Local Government Autonomy in Nigeria: Structural and Institutional Innovations
Local government involves a philosophical commitment to the idea of democratic participation in the governing process at the grassroot level. This implies legal and administrative decentralization of authority and power by a higher level of government to a lower community with a will of its own performing specific functions as with the national framework. Here, we examine these roles in Nigeria with particular emphasis on autonomy, structure and institutional innovations. The methodology adopted here is the content analysis of existing literature on local government and administration in Nigeria. We discuss among others, the 1976 local government reforms which were intended to bring about development at the grassroot level and to revamp the ailing local government system as it were. The creation of more local governments was a major step by the then military administration to achieve this developmental stance and ensure popular participation. We conclude that local government in Nigeria has a crucial role to play in the development process provided there is result-oriented management with a guaranteed operational authority supported by effective local participation.