The Role Of Local Government In Rural Development

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THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT (A STUDY OF WARRI NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF DELTA STATE).

ABSTRACT
The major concern of this research work is to assess the role of Warri North Local
Government Area of Delta State in rural development of its constituent communities.
In achieving this, the research work relies on descriptive approach and structured
questionnaire and interview for data collection. A simple size of one hundred and fifty
(150) respondents was used for the study. Our findings revealed that the council has
not performed well in developing the rural areas over the years. Various
recommendations were made based on the findings among such are, increase in
revenue allocation by both Federal and State governments, serious commitment be
made by such staff toward internally generated revenue and the use of direct labour
(council engineers) in carrying out projects in place of contractors. Improvement of
infrastructure by the councils is also recommended.

TABLE OF CONTENT
Page
Title Page - - - - - - - - i
Approval Page - - - - - - ii
Dedication - - - - - - - - iii
Acknowledgement - - - - - - - iv
Abstract - - - - - - - - vi
Table of Content - - - - - - - vii
CHAPTER ONE: Background of Study
1.1 Introduction - - - - - - -
1.2 Statement of Problem - - - - - -
1.3 Objectives of Study - - - - - -
1.5 Significance of the Study - - - - -
1.6 Operational Definition of Concept - - - -
1.7 Literature Review - - - - - -
1.7.1 Local Government and Rural Development - - -
1.7.2 Inadequate Finance and Rural Development - - -
1.7.3 Paucity of Skilled Manpower and Rural Development - -
1.8 Theoretical Framework - - - - -
1.9 Hypothesis - - - - - - -
1.10 Research Methodology - - - - - -
References - - - - - - - -
CHAPTER TWO: History and Organizational Structure of
Warri North Local Government
2.1 Evolution of Local Government in Nigeria - - -
2.2 History of Warri North Local Government Council - -
2.3 The Organizational Structure of Warri North Local Government
References - - - - - - - -
CHAPTER THREE
Warri North Local Government and Rural Development - -
References - - - - - - - -
CHAPTER FOUR
4.1 Data Analysis - - - - - - -
4.2 Testing of Hypotheses- - - - - -
4.3 Discussion of Findings - - - - -
CHAPTER FIVE: Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
5.1 Summary - - - - - - -
5.2 Conclusion - - - - - - -
5.3 Recommendation - - - - - -
Bibliography - - - - - - -
Appendix - - - - - - -

CHAPTER ONE
BACKGROUND OF STUDY
1.1 Introduction
The expediency for the creation of local government anywhere in the world
stems from the need to facilitate development at the grassroots. The importance of
local government is a function of its ability to generate sense of belongingness, safety
and satisfaction among its populace. All forms of government, regimes or political
systems have so far ensured the attainment of this goal. Such strategy for ensuring
national administrative development and political efficacy is found in the concept and
practice of local government. Whatever is the mode of government, local government
has been essentially regarded as the path to, and guarantor of, national integration,
administration and development.
In Nigeria's socio-political context, with multiplicity of culture, diversity of
languages and differentiated needs and means, the importance of such an organization
in fostering the needed national consciousness, unity and relative uniformity as well
as preservation of peculiar diversities cannot be over-emphasized. Central to the
creation of local government, however, is its ability to facilitate an avenue through
which government and the people intermix, relate and more quickly than any other
means resolve or dissolve issues that may have heated the system. Local government
has been perceived as a panacea for the diverse problems of the diverse people with
diverse culture.
As important as this tier of government has been, there seems to be some
impediments that have been infringing on its performance and functions in recent
times. These impediments range from political but undue interference of the higher
levels of government i.e. federal and state governments, bribery and corruption to
embezzlement and gross inadequacy of well-trained and qualified personnel to
mention a few.
According to Nnoli (1981:36) and Rodney (1972:11), all people have shown a
capacity for independently increasing their ability to live more satisfactory life than
before. This is then a progressive process that has no end.
A local government is semi-autonomous territorial unit created by the
constitution or general laws of a state to undertake certain functions within specified
or limited geographical area. According to Agbakoba (2004:3), a local government is
a political and administrative unit that is empowered by law to administer a specified
locality. It involves philosophical commitment to the idea of community participation
in government at grassroots level.
There is general assumption among scholars and practitioners, that local government
are not only established as representative organ but also as a channel through which
goods and services are delivered to the people within the framework of laws
establishing them.
In fact, democracy itself originated and developed along the line of local
government initiatives. This is why the executive, legislative and judicial arms of
these governments are elected or appointed as the case may be. In Nigeria, local
government is created to bring government closer to the people. The definition of
local government by the Nigerian Federal Government leaves one with no iota of
doubt that it is largely both theoretically sound and service oriented to the people. It
talks of representative councils with substantial control over local affairs, for the
provision of services and implementation of projects in their areas, to complement the
activities of both the State and Federal governments. The definition also amply
recognizes the need for local government autonomy as the substantial control of local
governments is aimed at staff, institutional and financial matters, among others
(Nigeria, 1976). In addition to the above, the Nigerian Federal Government is one of
the few governments in the world perhaps in addition to Brazil (Erero, 1998) that
have elevated LGs to a third tier of government. By so doing, the State governments
do not exercise absolute controls over local governments.
Therefore, the work seeks to contribute in illuminating the actual status of
Warri North local government as regard community or rural development which it
purports to be raison d’etre of its existence. The empirical analysis will show whether
creation of local government is really for the sake of ensuring grassroots development
or mere political compensation for the government loyalists. It is in this light that we
chose to study the topic.
Specifically, the paper carefully, critically and objectively examines operational
definitions, local government, and development and opinion of the people expressed
through the print media about the impact of the Warri North local government council
in their areas. And of course, germane recommendations which emanate from the
study are provided for the improvement of local government in the development of
the localities/communities.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The need to catalyze balanced development, maximize citizens’ participation,
and arouse government response necessitates the creation of the local government.
The local government serves as a form of political and administrative structure
facilitating decentralization, national integration, efficiency in governance, and a
sense of belonging at the grassroots. The local government is a unit of administration
all over the world (Agagu, 2004).
Local government has been the root of development in terms of dealings with
the people which democracy is centred upon. Hence, local government is visibly seen
as co-agent of rural development and as partners in progress with both states and
federal governments in rural developments.
To this end, this study sets out to investigate the impact of local government
on rural/grass root development with emphasis on Warri North Local Government of
Delta State. Knowing the roles the government needs to play in development of any
society and the obvious inability of the national and state governments in the task of
rural areas, Local government has been created essentially to compliment the efforts
of the states and national government in the task of rural development. Nevertheless,
abject poverty and underdevelopment remains a common feature in these rural
communities.
Thus, in pursuance of the central problem in this research a number of
questions have been raised (posed) for this research purpose. They are:
i) Has Warri North local government Area contributed substantially to rural
development?
ii) Does Inadequacy of Skilled Workers (like qualified engineers of all types,
medical doctors etc) affect the ability Warri North local government council in
carrying out rural development programme?
iii) Does inadequate financing of the local government by the state and federal
government affect the ability of Warri North local government council to
contribute to rural development?
1.3 Objectives of Study
The broad objective of this study is to assess the performance of Warri North
local government council in the area of rural development.
The specific objectives of the study are as follows.
1. To ascertain whether Warri North local government has contributed
substantially to rural development.
2. To find out if inadequacy of skilled workers (like qualified engineers all types,
medical doctors, etc) affect the ability of Warri North local government council
in carrying out rural development programme.
3. To verify whether inadequate financing by both state and federal governments
hinders the council in carrying out developmental programmes.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the
study provides a theoretical framework for the understanding of the role of local
government in rural development in Nigeria. Therefore considering the pivotal role of
local government in development in general, such information will be of immense
help for policy formulation on the development of grassroots. The result of the study
will equally be of help to other researchers who may want to research on such topic or
related topics on development in the academia in the future.
On the practical significance, the study will draw attention of, and enlighten both
the stakeholders and those who implement policies on rural development in Nigeria
who may not really understand the central role of rural development on the crucial
and inescapable role of local government system. As a result, the rural dwellers will
endeavour to participate full in grassroots democratization and development, while
those who implement policy on development in Nigeria will become dedicated to
policy formulation, recommendations and implementation.
1.6 Operational Definition of Concept
Grassroots/Rural development: The term grassroots development as used in this
study refers to the act or process of developing and empowering the well-being of the
vast majority of the rural dwellers through the provision of basic social and economic
infrastructures. Hence, it is a development from below. According to Todaro (1985)
grassroots development is an advancement that makes life more meaningful in all its
entirety. Whether political, economic, socio-cultural and infrastructural.
Rural Dwellers
Rural dwellers are the people living in the remote areas of a country and lack
basic infrastructure like good road network, pipe borne water, electricity, good health
facility etc. The term refers to the ordinary people who are far from political decision
making process at the centre. These groups includes small scale farmers, tenants, etc
who seek livelihood in the rural areas.
Democracy/local government
The term democracy “literally signifies” the rule of the people: the term
democracy as it is used in the study synchronizes with Abraham Lincoln’s definition
of democracy. Gauba (1981:421) quoting Lincoln and it reads: Democracy is the
government of the people by the people and for the people. It implies that ultimate
authority of government is vested in the common people so that the public policy is
made to conform to the will of the people and to serve the interests of the people.
From the foregoing, one can rightly say that democracy is all about “peoples”
participation in government–and local government

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