A local government is semi-autonomous territorial unit created by the constitution or general laws of a state to undertake certain functions within specified or limited geographical area. In Nigeria, local government is created to bring government closer to the people. This research project is thus an assessment of local government administration as an instrument of grass root development in Nigeria using Bwari Local Government Area as a case study. Chapter one of the study lays an introduction for subsequent chapters. Following the background of the study, the problem statement and the objective of the study which provided basis for the significance of the study and the hypothesis were stated. In the literature review as contained in chapter two. Chapter three, research methodology, description of population and sampling procedure for data collection were discussed. Methods of questionnaire design, determination of sampling size and questionnaire distribution were also highlighted. Chapter four was based on analysis of data collected. Percentage table, figure and narration were carefully employed for proper understanding and testing of hypothesis. Finally, chapter five was divided into summary of findings, recommendation and conclusion.
- Background of the study
The invaluable contributions of local governments in the development of the rural communities cannot be over emphasized. Rural development as a matter of fact is an inner emotion and commitment of the leadership of such council. Local government council (Authority stand for the integration of the people at that level into the plans and policies of government at both the states and federal Governments. The expectation of the people from council demands the outward, visible and tangible manifestation of the well beings in such areas or communities. Therefore, it became imperative to take a look at why the rural areas which supposed to be the main reasons for local Government creation are neglected in terms of development within means to come out with solution. The back ground of the study identifies the invaluable roles the local Government Authorities can play as catalyst in the emancipation and development of the grass roots as well as changing the life’s of rural dwellers, through infrastructural and manpower development. There are three Schools of thought on Local Government These three schools represents the theories of the evolution of the concept of local Government Administration. The theories; talks about efficient service delivery. The advocates of this theory established three core arguments for local Government. They are of the opinion that the local Government should provide an affordable opportunity for the participation of the people at the grass roots levels in politics, and ensure efficient service delivery. It calls for the demolition of the expression of tradition of opposition to an overly centralized government which to them makes the local government autonomous, multipurpose institution that should provide for a range of services with tax capability and capacity to carry out services. It also provide them (rural people) the opportunity through election to have a representative who oversees and lobby for projects and investments for the rural areas. The theory of welfare state, regards the efficiency value of local government authority as strongest in the modern local government system. Sharpe, (1979) put forward five roles which a local Government should play. Thy include coordination, reconciling of communities opinion, consumer pressure group, agent of responding to rising demands and counter weight to incipient syndication. How ever, Hill, (1974) warns that Local Government runs the risk if it neglects the involvement of the public in a meaningful way. To be effective provider of services, the Local Government Authorities must be more than efficient. Theory of power diffusion according to G. Jones and Stewart opined that the local government must ensure that resources can be better marched to the diversity of needs of the rural communities. It is local and therefore must be closer to the people. Due to the disturbing scenario created by this hydra headed cankerworm, it became pertinent to know what local government stands for. 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, 1982:2). 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, 1980:12). In the same vein, the Nigerian Constitution (1999:6) 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, creat the condition for development opportunities and provide social services which can improve the wellbeing of the rural people (Oyorbaire and Olagunju, 1998:49). 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 financial viability. Hence, Adedeji (1969:96) assertion that the success or failure of any local government will depend on the financial resources available to it. Furthermore, Adedeji (1972:110), 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 stated that finance represents the points at which the vicious cycle may be broken or possibly reversed. In other words local governments should not retain in their pursuit for financial buoyancy so as to break the vicious cycle of poverty of the rural populace.
- STATEMENT OF 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 national development is created. The rural development initiated by local government is expected in terms of specific projects such as kilometers of rural roads constructed and maintained; 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 program 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 enlightenment programs provided and enjoyed by the rural populace. studies and practice has shown that local government has not been living up to it bead, and it is against this backdrop that the researcher intends to assess local government administration and it impact in grassroots development. In Nigeria
- OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is on the assessment of local government administration as an instrument of grassroots development, but to aid the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following sub-objectives:
- to assess the efficacy of local government administration in delivering the dividend of democracy at the grassroots level
- to ascertain the role of local government in provision of social
amenities at the grassroots level.
- To investigate if there is any relationship between local government administration and grassroots development
- To proffer suggested solution to the identified problem
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To aid the completion of the study, the researcher formulated the following research hypotheses:
H0: local government administration does not deliver any dividend of democracy at the grassroots level.
H1: local government administration does deliver any dividend of democracy at the grassroots level.
H02: local government does not play any significant role in the provision of social amenities at the grassroots level
H2: local government does play a significant role in the provision of social amenities at the grassroots level.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The need and importance of the research is obvious. At a time when local government has come to assume an overwhelming influence on the process of political and economic development. It becomes more relevant to examine much more closely, the characters and dynamics of this three tier of government and to clarify the major contradictions that have landed to impede its capacity to promote development at local level. However, a scientific study of this kind becomes necessary especially at this time when the past and present civilian administrations are particularly concern about rural development. Finally, this study will generally add to the growing numbers of literature on local government affairs, more particularly on the roles of local government administration in economic development of rural area in Nigeria and pragmatic solutions offered towards making them more efficient and responsive to the needs of rural Nigerians, it also to policy makers and researchers alike.
- SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study covers assessment of local government administration as an instrument of grassroots development in Nigeria. But in the cause of the study, the researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
(a) Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
(b) Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
(c) Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Local government This is government at a local level exercised through representative councils established by laws toe exercise specific functions within a defined area.
Development is a multi – dimensional process involving a re-organizational and reorientation of the entire economic and social system, in addition to improve income and outcome. Its typically involves radical changes in institutional, social as well popular attitude and sometimes even customs and belief.
Council This refers to the organ that constitute representation of people either elected or nominated.
Social Economic Development: This is a combination of social and economic development. It embraces improvement in not only standard of living and per-capital income, but also high level of employment, reducing inflation, adequate food, high infrastructures, stressing values rather than achievement.
Objectives These are end results to which an organization or government activity directed objective are hierarchical in nature are determined or formulated by top management of an organization after economic, social and political forces affecting the organization have been apprised.
Programs This consists of essentially integrated series of development projects that spans over a length of time.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
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