 2005). This uniformity, according to Kunle, can be conceptualized in terms of the following:
(a) The functions of local governments;
(b) The structure of the local governments;
(c) The financial resources of the local governments;
(d) The place of traditional institutions in the local governments;
(e) Relationships with state government; and
(f) Law enforcement.
In terms of functions, there was uniformity of function and responsibilities for all the local governments throughout the federation. These functions and responsibilities were later to be enshrined in the 1979 Constitution of Nigeria.
The political and administrative structures were also uniform in all the local governments in Nigeria. Every local government council was headed by an elected chairman. The administrative wing was headed by career administrator styled secretary to the local governments. In addition, all local governments were departmentalized.
In order to ensure that every local government has a successful take-off, the then federal government made available a sum of one hundred million (N100 million) during the 1976/77 financial year to all the local governments in the federation. It must be stressed that, that was the first time a substantial amount of money would be disbursed to local government in Nigeria. According to Ola (1984, p.90) this sum (N100 million) can easily be compared with a grant of N1million and N1.5million made to each state of the then existing twelve states in the federation during the 1973/ 74 and 1974/75 fiscal years respectively for distribution to their local government. Similarly in 1977/78, the sum of N250 million was earmarked; in the same period, the sum of N300 million was appropriated while in 1980, N278 million was allocated (Kunle, p.131, 2005).
The authors of 1976 local government reform also conceived that for the reforms to have appreciable impact at the grassroots, the local governments’ officers as well as political functionaries must be given free hand to operate effectively with little or no interference in their daily affairs. Hence State Ministries for Local Governments were only charged with the responsibilities to advise, assist and guide rather than controlling the local governments under their jurisdiction.
In order to foster peaceful co-existence among the inhabitants of every local government, a unit of Nigerian Police was dispatched to the entire local government headquarters. In addition, Police Committees comprising members of police force, the local populace and local governments’ workers were set up. This forum was used to enlighten the people about the operation of police and the need for all and sundry to cooperate with them (Police) by reporting the activities of miscreants within their midst (Kunle, p.131, 2005).
By the 1976 reforms, the traditional rulers were insulated from partisan politics. Hitherto, many of them had engaged in partisan politics with disastrous consequence. It was thought that such exemption would restore the much necessary respect and honours which the office is expected to engender among their subjects. This was the situation with all the local governments in Nigeria until the country witnessed a second attempt at a constitutional government otherwise known as Nigeria’s Second Republic 1979-1983.
The introduction of constitutional democracy in 1979 had meant that the functioning of local governments in the federation would be operated along with the constitutions guiding its existence within the federal system of government. The term federalism in its classical sense as espoused by leading scholars in the area presupposes two levels of government in a federation i.e. the federal (central) and the units i.e. state or regional governments. For instance, Wheare (1963, p. 2) identified a federal system as an association of state so organized that powers are divided between a general government, which in certain matters is independent of the governments of the associated states, and, on the other hand, state governments which in certain matters are in their turn, independent of the general government.
Peter Merkel, whose definition also has been greatly influenced by his Anglo Saxon background, conceptualized a federal state as the one characterized by at least two patterns of communities, one all-inclusive and the other composed of several mutually exclusive communities. The geographical nature of the community pattern and especially the location of boundaries among the sub-communities and around the whole community are crucial to a federal system
(Oyovbaire, 1979: 82).
In order to maintain stability in a federal polity like Nigeria, the two definitions above seem to have taken cognizance of diversity in the day today administration of each sphere of the level of government i.e. central and state. This is what is commonly referred to in the literature as unity in diversity, which from all intents and purposes seems contradictory and self-defeating.
In the governance of each level of government, there is a presupposition of independence (autonomy) in order for each to control its destiny. This will largely account for the call for resource control by the oil-producing states in Nigeria. According to Nwabueze (1983, p.1), federalism is not more than an arrangement whereby powers of government within a country are shared between a national, country-wide government and a number of regionalized (i.e. territorially localized) government in such a way that each exists as a government separately and independently from the others operating directly on persons and property within its territorial area, with a will of its own and its own apparatus for the conduct of
its affairs, and with an authority in some matters exclusive of all the others.

Hence federalism from this perception is seen as a mutual agreement between two levels of government to share power of the state in formal constitutional or legalistic arrangements. According to this context, some principles are implied, such as separateness and independence. This means that the autonomy of each federating unit must be respected and preserved. Autonomy in this sense presupposes that each government must exist, not as an appendage of another government, but as an autonomous entity in the sense of being able to exercise its own will in the conduct of its affairs, free from direction by another government to Nwabueze, (1983, p.1).....

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