INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN NIGERIA. (A CASE STUDY OF BORI LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL RIVERS)
1.1 BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR THE STUDY
The concept of intergovernmental relation is associated with states having a Federal Administration system where the relationships between the Federal, Central or National governmental and major sub-national unit (province region, or state) formally spelt out in constitution. Intergovernmental relations have been seen as a system of transactions among structured levels of government in a state. It is also seen as registration in which the parties are negotiating advantageous positions for power, money and problem-solving responsibility (Olugbemi, 1980). The goals of intergovernmental relations are said to be to promote peace and harmony among the three tiers of government, which are the Federal, State and Local government. To accelerate the achievement of self reliant economy. In so doing intergovernmental relations will help to minimize inter jurisdictional conflicts among the various levels of government. Also to boost greater natural economic integration through the activities of the three levels of government. Again to enhance the emergence of cooperative rather than competitive federation there is also need to enhance effective and efficiency utilization of available human and material resources among the three levels of government. To help solved the problem of rural and urban poverty. To achieve a situation where there is special need for integrating programmers on a nationwide scale. To look into the situation where states, local government or unit of the federal set up have responsibilities with no resources base to perform them (John Nwafor: Unpublished work).
The achievement of the objectives of inter-governmental relations is dependent on some social factors within the Nigerian social system. Some social factors include the political setting and the state of the economy in the nation. Looking at the political setting, the inter governmental relations are basically based on the three tier of government that is the federal, State and Local government. But come to look at that, the Federal and State Government is said to have more autonomy than the local government due to the fact that they are the last tier of government (John Nwafor: Unpublished work). That is why local government is not given its full autonomy to do things on its own. The other tiers of the government still tell them what to do, how to make their own policies, how to elect/appoint those to rule them like the Chancellor or Chairman and so on. Local government is still dependent on the other tiers of government making them too subordinate and loyal for my liking (Nwokedi, Ralph: 2002). To this, there should be greater independence of the state and local governments in the Federal government for their survival and performance of fundamental responsibilities. There should also be several reforms should let to the recognition of the local government as the third tier of government with relative autonomy and jurisdictional powers as provided for in the constitutions.
Another problem is the state of the nation’s economy. The nation’s economy really influenced the nature and scope of intergovernmental relations in the local government in Nigeria. The wealth of any nation is a key factor in determining its patter of material relation. Between 1960 and 1970, the basis of fiscal relations between the Federal, State and Local government were richer and more powerful than the local government. But these problems will come to an end if the local government has greater control of the tax revenue. The local government should control 50% of the tax revenue allocation of its area without the Federal or State government interference. They should also receive grants and aids from outside and within the country, making them powerful and independent of their own. Their federation allocation account should be granted to them annually or monthly as the case may be. They should be allowed to run their affairs especially when it comes to monetary matters (F. Okoli and Onah O, 2002) in so doing, channel of communication should be at its high level between the Federal, State and local government in order to produce an effective result. This is because without one another there would not be effectiveness due to the fact that an intergovernmental relation is relationship between the three tiers of government.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
To appreciate the depth of crisis in the Federal System in Nigerian, one has to follow the recent trend of the raging controversy between the Federal and State governments over the exercise or power or control of revenue resources of local government on how not to have assumed the undue prominence given to it as constitutional question if Nigerian Leaders, particularly the Federal level had adhered strictly to the norms of federalism and followed the precedents established by the past democratic governments in Nigerian federation.
In Nigeria, the issue of sharing resources among the three levels of government has remained controversial due to lack of acceptable formula. It generates tension and bad blood among the three tiers of government. This has resulted in setting up of different committees or commissions of prescribe the formula to be used. Also there exists a conflict between the Federal, State and Local Government over acceptable formula for sharing revenue. For instance, the conflict is usually whether the principle of derivation, need, natural interest or landmass should be used as a basis for the purpose. Even when these principles may be generally accepted as the main basis for working out revenue allocation formula, conflict might arise following as to which of the principles takes precedence over others as the main criteria for sharing the revenue. This is the problem of tax jurisdiction, which refers to the problem of which aspect of government should collect what revenue over a particular area. These have been serious problems between the Federal, State and Local governments. Their share of tax revenue seriously affects local governments. They are the lowest level of government. Likewise they collect the least amount of tax revenue, which makes them still stagnant.
Another problem is the existence of control of one level of government by another in any aspect (Abonyi, 2005). Local government is domination by the Federal and State Governments. They do not have their own autonomy making them too dependent on the other levels of governments. Mention must be made of the problem of finding the best method of channeling revenue from one level of government to another especially from the federal to the Local government. (Ugwu, 1998:90).
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objectives of the study are impact of intergovernmental relations on Local government Administration in Nigeria with particular reference to Bori Local Government Council rivers State Nigeria. Other objectives of the study include;
- To determine the relevance of inter-governmental relations in Nigeria.
- To determine the main sources of conflict among the various levels of government in inter governmental relations in Nigeria.
- To recommend solutions of inter-jurisdictional conflict among the various levels of government.
- To recommend measures required for an improved intergovernmental relations in Nigeria.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of great benefit to Bori Local Government Council of River State. This is because it will be exposed to the challenges it is facing in intergovernmental relations. It would also be of great significance to researchers by way of making them aware of problems that have been uncovered by these researchers, so that they would know where to start from in their subsequent research work in the area of intergovernmental relations in Nigeria. It would also be useful to university students like students of Caritas University when doing a likely research. The study would be significant to policy makers and policy implementers, as they would make use of the findings and recommendation of this study.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- Did the constitution make any provision for intergovernmental relations in Nigeria?
- What are the areas of intergovernmental relations in Nigeria?
- What is the relevance of intergovernmental relations in local government in Nigeria?