This study critically looked at the Role of Local Government in Rural Development in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State, Nigeria. This research work fundamentally analyzed Local Government as a veritable tool for grass root democracy and a process for the bringing of Government nearer to the people. It has focused on the development and general wellbeing of the rural populace of Jos South Local Government. To attain the purpose of this research work on the subject matter, this research work is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the introduction of the topic under review. Chapter two basically looks at the literature review. Chapter three contains the historical background of the study. While chapter four deals with presentation and analysis of the Government Area. Finally chapter five deals with summary, conclusion and recommendation of the research findings.

Local government as a means for grass roots and national development has persisted in spite of modern achievements in the fields of politics, economics, technology, communication, transportation etc. the increasing demand for local government in every part of the world is being motivated by the desire of the rural populace to contribute directly in the affairs of their communities. In fact, local government is as old as mankind; because it is the only form of human’s administration that has existed from the history of man. The theory of human society is shrouded with the necessity of community development through a recognized local administrative structure that culminated into local government administration.

The 1976 local government reforms in Nigeria saw local government as the government at local level exercised through representative councils established by law to exercise specific powers within defined area. These powers should give the council substantial control over local affairs as well as the staff, institutional and financial powers to initiate and direct the provision of services. it also exists to determine and implement projects so as to complement the activities of the state and federal government in their areas, which is to be achieved through the active participation of the people and their traditional institutions, so that local initiative and response to local needs and conditions are maximized.

The United Nations office for public administration states that local governments should have control over local affairs which will include the powers to impose taxes or to exact labour for prescribed purposes. It states further that those who are to govern such entity should be elected or locally selected. The local government must also be constituted by law (Ola, 1984).

Local government is any form of administration that is found at the grass roots level with the primary objective of integrating the rural populace into the decision making process of the state (Gowon, 1990).

“Local government is the third-tier of government in Nigeria vested with the responsibility of transforming various communities into effective socio-economic and political advanced structures for national development that is the improvement of the quality of life of communities” (1979 constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria). Therefore, local government system is an administration of the rural areas by people who know their community needs. This type of administration is informed by the idea that since the people know the needs of their community, they would do everything within available resources to develop the area.

Local government is an agent of grass roots development because of its indispensible role in mobilizing local resources for meaningful socio-economic and political changes in the rural areas. The contribution of local government in the development of the rural areas. The contribution of local government in the development of the rural areas can be dated back to the period of community-based efforts of developing the individual societies where local authorities are used to mobilize all resources for development (Adamolekun, 1988). Therefore, every government seeks to affect the lives of its citizens by the way they handle their welfare and total well being through economic, social and political development initiatives. This, according to early scholars forms the basis of cooperation and reciprocity between government and the society, which engenders the maintenance of the well being of that society. When members of the society pool their efforts and resources together, they realize their collective goals better. The basis of legitimacy must therefore, emanate from the ability of government or the political institutions to discharge such basis responsibility as provision of amenities and security to governed (Adedeji, 2000).

Every government owes it citizens the duly to develop them through the provision of portable water, health care, education, roads, food, shelter, and any socio-economic variables. Such provision must also include framework that will enable them to have a say on what they get and how they get it. It is in this respect that the members of the society can be expected to discharge their own civic responsibilities to the government and the society at large. Legitimacy involves the capacity of the system to engender and maintain the belief that the existing political institutions are the most appropriate for the growth and development of the society. Groups regard a political system as legitimate or illegitimate according to way in which its values fit with theirs (Lipset, 1969).

The existence of the three tiers of government in Nigeria is therefore, expected to respond to these functions or responsibilities. While the three tiers have varied geopolitical boundaries of authority, they all have certain common responsibilities towards the development of the country in general and in particular their individual areas of influences. As for the level of human materials and financial resources available to them, the federal government is the richest, followed by the state, leaving the local governments as the poorest. Yet the latter is the closest to the majority of the people of the country, most especially to those living in the rural areas. The local government administration is most suited for the development of the rural communities, which are very remote from both the state and central government.

The Federal government said through Musa Shehu Yar’adua in the foreword to the guidelines for local government reforms (1976):

“In embarking on these reforms, the federal military government was essentially motivated by the necessity to stabilize and rationalize government at the local level. This must of necessity entail the decentralization of some significant functions of the state government to local in order to harness local resources for rapid development. The federal military government has therefore decided to recognize local governments as the third tier of governmental activity in the nation”

Local government should do precisely what the word government implies that is government at the grass roots or local level. He went further to say that, the reforms are intended to entrust political responsibility to where it is most crucial and most beneficial, that is, to the people. These local governments have remained integral parts of the administration of the country from the colonial times and have continued to remind the people of the state and central government. Most times they have always been composed of local people who the members of the society can identify and relate with, culturally. This explains the constant clamour for their creations by rural communities. There are no institutions in this country, which are potentially more capable and including physical infrastructural facilities that local government councils. Local government represents the generally accepted fact of political life that all the functions of government cannot be run on the basis central administration alone. It consequently represent the need for political participation and fro convenience (Hashim, 1981). This is true in recognizing the fact that apart from bringing the government closer to the people which a popular cliché often used by government officials, local government are better positioned to understand the development needs of the communities.

In spite of the existence of local government administration in Nigeria, development in the rural areas has continued to remain a mirage. In almost every rural community, there is dearth of portable water, health care delivery facilities, accessible roads and good schools, among others and also infant mortality rate and maternal deaths are on the rampage.

Mensah and Ojowu (1989) opined that the rural areas in the third world countries have remained backward and static at a time when the global economy has experience and is still experiencing tremendous forward movement. Indeed, it is poverty level of the rural communities occasioned by this lack of development that has earned Nigeria a place among the world’s poorest nations in spite of our huge materials and human resources. The United Nations through its human development index (HDI) has consistently rated Nigeria among the poorest nations of the world. This poor state of the nation, emanated essentially, from the rural communities where over 85% of the population resides in the rural areas (Avichi, 1995), states that it was estimated by World Bank (1990) that over 1.15billion people in developing countries were living below the poverty line (US $350 per annum) and majority of these dwell in rural areas which constitute about 80% of their national populations.

Ijere (1989), observed that, Nigeria’s rural poor constitute the other Nigeria with poverty linked characteristics, lacking purchasing power enough to maintain a minimum standard of living and they are the victims of collective poverty in contrast to pockets or “Islands” of underdevelopment, the American Style which are surrounded by regions of abundances. This situation clearly generates apathy towards government as in number of rural communities, quite a sizeable percentage of the population do not bother about government and issues emanating from official quarters. The level of mobilization is low and there is little or no consolation with the communities on any issues. This trend to question the rationality of the establishment of local government administration, which should act as a medium for rural development. An examination of the existence of local government administration from colonial times reveal that successive government have handled the issue of rural development with less than piquant approach. Local governments instead of being used as tools for effective rural transformation, tend to be used for purposes other than social development. Some reasons that csan be advanced for this sad development is the fact that Before (1976), no properly articulated rural development policies have always been introduced on the communities by government officials without their sustainability being covered. The essence of this study was to establish the role local government on rural development in Jos South Local Government Council

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 81 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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