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1.1 Background of the Study
Governance at the local level plays a crucial role in ensuring the provision of
services to the people at the rural areas. In Nigeria more than 70% of the people live in rural
areas, and this scenario led to the creation of local government to provide services such as
roads, water supply, schools, rural electricity, market facilities, health facilities etc. (Agba et
The local government institutions have come to play an important role not only in
promoting the democratic values but also in accelerating the pace of development.
Development whether social, political or economic becomes meaningful and real only when
it stems from the lowest level or grassroots level. Local government is an institution, which
deals with matters concerning the people living in the particular locality. It represents the
microscopic interests of the locality leading to the broader concept of welfare and happiness
of its people (Tasneem, 2015).
Before the advent of British Colonial Administration in Nigeria, each town or village
has its own system of local government. In the North, there was an autocratic emirate
system which was divided into districts and villages. In the West, the Oba was the leader
assisted by council of chief (Oyomesi) which was headed by the Bashorun. There was an
organized army to protect the area from external aggressions. The system looks like what
was operated in the north, however the west had a semi centralized system because, the
Obas decision was subject to approval of the Oyomesi council.
In the East, local government administration was carried out at village and family
level. There was a pre-colonial village or local administration (particularly in the East)
characterized by same practices being observed today in modern local government. For
instance, democratic principles and elements of participative governance were demonstrated
by which decisions were taken by village assembly. During colonial period, the colonial
Administration quickly recognized the importance of local participation as a base for
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