It is a well known fact by practitioners and scholars that local government is a viable tool for rural transformation and delivery of social service to the people. Whether unitary or federal political system; the strategic importance of local government to the development process is not in doubt. However, this is contingent in the relationship that exists among levels or tiers of government (Enefiok and Ekpe, 2014).
According to Karingi,(2003), globally, federalizing necessitates the combination of self and shared rule. It accommodate multi-level government that authorizes autonomous political units to perform its peculiar functions within a political saturation. Despite the imitating of formal decentrali0zation poli0cies, unsuitable intergovernmental relations can engender these relationship between central and local government. In Nigeria, local government by constitutional provision stands as a district level vis-à-vis federal and state government
Enefiok and Ekpe (2014) posit that the concept of intergovernmental relations took the centre stage at a period when there were numerous and complex problem facing three levels of government. They argued that the concept has its beginning in Nigeria around 1950s with the establishment of advisory body on intergovernmental relations. This was necessary because of numerous and complex problem confronting three levels of government in our heterogeneous society. This interrelationship becomes necessary for the achievement of national integration for a harmonious co-existence of the parts, as well as the whole for sold governance and meaningful development.
However, six patterns of relationship in Nigeria intergovernmental relationship in Nigeria intergovernmental relations a identified by Enefiok and Ekpe (2014) are:
- Federal-state relations
- Federal-state local relations
- Federal-local relations
- Inter-state relations
- State-local relations
- Inter-local relations
This research work this, exosmic the impact of intergovernmental relations on local government Administration, the Abuja municipal Area council (AMAC), Abuja as its concerns, and the consequence of such relationship on good governance and project implementation for development purposes.
- BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The wave of popular pressure for political reforms that spread across most developing countries in the period stretching from the late 1980s to the mid-1990 culminated in the restoration and establishment of democratic institution. In most countries, where transition to elected government occurred, the most visible sign of the changes that took place was the repositioning of the third tier of government to its proper position for grassroots development. Indeed, general political reform is went hand in hand with economic reforms. Thus, during the 19902 and beyond, a considerable amount of discussion took place and centered on the question of good government to improve the situation in the rural areas (Maidoki and Philip, 2009).
The 1999 Nigeria constitution stipulates the function and powers of the levels of government in such a way that no one level of government can single-handedly perform the functions of service delivery to the people. Cooperation has thus become an important prerequisite for governance (Shah, 2006, cited in Solomon, 2014). Nigeria Federation like most other federal systems of government is characterized by diverse ethnic groups languages, culture, political power. The need to cater for these diverse elements and ensure service delivery at the grassroots level necessitated the creation of local government. According to Lawson (2011), in a unitary system of government, there is a strong centre and weak constitutes. In a confederal state however, the constituents are stronger than the centre. In a federal system, every unit is granted autonomy, to decide whether to stay in the union or to back out. However, event over the years in Nigeria’s Federation have shown the over-dominance of the federal government vis-a -vis inter governmental relations, which is structurally improper. The existing mechanism and institutions for intergovernmental policy coordination are very weak and need to be important to be improved and strengthened.
Ajulor and Okewale (2011), argued the intergovernmental relations (IGR) provides platform for series of legal, political and administrative collaboration between levels of government with varying degree of autonomy. It is generally referred to as the transaction between levels of government either national or regional or among federal, state and local government. Examining the conflict among the three levels of government, Jihadu (1998.27) points that:
The dynamics of Federal – state local government relations within the Federalist constitutional framework is one of a see-saw between interdependence and co-operation on one hand and conflict on the other hand, between the centre and the units and between the units themselves.
Abia (2010) maintained that local government was made the third tier of administration with some autonomy, which allows for interaction with the central and state governments. The characteristics of the federal government are, inter alia, the separateness and independence of each level of government, mutual non-interference in the distribution, of power, the existence of a supreme court and a court of law to act as an arbiter in intergovernmental dispute.
Solomon (2014) asserts that by the arrangement of the 1999 constitution on the distribution of powers, Nigeria still remains a centralized federation with strong unitary elements. Currently, there are compliments about over-concentration of power in the Federal government and demands for re-structuring of Nigeria by ethnic minority and Niger Delta people. Adamolekun, 91983) and Olopade (1984) were of the view that if Nigeria want to practice “true federalism”. It should go back to its 1963 constitution. Yet there are centrists who continue to support a very strong Federal government in order to counter Nigeria’s history of political instability.
Fadayi (2001) argued that unhealthy relationship between the states and local government in the Nigeria fourth republic. During this period, more than ten local government chairman have, by state execute flat, been remove or suspended from office. According to him, it was this that infuriated the local government chairman an made they to sue the thirty- six governors and their state assemblies. Also, the stop page of the monthly revenue allocations to some states for their conduct of election into newly created local governments made the federal and states governments to be at loggerhead. For example, the complicit between the Obasanjo administration at the federal and governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos in 2003.
The unhealthy rivalry between local government and other levels of government is a result of a number of interrelation factors: undue interference by the states government, unconstitutional removal of the local government chairman by some states governments, shortening of local government chairman tenure of office, joint states – local government account which the former controls and what the perceive to be an attempt by the federal government to relate directly with lo-cal government (Solomon, 2014). This research project will, therefore, examine these challenges in greater details and also considers why they occur in the first place respect to governance, and then, suggest ways it can be controlled.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Local government is not mutually exclusive of other levels of government.
Nwabuze (1983) argued that the functions set aside for local government in the fourth schedule of Nigeria 1999 constitution have to be conferred upon the local government by the State House of Assembly and do not derive from a direct constitutional grant as contained in section 7(6). Therefore, there is bound to be an interaction between the local government and other levels of government.
However, as caption, by the Vanguard Newspaper editorial (1999), it is unfortunately, the relationship has not been cordial because local government complains about undue interference from state government. The Vanguard Newspaper report on Sokoto State government that was council, and the court prohibited it from deducing 3% of its statutory allocation to fund the Sokoto Emirate Council, as passed by the Sokoto State House of Assembly (Vanguard Newspaper, 1999 p27).
In the Nigeria political sphere and governance intergovernmental relations among the levels of government have been in disarray due to unhealthy rivalry. The problem is not unconnected to the dissatisfaction in the distribution of functions among the levels of government and lack of adequate tax powers allocated to the states and local government in relation to their functions, undue removal of local government elected chairman by the state governors through their audit powers, joint state – local government account, and shortening of the tenure of local government chairmen, during other factors.
In previous studies and research work, scholars and researcher have discussed various issues that brings about conflict between local government and others levels of government, but not much work as been done in providing solution to such conflictual relationship. However, a gap which this study attempt to fill by investigating these following problems:
- Is their dissatisfaction in the distribution of functions among levels of government in Nigeria.
- What powers does a state government have to remove elected local government chairmen.
- What necessitate the undue interference in local government affairs by the state government and federal.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to assess the impact of inter-governmental relations on local government administration. It will also evaluate it, determine its effects on the processes of governance success and failure and discuss, likely means by which they can be controlled. The other objectives this research seeks to achieve are:
- To determine the extent to which intergovernmental relations affect local government administration in Nigeria.
- To ascertain the effect of unhealthy rivalry between local government and other levels of government as a result of a number of interrelated factors.
- To determine the relationship existence between local government and state government.
- To make suggestions for policy implication in the light of the findings of the study.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In this study, an attempt will be made to provide answers to the following questions.
- How do inter-governmental relations influence local government administration in Nigeria?
- What is the relationship the relationship between inter-governmental relation and local government administration?
- To what extent do inter-governmental relations affect Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC)?