The Pathologies of Local Government Administration in Nigeria: A Critical Review of Introduction of Party Politics (1976-2011)

Stephen Ocheni, Moses Atakpa, Basil C. Nwankwo


Local Governments in Nigeria were elevated to the status of a third tier level government following the 1976 Local Government Reforms in the country and the consequent inclusion in the 1979 Constitution of the Federal Republic. Also, following this elevation, local governments were assigned important functions in the Fifth Schedule of the 1979 Constitution and provisions made for its adequate funding from the monthly statutory allocations which as a result are now being shared between the Federal, State and Local Government. Similarly, as a result of the elevation, local governments were made the front-burner of rural development in the country. Unfortunately, with the introduction of party politics at this level of government in Nigeria in 1979, in spite of the elaborate provisions and the determination of the Federal Government to give teeth to local government administration, ideals did not approximate to reality, the success of local governments became a mirage, a shifting sand. The intentions of the status elevation, the ambitions of the local governments and the needs of the state governments did not converge. In fact, the divergence has become so great as a result of party politics, that it is now a chasm in need of a bridge. It is in the attempt to construct this required bridge to move local government administration in Nigeria to the next higher level that this study had taken a hard critical look at the effects of the introduction of party politics at this level of government in Nigeria from 1976 – 2011, with the view to find a way forward. The way forward based on our main findings that party politics at this level of government as ample concrete experiences have shown, are both disruptive and dysfunctional, is to recommend for insulation of local government administration in Nigeria, for now, from party politics and undue interferences from the politicians. This is the only rational and viable option for now through which the ideals of the famous 1976 Local Government Reforms and the aspirations of the founding fathers could be realized.

DOI: 10.5901/ajis.2013.v2n2p489

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Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies ISSN 2281 3993(Print) ISSN 2281-4612(Online)

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