LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILS AND EFFECTIVE SERVICE DELIVERY (A CASE STUDY OF ABAK LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL)
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The term Local Government Administration in Nigeria has attracted serious attention both nationally and internationally. Since the great Local Government reforms of 1976, Local Government is the closest tier of Government to the people of Nigeria, yet the resident population in it is derived the benefit of its existence. The failure of Local Government in the area of service delivery over the years has made the citizens to lost faith and trust in Local Government administration as an institution in Nigeria.
From historical perspective, modern Local Government Administration in Nigeria can be traced to the British system of Local Government. But it should be stated however that Local Administration did not start with the advent of British Administration in Nigeria, because some forms of system of Local Government Administration pre-dated the British rule. Local Government Administration is one of man’s oldest institutions. The earliest form of Local Government Administration existed in the form of clan of village meeting, in fact, democracy its self originated and developed along the lines of Local Governance initiative in the ancient Greek city states. It should be noted that in other part of the world, Local Government was developed along side with the people culture and expectations, and the system was tied to the norms and practices of the people.
According to Gboyega, four points of historical references can be identified in the development of Local Government Administration in Nigeria:
- Colonial rule
- Local Government reforms in the East (1951) and West (1952) respectively.
- The military coup of 1966 and
- The 1976 Local Government reforms (Gbeyega as cited by Aghayere 1997).
Local Government Administration in Nigeria has undergone many changes of which the 1976 reforms and the constitution of 1979 and 1999 can be said to be most prominent. Before 1976, Local Government in Nigeria had passed through many changing environment and this has in no small measure influenced it development.
Furthermore, before 1976, there was no uniform system of Local Government Administration in Nigeria. Although, there were spirited attempt made to carry out some reforms in the Local Government system. These attempts were uncoordinated and haphazard. The 1976 reform was a major deportee from the previous practice of Local Government Administration in Nigeria. The philosophical basis of the reforms lies in the conviction that a strong Local authority with clearly defined functional responsibilities in a power-shopping relationship with the states is an institutional safe-guard against tyranny. Following the 1976 reforms, Local Government entitled to a share of the National revenue consequent on its constitutional allocated functions.
The provisions of the 1976 reform document were incorporated into the 1976 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria section 7 (1) of the constitutions provides that the Government of every State shall ensure their existence under a law which provide for establishment structure, composition, finance and functions of such council, constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1979).
This showed that Local authorities were creatures of the state and their relevance strength and degree of autonomy were subject to State Governments control (Iyoha 1997) the power of the State Government. And Local authorities have been wrongly applied to undermine elected and participatory Governance and responsibility at the grassroots, and this has made operation of the constitution questionable.
The situation of Local Government Administration under the 1999 constitution is also very confusing and complex. Although, the 1999 constitution also guarantee the existence of a democratically elected Local Government system, it however, like the constitution gives the state the responsibility to handle issues of organization and structure.
The constitutional confusion and complexity led to a prolonged disagreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Lagos State Government over the creation of Local Government. These issues in contention are yet to be fully resolved and these are negatively affecting the development principles of Local Government Administration.
Constitutionally and currently, there are seven hundred and seventy four Local Government Council Areas in Nigeria and they are operating a uniform system of Local Government Administration. The term Local Government Administration is seen variously from perspectives and schools of thought. The main thrust of this writing, is to look into to activities of Local Government Administration from the angles of its establishment, functions.
Characteristics of good governance and accountability, factors militating against Local Government lack of performance, and areas of contributions to the development by Local Government Administration in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria, Local Government Chairman live in a world of their own, completely detached from reality. Most of them have full retinues of body guards and are driven around in convoys of bullet proofed cars, also with police orderlies to open and close doors for them. Getting appointment to meet them is virtually an exercise in futility. They dispense favors to acolytes and praise singers with the thoughtless abandon. They entire budget of the Local Government is discretionary, seen theirs to spend as they wish.
At the Local Government secretariat, they are surrounded by protocol officers, they can in turn by solicitous, crude, arrogant etc. but one thing they share is a well-homed capacity to detect the slightest chance for graft. These and others problems make the researcher to carry-out this study to bring out a lasting solution to this problem.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The purpose of this study is to examine the role of Local Government Council in effective delivery of service to the rural people. To see whether Local Government chairman truly execute their responsibilities to the people the claim that the govern. Also to investigate and know whether the Local people really benefit from the dividends of democracy n their locality.
1.4 Research Questions
On the cause of this study, the researcher has formulated the following research questions:
- Does the Local Government Councils really deliver its service effectively?
- Does the people enjoy the dividend of democracy in this Local Government Area?
- Does the chairman of the Local Government have a cordial relationship with the people?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The following hypothesis will be developed:
Ho: There is no significance relationship between Local Government Council and effective service delivery.
H1: There is significance relationship between Local Government Council and effective service delivery.
Ho: Local Government Councils cannot progress without effective service delivery to its people.
H1: Local Government Councils can progress without effective service delivery to its people.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be however significance in the sense that it will be of immense benefit to the management and staffs of Abak Local Government Council. It will also be useful to other researchers who may wish to carry out a research on similar topic as a source of reference.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is centered on understanding Local Government Council and effective service delivery to the people, using Abak Local Government Council as a case study.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
So far the limitations encountered are as follows:
- Delayance in returning questionnaire at appropriate time frame.
- Unavailability of sufficient related literature which makes the work strenuous.
- Luke warm attitude of workers in giving out official information.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Administration: Is defined as the way of getting things done through the effort and the doings of others.
Government: Is defined as a group of people or an institution that makes and executes laws for a particular state or organization. In other words, it is an agency set up by a country or community vested with powers and authority to maintain peace and order as well as provide for the welfare of the citizens.