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        This study assessed in the 1999 constitutional Review and local gov’t autonomy in Nigeria. The major concern derives from the need to create a truly autonomous tier of government that would not only bring about accelerated development to the grassroots but also give the people the twin opportunity to participate in government of their area. It is in view of these advantage attendants on grassroots. This study seeks to unravel the problems and prospects of the 1999 constitutional review and the local government autonomy in Nigeria. In the course of this study, the secondary sources of data were obtained in order to gain relevant information and ideas related to this study. The study revealed that lack of autonomous existence of local government council is a function of local government effectiveness. What this means is that the continued interference of both federal and the state government in the affairs of local government and the refusal to give five hand to the councils to run their affairs, independency of high authority is perhaps the most critical problem of local government in Nigeria. The researcher recommended that local government should or must be made independent in the strict sense by remaining any forms of problem that will tie them to the strings of the Federal and State government.

        Local government represents the third level of government in Nigeria albeit the weakest and most vulnerable of the tiers of government. The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees the existence of local governments: According to section 3 (6) of the constitution: there shall be seven hundred and sixty-eight local government areas in Nigeria and six area councils. Part 1 of the first schedule of the constitution lists the names of states and local governments in the counting while the functions of a local government are enshrined in the fourth schedules of the constitution. The constitution also guarantees democratic government at the local level. According to section 7 of the constitution: the system of local government by democratically elected government councils is under this constitution guaranteed.
        Perhaps in recognition of the complex nature of relations in a federal system, the constitution confers powers on both the Federal Government and State Governments over local government administration in the country.
        There is no doubt that Nigeria has come a long way with the constitutional inclusion of local government as a third tier level of government not solely dependent on the whims and caprices of the states. It was not a policy that was devised in a hurry. It is about thirty years since the reform was initiated and constitutionalized. It was devised to solve some pertinent problems, which were suffered by local governments before 1976. The length of time it has lasted gives the nation that it is a relatively acceptable model for Nigeria despite the observed loopholes. While the motive of the constitutional recognition of local governments which in the main is to ensure local government autonomy may not have be fully realized, due to the obvious failure of the higher level governments especially state governments to respect the provisions. Hence, there is no doubt that the provisions should be made in such a way as to provide dynamism and flexibility in local governance in Nigeria. It is important to underscore that constitutional inclusion where it is inevitable can only be effective if it allows the states ample room to exercise reasonable power in the establishment, practice and adaptability of local government in their areas.
        The constitution well recognizes the right of states to establish local governments (section 7 (1) of the 1999 constitution.) Some states created new local governments but late converted them to development centres or Area Councils, as a result of federal governments: opposition of their actions. But the truth remains that the relationship between these Development centres and Area Councils and the Constitutional local governments is not clear. In some cases, the manner of allocation, disbursement and control of financial allocations to constitutionally recognized local governments and the newly state-created ones become a conflictual ground between the states and their constitutionally recognized local governments or even the federal government. The case of Lagos State and Federal Government in 2006 already mentioned is an instance of this.
        The that as it may, it is the position of this writer that the obvious uniformity imposed by the letters of the law as it is today enshrined in the Nigerian constitution runs counter to the important reason for local differences in such a plural society like Nigeria. It is therefore envisaged that visible local governance in the country must explicit local peculiarities by conceding clear powers regarding local governments to the states especially in issues relating to the establishment, structure and functions, under a loose constitutional framework.
        The essence of constitutional inclusion is to ensure autonomy for the local governments. But it is obvious that adequate autonomy has not been achieved for local governments especially in the area of finance. We remark that autonomy, which in Nigeria is pursued as the ends of local government does not necessarily depend on the model of local government fused or dual-practised. The ways and manner of constitutional provisions for local government seems to aim at achieving a dual model system of local government i.e. constitutionally seeking to remove local governments from the control of other level of government. But, autonomy of local government does not depend only on the dual model. Moreover, autonomy cannot be the ends of local government but the delivery of service to the people.
        The search for autonomy and the efforts of local government to free itself from different forms of control has been one of the major problems faced by local government in Nigeria to date2. In spite of the concept of the third tier of government which our system supposed to be, the state is still the master of local governments. While the federal constitution guarantees the existence of a democratically elected local government councils, it at the same time, made the state in charge of bringing about the existence under a law. The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed and accordingly the government of every state shall ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils3.
        The implication of the above is that a local government council cannot exercise the functions allocated to it in the fourth schedule to the constitution until the State House of Assembly has passed a law, which empowers the local government councils to perform those functions listed in the fourth schedule to the constitution. Nwabueze argued that if the state government has the constitutional power to establish local government and to define its structure and functions, it clearly and necessarily imply that local government is a mere agency of a creation of the state government4. therefore, it will be erroneous to see it as an independent third tier of government. Furthermore, the issue of autonomy of local government became a myth and not a reality.
        It is on the basis of these facts that the focus of the research will be to examine the 1999 constitutional review and local government autonomy in Nigeria as a way of enhancing the performance of local government in Nigeria.
        The objectives of this research are as follows.
a.           To examine the problem affecting local government as a third tier system of government in Nigeria.
b.           To explore how some inherent constitutional defects prevented local government from sustaining their elevated status as an independent tier of government by inhibiting their performance.
c.           To proffer solution to the problems identified in this analysis.
d.          To examine the 1999 constitutional review and local government autonomy in Nigeria.
        In this research, the content analysis which is known as secondary sources of data gathering will be adopted.
        This method is largely based on a large extent on secondary sources which include: library materials, textbooks from relevant areas, daily newspapers, journals, magazines and Internet materials.
        For a research of this type, it is necessary to relate any scholarly analysis to the topic for an understanding of the topic under research.
        Therefore, the system theory will be adopted as a theoretical framework of this study. In its simplest presentation, the system theory originated from the field of natural sciences and was developed in political science by David Easton in his work titled “the political system” as those interaction through which values and authoritatively allocated for a society.
        The main thrust of this theory are that a political system has structures and that every structures had identified patterns of interactions among members and every person fulfils and occupies its role structure, the occupant of the role is emerged in structures, role and processes that made up the political system. The main argument of this system theory, is that these subsystem, structure, role and process continuously interact together for the maintenance of the system and a change in any part of the system affect the whole system, and may even result to the dysfunction of the entire system. Although, the local government is an autonomous political system, it is a subsystem within the federal and state political system with which it constantly interact. For example the federal government as a political system and their subsystem and structures such as clan, villages and the organization of local government respectively.
        To this, this research will focus on the pressure and influences generated by the sub-system into the local government (input) the process and activities undergo by the local government and it subsystem such as clan villages and department in the council and the outcome of these process and activities (output). And the reactions and responses by subsystem. (Feedback).
        In the light of this system theory as the basis for explaining local government autonomy in Nigeria and the critical issues affecting local government administration such as issues of local government is one which affect the whole Nigeria political system and its solution is necessary in other to enhance local government autonomy for effective grassroots development.
        The scope of this study is to look at the 1999 constitution as it affect the local government autonomy in Nigeria.
1.     Autonomy- As related to this research, autonomy means a position in which an entity could initiate actions and implement them without hindrance from a higher authority. For the purpose of this work, autonomy also signifies a situation in which local government can take decisions without interference from the state or federal government within it area of jurisdiction.
2.     Constitution can be seen as a special legal sanctity which spells out the purpose and framework of government and the division of power among the various arms of government. 
The 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Hashum .I. “Local Government Administration in Nigeria in the last Ten Years: Problems and Prospects. ASCON Journal of Management, vol. 7, Nos 1 & 2, April October. 1998. p. 4.
Ibid p. 6.
Nwabueze, B.O. Federalism in Nigeria under the Presidential Constitution, Hurst of Company, London 1994.
        There is a great deal of confusion and misinterpretation as to what the term autonomy connotes, despite its regular usage, yet the real understanding of the term leaves much to be desire. The numerous scholars and government functionaries who used the term assumed that their audience understands the concept. Furthermore, government reforms that is intended to preserve or extend local government autonomy end up short of their objectives because the full meaning of the term autonomy has not been fully explained1.
        In view of this conflicting conceptual interpretations, the term local government autonomy is perceived a local self government or grassroots democracy. This grassroots democracy is primarily aimed at giving the vast majority of the people the fullest opportunity to participate in determining their own destiny. But, it is obvious that we can not have complete autonomy or complete local self government within sovereign states. If local government were completely autonomous they would be sovereign state.
        Nwabueze2 defines the autonomy under a federal system to mean that each government enjoys a separate existence and independence from the control of the other governments. It is an autonomy which requires not just the legal and physical existence of an apparatus of government like a legislative assembly, governor, court e.t.c but that each government must exist not as an appendage of another government but as autonomous entity in the sense of being able to exercise its own will in the conduct of its affairs, free from direction of another government.
        According to Nwabueze, autonomy would only be meaningful in a situation whereby each level of government is not constitutionally bound to accept dictation or directive from another.
        In the view of the defunct centre for democratic studies, local government autonomy refers to “the relative discretion which local government enjoy in regulating their own affairs. The extent to which local government are free from the control of the state and federal government in the management of local affairs.
        In his contribution on the literature of autonomy, Davey3 opines that local autonomy is primarily concerned with the question of responsibilities, resources and discretion conferred on the local authorities. As such discretion and responsibility are at the core of local government it presumes that local government must possess the power to take decisions independent of external control within the limits laid down by the law. It must garner efficient resources particularly of finance to meet their responsibilities, put differently, local autonomy is the freedom of independence in clearly defined issue, areas, as well as separate legal identity from other levels of government.
        We can argue that there can never be an absolute autonomy because of the inter-dependence of the three levels of government and this brings into focus the inter-government context of local government autonomy. The federal, state and local government rule over the same population. If they are to achieve the purpose of their creation and not to waste the resources at their disposal, there must be a definition of the boundaries or arena of operation of each of them.
        To buttress his view, Orewa4 pointed out that local government has not formed an effective integral part of the machinery of government because the state governments had not created favourable conditions to enable local government perform its functional roles. In effect, once an institution is established. It must be given adequate resources and nurtured to maturity.
        Until recent times however, the request for resources that had been made available to local authorities has been in the most inadequate form.
        Omoparida5 in his part suggested that local government share of the federation account should be increased to 17.39 percent to enable them cope with the magnitude of responsibilities given to them by the 1979 constitution. He observed that of the major causes of financial burden on the local government was the inequitable system of revenue allocation among the three tiers of government in the country.
        He further suggested that local government should be given power to create special revenue courts to deal with problem of tax collection and dispute assessment.
        Omoparida’s view help in suggesting that autonomy should be granted to local government in order for them to be able to perform well. He was suggesting grant increase for local governance so that they will be able to perform effectively. This issue deals with autonomy provision for local government. However, scholars observed that even in the very few cases were reasonable adequate funds had been made available to local governments, efficient managements, efficient management was lacking and since there can be no subtitle for efficient management, effort should be made to arrest or bring to the barest minimum the following inhibited factors which are very crucial if the prospects of local government autonomy are to be realized. These are lack of high caliber staff corrupt practices among local government officials, inter community conflicts, the irrelevance of local government geographical size to their revenue base and pattern of resources allocation.
        It is however recognized that staff of high integrity who are really dedicated and efficient, making local government sizes relevant to their revenue base, even pattern of allocation of resources and honesty and probity among local government officials are conditions that cannot be made to achieve these objectives since they will enhance the desire prospects expected from local government autonomy in Nigeria.
        It is in keeping with above other reasons that the federal military in Nigeria have carryout an extensive local government reforms in 1976. This reform was a revolutionary move that resolved local government from the exclusive ambit of state government reflecting attempt to its own place where it could stand on its own.
        It must be made clear here that the 1976 reforms were predicated on the desire to elevate local government which will guarantee adequate financial resources and which will be controlled and directed by a democratically elected representative of the people and which will be independent and autonomous of all other levels of governments in the federation.
        It is pertinent to note that significant as these reforms seemed local government have not been able to bring about the needed effective performance i.e. bringing about development so much needed at the grassroots.
        The foregoing takes us to the constitutionality or otherwise of the reform. Reforming local government is a constitutional issue6. This is why the constitutional position of local government in Nigeria deserves a closer scrutiny. In terms of composition, the 1999 constitution provides in its section 7 (1) that:
The system of local government by democratically elected local government council is under this constitution guaranteed: and accordingly, the government of every state shall, subject to section 8 of the constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such council7.

        Deriving from the above the provision, imposition of caretaker committees, at the expense of democratically constituted councils, amounts to an infringement on the constitution. It is essentially an aberration. This is because the 1999 Nigeria constitution via its section 7 (1) empowers State House of Assembly to do so. Consequently the federal government does not have the constitutional power to legislate on local government. By embarking on the reform, what the federal government did was tantamount to usurpation of the powers of states House of Assembly. As Afemfere puts it. The presidency is not empowered to make inroads into local government, which should be an exclusive area of jurisdiction by state governments8.
        Observing the Nigerian reality, it will not be out of place to say that most of the 774 Local Government listed in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 have not lived up to the expectation of visionaries who, over the decades, have championed the cause of culture in the country. This, in the context of the present discourse, is captured in a general sense by Akhakpe Ighodalo. According to him:
A balance sheet of local government activities under democratic governance since 1999 would show that little progress has been made, particularly in the area of meeting the socio-economic needs of the rural poor students, women, and Lumpen-Proletariat in urban and sub-urban communities9.

        Ighodalo’s reference to the rural poor is all inclusive. It includes the farmer as it does the craftsman and other artisans who are culture producers in their own right. But this is only one of many shortcomings of the local government to attract men and women who can defend it10.
        The authoritarian assaults of higher tiers of government that is federal and state, on the third tier is monumental. Unfortunately, most of the personnel, due perhaps to a lack of relevant intellectual equipage can neither evolve a formidable system then can hold its own against the overbearing authorities of the two other tiers nor translate democratic vision into beneficial actions based on strategic principles of social transformation. One key point touched upon by Ighodalo concerning constitutionalism and the function of the local government which supports Adeola reasoning is that a constitution cannot captured all that a system needs to carryout “what the constitution fails to provide for” he writes, “its practitioners can fill in under the spirit of patriotism11.
        Administrators in the local governments, in shirking their cultural responsibilities may, for long, have hidden behind the veil of the non-elaborateness of the constitution in spelling out their functions in this respect. But it should not be an excuse operators of a constitution should interpret it in a dynamic way to come to fullest terms with service delivery in governance.
        Considering the Nigerian situation, however, and especially where the local government system is continually shortchanged, an intervention to re-align the vision of public officers to the cultural imperatives of governance at this level seems more desirable than packing out their flaws. What more, these, flaws are themselves by-products of the defectiveness in the practice of democracy at higher levels which are themselves subjects of serious on-going conscientisation.
        It has become obvious that the failure of the 1976 and subsequent reforms to solve these traditional problems of local government revolves mostly around lack of autonomy of this tier of government in running its own affair by elected representative of the people. The point can also be made that the continued tying of local government to the apron string of state government without any attempt to bring the situation to an end in favour of local government autonomy, the much desired prospects derivation from operational autonomy of fully granted local government will continued to elude the local government council.
        Also, it has been argued by many scholars that the failure of local government in the performance of their functions is as a result of lack of operational autonomy on the part of local government. It is also believed that continued interference of state and federal government in local affairs without any attempt at the severance of such as grassroots development councils.
        The above observation is a pointer to the fact that lack of autonomy of local government as a result of continued interference of the state government in local affairs is as a result of the failure on the part of the local government councils to meet the demands of the people of the grassroots. Local government is the third tier of government closet to the people at the grassroots. Bello Imam, see local government as that unit of administration with defined territory and power as well as administrative authority with relative autonomy12.
        From the definition of local government, it become clear that what differentiates local government from local administration is the degree of autonomy such unit enjoys from other levels or tiers of government.
        However, the struggle to ensure that local government is truly a tier of government has been a long down one. It would appear that a lack of commitment by the powerful elites to core democratic principles of popular participation and accountability has been the bare of the local government system in the country.
        The Dasuki’s report on local government system in Nigeria was right on the point when it noted that the problem of local governments in Nigeria is operational rather than structural. As the report puts it, they arise directly from the behaviour and attitudes of the persons who operate the system. It is this same problem that affects the whole body polity. They are sustained by the existing structure of power and its agency only act within it13.
        What to do is to dismantle this structure through a reformation process that will ensure a new orientation of the role of government in society so that it ceases to be perceived by the people as an instrument of control with primary responsibility for the exploitation of the people. Such materialistic perception of government must give way to a productive and corporate one.
        The perennial problem of lack of adequate funding of local governments cannot be affectively resolved so far as local government sees itself as a beggar unit of government, local government councils must look inward and generate revenues initially rather than wait for allocation from federal and state governments that are neither sufficient nor received as at when due. The more revenues local councils can generate on their own, the more autonomous and confident they become particularly in relation with other tiers of government.
        The political values of the dominant power elite have been major disservice to the local government system. The federal and state governments have been very reluctant to allow local government administration function as a tier of government they have always had course to intervene in its operation either through deduction of funds from its accounts or usurp action of its functions under the guise that it cannot handle them efficiently and effectively. Also because of political advantages the creation of local governments has, it has become an instrument of political control not to forward the interest of the poor work in society but to promote elite personal ad class interests.
        Management of local government system has been abysmal. Expectedly, so because over the years it has lacked technical capacity such as trained and skilled manpower often attracted by better pay in private sector organizations and in the state and federal government establishment. Thus, local government can only attract quality hands to manage its affairs when it can lay a sold economic foundation and give its employees, confidence in the survival of the system.
        But the basic infrastructure to realize this must be in place. As it stands, Nigeria is not a heaven for foreign and domestic investments because of the high cost of doing business in the country. The scares potential investors. The country’s macroeconomic indices are unstable and no investor will like to put his money where there is no much uncertainly its economic woes are compounded by the neo-liberal economic reforms that is being embarked upon by the federal government which leaves the people with little choice to decide their future.
        Political corruption or venality in public life is not restricted to the federal and state levels only. Corrupt outs by local government functionaries are common place. The independent corrupt practices and other related offences commission (ICPC) and the economic and financial crime commission (EFCC) must as a matter of urgency spread their nets to the local councils with a view to fighting out the corrupt personnel and political office holders at the third tier level. The anti graft crusade must fund a solid presence at this level so as to stamp out corruption from its roots, i.e. at the local government level. 
Odufa, M.A. Local Government Autonomy and Intergovernmental Relation in Nigeria. In partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Special Advanced Course in Local Government Studies, Ile-Ife: Obafemi Awolowo University. 1999. p. 40.
Nwabueze, B.O. The Presidential Constitution of Nigeria. London Sweet and Maxwell. Nigerian Journal of Public Administration and Local Government vol. 2 No 2. 1983.
Ibid, p. 112.
Orewa, and Adewumi: Local Government in Nigeria. The changing scene, Benin City. Ethiope pub. Corp, 1983 p. 278-292.
Omoparida, A.O. The New Government System, Longman, 1983 p. 70.
Nwankwo C. “Over handing Local Government System is a Constitutional Issue: The Guardian, June 22 Lagos 2003. p. 10.
FGN, The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria. P. 5.
Ibid p. 6.
Ighodalo, A. “The Third Tier of Government and Democratic Governance in Nigeria. The Constitution-A Journal of Constitutional Development vol. 8, No. 3 2008. p. 42.
Aduola, G.L. “From Native Authority to Local Government is there a System of Local Government in Nigeria. The Constitutions-A Journal of Constitutional Development vol. 8, No. 3 Lagos, 2008, p. 2.
Ighodalo, Op-cit. p. 44.
Bello, Imam. Local Government System in Nigeria; Evolving a third tier of Government. Heinemann Education Book, Ibadan, 1996, p. 3.
        It has been difficult to practice an enduring autonomy in Nigeria local government system. Even, through various institutional structure that have been put in place since 1976 local government reforms.
        It is an irony of fate that the various military regimes introduced reforms in the Nigeria local government system has its attendant contradictions, since the military structure is essentially hierarchical thus the operation of local government cannot be isolated from such contradictions that characterized military hegemony.
        Adeyemo opined that the Nigerian federalism remains a formidable problem is evident in the various contradictions of military rule and the decree they have spurned. Similarly, the continuous overhearing role has been exercise by the state posses a tremendous threat to the autonomy of local government. These can be seen within the realm of various contradictory rules instructions, supervisory power passed down to the local councils, some of which are outside the constitutional jurisdiction of the local government1.
        Moreover, political instability that strongly manifested in the policy is among the militating factors against autonomy of local government. This is due to the changing and swinging of political pendulum that oscillates between sole-administrator ship to caretaker committee system and the elected government. This was however scuttled in quite succession arising from the fact that there was no stable political system that could endure political socialization and actualization to germinate and nurture the orientation for globe acceptance. The most favoured system was the sole-administrator ships that further ceded the local government to state control and erode its autonomy2.
        The usurpation of local government function and revenue sources by state government is another serious area by state government is another serious area of eroding the autonomy of the local government. More often than not, parallel revenue boards, through the states unwittingly usurp and erode the revenue yielding areas of the local government. It is not uncommon to see such boards to include market, motor parks, building plan approvals and forest royalty collection fund etc.
        Furthermore, it is appreciated that finance is the bedrock of my meaningful development. A balance sheet of the comparative performance of Nigeria local government is nothing to write home about. Most of the local governments exist only for payment of salaries as they depended on the federal allocation. Which in most cases are deducted from sources for the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries. Even the mandatory 10 percent internally generated revenue of the state to local government are not forthcoming.
        All said and done, other contradictions that tend to erode local government autonomy include the inability of local government to meet the finance of their constitutional responsibilities. Similarly, the heavy cost of implementing the separation of power poses yet another threat to local government autonomy.
        It was also not uncommon for most of the local government to embark on unbudgeted expense (as imposes on them by higher level of government) especially on national electoral commission, national population commission, national security agency, poverty alleviation programme and so on. Political instability and policy inconstancies are yet another problem. All these additional responsibilities constitute financial burden on most local government.
        The downtrend in the national economy together with the ever-increasing wages bills has its effect on the local government and the so called autonomy.
        Nwabueze argued that if the state government has the constitutional power to established local government and to define its structure and functions it clearly and necessarily imply that local government is a mere agency of a creation of the state government. Therefore, it will be erroneous to see it as an independent third tier of government. Furthermore, the issue of autonomy of local government become a myth and not a reality3.
        Since local government was not mentioned anywhere in the constitution, it implies that the sphere of local government may be regarded as essentially a residual regional subject. This arrangement clearly indicated that the sphere of local government was not given any importance in the constitution and it was entirely the responsibilities of the state government to carve out a place for local government in the scheme of things in the country. It therefore implies that whereas federal state relations are regulated by the constitutions such that both levels of government are co-equal in their respective sphere of competence, the state-local relationship is that of a principal and an agent.
        Local government is a creature and an agent of the state government, local government exercise only such powers permitted by the state government. But within this general framework, intergovernmental relation at state-local and inter-local level are a function of the diversity is translated into political party affiliations.
        Consequently, in spite of whatever power are promoted to the local government by the state governments, inter governmental relations will be affected by whether the state are different political parties control the state and the local government. Ayoade argued that in a situation where the same political party is in power at the state and local level, intergovernmental relations tend to be positive because the relationship between the two levels of government are symmetrical. But when different political parties control state and local governments, the relationship is asymmetrical and intergovernmental relations tend to be negative4.
        The local government law (1976-Edicts) provide that the state government shall exercise general supervision over local government as may be provided by law. The edict also empowered state government to appoint local government inspector and these inspectors “shall at all reasonable time have access to and be entitled to inspect all books, account and records of the local government councils and they shall have right to attend all council and committee meeting.” Other powers of the state government over local government are (i) power to hold inspires into local government affairs (ii) power to suspend council and appoint management committee in its place (iii) power to dissolve the council (iv) power to discharge function of defaulting councils.
        It must be emphasized that state-local government relationship have received considerable attention in the numerous tinkering to strengthen the autonomy and viability of the local government was abolished. The bureau/directorate of local government in the deputy governor’s office become the structure for the state supervision of the local government. The local government services commission was made statutory and mandated to strengthen manpower and capacity. During this period direct allocation from the federation account was increased to 15 percent and later to 20 percent. The local government percentage share of state consolidated revenue was put to 10 percent. The presidential system was extended to the local government system and the chairman become executive and accounting officer.
        Two antithetical views stand in the way of proper appreciation of state-local relations. Proponents of ‘paternalism’ have stuck of the view point that the local government have to be regularly controlled, supervised, guided and occasionally punished” to get work out of them. At the other end are the advocates of ‘populism’ who are staunch supporters of unbridled council democracy run by elected representative opposed to any sort of interference from the state government. The truth seems to lie in between those who ‘polar possites’.
        Complete concentration of powers and tight control and constant supervision will transform the reformed local government into a glorified native authority. While the strength of any state government which tries to keep local government week is an illusive strength. Hashim argued that the populists are ignorant of the fact that local democracy as a form of government can be stronger with and not without state government support. Left to itself as an isolated enclave, local government can never be an efficient instrument of local governance. It is only within a network of relationship “both horizontal and vertical” that local government can expect to muster strength5.
        Although local government reforms have been target at enhancing their autonomy, it has been discovered that most of the reforms end up creating new controlling machineries in any attempt to rid the councils of the problems of control and autonomy. For instance, during the Babangida administration the military of local government was abolished and in its place, a directorate of local government and chieftaincy affairs was crated in the governors office. With some role of overseeing the activities of local government councils. However, as a control saving measure, the same regime abolished the supervision of the state government over the expenditure and programmes of council and created an independent local government service commission. It was only in the area of statutory allocation that the local government councils gained as they had their allocation directly from the federation account while the state government were directed to give ten percent of their internally generated revenue to the local government councils, a legacy which has lasted till date.
        In examining autonomy under a federal system in Nigeria, Nwabueze stated that “…presuppose that each government enjoys a separate existence and independent from the control of the other government. It is an autonomy which requires not just the legal and physical existence of an apparent of government like a legislative assembly, governor, courts etc. but that each government must exist not as an appendage of another government, but as autonomous entity in the sense of being able to exercise its own will in the conduct of its affair free from director of another government6.
        Autonomy would only be meaningful where each level of government is not constitutionally bound to accept direction or directive from another. In other words, no level of government must arrogate to itself a superior status or power to control and regulate the official conduct of the other.
        Whatever might be our conceptual view of the national autonomy, yet it is believed that it cannot be absolute. Even sovereign nation are not autonomous since they are bounded by inter-national co-operation, commitment, laws and treaties. Also, within the domestic political environment, government are guided by some bodies of organic laws, norms and convention etc which regulates their relations/interaction with the polity.
        It is however important to not that there exist some hindrances that limit the achievement of local government objectives. For instance, section 7(10) of the 1989 constitution, as well as section (110) of decree No 15 of 1989 specifically provides as follows subject to the provision of chapter vii of this constitution of House of assembly of a state shall enact a law providing for the structure, composition, revenue and expenditure and other financial matters, staff meeting and other relevant matters for the local government in the state.
        Furthermore, decree No. 23 of 1991, section 4;221 has provided that the executive power of local government shall be exercised by the chairman of local government subject to the provision of any Edict or law of the state within which the local government is situated section 34 of the local government (basic constitutional and transitional provision) decree (decree No. 15) of 1989 empower the armed forces to if he is being managed in the best interest of the community or in a way to strengthen the unity of the people of Nigeria or for any good cause.
a.           Remove the chairman, vice chairman of the local government council from office or
b.           Dissolve the local government council and appoint an administration to manage the affairs of the local government until an election to the office chairman, vice chairman and council has been held.
Moreover, section 4 (5) (3) (b) of the 1989 constitution provides that the local government chairman’s executive power shall be so exercise as not to impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive power of the federation or of state in which the local government area concerned is situated or to endanger the asset or investment of the government of the federation or of the state government in the local government area.
Although, a large measure of autonomy was granted to local government to enable it sustain itself as an effective third tier of government in Nigeria and also to bring a meaningful development throughout the country starting from the grassroots.
In spite of this, however the following level of interaction can be identified.
a.           Federal-State.
b.           Federal –State-Local
c.           Federal-local
d.          State-state
e.           State-local
f.            Local-local relations
g.           Local-extra governmental bodies
The network of inter-governmental relations transactional pattern in a state is varied and complex. Taking into consideration the vertical and lateral patterns or levels of interaction in Nigeria Federal State. Intergovernmental relation is a product of interaction that manifest and its effectiveness to a great extent depends on the mental disposition of the political actors.
The following levels of interaction which in some cases may act as impediments to local governments autonomy still manifest. In most cases this pattern of interaction becomes indispensable and more often responds to and in obedience to the decree of conflict and consensus, negotiations, bargaining and co-operation that exist over space and time7. 
Adeyemo, D.O. Federalism and the Logic of Local Government Autonomy in Nigeria: Nigeria Journal of Local Government Studies .O.A. U. Ile-Ife.
Aiyode, .R. Constitutional and Institutional Basis of Intergovernmental Relations in Nigeria. John Archer Publishing ltd, Ibadan, 2004.
Aworawo, .D. and Akpan, .E., “Local Government Administration”. 2008
Egwaikhide, .F.O. et al “Intergovernmental Relations in Nigeria”.
Ikelegbe, .A. “Intergovernmental Relations, Governance and Development in Nigeria”. In Egwaikhide F.O. et al “Intergovernmental Relations in Nigeria.
Nwabueze, B.O. “Federalism in Nigeria”.
Oyelakan, O.O “Implementation of the Executive Federal Presidential System of Government at the Local Government level, it Logic, Merits and Constraints, Paper Presented at the National Workshop for Directors of Local Government at the State Level Organized at the Obafemi Awolowo University. Ile-Ife by Research Group on local Institution in Nigeria. 1992 .pp. 19-20
Tonwe, D.A. Local Government Administration in Nigeria. A theoretical and Modernizing Federal Perspective, Amfitop book co. Lagos, 1995.
        The result of this study that lack of autonomous existence of local government council is a function of local government effectiveness.
        What this means is that the continued interference of both federal and the state government in the affairs of local government and the refusal to give free hand to the councils to run their affairs. Independent of high authority is perhaps the most critical problem of local government in Nigeria.
        It is this researchers contention that the quest for autonomy therefore should be related to financial viability. However, local government autonomy should not be seen as making the local government a sovereign entity, or the chairman a local governor” thus comparing himself with the state governor. But local government autonomy should be enjoyed by the citizens at the grassroots. The autonomy should not be a privilege of the chairman and councilors.
        State government interference on local government affairs has inhibited the needed grassroots development as finances and other programmes of the local government are been controlled and articulated by the state government. This attitude of state government towards the affairs of local government in the country as a whole has a very serious impact on the effectiveness of local council.
        Local government can only be meaningfully autonomous when popular structure, organization and supportive value have been created to sustain, propagate and perpetuate fair representation, constant dialogue, openness of policy making public accountability and collective self-defense. Existing structure and association and new one should be identified and formed as the focus of grassroots democracy.
        Being as it may, the findings of the study failed with a similar study by G.O Orewa in which he contended that local government has not formed an effective integral part of the machinery of government because the state government had not created a favourable conditions to enable the local government to perform their functional roles. He further noted that the state government have not at anytime given the local government free hand in running their own affairs and this has affected the performance of the council. The picture depicted by this study was emphasized by the work of Alake Dele who observed that although the 1976 reforms conferred a tier status on local government, they did not start to enjoy some form or measure of prominence particularly in the fiscal area before the 4th development plan period. In practical terms therefore, local government cold not have achieved much in terms of development objectives despite the governmental status accorded the local government council since 1976.
        It is suggested that the present unhealthy condition of the local government should be rescued. The state and federal government should ensure that they do not infringe on the revenue yielding areas of local government. They should also put a stop to the persist deduction from the monthly allocation of local governments. In the same vein, state should henceforth remit the constitution 10% of their internally generated revenue to the local councils. local government also need to increase their internal revenue base rather than relying on the federal allocation. Similarly, local government should re-order their priorities and block all revenue of wastage and leakages.
        The controversy surrounding the position of the local government in 1999 constitution should without delay be resolved, otherwise the autonomy and development efforts at the grassroots will be jeopardy.
        Finally, whatever the degree of autonomy vested on the local government in the amended 1999 constitution and other local government laws of the state, the political actors should be more diligent in exercising such autonomy of power, irrespective of the types of constitution, conflict are bound to ensure among the operatives the to amicably resolve such conflict will give room for an enduring democracy were the value of autonomy would be better appreciated.
        The major purpose of creating local governments is to bring development to the grassroots. In order to perform this adequately, there is need for local councils to have strong economic base. In this connection, it is suggested that statutory allocation to total councils be reviewed upward. It is on the basis of this we recommend the following.
1.          Local government should or must be made independent in the strict sense by removing any forms of strings that will ties them to the apron strings of the state government.
2.          Local government must be furnished with clear legislative and legal prerogative adequate finances, high caliber staff and execution of structure and machinery in order to minimize the act of improprieties.
3.          Further efforts at local government reforms must also be related to the neo-colonial nature of the society.
4.          In view of the fact that intervention and control is inevitable between the centre and periphery the process must follow stipulated rules and be self critical recognition above all, all that each of the three level of government in Nigeria has its assigned functions with possible source of revenue for achieving them. In fact, the very basis on which intergovernmental relations should rest is that where there are purely local and beneficiaries services. Local unfettered discretion to rise and spend money.
It is hope that the recommendations in this study are followed and the cause of the problems of local governments raised are considered, then the problems of local government similar institutions in the country would be solved.
Finally, it is the hope of this researcher that the study would serve as a source of reference for local councils and planner of local government in Nigeria with regards to the importance of the natures of political recruitment existence of local councils.
It is also holed that this study will help to reform the state and federal government where to locate the problems and solutions to the ineffectiveness of local council performance.
It is therefore expected that institution like local government in Nigeria would not place emphasis on the need to bring an end to problems of inefficiency and ineffectiveness government service delivery capacity in Nigeria.
Adeyemo, D.O. Federalism and the Logic of Local Government Autonomy in Nigeria: Nigeria Journal of Local Government Studies .O.A. U. Ile-Ife.
Aiyode, .R. Constitutional and Institutional Basis of Intergovernmental Relations in Nigeria. John Archer Publishing ltd, Ibadan, 2004.
Awu, E.O. 1981 “Theory of Local Government” Quarterly Journal of Administration vol. XV No I & II October/ January.
Bello, Imam. Local Government System in Nigeria; Evolving a third tier of Government. Heinemann Education Book, Ibadan, 1996, p. 3.
Davely, K.J 1991 Local Autonomy and Independent Revenue, Journal of Public Administration, 49:45
Egwaikhide, .F.O. et al “Intergovernmental Relations in Nigeria”.
Ggboyega Alex. 1987, Political Value and Local Government in Nigeria Lagos Malthouse Press Ltd Local Government Basic Constitutional and Transitional Provision Decree. 1989 (Decree No 15 of 1989 Section 14).
Iyoha F.E. “Strategies for Rural Development in a era of Economic Turbulence. Journal of Rural Development, vol. XIX, No 1 Writer (1987) p. 2
Nuhu, Yaqub. “The Third Republic, the Military and the Institutionalization of Democracy in Nigeria” Studies in Politics and Society (7) August 1997, p. 41.
Nwabueze, B.O. 1983. The Presidential Constitution of Nigeria. London Sweet and Maxwell. Nigerian Journal of Public Administration and Local Government vol. 2 No 2. 1983.
Ojo S.O.J “Perspective in Contemporary Political Analysis Imprint Service, Lagos (2005) pp. 3-40.
Okhaide P.O. Local Government in Nigeria,” Aniko Publishing Inc, Benin City, (2008) pp. 1-3
Omopariola A.O. The New Governement System (Longmans, 1983) p. 70
Oyelakin, O.O “Implementation of the Executive Federal Presidential System of Government at the Local Government level, it Logic, Merits and Constraints, Paper Presented at the National Workshop for Directors of Local Government at the State Level Organized at the Obafemi Awolowo University. Ile-Ife by Research Group on local Institution in Nigeria. 1992 .pp. 19-20
Rudeback C.J., To Seek Happiness Development in a West Africa Village in the Era of Democratization” review of African.
Tonwe, D.A. Local Government Administration in Nigeria. A theoretical and Modernizing Federal Perspective, Amfitop book co. Lagos, 1995.


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