THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMMUNITY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Local Governments Administration was established by colonial administration essentially to maintain law and order. It was introduced in the guise of the indirect rule system in 1914 by Lord Lugard when amalgamated the northern and southern protectorate which was to meet the requirements of control economy penetration and minimal expenditure.
During this period the local Government was the agent of colonial administration and its principle function was mainly the collection of tax and the maintenance of law and order. This was the state of affairs until the reform of 1950s which introduced the English system of Local government in Eastern and Western Nigeria. The reform in Eastern Nigerian led to the creation of three tires of local Government systems of country, district councils and each level was assigned specific function. The complexity of this system necessitated the reduction of the three tires to only one which was the district council. Britain colonial administrations were appointed as district officers to maintain the various district councils. The district officers were in effective control of local government administration in spite of the re-organization of local government in to Eastern Nigeria in 1952 and 1958 and those of the Western and Northern region in 1952, local government remains essentially ineffective.
In the first ten years after Nigeria independence, no serious attempt was made to reform the local government system thus before the Nigeria civil war, which ended in 1970 no fundamentals change was made in the local governments system. It was after the civil war that spirited attempt were made to carryout, some reforms in the local government system in Nigeria. Even then these attempts were ordinate and haphazard.
However, what was common to all these reforms was the realization of the need for local government.
This was the state of local government in Nigeria before the local government reforms of 1976 which introduced a uniform system of local government in Nigeria was given a new lease of life by the 1976 local government reform. The reform led to fundamental changes in the practice of local government by making local government an effective third tier of government in Nigeria. This was further consolidated in the 1976 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, which clearly stated its function in schedule. The reforms give the local government a pride of place in the Nigeria political scene. The current intent in local government administration in Nigeria is he to the realization that a stable political system cannot be established in absence of an effective and efficient local government system.
Local government is the government that nearest to the people of a particular community to organize and solve the problems of their immediate level. But local government has had a checked history in Nigeria from it’s played several different roles. It has moved from being an agent of colonial Administration through the status of local Administration to a recognized their tier of government in the country. In spite of the progress that local government has made in Nigeria, it still contends with the personal problems of finance, staffing, corruption and local autonomy. In conclusion, the role of local government as promoter of political advancement, social and economics Development is of paramount important. It’s intimate connection with the local community, who must be mobilized for political participation and social and economic development activities have a lot to do with this. If this crucial role is fully appreciated them to do all that is humanly possible to make local government strong effective and purposeful and abandon a schizophrenic attitude which accepts on one hand that there is a need development because of its great potential for all rural development, but which on the other hand refuses to give it necessary facilities to make it an effective and attractive institution where a few of our finest brain can have challenging jobs worthy of their mettle. There is little doubt that such an attitude or one of indifference can only result in resigned despondency, culminate ultimately in dense of an institution which is responsible for the provision of a multitude of social services.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The role of local government in socio-economic and political development of the community worldwide is faced with some obvious obstacles with regard to their management. It is for this purpose that this research is designed to investigate those problems and possibly make some suitable suggestion which will help to ameliorate them. Especially that of Ofu Local government council, even in forms of rapid development, local government is generally regarded as a powerful instrument community development. Hence through the local government systems, the entire country is broken into small unit, which constitute center for development at the grass root level. The area also serves as unit for equitable distribution of government amenities and infrastructural facilities.
Virtually, local government is seen as the “pivot” for socio-economic and political development at the grass root level. In view of the above this study examined the role of local government in the socio-economic and political development of the against effective executive of such responsibility such as lack of adequate social and economic facilities as well as poor management.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The aims and objectives of this project are to enable us have an overview of the importance of local government of the community. Identification and discussion of the role local government in socio-economic and political development.
The research study also examines the need for local government, contribution and problem of local government and possibly prescribes suitable solution to this odds or problem. In details some recommendations were made on the method find techniques of ameliorating the local government problem for effective and efficient performance of her duties.
1.4 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The scope of area of this project covers the roles of local government in socio-economic and political development community.
The study was carried out in Ofu Local government council of Kogi State, the research findings covered a period between 2010-2011.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The role of local government in socio-economic and political development of the community is great value or importance to people occupying the political positions at the local government as well as carrier officers who are saddled with the responsibility of advising the government of the day on policy issues and for implementing the decision research by the local government. It will be of importance of students at all levels. Local populace and those aspiring for potential political position it also affords the rural populace the aspiring for potential political to be acquainted with the role of local government in socio-economic and political role of local government council serve as a useful source of reference material for public administration assistance to them. It is also of great value as source of research to those who may be interested in this topic.
1.6 STATEMENT OF THE HYPOTHESIS/RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What is local government and why local government at all?
What are the contributions of local government to socio-economic and political development of the community?
What are the just justifications for the study of local government?
What are the statutory functions of local government?
What are the constraints to local government effective execution of socio-economic development?
1.7 DEFINITION OF KEY/CONCEPTS
Local government has been defined in various ways by different authors. According to Jennings (1959) local government may have a wide variety of meaning. He maintained that since it is “Government” the system of local government which a country adopts must be part of its government or constitutional structure, and since it is “local” it relates to specific portion of the country defined by locality.
Thus, the institutions of local government are governmental organ having jurisdiction not over the whole country but over specific portion of it.
The 1976 guideline of local government returned over to local government as “Government at the local exercised through representative councils established by law to exercise specific power within defined areas these powers should give control over local government affair. The council should have power to initiate and direct the provision of services and determine and implement projects to complement state and federal government their areas and ensure local initiatives and response to local needs and conditions, local government can therefore be described as the government at the grass root level, which is created with some level of autonomy to cater for the needs of its locality and allow for local participation in the government of local affairs.
Accordingly, local government can be seen as mini-government within a state, it is thus “government within Government”.
Local Government is in inter-sovereign and quasi-sovereign” province state which is characterized by a define area, population, a continuing organization the authority to undertake and power to enter into contacts to collects revenue and to determine the budget.
According to Makoji (2002) local Government can be defined as the unit of public Administration below the state government which has the obligation to provide a specific range of social service to a community or communities and has a legal institute establishing it and authorizing it to provide those services among other functions.
Local government is therefore the government that is restricted to specific area within a large government with some degree of autonomy.
According to U.N. office of public Administration, local government is a political sub-division of a Nation-sate which is constituted by law (not by degree) and has substantial control of local affairs including the power to impose taxes or to exact labour for prescribed purpose in which the government body of such entities are elected and this election or selection are to made by local people.
The definition of other key concepts should be view in the following perspective.
Social aspect is defined as the ability to regulate its internal and external relationship which is based on people perception and the enormous dangers that often tail the invasion in relation to the destiny by their external interest.
Economics aspects are the division of labour, populations, structure and co-ordinate element to all particular point of balance element to all particular point of balance also an increase in per capital income, i.e. the standard of living of the people.
Political aspect is a system where by the people has the ability to participate in the leader role or rules the people within their local environment.
It also serves as a training ground for the people within their local environment, also to participate in politics within their own area.
Lastly, colonialism is a system of government where by foreign power dominated the local power. It’s also a system of government where by the foreigner takeover the control of government both politically and economically of the local country.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
Chapter one contain the introduction, statement of problem, objectives of the study, scope and limitation of study, significance of the study, statement of hypothesis/research, definition of key/concepts.
Chapter two composed of literature review, the function, feature, justification contribution of local government revenue and problem of local government.
Chapter three contains the research methodology, sources of data collection, sampling techniques, area of study and method of data analysis.
Chapter four deal with data presentation, data analysis and finding.