Problems and Prospect Of Local Government Administration in Nigeria
In Nigeria, local government is the third tier of the administrative structure, following the federal and the state government. So to speak, the local government is the closest structure to the people since it has to do with the grassroots. And of course, that means, the local government is a crucial variable as far as rural area development is concerned.
According to Wikipedia, Local government is a form of public administration which, in a majority of contexts, exists as the lowest tier of administration within a given state.
While it would be ludicrous to say the 774 local government areas in Nigeria are not functioning at all, it is, however, true that they are functioning at a below average rate due to certain challenges.
I have tried to highlight the cankerworms that seem to be the cause of this abysmal situation and how to go about solving the problems of local government administration in Nigeria, below.
Problems of Local Government Administration in Nigeria
- Corruption: The pure fact is, no matter how many points highlighted, they all have a form of base in corruption. Corruption has eaten into the society so deep that there seems to exist a form of corruption in every human being. No matter how hard we try to cover other angles causing lags without purging out corruption, it will be the case of cutting grasses without doing so from their roots. Nowadays, everyone seems to do based on what to gain, we do only ’cause of our selfish reasons.
- Dependency: While it is true that the local government is the third tier of government, the 1999 constitution, section 7 places local government under the state government and made the local government to be a part of the state government. True, this is no big deal, but the state government over exercises this power. The local has to go through the state for certain things, and this hinders development in the local area because if the state does not approve, then whatever project to be executed becomes very hard to do. In fact, this dependency is one of many reasons some Local Government Administrations go for a long time without a proper chairman and councilors. And where there exists, the state can dissolve them if the state government so wish.
- Inadequate Funds: Since the local government is a part of the state government, the local government receives money from the federal government through the state government. Although, the state is also expected to help augment the local government’s monetary base. And of course, the local government also generates revenue internally.
However, the money from the federal government always seems to be coming late, at least that is what we deduced from the news. And when it finally arrives, the percentage dedicated to the local government seems not to be efficiently disbursed to local government by the state government. And if we look at the dynamics of things, the revenue generated internally can never be enough due to many reasons and the point below.
- Indiscipline and Selfishness: From personal experience, the local government is filled up with too many unskilled workers. But really that is not the problem, most things can be learned with interest and dedication. However, a lot of workers at the third tier of government are indiscipline, no sense of dignity at all. We have workers showing up just twice in a week, and even some that show up tend to go just to sign attendance and then return home or to other life adventures. Nobody to check workers’ excesses. And the ones who are up to work barely have something to do, because the works that are supposed to come in and become revenues are being diverted into the pockets of the selfish ones who are supposed to check excesses. Take, for example, the local government has teams that construct boreholes for water supply in neighborhoods. Now, instead of doing that or perhaps construct for others that need the boreholes in their homes, and then turn in the money collected as revenue, they don’t. They build for people who need in their home for less, and pocket the money.
Prospects of Local Government Administration in Nigeria
We often look at corruption as an “up thing”, but corruption, if looked on, is, in fact, coming from two angles, the grassroots, and the upper level. They both meet and compound to form a mighty problem. And for a nation to move forward, corruption has to be put at a minimum bay. Sensitize the people, from the young to the middle-age, to the old, create programs that imbibe doing the right thing into people. Let people know that it is not wrong to be idealistic and that it is corruption that renders idealism unrealistic.
While it is unnecessary to totally separate the local government from the state government, the state government excesses should be checked. The local government should be allowed to carry its duties to a wider extent without interference from the state. Funds should be seen disbursed accordingly from the state government to the local government. Of course, there should be a dignified panel watching to call the local government to order if peradventure the local government starts erring.
The local government should be seen to take effective workers that will do what is required of them. Now, why it is not easy to know who will be effective after a while or not. Bodies can be set up to see to it that workers are indeed doing what they should. The bodies might be seen as an extra cost but it will end up saving cost, and aid in revenue increase in the long run. Reason being is the fact that, these bodies will see to it that the local government carries out its functions which include but not limited to the collection of fees and taxes, establishment, maintenance and regulation of markets, motor parks and public conveniences.
Conclusion On The Problems and Prospect Of Local Government Administration in Nigeria
Hope we are able to do justice to the local government administration in Nigeria, highlighting the problems and prospects
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