The Roles of Local Government Administration and National Development in Akwa Ibom State
This study is Role of Local Government in National Development (A case Study of Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State) was aimed at finding out how Local government Administration can achieve National development. Data was sourced through questionnaires, textbooks and government publications. The instrument were analysed and using a simple percentage method which proved reliable.
Based on the findings of the study recommended that Nsit Ibom Local Government should be able to enlighten the residents on the council’s role and objective so as to make them aware of what is going on around them; The council should look for means of eradicating official corruption and enhance accountability; The financial allocation from state and federal government should be increased, while the council should be professional in their responsibilities assigned to them.
1.1 Background of the study
Local Government exists to fill the gap, which the national government is too remote to fill. This means that local government complements and extends the national government. This has been recognized as one important instrument for rural transformation and for the delivery of social services development has passed through some stages of reforms since its establishment. Local government as the third tier of government nearest to the people has been recognized as an institution capable of transforming the areas of rural inhabitant.
Consequently, there has continuous attempts either to create new local governments or lamp the existing ones in the country with the objective of utilizing them as fulcrums for achieving national development. There has been an increasing upsurge of interest in the literature of development administration and in planning circles on the positive role local government could play in national development. The emphasis is in terms of using local government as a strategic instrument for fostering, promoting and implementing national development projects.
Local government administration is used as a form of devolution of powers of the state. It is the government at the grass root level that is designed to serve as instrument of rural transformation and development to the society in general. The local government being the government nearest to the populace, is one of the best agencies for generating motivations and encouraging mobilization for self-help, as well as including the much needed wider participation of the local population in the decision making process at the local level (Ukah, 2012).
According to Edward Scouma, (in Eluwa, 2012:11), The so-called third world is a rural world where any meaningful discussion of community development really means not only “talking of overall national development,” but because “it is in community that the problems of inequitable distribution of resources or a marked lack of purchasing power and of grinding poverty in which the wretched members of society stagnate and stare one in the face with brutal clarity.
The Local government ought to at least stop the deteriorating living conditions in the various communities of the country. An effective local government will be better disposed than the state or federal government, not only to stem the grim reality of the rising tide of grassroots poverty but also be better positioned to evoke communal efforts and networking to manage and mobilize the support of local citizenry in participating in all the programmes that may affect them (Eluwa, 2012).
As an agent of development, the major priorities of any local government should include reduction of poverty in the community, increasing the standard of living of the local dwellers, provision of social amenities, enhancing the participation of the local citizens in political activities that concern them, enhancing their individual human capabilities, boosting nationalism, inspiring creativity and innovation as well as educating the local people (Bello-Imam, 2007).
Local government in Nigeria plays immense role especially in promoting, coordinating and providing community amenities as well as encouraging greater mass participation and involvement in the running of local government affairs and the use of local resources to the optional level. local government are designed to achieve multi-dimensional goals in terms of economic, social and political development local government, which is the focus of this write up is responsible for the provision of basic community requirements.
The Roles of Local Government Administration and National Development in Akwa Ibom State
To achieve its objective, Nsit Ibom Local Government should be adequately funded, and manned by well trained, dedicated personnel. The Local Government in Nigeria is an indispensable tier of government in the Nigerian federal system. It is deeply rooted in the law of the land and derives its powers from the constitution. Section 7(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, states that the system of Local government by a democratically elected local government council is under this constitution guaranteed.
From the above, it is clear that the local government is backed by law and administratively should have a democratically elected representative of the people who are charged with the responsibility of moving the government towards attaining sustainable growth for national development. Local government can be defined as a political authority which is 271 purposefully created by law or constitution for local communities by which they manage their local public affairs within the law/constitution (Ogunna: 1996).
The quest for a wide spread development in the country and economic emancipation laid basis for the federal government to create this tier of government which is seen as the closest government to the people. Okoli (2005:) defines local government as a unit of government established by act of law to administer the functions of government and see to the welfare and interest of the local dwellers under the local government system.
The fourth schedule of the same constitution similarly defines the roles of the local governments (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999).The Nigerian federation currently has 774 local government units created for grassroots administration and for delivering services to the people at the various local levels as well as creating a relationship with the local people through which the government can be responsive to their needs and demands. In addition, local governments also exists to ensure effective political involvement of the local people in the policy making process as well as in the affairs of government (Afrobarometer, 2013:1).
Though some scholars are of the opinion that the local governments have not performed their functions as agents of development; rather they have disrepute for corruption, fiscal disorderliness and overall irresponsibility. The lack of uprightness, transparency and accountability at the local level of government constitute a heavy toll on the welfare of average Nigerians (Agbo, 2010:20).
- Statement of the Problem
The creation of Nsit Ibom local government in September, 1991 under Governor Idongesit Nkanga’s administration was meant to bring development to the various communities Viz. Nkanga and Mbiaso Communities of which the various wards emancipated from. It is important to note that local government should not be abandoned while drafting the constitution in order to strengthen the importance to national development.
The autonomy of the local government should be recognized to enable it serve as effective third tier of government as stated in the constitution.
Nsit Ibom Local government has not been granted enough financial status and power to sustain itself and be able to provide welfare services. Again, community dwellers hardly assist the local government in implementing government projects and this is serious setback to the delivery of qualitative and qualitative services to the local communities.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The creation of local government by the federal or state government is to bring government closer to the people and also foster the development of the local citizenry
The following are the objective of this study;
- To know whether Nsit Ibom local government council is able to accelerate development in terms of national development
- To find out whether corruption among Nsit Ibom local government personnel affected the execution of community development projects.
- To examine whether lack of adequate finance has hindered national development in Nsit Ibom local government area.
1.4 Research Questions
Having surveyed the objectives of this study, the following research question arises.
- Has lack of adequate financing hindered national development in Nsit Ibom local government area?
- Has Nsit Ibom local government council been able to effectively mobilize the rural people in terms of national development project?
- How has corruption among Nsit Ibom local government personnel adversely affected national development projects in the area?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The essence of this project is to contribute to knowledge in bringing a general awareness of the people in relation to national development to the local government. One major task I wish t pursue is to help through this research study to present an impartial report of the performance of Nsit Ibom local government.
It is also hoped that recommendations of his report will assist government at all levels in implementation their development programmes. More so, this project work will also e useful to the civil servants especially those at the administrative positions in formulating and implementing government policies and programmes. Political office holders will also find this document useful in tacking the challenges of policy implementation.
Furthermore, the result of this study would assist both the federal, state and local government in meeting the aspirations and needs of the people particularly in the rural area. Finally, this study could be a basic on which further research may be carried out.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This research is actually to ascertain the role of local government in national development in Akwa Ibom State. Thus, the researcher selected Nsit Ibom local government area he could conveniently cover.