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Local government  Autonomy and grass root development ( A case of Nsukka Local government of Enugu state). The purpose of the study is to determine how local government autonomy has affected grass root development in Nsukka Local government Area of Enugu State. A total population of seven hundred and fifth staff working at Nsukka Local government was chosen for the study. The sample for the study was 213 staff using yaro yamani method. Three (3) research questions were formulated to guide the study. Data analysis was done using simple percentage. The major findings of the study were: Nsukka Local government lacks political autonomy as the State government interferes in their bye-law and policy making process, the Local government is not been financed properly and even when financed the State will hinder such by interfering through the State joint Local government Account, administratively, the state determine, discipline, recruit, promote etc the Local government staff and thereby denying administrative autonomy over their personnel. Despite these problems, it was recommended that: Nsukka Local government should have control over it’s finance, their personnel should be appointed, recruited, promoted, discipline by themselves. They should equally make their bye-law and other policy making themselves so as to boost it’s autonomy.






The struggle for Local Government Autonomy in Nigeria has been a recurring issue. It is as old as the history of Nigeria colonial state. Local government Administration practiced anywhere in the world is largely dependent on the historical, geographical, political and economic life of the citizens. Nigeria with a long history of slavery. Colonization, as well as military and civilian administration which have to a large extent determined the system of local government Administration up till date. This work intend accessing the various reforms or ordinance that the local government system in Nigeria has witnessed since 1914 during the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorate by Fredrick Lord Laggard.

The Local Government during this period of 1914 is based on the Native Authority system whereby indirect rule and exploitation was the order of the day. According to Ogunna (1996), Native Authority is the traditional political authority at the Local Level which formed part of the machinery of British colonial government charged with the responsibilities of maintaining law and order. Based on the Native Authority ordinance of 1916, a unified Local Government System was established in the Northern part because of their Emirate system of Administration practice before the colonial Administration. This Native Authority was later extended to the East and South with varying degree of success. This native Authority did not satisfy the needs and aspiration of the local people and it arouse agitation from the rural citizens especially from the educated elites in the southern Nigeria craving or desiring for a greater participation in their own affair.

The Native Authority Ordinance failed because it has no autonomy to meet up with the demands of the citizen and as a result, the first Local Government reform was ushered in. Thus after the second World War in 1945, the colonial policies on Local Government changed coupled with the demands for greater participation and this led to the adoption of the representative or liberal democratic system of Local Government in the 1950s.

The 1950 Local Government reform serves as a foundation on which modern Local Government was built in Nigeria as it abolished the native Authority system. This reform paved way for the following features in Local Government system; it has a three tier system (country, district and local council), it was granted the power of taxation as a source of funding, it introduced popularly elected Local Government council but the franchise is based on tax payers and it equally recognize that the Local Government should be given adequate autonomy as the council were given financial and Administrative power.

According to Ogunna (1996). This reform introduced representative democratic Local Government system on the negative side. It suffered from conflicts among the tiers, inadequate funding, poor staffing, bribery and mal administration. As a result of these problems coupled with intense politicking, no reform could be initiated until the military seized power in 1966 which rudely terminated the first republic. The 1966 Local Government reform was to correct the ills of the Local Government system they inherited.


However, all these reforms did not ensure a complete autonomy of Local Government system until the introduction of the 1976 Local Government reform under the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo. This reform marked a turning point in Local Government Administration in the country. This reform were the federal government response to the recommendation of Chief Jerome Udoji public service review commission of 1974. The reform aim to make the Local Government more effective in their primary role of bringing development to the grassroots. It established a multi-purpose single tier system throughout the country, with the same structure and function. Local Government were recognized as a third tier of government with the federal structure. It provided for the Local Government to receive their statutory allocation from Federal Government through the State

Government. They were democratized through popular or indirect election. The Local Government were given specific function to perform and enshrined in the fourth schedule of the 1979 constitution. Local Government were granted a relatively high level of autonomy.

From all indications, this reform is very important and distinct from other reforms and that is why Adamolekun (1979:3) has observed, what distinguished the 1976 Local Government reform from all the previous reform exercise in the country is the formal and clearly recognition of the Local Government as constituting a distinct level of government with definite boundaries, clearly stated functions and provision for ensuring adequate human and financial resources.

Despite all these constitutional provisions which granted the Local Government autonomy in all ramifications, there is still little or no development they have brought to the rural dwellers which ought to be their utmost share from the National cake.

At this juncture, the researcher is solely directed at accessing the impact, status, entity and autonomous existence of Nsukka Local Government in the development of their grass root.


The rate of interference and control which the State and Federal Government put on Nigerian Local Government cannot be over emphasized. This which has eaten up the Local Government, does not only affect the Local Government Chairmen and Councilors but as well as the local people who feel neglected in the National cake, resources, and revenue allocations, the high rate of over dependency by the Local Government on the federal and state Government in terms of finance administration. Some Authors, scholar and Administrator argue that this tier of government should be scraped away irrespective of it’s constitutional and legal frame work.

To the Chairman and Councilors, it posses a problem as regards to law making, policies and implementation functions allocated to them by the constitution.

Administratively, the personnel and human resources management of the Local Government in term of recruitment, promotion, security and disciplines staff within it’s area of jurisdiction is not free and fair. The State and Federal Government control them through the introduction of the integrated staff system.

Financially, Local Government do not enjoy autonomy. Their freedom to impose local taxes, generate and allocate revenue within it’s assigned source, allocates it’s financial and material resources, determine and authorize it’s budget is greatly influence by both the Federal and State Government. The statutory allocation which they receive through the State -joint Local Government Account is highly hampered by the State Governors.

Therefore, it is these view that the researcher deem it necessary to examine and access how autonomous Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu state is in relation to grass root development.


The main objectives of this research work is to determine how Local Government Autonomy has affected the grass root development in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State.

However, in specific terms, the study is based at the following points:

I       To acertain whether the process of law making and policy implementation by the Councilors and Chairmen affects the grass root development of Nsukka Local Government Area.

ii      To determine how the personnel Administration of Nsukka Local Government Area hampers it’s grass root development

iii     To determine whether State interference in the financial allocation of Nsukka Local Government affects it’s grass root development.



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