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The position of Local Government system in the sociopolitical structure of this country is fundamentally aimed at grassroot demoralization. Despite the autonomy granted to the Local Governments by (lie constitution; oilier superior tiers: (he slate and federal governments still subject Local Governments to subservient roles, which precludes them from exercising lull autonomy over financial and administrative matters. This obvious relegation has seriously affected (heir performances Local governments can no longer express independence in (he discharge of (heir constitutional roles; hence, the need to underscore the causes and effects of state government intervention in local government administration, and also to realize those factors that provide for harmonious functioning of the system. In line with the foregoing, descriptive and quasi-experimental research methods were adopted. Also tables and simple percentage were used for the analysis Simple random and stratified sampling techniques were also used to determine the population of study, which stood at 125 sample size. Above all. some hypothesis were raised and tested with Chi Square (X2) and the null hypothesis (Ho) rejected. It was found that lack of full exercise of autonomy is significantly related to ineffective performance in local government administration. This implies that lack of full exercise of the autonomy relative to formulation of policies and programmes aimed at controlling of funds and powers of the councils is the major bane of local government administration Based on the findings of this research, the researcher recommends summarily that a clear institutionalization reform be initiated to delineate responsibilities and interests of different levels of government in Nigeria; especially now it has been realized that local government is imperative to the political structure of the country. To realize this, the ambiguity in (hat section of (he constitution that absolutely subject local government to state control should be expressly repealed through due process of the law.



1.1   Background of the Study

Prior to the 1976 Local Government reform, what existed in the country was a form of local administration by local authorities. It was this particular reform that adopted uniform local government system in the country. Some flaws on local government administration was identified by the 1985 National Conference on the survival of Local Government in Nigeria, which Adewale and Isijioia (1989) summarized as “lack of substantial degree of autonomy both in financial and administrative matters”.

Hence, the need to stratify the governance of the country into three tiers, with each unit operating within statutorily defined sphere of authority. The fundamental importance of institutionalizing the country into different levels of government was to ensure relative financial and administrative autonomy, though with complementary services and control to each other. However, this control should not be absolute, no matter the quarter or tier it is coming from, else the statutory right of the tier (s) at the receiving end will be jeopardized.

Nonetheless, despite the perceived autonomy granted to the Local Government by the 1979 constitution, the federal and State Governments have subjected local governments to subservient roles with limited autonomy. The subordination of local government system of the country to mere statutory revenue allocation index, for easy disbursement by the state government, has grossly defeated the essence of its existence as an autonomous tier.

It is based on this glaring irregularity that attentions were drawn to constant demand for the exercise of full and unfettered autonomy of Local Governments in Nigeria. This in effect means that Local Governments should be allowed to initiate their polices and programmes, without: undue interferences from the State Government. This condition if implemented to its fullest, would go a long way in fostering National Development with particular emphasis to grassroots development.


1.2 Statement of Problem

The 1976 Local Government reform instituted Local Government as the third tier of government, granted with the function of reducing socio-economic inequality among the citizenry. The 1979 constitution in complementing the provisions of the reform, granted full autonomy to the tier. It is today worrisome that the recent trend arising from the provision of the 1999 constitution subjected Local Government Control under the state Government.

Local Government Councils can no longer exercise any form of control over financial and administrative matters, without undue interferences from the state government. At present, most of the State Government functions are sponsored with local government fund through joint account committee. Also the proliferation of new Local Government Areas Development Centers is now a political strategy, aimed at psuduo grassroot representation, all in the guise of manipulating people’s interest to win their electoral mandates.

Nonetheless, the states are quite well within their rights of using joint account committee to disburse local government allocation; but the administration of the joint account should better be implemented to reflect the reality of its purpose. It could be recalled that the statutory allocation meant for thirteen (13) L.G.A is shared among the sixty four (64) developments Centres. This in the present circumstance can only manage to pay salaries of workers at the expense of capital projects and other programmes of the councils.

The consequences of which is that the populace at the grass-root would continue to live below poverty level as the provision of basic amenities have remained unattained to. It is the concern of this research to proffer solutions that would cushion the effect of the above-mentioned consequences.

1.3   Aims and Objectives of the Study

The major aim of this study is to examine and proffer solution to   the   contending   issue   of   subjecting   Local   Government administration to state government control.

In order to achieve the above aim, this work intends:

  • To provide an overview of the structure of inter-governmental
    relationship among the various tiers of government.
  • To generate awareness on some inherent contradictions in the Nigerian local government system.
  • To determine the concomitant interplay of those intervening
    variables that attract state attention to the local government.
  • To underscore those factors that provide for autonomous and harmonious functioning of the local government system.
  • To provide a base data that would help for further studies on this issue.

1.4   Research Questions

To carry out this research the under listed research questions are very relevant.

  1. Are there other factors outside constitutional provision that, affects the relationship between the state governments and their local governments in Nigeria.
  2. How has the relationship between states and the Local Government affected the autonomy of Local Government?

iii. What are those inherent factors that attract the attention of state Government to Local Governments?

  1. How has the problem of autonomy affected the effective functioning of Local Government in Nigeria?

1.5  Research Hypothesis

. i.   H0:   Lack of full   exercise of autonomy is   not related to the , inefficiency in Local Government administration in Nigeria.

  1. H0: Local Government autonomy is not significant to the political

structure of the country.

1.6  Significance of the Study

The Significance of this Study includes:

  1. This study would help national policy makers in providing better intergovernmental relationships for efficient and effective local government administration.
  2. This work would help in the critical review of that section of the constitution that placed local government administration under the State control.

iii.   It would also generate awareness on inherent flaws in local government administration in Nigeria.

  1. This study is significant as a tool for provoking efficiency among the key players in the local government system.
  2. It would help to provide a unified framework/structure pertinent to effective local government administration.
  3. The outcome of this study would go a long way in re­establishing the full autonomy of local government administration.

vii. This work would also generate intellectual and scholarly awareness towards the study of operation of the local government system in Nigeria.

viii. The suggestions and recommendations made in this work would assist in the review and re-appraisal of the position and structure of local governments in a federal system.

1.7 Scopes and Limitation of the Study

The scope of this research covers the whole area of Ebonyi Sate with its thirteen (13) Local Government Areas. As the study borders on the causes and effects of State Government intervention in local government administration, the scope would strive to evaluate the operation of local government system in Ebonyi State. In doing this, the functions of various organs that regulate the operation of the system would also be reviewed.

These bodies include: The office of the Deputy Governor, the Local Government Service Commission and the Ministry of Local Government. Also, the internal structure of the system, in terms of departmentalization, staffing: both career and political office holders and the necessary ‘Jaws that regulate their existence and operation shall all be reviewed. This study was limited and constrained by many factors among which are lack of requisite materials dealing on the topic of this research.

There was complete dearth of books and works with full discussion on this specific topic. Also hoarding of relevant information by government functionaries with the fear that the outcome of this work might jeopardize the interest of the State Government posed a serious setback in the completion of this work. Also finance and time, constrained this work to an undesirable extent.

Notwithstanding the constraint posed by the scope and limitation of this work, it is expected that the outcome would cushion the problem of local government administration in the country if properly utilized.

1.8 Theoretical Framework of the Study

The most suitable and functional theory for this research is the “systems theory”. This theory was adopted from Natural and physical sciences. According to Okpata (2004), a system by definition “is” a

collection of parts operating interdependently to achieve a common purpose. The concern of this theory is that a whole is greater than the sum of the parts when put together and that the functions of the parts are interrelated and interdependent for continues existence of the system or the whole.

Relating the above assertion to the issue in discuss, it could be realized that the functions of the three tiers of government are interrelated and interdependent for the purpose of achieving national development. So, while the country strives to maintain this healthy system she has adopted, it should as well work to forestall any form of unnecessary intervention from any quarter to maintain sound and virile polity.


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