PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICE IN SELECTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN SOUTH - SOUTH NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

Public relations is a planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. However, many government establishments like the local government councils do not make use of public relations effectively in the administration of public service. Many Nigerians have not felt the impact of local government administration in their area. There is a distant relationship between promise and performance in the local government setting. This research examines public relations practice in local government administration in nine local governments which were randomly selecteds from Delta, Edo and Rivers States In order to determine the practice of public relations in the selected local government council, two instruments were used for data collection. They were interview and administration of questionnaire. Senior members of staff from the nine local government councils were interviewed. One thousand, two hundred and eighty three (1,283) copies of the questionnaire were administered both to local government council staff and the public in these areas. However, one thousand, two hundred and twenty–two (1,222) copies were returned. Percentages and average mean-point were used to analysed the data collected. Results showed that there were public relations departments in these local government councils although they are called public affairs department. The result also showed that the public perceived public relations practice in local government as not responsive to the plight of the people and not active in crisis management. Invariably, public relations have not been used in many local government councils to influence the image the local government in South- South Nigeria. However, the study among other things recommends that public relations should be established and effectively used in local government councils in Nigeria since public relations is a strong instrument for good governance.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Table of contents
List of table
List of figure
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1Background to the Study
1.2Statement of the Problem
1.3Objectives of the Study
1.4Research Questions
1.5Significance of the Study
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
1.8Definition of Terns
References

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Local Government Administration in Nigeria
2.2 Public Relations Strategies
2.2.1 The 1999 Constitution and Local Government Administration
2.2.2 Public Relations and Local Government Administration in Nigeria
2.3 Theoretical Framework
2.4.1 Cognitive Dissonance Theory
2.4.2 Relationship Management Theory
References

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1Research Design
3.2 Population of the Study
3.3 Sample Size
3.4 Sample Technique
3.5 Measuring Instrument
3.5.1 Validity and Reliability of the Instrument
3.6 Techniques of Data Analysis
References

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
4.1 Data Presentation
4.2 Description of the Sample Size
4.3 Response to Research Questions
4.4 Discussion of findings
4.4.1Implications of the Findings
4.4.2 Relevance of the Study to Knowledge
References

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Summary
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendations
Bibliography
APPENDIX

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study
Local Government is one of man's oldest political institutions. The earliest form of Local Governments existed in the form of clan and village meetings. In fact, democracy itself originated and developed along the lines of local governance initiatives in the ancient Greek city states (www.wikipedia.org,2012 ).

In other parts of the world, local governance was developed along the people’s culture and expectations. Prior to colonization, there were in existence in most Africa enclaves, local administrative machineries founded upon traditional institutions. In the area known as Nigeria today, the existing tribes that make up the geographical areas already had one form of local administration or the other. In the Northern part of the country, the Hausa/Fulani practiced a highly centralized form of government with the Emir at the head as both the political and religious leader. The Emir however delegated his power to district heads (the Magajis) to oversee the districts that made up the emirates. In the Western part of the country, the Oba firmly held power over towns. This power was delegated to the Baale who administered a town or village and paid royalties to the Oba at specified times of the year, Adeyemor (2005)

The Igbo of the Eastern part however were republicans and egalitarians in nature. That notwithstanding, there were still in existence, the 'Ohaneze' (an assembly of men) who sat in the village square to take decisions on behalf of the people. Some parts of the East still have village heads and Igwes who administered a particular town with the advice of the council of elders. Over all, central control was exercised by a body of local chiefs. As the industrial revolution proceeded and towns developed, there came new needs for highways, street paving and lighting, more efficient police, better public health, and, eventually, public education.

The colonial administration recognised local administration by enacting the Native Authority Ordinance of 1914, Native Court Ordinance of 1914 and Native Court Revenue Ordinance of 1916 (Dike 2011, in www.wikipedia.org). Nonetheless, 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 (Awotokun, 2005, p.129). 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 place of pride 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. This uniformity can be conceptualized in terms of: (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 (Awotokun, 2005, p.129)

The 1999 constitution has recognized Local Government existence. The system of Local Government by democratically elected government councils is under this constitution guaranteed, and accordingly, the government of every state shall, subject to Section 8 of this constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils. Under this composition we have the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The executive function is vested in the chairman, vice-chairman, supervisor or supervisory councilors, and the whole machinery of Local Government bureaucracy. The legislative functions are vested on the councilors, who represent the wards which make up the Local Government Area (Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution 1999).

In Nigeria today, there are over 250 ethnic groups with diverse cultures and tongues. These ethnic groups are further divided into communities. These communities form the constituents of most Local Governments in Nigeria. By carving out Local Governments amongst people of the same community, government is preserving such long 'traditional association' and using same to foster the interest of the people concerned. It is on this platform that Adeyemo (2005,p.77) sees Local Government as a system of local administration under local communities that are organized to maintain law and provide some limited range of social amenities. This implies that a Local Government is a political and administrative organ that is empowered by law to administer a specified locality. Participation by the citizens in governance is one of the underlying precepts of democracy and modern day notion of government. Local Governments served as avenues through which the people participate in governance. This is done through participation in the electoral processes and decision making in the local communities.

There are 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria. Each Local Government Area is administered by a Local Government Council consisting of a chairman who is the Chief Executive of the LGA, and other elected members who are referred to as Councilors. According to Adeyemo (2005,p.79), the basic functions of the Local Government are: (a) to make appropriate services and development activities responsive to local wishes and initiatives by devolving or delegating them to local representatives body; (b) to facilitate the exercise of democratic self government close to the Local Government levels of our society, and to encourage initiatives and leadership potential; (c) to mobilize human and material resources through the involvement of members of the public in their local development; (d) to provide a two way channel of......

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