The research work examines The Impact of Inter-Governmental Relations on Local Government Administration in Nigeria, with special attention on Abuja Municipal Area Council, (AMAC), Abuja. Inter-governmental relations in Nigeria entails formal allocation of powers both vertical and horizontally among various levels of government. In this relationship local government is seen as a third tier or level of government with power to transform their areas of jurisdiction through good governance. Local government is not mutually exclusive of other levels of government and that as such there is bound to be an interaction between the local and other levels of government in Nigeria. The study is a historical and descriptive and adopted the system theory and power theory, to guide as means of vivid understanding of IGR and Local Government. To guide the study, four research questions and three hypotheses were posed. The researcher employed a survey design and a simple random sampling techniques used for data collection. The data collected was analyzed using question while the hypotheses were analyzed using the chi-square. The finding indicated that: There is significant relationship between Inter-Governmental Relationship and local Government in Nigeria. The study therefore, revealed that right from 1954 – till date, local governments have been subjected to all sorts of control by other tiers of government namely, Federal and State governments, following the 1976 local government reforms, it was believe that the situation reforms, it was believe that the situation would improve, but instead, the status quo still remained. The study further reveal that inter governmental relations, among the levels of governments in Nigeria were in disarray due to the conflicts over issues of tax jurisdiction, revenue allocation, IGR, funds transfer, over concentration of power at the centre, illegal removal of elected local government officials among other factors. This lopsided relations has impacted negatively on good governance and by extension inability to implement live touching projects. Based on this, the study posits that for cordial relationship between local and other tiers of status of local government must be clearly spelt out, the issue of joint state – local government should be allowed to function as government with minimal control from the state, election rather than appointment should be the means of choosing leaders at the local level, judiciary should be made to be independent and the undue interference on the local government by the state or federal government has to be properly addressed. Also the present 1999 and 2011 amended constitutions for local to be constitutionally created and not state, there should be direct disbursement of federation allocation to local government account.
It is a well known fact by practitioners and scholars that local government is a viable tool for rural transformation and delivery of social service to the people. Whether unitary or federal political system; the strategic importance of local government to the development process is not in doubt. However, this is contingent in the relationship that exists among levels or tiers of government (Enefiok and Ekpe, 2014).
According to Karingi,(2003), globally, federalizing necessitates the combination of self and shared rule. It accommodate multi-level government that authorizes autonomous political units to perform its peculiar functions within a political saturation. Despite the imitating of formal decentrali0zation poli0cies, unsuitable intergovernmental relations can engender these relationship between central and local government. In Nigeria, local government by constitutional provision stands as a district level vis-à-vis federal and state government
Enefiok and Ekpe (2014) posit that the concept of intergovernmental relations took the centre stage at a period when there were numerous and complex problem facing three levels of government. They argued that the concept has its beginning in Nigeria around 1950s with the establishment of advisory body on intergovernmental relations. This was necessary because of numerous and complex problem confronting three levels of government in our heterogeneous society. This interrelationship becomes necessary for the achievement of national integration for a harmonious co-existence of the parts, as well as the whole for sold governance and meaningful development.
However, six patterns of relationship in Nigeria intergovernmental relationship in Nigeria intergovernmental relations a identified by Enefiok and Ekpe (2014) are:
- Federal-state relations
- Federal-state local relations
- Federal-local relations
- Inter-state relations
- State-local relations
- Inter-local relations
This research work this, exosmic the impact of intergovernmental relations on local government Administration, the Abuja municipal Area council (AMAC), Abuja as its concerns, and the consequence of such relationship on good governance and project implementation for development purposes.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The wave of popular pressure for political reforms that spread across most developing countries in the period stretching from the late 1980s to the mid-1990 culminated in the restoration and establishment of democratic institution. In most countries, where transition to elected government occurred, the most visible sign of the changes that took place was the repositioning of the third tier of government to its proper position for grassroots development. Indeed, general political reform is went hand in hand with economic reforms. Thus, during the 19902 and beyond, a considerable amount of discussion took place and centered on the question of good government to improve the situation in the rural areas (Maidoki and Philip, 2009).
The 1999 Nigeria constitution stipulates the function and powers of the levels of government in such a way that no one level of government can single-handedly perform the functions of service delivery to the people. Cooperation has thus become an important prerequisite for governance (Shah, 2006, cited in Solomon, 2014). Nigeria Federation like most other federal systems of government is characterized by diverse ethnic groups languages, culture, political power. The need to cater for these diverse elements and ensure service delivery at the grassroots level necessitated the creation of local government. According to Lawson (2011), in a unitary system of government, there is a strong centre and weak constitutes. In a confederal state however, the constituents are stronger than the centre. In a federal system, every unit is granted autonomy, to decide whether to stay in the union or to back out. However, event over the years in Nigeria’s Federation have shown the over-dominance of the federal government vis-a -vis inter governmental relations, which is structurally improper. The existing mechanism and institutions for intergovernmental policy coordination are very weak and need to be important to be improved and strengthened.
Ajulor and Okewale (2011), argued the intergovernmental relations (IGR) provides platform for series of legal, political and administrative collaboration between levels of government with varying degree of autonomy. It is generally referred to as the transaction between levels of government either national or regional or among federal, state and local government. Examining the conflict among the three levels of government, Jihadu (1998.27) points that:
The dynamics of Federal – state local government relations within the Federalist constitutional framework is one of a see-saw between interdependence and co-operation on one hand and conflict on the other hand, between the centre and the units and between the units themselves.
Abia (2010) maintained that local government was made the third tier of administration with some autonomy, which allows for interaction with the central and state governments. The characteristics of the federal government are, inter alia, the separateness and independence of each level of government, mutual non-interference in the distribution, of power, the existence of a supreme court and a court of law to act as an arbiter in intergovernmental dispute.
Solomon (2014) asserts that by the arrangement of the 1999 constitution on the distribution of powers, Nigeria still remains a centralized federation with strong unitary elements. Currently, there are compliments about over-concentration of power in the Federal government and demands for re-structuring of Nigeria by ethnic minority and Niger Delta people. Adamolekun, 91983) and Olopade (1984) were of the view that if Nigeria want to practice “true federalism”. It should go back to its 1963 constitution. Yet there are centrists who continue to support a very strong Federal government in order to counter Nigeria’s history of political instability.
Fadayi (2001) argued that unhealthy relationship between the states and local government in the Nigeria fourth republic. During this period, more than ten local government chairman have, by state execute flat, been remove or suspended from office. According to him, it was this that infuriated the local government chairman an made they to sue the thirty- six governors and their state assemblies. Also, the stop page of the monthly revenue allocations to some states for their conduct of election into newly created local governments made the federal and states governments to be at loggerhead. For example, the complicit between the Obasanjo administration at the federal and governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos in 2003.
The unhealthy rivalry between local government and other levels of government is a result of a number of interrelation factors: undue interference by the states government, unconstitutional removal of the local government chairman by some states governments, shortening of local government chairman tenure of office, joint states – local government account which the former controls and what the perceive to be an attempt by the federal government to relate directly with lo-cal government (Solomon, 2014). This research project will, therefore, examine these challenges in greater details and also considers why they occur in the first place respect to governance, and then, suggest ways it can be controlled.
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