Three-Tier Federative Structure and Local Government Autonomy in Brazil and Nigeria

Okechukwu Marcellus Ikeanyibe


This paper examines the nature of three tier federative structure of Brazil and Nigeria and the reasons for the failure of the model to guarantee local government autonomy as envisaged by the design. It is found that the two countries exhibit divergence in the manner of constitutionalisation, which also provides difference in degree of autonomy enjoyed by the local government- where the constitution provides powers and rights of local government directly or whether it seeks to achieve these through the laws of other governmental levels. In Nigeria the structure has not lifted the local government beyond an embedded system in a dual federal structure in which the states merely deal with local governments as appendages rather than as separate tier of government. In Brazil, the structure provides relative political and fiscal autonomy, but also inhibits smooth fiscal control by Federal government that makes constitutional changes more frequent. In both experience, it is seen that federalization through constitutionalism still has its limits.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n15p559

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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