African states and global challenges in democratic local governance: any lessons from the European region?
Local governments in many parts of Africa are yet to be fully accepted as important levels of government by political actors at the central and sub-central levels. This gives rise to the contradictory scenario whereby, such political actors at the central and sub-central levels remain the apostles of centralization on one hand and exponents of democracy as a model of national government on the other hand. Nigeria is the most populous African country. This marginalization of the local government in the democratic process is prevalent in Nigeria. Invariably, the pervasive effect of this condition, as it negatively affects the availability of dividends of democracy to the African citizen, is worrisome. In the meantime, the continent of Europe is perceived in the study as having possibly taken local government to a model level of local self-governance, through its European Charter of Local Self-Government. Europe is thus, seen in this study as a region conceivably in the lead in situating the local government, within its proper democratic context. The theoretical framework of deliberative democracy is adopted in the study to challenge African states to embrace local selfgovernance as a critical component of democratization.
Keywords: Democracy, Local Governance, Africa, Global Trends, Self-Government