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A local government is semi-autonomous territorial unit created by the constitution or general laws of a state to undertake certain functions within specified or limited geographical area. In Nigeria, local government is created to bring government closer to the people.
This research project is thus an assessment of local government administration as an instrument of grass root development in Nigeria using Port Harcourt Local Government Area as a case study.
Chapter one of the Study lays an introduction for subsequent chapters. Following the background of the study, the problem statement and the objective of the study which provided basis for the significance of the study and the hypothesis were stated. The limitations of this study were also highlighted.
In the literature review as contained in chapter two, works of various authors, international and local journals were reviewed to elicit views on local government administration as an instrument of grass root development in Nigeria.
Chapter three, research methodology, description of population and sampling procedure for data collection were discussed. Methods of questionnaire design, determination of sampling size and questionnaire distribution were also highlighted.
Chapter four was based on analysis of data collected. This chapter was sub-divided into data analysis, hypothesis testing and summary. Percentage table, figure and narration were carefully employed for proper understanding and testing of hypothesis.
Finally, chapter five was divided into summary of findings, recommendation and conclusion.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Nigeria operates a federal system of government with a Federal Capital Territory (Abuja), 36 states and 774 local governments. As creatures of the federal government, local governments are constitutionally mandated to perform four basic functions: to provide a machinery for the discussion of local needs and for the provisions of corresponding services within the competence and capability of the local area; to provide machinery for the execution at the local level of regional or federal government policy; to provide a consensus mechanism for the resolution of conflicts of interest at the local level; and to provide a training ground for political participation and articulation (Okoli,2000).This implies that Nigerian local governments are to render cutting edge services that will foster socio-economic development of the rural people which can be otherwise described as grassroots development. If properly managed, local governments are viable instrument for rural transformation, development and the delivery of social services to rural communities in their jurisdiction (Sanda, 1988).
Historically speaking, local governments have been assigned different functions. In colonial time, native authorities were primarily established for maintenance of law and order. With the emergence of independence, emphasis shifted from laws enforcement to the provision of social services (Adeyemo, 2005). How well Nigerian local governments have carried out their constitutionally mandated functions of grassroots development have become a subject of national debate, among scholars and practitioners. To say the least, their operations have come under serious and severe criticisms with some persons calling for the scrapping of the third tier of government. Local government service delivery has continued to dwindle and epileptic in nature despite financial allocations, local government reforms like the 1976.
In Nigeria, the rural people, thoroughly marginalized into a vacuous existence, make up the other Nigerians-forgotten and always forgotten. The line is like a perpetually recurring bad dram, a tale of extreme want in the midst of abundance. There has been an administration upsurge of interest in the literature on development administration and in planning circles on the positive role local government could play in national development. Usually the emphasis is in terms of using local government as a strategic instrument for fostering, promoting and implementing grassroots development.In Nigeria, local government as the tier of government nearest to the grassroots, has since the colonial era been recognized as an institution capable of transforming the live of the rural inhabitants either to create new local governments or to revamp the existing ones in the country with the objectives of utilizing them as fulcrums of rural development. The continuous emphasis on grassroots development is understandable for it is there that the great mass of the people are,: it is there that most indigenous resources of men and land are underused, there that nutrition can be tackled; there that success would be done most to slow the migration to major cities and finally, it is there that some redress of gross inequality in income distribution can be started.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The ineffectiveness of the local government system in Nigeria stems from the socio-economic structure of the society which natures an urban – oriented development strategy is hailed by foreign experts who have on numerous occasions advised our leaders and who still do so. As previous researchers rightly pointed out, to asset that the lock off attention to the rural sector has been merely because of the short sightedness of Africa leaders would be to overdose the urban and industrial bias of the majority of foreign economists and technicians who have advised African governments and institutions over the past decrees. Moreover, the neglect of rural areas stems mainly from the fact that modern African political leaders are creatures of the tours. In the light of the above, the researcher is examining local government administration as an instrument of grassroots development in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To examine local government administration as an instrument of grassroots development Port Harcourt Local Government Area.
2. To examine the factors limiting local government administration in the purpose of grassroots development Port Harcourt Local Government Area.
3. To determine the measures to promote grassroots development through the local government Port Harcourt Local Government Area.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Is local government administration as an instrument of grassroots development?
2. What are the factors limiting local government administration in the purpose of grassroots development?
3. What are the measures to promote grassroots development through the local government?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1. Outcome of this study will provide an overview for the general public on the role of the local government administration as the instrument of grassroots development.
2. This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the role of the local government administration as the instrument of grassroots development Port Harcourt Local Government Area
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
Adamolekun, L., (2006), Postscript: Reorienting the Leadership of Governmental Administration for Improved Development Performance, in Ladipo Adamolekun (ed.), Politics, Bureaucracy and Development in Africa, Ibadan: Spectrum Books Ltd.
Adedeji, A. (2000). Renewal of the Search for Systems of Local Governance that can serve the common Good. In: Adedeji, A. & Bamidele, A. (eds). People Centred Democracy in Nigeria? The Search for Alternative Systems of Governance at the Grassroots, Ibadan, Heinemann Educational Books Nigeria Plc.
Okoli, F.C. (1985). An Introduction to Theory and Practice of Local Government: A Nigerian Perspective; Nsukka Topmost Printing Press.
The 1976 Local Government Reforms guidelines, Lagos, Federal Ministry of Information.
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