Local Government System in Nigeria: Legal, Fiscal and Political Overview
Keywords:Local governments, Joint Account, Local government Autonomy, Local government Reforms
Since the return to civil rule in 1999, there has been sustained agitation for granting local governments autonomy as a prescription for them to deliver efficiently and effectively their assigned responsibilities. Thus, the article examines the local government system in Nigeria from both legal, fiscal, and political viewpoints. It focuses on how the context affects their structure, financial management, capacity, and performance. A combined reading of the provisions of the 1999 constitution, judicial and extra-judicial pronouncements will be revealed that everything relating to supervision, monitoring, and control of local governments in Nigeria is the prerogative of the state governments. The constitution charges the state governments to ensure their existence under a law, specifying their functions, structure, finances, and composition. Through qualitative study, drawing from the literature on the local government system in Nigeria and in-depth interviews with government officials and experts, the paper established that the extent to which state governments are administering and performing oversight activities over their local governments has significantly limited local governments in several ways. This explains the incessant agitation for granting local governments autonomy. Therefore, the paper recommends far-reaching reforms that will instil a viable local government system capable of harnessing local resources towards effective and efficient service delivery. However, it cautioned the efficacy of granting local governments autonomy as canvassed by several stakeholders, given how intertwined the assigned responsibilities of both state and local governments are.
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