Problems and Prospects of Local Government Autonomy in Nigeria

Filed in Articles by on January 11, 2023


The ever-reoccurring need for a good evaluation of local government autonomy in Nigeria, its problems, and prospects has always been a major problem confronting many researchers.

The nature and structure of transactions or interactions between the three tiers of government determine the degree of their autonomy. The study investigates the problems and prospects of local government autonomy in Nigeria:

A study of Imo State Local Government System. The study adopts the system theory as the theoretical framework of analysis. The systems theory argues that every system, including the political system, has subsystems that make up the entire system.

It posits that local governments constitute the subsystems. Methodologically, both primary and secondary data served as sources of information. A stratified random sampling technique was used to select the local governments to be included from each senatorial zone in Imo State while purposive random sampling was then used to select respondents.

A sample size of 846 copies of questionnaires was found valid for the study while a chi-square at 0.05 level of significance was used for the research hypothesis.


Background of Study
The history of the local government system in Nigeria dates back to the colonial days. Although contact with Europeans dates back to the fifteenth century, it was not until 1861 before the first steps were taken to establish an administration by Britain.

The colonial administration that was established was based on indirect rule. This requires that the administration should be carried out through traditional rulers and institutions.

This led to the establishment of native authorities in their most rudimentary forms from the 1980s to the 1930s. The main function of the native authorities was to maintain law and order.

The first native authority ordinance recognized traditional rulers as native authorities. This was early done in Northern Nigeria but there was a problem in identifying who those authorities were in southern Nigeria.

This necessitated the first reforms in the 1930s and the 1940s culminating in the establishment of chiefs-in-council and chiefs-and-council in place of sole native authorities.

The chief-in-council is made up of the chief and members of the council. The chief presides at all meetings and acts in accordance with the majority of opinion in the council.


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