Local Government

Local Government Definition Local government refers to a governmental body established by law at the local level with the mandate to perform specific functions within a defined area. It possesses the authority to manage local political affairs and is typically the third tier of government. In Nigeria, local governments were instituted under the 1963 Republican […]

Local Government Definition

Local government refers to a governmental body established by law at the local level with the mandate to perform specific functions within a defined area. It possesses the authority to manage local political affairs and is typically the third tier of government. In Nigeria, local governments were instituted under the 1963 Republican constitution through acts of parliament, serving as conduits for federal government outreach to the grassroots.

 

Types Of Local Government

Professor Harold Anderfer categorized local government into four fundamental types:

  1. French Type: An extension of the central government, where local government staff also function as federal government employees.
  2. English Type: Possessing autonomy with some federal control, as adopted in Nigeria, without a distinct local economy.
  3. Traditional Type: Indigenous and based on the leadership of a traditional ruler, devoid of Western or Eastern influences.
  4. Communist Type: Prevalent in communist countries, aligning with socialist ideology, with no separate local economy.

 

Reasons For Local Government Creation

Local governments are established to:

  1. Bring government closer to the grassroots.
  2. Allow self-governance in accordance with local culture and traditions.
  3. Serve as a link between the people and state/federal governments.
  4. Facilitate even development across the country.
  5. Act as representatives for policy implementation, law enforcement, and employment at the local level.
  6. Provide essential services like electricity, roads, water, and healthcare.

 

Powers And Functions Of Local Government

Local governments are tasked with:

  1. Construction and maintenance of public infrastructure.
  2. Establishment and upkeep of markets, motor parks, public conveniences, and refuse disposal.
  3. Tax collection, including radio and television licenses, rents, etc.
  4. Provision and maintenance of primary schools.
  5. Registration of vital events like births, deaths, and marriages.
  6. Management of forests, naming of roads, and numbering of houses.
  7. Establishment and maintenance of cemeteries, burial grounds, and homes for the destitute.
  8. Development of agricultural and natural resources.
  9. Enforcement of law and order through bye-laws and customary courts.

 

Sources Of Local Government Revenue

Local governments generate revenue through:

  1. Federal government grants (10% of federally derived revenue).
  2. Grants from state governments.
  3. Loans from financial institutions.
  4. Taxes on non-salary earners.
  5. Local rates, license fees, court fines, and commercial ventures.

 

Control Of Local Government

Control mechanisms include:

  1. Amendment of law by the national assembly.
  2. Withholding of grants by the federal government.
  3. Judicial control through courts declaring non-conforming bylaws null and void.
  4. Ministerial control and periodic audits by government officials.
  5. Public control through constructive criticisms from the served community.

 

Problems Of Local Governments

Challenges faced by local governments include:

  1. Bribery, corruption, embezzlement, and misappropriation of funds.
  2. Financial difficulties and poverty.
  3. Shortage of untrained or ill-trained personnel.
  4. Inadequate infrastructure.
  5. Council size issues, favoritism, and nepotism.
  6. Illiteracy among councilors.
  7. Interference from the central government.

 

Solutions To Local Government Problems

Potential solutions involve:

  1. Reducing central government control.
  2. Employing honest and capable individuals for rate and levy collection.
  3. Hiring qualified personnel.
  4. Regular audits and prosecution for financial misappropriation.
  5. Allocating more funds from the federation account.
  6. Facilitating access to loans for local governments.
  7. Providing regular in-service training and seminars for local government workers.

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