Developmental Local Government as a Model for Grassroots Socio-Economic Development in Nigeria
In the past five decades of political independence in Nigeria, local government administration has moved from the colonial styled Local administration characterized by peculiar systems to the federating units to the present unified and standardized system that constitutionally recognizes local government as the third tier of government. As the third tier of government, local governments are entitled to a statutory allocation of national revenue and the carrying out of specific functions in response to local needs. The objective of the problem statement of this article is to show that the present system whereby, the Constitution gives the State governments the power to handle issues of organization and responsibility in the local governments places a strong limitation on local autonomy and governance at the local level. The abuse of these provisions in the Constitution by the State governments coupled with other issues such as low level of commitment to the people and lack of monitoring and evaluation are negatively affecting grassroots socio-economic development in the Country. Local economic growth and development is an imperative for overall socio-economic development of the Country (the local population presently faces high incidence of poverty, unemployment, lack of social infrastructure and low economic activities). It is in this context that the article prescribes a developmental local government model which has local economic development (LED) as ‘the mandate’ to address the concerns of poverty, unemployment and inadequate resources in the rural areas. The LED approach enables local governments to stimulate economic activities and improve the socioeconomic conditions of people in the localities by working in partnership with private and other non-governmental sectors.