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Decentralisation Nigeria

Decentralisation Nigeria

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Published by: Lionel Kpenou Chobli on May 27, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Capital: Abuja
 Area: 923,770km2 Population: 131 530 000 inhabtsDensity: 142,4 ctzns/km
  Average growth: 2,2 %
The 1999 Constitution remains the yardstick through which the functions of the local governments are measured. In 2003 a Technical Committee was set up on the Review of Local Government Councils. However, its report has not been implemented. The local governments are still so limited in their administrative and technical capacity that they would still need the assistance of the state government. The reforms, although highly publicised,remain very elusive, states have often resorted to law suit to obtain the implementation of certain policies. The passage into law in 2005 by the National Assembly of the "Bill for an act to prescribe the basis for the allocation of revenue standing to the credit of local government councils and Area Councils in the Federal account and for other matters connected there-with" and the establishment of the" Economic and Financial Crime Commissioned (EFCC)" and the "Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC)" by the Federal Government underscores government commitment towards decentralization and fight against corruption and corrupt practices. The EFCC and ICPC have the mandate tomonitor disbursement to the local councils and to act on any reported case of abuse by thestate government. These efforts by the Federal Government have drastically reduced instances of state illegal tampering with council funds. The two commissions are receiving adequate support and backing from the Federal Government. However, the implementationis still restricted. Delta state’s local government law for example has provided for completefinancial autonomy of local governments where contracts are no longer referred to any organor functionary of the State Government for approval provided the project had received the prior approval of the Legislative Arm of the Local Government. It is highly recommended that other states emulate this pattern.
Human Development
HDI 0,466Total GDP (millions $US) 159 750GDP/per capita (units of $ US) 1 120Annual Growth 3,5%Life Expectancy 43,3Literacy (%) Men 74,4Women 59,4Access Internet/1000 ctzn) 6,08
 Communalized Population 100%Average Communal areaUrban Population 46,7Number and Tiers of local governments State 36MetropolitanMunicipality(Cat. A).LocalMunicipality(Cat. B)774
I- The decentralisation policy
The new constitution has weakened the solid roots of the Local governance system. LGs’ statutesare not the same anymore throughout the country. The report ordered by the federal government on the issue is yet to be implemented.
1.1. Establishment of the LG system :
 1.2. Consistency of the legal framework:
 1.3. Consistency of administrative arrangements:
The establishment of the Local governance system
The functions, structure, composition andfinance of local government aredetermined by state law within theparameters set forth in Section 7 and thefourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.Whilst there are some variations fromState to state, the majority of the localgovernments have been established onthe “presidential model”, that is thechairman of the local government area iselected by voters in the local governmentarea and governs with the assistance of commissioners who he appoints to headlocal government departments.However, local government autonomy isrestricted by higher levels of governmentnot only by statute but also by limitationson their discretion in making and executingtheir budgets and in control of their personnel in the form of guidelines havingthe force of law periodically issued bystate governments as policy.Decentralisation to locally electedgovernments was introduced as a meansto improve incentives of public providersfor service delivery to poor people. Yet,practical evidence on how decentralisationinitiatives work in practice is lagging.There has been some on going agitationsfor the creation of more localgovernments, the National Assembly is stillresisting this tendency and the number of Local Government Areas may not behigher than the current number. Moreso,these agitations are seen merely as anavenue to appropriate funds. Recently,Lagos State increased of local governmentareas from 20 to 57 attracted a stiff opposition from the Federal Government,which withheld the state monetaryallocation. The federal government insiststhat Lagos should revert to its former 20local governments to qualify for the fundssince the National Assembly has not
approved the additional 37 localgovernments, while Lagos State insiststhat it is still within the law, since it is notasking for new funds for the additionalLocal Governments. In order top haveaccess to its funds (albeit partly) the LagosState has now reverted to its initial 20 localgovernments.
Legal framework for decentralisation
The 1999 constitution incorporated certainimportant achievements of decentralization. Section 7 provides inter alia that the Government of every stateshall ensure the existence of localgovernment councils under a law whichprovides the establishment, structure,composition, finance and function of suchcouncils. Although the Constitution clearlyguarantees that local governments shouldbe democratically elected, it places themunder the control of the state government.This arises from the constitutionality-recognised power of the state governmentto make laws with respect to localgovernment councils.The power of a state government inrespect of local government councils onthe other hand also is limited in three waysnamely:the Constitution directly creates the localgovernmentthe Constitution specifies their establishment and mandatorily confer certain functions on themno laws for the creation of any more localgovernment can be effected withoutcomplying with the strict constitutionalprovisions.The combined forces of these factorsmake local autonomy elastic but itselasticity depends on the government of the day. It is also clear that an over reliance-The Native Authority Ordinance, 1916,-The Native Authority Ordinance, 1933,-The Local Government Law, 1950,- The Local Government Law, 1952,-The Native Authority Law, 1954,-Guidelines for Local Government Reform,1976,-The Revenue Allocation Act, 1981,-The Local Government (BasicConstitutional and Transitional Provisions Act, 1989-The Local Government (BasicConstitutional and Transitional Provisions(Amendment No. 23) Decree, 1991,-The Local Government (Basic andTransitional Provisions) Decree, 1998-The Federal Constitution, 1999-Electoral Act 2001-Electoral Act 2002-Monitoring of Revenue Allocation to LocalGovernments Act 2005
The Administrative Organisation
Government in Nigeria is divided into threetiers—the federal government, thegovernments of each of the country’sthirty-six states, and local governmentcouncils that govern Nigeria’s 774 LocalGovernment Areas. The NigerianConstitution provides for all three levels of government should be autonomous and tobe run by popularly electedadministrations, and lists in detail theexclusive and concurrent powers of each.The local government system adoptedvaries from state to state.It should be appreciated that theadministration of Local government councilinvolves the making of various decisionson a regular basis; such decisions couldbe classified in various ways, legislative,administrative, judicial, quasi-judicial.The notion of inter-community relations or partnership in order to improve the localcommunities seems strange to them rather what obtain is disputes of boundaries insome states and inter-communal clashes.On the other hand there are co-operationswith their foreign partners to promote thedevelopment of the local government.
Table 1: Administrative and territorial organizationStates No. of LGs. States No. of LGs States No. of LGs. States No. of LGs.
Abia 17 Kano 44 Gombe 11 Oyo 32Abuja FCT 6 Katsina 34 Imo 27 Plateau 17Adamawa 20 Kebbi 22 Jigawa 27 Rivers 22

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