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This research titled, “Local Government and Economic Empowerment in Nigeria: A study of Idemili South Local Government Area, Anambra State” was aimed at ascertain whether Idemili south local government area, ensures economic empowerment, to ascertain the extent poor capital funding affect Idemili south local government areas in effort for rural development, examine whether Idemili south local government area have the capacity for community mobilization and participation for rural development. The researcher adopted a survey research method data collection and analysis. Structured questionnaire was used as the major instrument for data collection while Chi-square statistical tools was used to test the hypotheses formulated for the study. Based on the analysis it was recommended that there should be constitutional reforms. The present constitutional arrangement stifles the autonomy of local governments to function properly, the present intergovernmental administrative and fiscal arrangement has to be properly defined and improved, there should be a comprehensive policy framework on local government administration in the country, finally, monitoring and evaluation indicators should be put in place. This is imperative in terms of checking progress towards the achievement of objectives and overall performance.



1.1 Background to the Study

The desire for creating local government anywhere in the world stems from the need to facilitate development at the grassroots level. The issue of rural development has been creating a lot of concern in most third world countries. There has been growing recognition of the importance of rural development as an instrument in the overall development of the contemporary developing world.

This is because of the glaring gap between the rural and urban areas in terms of infrastructural, resources distribution, human resources development and employment, which has made rural development imperative (Ogbazi, 1982). This imbalance has subjected the rural areas to more disadvantaged economic position. It has induced rural-urban migration, thereby, increasing unemployment situation in the urban areas, while, simultaneously depriving the rural areas of their agricultural workforce.

In Nigeria for instance, the recognition of the above problems, instigated the Federal Military Government in 1976, to take a bold initiative to reform the local government system in Nigeria. The essence of the reform was to bring about stable increase in rural productivity and income, diversification of rural economy and general enhancement of the quality of life in the areas (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1980).

In the same vein, the Nigerian Constitution (1999) provides that every local government in the country shall participate in the economic planning and development of its own area of jurisdiction. To strengthen this great task bestowed on the local governments, General Ibrahim Babangida, reminded Nigeria’s that local government were not created to pay salaries only, but to ensure collective participation in governance, motivate physical and economic development, create the condition for development opportunities and provide social services which can improve the well-being of the rural people (Oyorbaire and Olagunju, 1998).

It is pertinent to believe that, the ability of any local government to accomplish such expected tasks will depend on the availability of funds. That is to say that the survival and effectives of this grassroot tier, depend on its economic empowerment. Hence, Adedeji (1969) assertion that the success or failure of any local government will depend on the financial resources available to it. Furthermore, Adedeji (1972), opined that local governments in Nigeria are enmeshed in a vicious circle of poverty.

The elements of that viciousness include inadequate functions and power, inadequate finance, low caliber and poorly paid staff, poor performance, and transfer of functions to state and federal governments and cumbersome structure. (Adedeji 1972) stated that finance represents the points at which the vicious cycle may be broken or possibly reversed. In other words idemili South Local Government governments should not retain in their pursuit for economic empowerment as to break the vicious cycle of poverty of the rural populace.

However, it is believe also in some local governments, that inadequate funding of local governments has been the bane of rural economic development in Nigeria, specifically Idemili South local government areas. For instance, Rowland (1979) believed that complete absence of funds for capital development is the major problem of financing local government in Nigeria today, and has been so for some years past.


1.2 Statement to the Problem

Local government in modern day life is responsible for delivering basic goods and services to its local communities in faster, easier and more efficient manner. Local government is the level of government in Nigeria at which the momentum to sustain economic empowerment is created. The rural economic empowerment initiated by local government is expected in terms of specific projects such; borehole and deep wells sink or rehabilitated and maintained by the local government; rural electrification; and rural people empowerment programmes.

This could be expressed in terms of the improved quality of life the citizenry enjoy as optimized in the primary health care programme provided, procurement and distribution of fertilizer to farmers at subsidized rate; effective and efficient management of primary education as well as the regularity and quality of public enlightment programmes provided and enjoyed by the rural populace.

The effectiveness and efficient provision of these services qualifies local government as viable, instrument of rural development. These problem need to be addressed in order to redress the severity of the problem on the Nigerian rural people (Fourth National Development plan 1980 – 85). The merit in involving the local community’s inhabitants as a focal point of good governance in the local government administration is that they serve as a point of contact between the local government and the grassroots (Okafor, 1982).

Community in Nigeria in the past has maintained a strong tradition in the area of self-help projects (Okafor 1984). Basic infrastructural facilities such as roads, bridges, markets, health institutions, primary and post-primary institutions have been provided in different parts of the country through self-help development programmes. Unfortunately, rural communities in Nigeria, specifically Idemili South Local Government Areas are still facing numerous difficulties regarding availability and accessibility to basic necessities of life, such as inadequate programme design, poor management implementation, corruption, lack of commitment by government, and inadequate development support institutions for this segment of the society, specifically Idemili South Local Government Areas.

However, beyond these reasons, the dismal failure of past regimes in Nigeria to tackle the problem of poverty and living conditions of the rural populace is traceable to the inability of the government to explore the democratic approach to governance in local government.

Therefore, the following research questions are pertinent to be answered; thus:

  1. To what extent have the Idemili South Local Government Areas ensured economic empowerment?
  2. To what extent does poor capital funding affect Idemili South Local Government Areas in effort for rural development?
  3. Do Idemili South Local Government Areas have the capacity for community mobilization and participation for rural development?
  4. What are the economic empowerment programmes put in place by Idemili South Local Government Areas for rural development?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

Generally, the study seeks to examine the impact of local government and economic empowerment in Nigeria with a particular references to Idemili South Local Government Area: specifically the objectives sought to:

  1. Ascertain whether Idemili South Local Government Areas ensures economic empowerment.
  2. Ascertain the extent poor capital funding affect Idemili South Local Government Areas in effort for rural development.
  3. Examine whether Idemili South Local Government Areas have the capacity for community mobilization and participation for rural development.
  4. Examine the economic empowerment programmes put in place by Idemili South Local Government Areas for rural development.

1.4 Hypotheses of the Study

Ho: Idemili South Local Government Areas do not ensures economic empowerment.

H1: Idemili South Local Government Areas ensures economic empowerment.

Ho: Poor capital funding do not affect Idemili South Local Government Areas in effort for rural development.

H1: Poor capital funding affect Idemili South Local Government Areas in effort for rural development.

1.5 Theoretical Framework

For the purpose of this study, structural functional theory was adopted propounded by Augustus Comte (1798-1859). Structural Functionalism is a broad perspective in sociology and anthropology which interprets society as structure with interrelated parts. Functionalism addresses the society as a whole in terms of function of its constituent elements such as norms, customs, traditions, institutions etc. Social structures are stressed and placed at the center of analysis and social functions are deduced from these structures.

Functionalism is the oldest and dominant conceptual perspective in society. Functionalism has its roots in the organicism (Comte) of early 19th century. Organicism of Comte influenced the frunctional anthropologists Malinowski and Redcliffe Brown. Durkheim’s timeless analysis and Weber’s emphasis on social taxonomies (ideal types) began to shape modern/contemporary structural perspective, Legacy of the early functionalist’s work.

Social world was viewed in systemic terms. The system had needs and requisites to be met to assure survival, Systems have normal and pathological states. Systems need system equilibrium and homeostasis, As a system, the world is composed of mutually interrelated parts. Study of the parts focused on how they fulfilled the requisites of the systemic wholes and how they are maintained equilibrium.

It is an analytical approach that views the society as a system, which is a set of interconnected parts which together form a whole. It emphasizes the fact that, in every society or social system there exist certain functions that are performed by the relevant structures of the society. This in essence means that there are certain demands that prescribe the functions. In this view, this theory becomes implicit for this study as it evaluate the roles of sources of revenue in determining the efficiency of the structures and functions of impact o f local government on economic empowerment

A local government comprises of separate departments combined together to produce its final output of services. Local governments have a set of requisite functions which they must perform. For example, the works department is one of the structures of the local government and is responsible for main-trunk roads, bridges, water supply and fire services. The finance department is another structure of the local government which takes care of revenue collection and expenditure, to mention but a few. This theory is relevance to this work as it sees local government as an administrative structure created to perform several functions at the rural areas.

1.6 Significance of the Study

Existing literature in this field of research such as Idode (1989) and Olatunbosun (1975) only restricted themselves to the study of bureaucracy in rural development, rural neglect. This study provides a link between the local governments on economic empowerment. The importance of this work cannot be overemphasized, because it is also unique and distinct from other studies on the ground that it assess and evaluate the impact of the economic empowerment programmes, it also get the views of rural dwellers and assess their level of participation and the constraining factors impeding proper policy implementation of the programmes and projects in Idemili South Local Government Areas.

This study was embarked upon with the hope that, it will contribute to the body of knowledge on local government on economic empowerment and to help to proffer ways through which rural development can be enhanced in the local governments.

1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study

This study focused on the impact local government on economic empowerment with particular references to Idemili South Local Government Areas of anambra State between the period of 1999-2015. This is done with the emphasis on the social, economic and infrastructural facilities.

The inability of the researchers to access adequate funds to undertake the study. Inadequate record keeping by local governments councils limited the amount of information that would have been of immense help to the research. The confidentiality of some information at the State Ministry for Local Government also limited access to information.

1.8 Definition of Basic Terms

Operational definitions are the definition of variables which must be practical, related to the subject matter and have emphasized referents (Ogbonna, 1991 in Agetwe, 2006). It has therefore become necessary for the terms used in this study to be operationally defined.

Local Government: The term „local government‟ as used in this study mean local government as that tier of government closer to the people expected to serve as the basis of socio-economic development in the locality to the people at grass-root level. It can also be seen as a government that has been perceived as a panacea for the diverse problems of the diverse people with diverse culture.

Development: As used in this study, the word „Development‟ implies an advancement of rural communities toward a desirable state accompanied by improvement in basic infrastructures and the reduction in rural poverty, unemployment and inequality. It can also be seen as a process that ensures the existing deplorable rural conditions are disappearing, with the overall goal of making conditions more livable and worth living.

Rural Development: As used in this study, the word „Rural Development‟ here connotes conscious integrated system and programmes designed to uplift and improve the general standard of living of the rural populace through the provision of basic social amenities in the rural areas by the government through the institutions which amongst other things, encourage the predication of people in the process of development with the ultimate aim of developing human potentialities which is the basis for any development.

Community Mobilization: In this study mean how Idemili South Local Government Areas attempt to bring both human and non-human resources together to undertake developmental activities in order to achieve the overall standard of living in the community toward rural development.

Mobilization: This means in this study as:

Funding: The term „funding‟ in this study means; the statutory allocation is payments which are governed by the permission of the constitution or by Act of legislation. The constitution of Nigeria made it categorically clear that certain percentage of the amount standing to the credit of the Federation Account is to be given to all the local governments of the Federation. All the local government in Nigeria is to share 20% of the federation account. And the internally generated revenue simply refers to all monies which are obtained by a local government through legislation.


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