This project titled “Relevant of Local Government in Nigeria: A Way forward (Etsako West as a Case Study)” there is need for local governments in Nigeria as a federal system. It sought to identify services delivered by local government and to ascertain the impact of the services on the wellbeing of the people. Two sets of questionnaires were designed and administered i.e. one for the inhabitants of the area and the other for employees of the local government, so as to capture both the views of the inhabitants of the area and the employees of the local government. Questionnaires were conveniently distributed to 360 inhabitants and 314 were returned. Questionnaires were also conveniently distributed to 30 employees of the local government and the 30 were returned. This was further aided by interviews, focus group discussions, personal observation and the review of relevant literatures. The study revealed that, mismanagement of funds, joint account system, lack of transparency and accountability and restricted revenue sources available to local government and inability to effectively utilize its internal sources of revenue generation had impacted negatively on the provision of public goods at the local level. This is evidence in the poor educational facilities, poor healthcare centres, roads, etc; several problems were however identified as constraints to the service delivery efforts of the local government. These are; lack of viable sources of revenue, mismanagement, joint account, undue interference from state government etc. Hence, this study therefore recommends for the full autonomous status of local government both financially and administratively in order to fully deliver on its mandate, viable sources of revenue and a leadership recruitment process that is merit driven and people of unquestionable character and integrity should be at the helm of affairs, among others.
1.0 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
This study examines the relevant of Local Government in Nigeria and the way forward. Over the years, efforts have been made to democratize local government and make it more responsive to developmental needs. The problems of Local Government in Nigeria have been documented and they include among other things inadequate planning, poor implementation of policies, inadequate revenue, corruption and mismanagement, lack of adequate manpower, lack of autonomy, lack of participation by the people and intergovernmental conflict. Local government is grassroots government recognized by law. It is defined severalty by authors and bodies.
Local government administration in Nigeria has had a tortuous history. It is an important process of government with significant consequences for national development. It is about mobilization of human and material resources at the grassroots level for societal progress and development.
Local government is supposed to be broadly participatory and responsive to the needs of the people at the local community levels, such as villages and towns.
Yet, during the period when the British colonized Nigeria and the mid 1970‟s when a major reform initiative was launched, local government administration was essentially undemocratic and authoritarian, either directly colonial in nature, or in indirectly so, but indeed undemocratic, under various traditional governance authorities referred to as Native Administration by the British colonial rulers (Jega, 2006:1). The local government reforms introduced by the Murtala/Obasanjo military regime in 1976, sought to democratize the system, by introducing elective offices, and also tried to use the new system „to bring government nearer to the people‟ for the purpose of „grassroots‟ development (FRN, 1976).The desire by the government to maximize rural and grassroots development is one of the major objectives of local government system in Nigeria. The above role is very significant because 70% of the country‟s population live and operate within this area (Ibok, 2010:12)
How well Nigerian local governments have carried out their constitutionally assigned functions has become a subject of national debate among scholars and practitioners. To say the least, their operations have come under serious and severe criticism with some persons calling for the scrapping of the third tier of government. Since the return to civil rule in 1999, there is a widespread agitation that the huge financial resources allocated to local government did not correspond to the services delivered. Therefore, this study is conducted to assess the service delivery mechanism of Etsako West local government within the context of the current civil rule in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
The local governments are generally as government of the grassroots level and as a three tiers of government. The 1976 local government act defined local government as a government at local level exercise through representation council established by law to exercise specific powers within defined areas. Deductively, from the above definition it is pertinent to say that local government is a very large extent have important roles to play in their policy formulation and implementation and very significant as a provider and as a promoter of certain values.
Be that as it may, the history of local government in Nigeria has revealed that not much has been achieved in local government administration over the years. Local government have experienced a chaotic situation which scholars and observers have quickly pointed out to be mainly result of insufficient autonomy, lack of competent personnel and inelastic revenue.
1.3 Research Questions
The major questions addressed include:
(i) What is the nature of performance of the Etsako West local government in service delivery in the areas of Primary Education, Health Care, Feeder Road and Infrastructural Facilities between 1999-2011?
(ii)To what extent these services delivered by the Etsako West local government impacted effectively to the development of the people?
- What are the challenges that have impeded or are impeding the effective performance of the local government in terms of service delivery between 1999-
- What are the possible solutions to these challenges?
1.4Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of the study is to examine the role of Etsako West local government area of Edo State in service delivery. The specific objectives of the study include the following:
- To examine the nature of performance based on the services delivered by Etsako West local government in the areas of Education, Health Care, Feeder Road and
Infrastructure from 1999 to 2011.
- To examine the extent to which these services have been delivered to the people of the area?
- To examine the challenges facing Etsako West local government in the delivery of services between 1999-2011?
- To examine possible solutions to the challenges?
1.5 Research Assumptions
The study is guided by the following research assumptions:
- Etsako West local government has provided some basic health and social services derived from its financial allocations.
- Etsako West local government has not significantly performed its role of service delivery within the available financial allocations between 19992011.
- State/Local Government joint account system is a major constraint to effective service delivery by the Etsako West local government.
- Proper utilization of financial allocations can enhance the capacity of the
Etsako West local government in the delivery of services.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The study focuses on service delivery by Etsako West local government from 1999 to 2011. Specifically the study focuses on education, healthcare service, e.t.c.
The study commenced from 1999 as the beginning of the year of our case study because it is the year of the return to civil rule after long years of military interregnum. And also 2011 as terminal date because the span period is about one decade and two years of civil rule, a period one will expect to see major differences between military and civil rule in terms of mode of governance generally and service delivery to the people in particular.
In conducting the study, the researcher faced a number of constraints which included: Finances- There is lack of adequate finance and sponsorship to carry out the research in all the local government areas of the state, that is why we are limited to the local government under study and Data Gathering- the secretive nature of government and the unwillingness of local government officials under study to reveal relevant document that they termed secrets in order to aid this research, especially those documents that have to do with the income and allocations to the local government from the federation account, internally generated revenue and files of various projects executed by the local government.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The study is significant because a lot of the studies on local government were done during the military era, now with the return to civil rule in place and the publication of huge financial resources allocated to the local government system. This has enabled us to have an insight into the activities of the local government system, which is not significantly different from the military era.
1.8 Research Methodology
Research methodology is one of the most important aspects of any scientific research. The researcher derived relevant materials on the subject under study from two main sources viz: Primary and Secondary methods of data collection:
- Primary Methods of Data Collection is the process whereby the researcher went to the field to get first hand information. Data was collected through the use of Questionnaires, Interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGD).
- Secondary Method of Data Collection comprises published and unpublished works on the subject under study. It includes review of works written by scholars, policy makers, books, journals, magazines, newspapers, e.t.c. (Mbachu, 2005:60).
These materials were sourced through the Kashim Ibrahim Library (KIL) ABU Zaria, Postgraduate Library of the Department of Political Science, Internets, and Newspapers etc.
1.8.1 Study Sample and Sampling Techniques
The population for this study comprised of all the people of Etsako West local government. According to the 2006 census, the population of Etsako West local government is 364,575 (NPC, 2006 Census).
Etsako West local government comprises of the following twelve (12) wards; Kawo, Gabasawa, Kabala, Hanyin-Banki /Ungwa-Kanawa, Abakpa/Ungwa Shanu, Ungwa Dosa, Badarawa/Malali, Maiburji, Ungwa-Liman, Shaba, UngwaSarki, and Ungwa-Gaji. Among the significant groups in the population are the youth, teachers, health workers, farmers, civil servants, women, traders, local government officials and functionaries, and politicians. These various groups were sampled.
The sample size of this study is 360 or 0.001% of the sampling frame. That is; 360 divided by 364,575 = 0.001%. We purposively selected 360 respondents judgmentally as a Non-Probability sampling technique.
The ward sample size of the study was obtained through the use of the following formula:
Ward Sample Population= Ward Population x Sample Size
Total Population of the LGA 1
e.g. for Kawo Wards = 49,710 x 360 = 49
This is what was replicated in all the electoral wards to arrive at the samples for each ward.
On the whole, a total of 360 (100%) questionnaires were administered on the twelve (12) electoral wards of Etsako West local government area. Out of this number only 46(12.8%) were not recovered and a total of 314(87.2%) questionnaires were recovered from the respondents. In addition, 30 questionnaires were administered to the staff of the local government and were all retrieved.
Our analysis will be based on the 314 questionnaires that were filled and retrieved and the additional 30 questionnaires administered to the staff of the local government.
The Multistage Cluster Sampling Technique was used to divide the population of the local government into ward cluster of convenience. This technique involves sampling in successive stages such that at each stage, selection is made by using any of the well known probability sampling methods.
After the division of the whole population of the local government into wards as cluster of convenience, Systematic Sampling Method was also used to alphabetically organize the population in order of wards and selection intervals based on households. The target groups is the adult males and females, the household population figures was used to determine the selection interval of the individual respondent at the ward levels, by dividing it with the sample size of each ward. Street arrangements of houses were used based on systematic intervals both in organized and unorganized settings, after the first household was selected randomly.
The selection interval was derived by dividing the total number of household in each ward by the sample size of each ward. Six research assistants were used to aid the researcher in the administration and retrieval of the questionnaires.
Focus Group Discussions (FGD)
Two categories of focus group discussions were conducted. These are; the local government officials and the residents of the area. Those who were drawn from the local government officials are ten (10) in numbers which cuts across the various departments in the local government.
While, that of the residents/inhabitants, four (4) wards were randomly selected through closed balloting system. Namely: Gabasawa, Kawo, Ungwa-Gaji and
Shaaba wards comprising of 12 residents/respondents in each ward.
Interviews were conducted whereby 30 people were interviewed. Amongst those interviewed were the past and present Chairmen of the local government who served up to the period of 2011. The Secretary of the local government, Heads of department in the local government, councilors, traditional authorities, community leaders, women, youths, etc.
All these categories of respondents were purposively selected because of their strategic importance in the local government and as inhabitants of the area; they are influential in decision making process.
1.8.5 Method of Data Analysis
The data were presented in tabular form showing numbers of respondents, frequencies and percentages of responses to questions asked. This was also backed up by our interview and focus group discussions.
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