MAKING LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTONOMY WORK IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF ANAOCHA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

ABSTRACT
The research studied the Local Government and its relationship with other level of governance and ways to protect the autonomy of Anaocha LGA. Local Government remains the closest level of government to the people at the grassroot level. It was therefore aimed at using as a means through which service delivery could be properly carried out. This was said to not be properly and effectively done as a result of too much State interference in the administration of Local Government. This raises the issue of autonomy, its use and in the Local Government administration. The research applied the theory of federalism to reveal the ideal of intergovernmental relations in the federal system of government. The research also adopted indebting interview and questionnaire technique as a means of eliciting information from the stakeholders in the administration of Local Government. Based on this study it is revealed that the imbalanced relationship affects the service delivery at the grassroot level which in turn revealed the incapacity of Local Government to deliver. It is therefore, recommended that the relationship should be done in a way that the service delivery at the Local Government will be effectively carried out. Emphasis should be on devolution rather delegation. This can be achieved by ensuring the emergence of democratically elected leaders at the grassroot.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Problem
In October 1960, Nigeria became the fourth federation in the Commonwealth to achieve Independence since 1945 and the only independent country in Africa with a fully operating federal system. The Nigerian experiment with a federal system of government, like all other federal systems evolved with the objectives of addressing problems of diversity. A vast country stretching from the tropical coast in the south to the Saharan desert in the north with a population of over 140 million estimated in 2006 National Population and Housing Census; which were distinguished in every conceivable way; by language, religion, social institutions, geography, history and even political parties. The introduction of the Richard’s Constitution in 1946 created three regional governments, that was Northern, Eastern and Western Regions each relatively distinct as a unit of governance. This regional arrangement only created or reinforced mutual forces, fear and suspicions amongst each of the major ethnic group that was dominant in each of the three regions. It was the struggle to come to terms with these mutual fears and suspicions which created the basis or foundation for subsequent constitutional arrangement leading to creation of a federal system in Nigeria (Otive, I. 2008).

By 1976, some Nigerian scholars have begun to characterized the Nigerian system as military federalism in an attempt to identify the emergent unique features associated with the structure and operations of federal system in Nigeria in contrast to other federal systems. One major factor which has accounted for that uniqueness is related to the massive restructuring of the system embarked upon by the military through the policies of state creation and local government reforms from a federation of three regions, each relatively self-sufficient. The phenomenon of state creation leads to the splitting of these three regions into component states of federation and the elevation of Local government under military rule to the status of federating units introduced a fundamental uniqueness to the Nigerian federal system with three recognized constitutional levels of governance (Otive, I. 2008).

Local government has been conceived and portrayed in different ways. According to the United Nations Division of Public Administration,

‘’Local Government is a political division of a nation (or in a federal system, a state) which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs, including the power to impose taxes or exact labour for prescribed purposes’’(Cited in P. Maidoki, 2008:1).

The governing body of such an entity is elected or otherwise locally selected. This definition has been upheld by a number of scholars who have also expatiated on it: For instance, Hugh Whalen (cited in P. Maidoki, 2008:1) has stated that:

each unit of local government in any system is assumed to possess the following characteristics, a given territory and population, an institutional structure … a separate legal identity, a range of powers and functions authorized by delegation from the appropriate central or intermediate legislators and lastly with the ambit of such delegation autonomy subject always of the text of reasonableness (Otive,I.2008:).

The 1976 Local Government Reform Handbook defined local government as:- Government at the local level exercise specific powers within defined areas: These powers should give the council substantial control over local affairs as well as the staff and institutional and financial powers to initiate and direct the provision of services and to determine and implement projects so as to complement the activities of the state and federal government in their areas, and to ensure and through devolution of functions to these councils and through the active participation of the people and their traditional institutions that local initiatives and responses to local needs and conditions are maximized (cited in Gboyega,A.1999:28).

Local government is largely regarded as the lowest tier of government in the world, it is very important because it is very close to the people. As a result, it is multi-purpose in terms of carrying out socioeconomic services in the local society, stimulating and encouraging local initiatives in community work, promoting the democratic process, serving as training ground for national political leaders, serving as medium of communication between the people and the higher tier of government; thus local government must relate with each unit of governance before achieving these purposes (Odoh, A. 2005:1).

The dynamics of State-Local relations depends always on theprevailing political culture and other contextual/environmental variables within a polity. The overwhelming influence, which the peculiarities of a political culture can have in shaping inter-governmental relations is apparent, following the 1976 Local Government Reforms, the intrusion of State governments into local government affairs was not limited to acting through the appointed secretaries. State government have retained control over policy making at the local level and this control is exercised through the supervision of the activities of the local government councils and its committees and also through a direct intervention and administrative involvement in budget preparation and financial management. Therefore, this research will study the kind of the interactions and relations which do exist between levels of governance in a federal state as they exercise the power and carryout functions allocated to them by the Constitution.

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Nigeria as a nation operates a Federal System of government with powers and functions graduated in descending order from the central authority through the other units of governance. However, in most federal system, local government is the preserve of the state. The power of the federal government concerns more of the exclusive and concurrent of which local government is not part. Local government under such arrangement derives its power from Constitution which supposedly guarantees its powers; it is unlike a parliamentary situation where local governments can be created and dissolved through an act of Parliament (Abubakar.U. 2005:1)

Be that as it may, the fact is that whether Local Governments are guaranteed by the Constitution or an Act of Parliament, they still have to relate to some bodies at the state and central levels; such relationship may be referred to as control, co-ordination, co-operation etc. These in themselves depend on the level of decentralization that take place at the local level. The deviation or rather manipulative manner of the relationship brings a myraid of problems which are both internal and external to the extent of recent calls for the abrogation of that tier of government in Nigeria. Apart from excessive tampering with the funds in the so-called joint account, the entire local government structure, administration, tenure is at the whims and caprices of the state. Their non - performing nature is a manifestation of the manipulation or deviation of this relationship by the two most powerful units to their own advantage (Abubakar,U.2005:4). The inherent policy conflicts and distortions in federal arrangement, which often make local government a lamb as a result of the right of each of the three level of governance and the epileptic nature of which has resulted in citizens perceiving government, especially at the grassroot as an alien myth to which they have little or nothing to contribute.

These constraints have hampered the performance of the local governments in discharging their ''Residual'' function which enshrined in the fourth schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The research will provide solutions to local government autonomy in Nigeria.

1.3 Research Questions
1. what ways can local government autonomy be protected in Anaocha?

2. How much autonomy must the local government enjoy to ensure its constitutional obligation of effective service delivery?

3. How are the Local Governments deprived of their autonomy?

4. What are the precise relations and functions of each unit of governance under federal arrangement in Nigeria?

5. How much control must the central/state exert on the local government.

1.4 Objectives of the Study
1. To analyze the ways local government autonomy can be protected in Nigeria.

2. To discern and assess the level of autonomy enjoyed by the local government to ensure effective service delivery.

3. To inquire whether the local governments autonomy is being deprived.

4. To assess the precise relations and functions of each unit of governance and their level of control under federal arrangement in Nigeria.

5. To analyze and assess the relative autonomy of Local government as well as State Local government relation in Anambra State.

1.5 Significance of the Study
(i) The study will contribute to the existing body of literature on the autonomy of local governments in Nigeria’s federal system.

(ii) The study will provide recommendations for impediments to the local government autonomy.

(iii) The study will contribute towards an understanding of factors and forces towards ineffective service delivery at the grassroot level.

(iv) The study will brain on the constitutional relationship amongst the federating units of governance under federal arrangement in Nigeria.

1.7 Method of Data Collection and Analysis
Data for the study are from both primary and documentary sources. The primary data were collected using questionnaire and unstructured interview. For the questionnaire, information on the following variables was collected and these includes; the educational background of the respondents, data on local council performance in some selected areas, issue of joint state-Local projects, state local Governments joint Account system, the fundings as well as the data on the hurdles of Policy making and implementation in the Local government among others.

1.8 Scope and Limitation
Since Nigeria returned to democratic rule after decades of prolonged military rule, the performance of each level of governance is receiving serious attention from the populace. Thus, this study will analyze and assess the relative autonomy of Anaocha LGA. The selection of the case study is due to the time limit, space and financial constraints.

1.9 Outline of Chapters
Chapter One: This Chapter will introduces the study generally by given the Problem of the study, Objectives and significance of the study, the research Assumptions, the scope and limitation, method of data collection and analysis and chapterization.

Chapter Two: The chapter will consists of the evolution of intergovernmental relations and federalism, review of Local Government system in other countries (U,S,A., Britain, France, India with comparison to Nigeria), theoretical framework as well as review of related literatures of inter-governmental relations from (books, journals, magazines, previous thesis and research projects).

Chapter Three: The Chapter will be the general background of Anambra

State (Economy, Culture, and Administrative Division), Anaocha Law as well as joint account system.

Chapter Four: This will be an assessment of the local government autonomy in Anaocha L.G.A. as well as presentation and analysis of the collected data.

Chapter Five: The chapter will contain the Summary of findings and test of assumptions, Conclusion and Recommendations.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 85 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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