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Author THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GRASSROOT  (Read 2385 times)

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Offline Isaac Adeniran

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THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GRASSROOT
« on: June 20, 2015, 08:14:28 PM »
Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, who was described by Dante, the Latin poet, as the “master of those who know”, had suggested that “definition of terms (names ) is the beginning of any discussion” rendered in Latin as “initio disputandi est definitio nominis”.

In line with the above glaring veracity, I COMRADE HENRY AGBESO ,he writer intends to give explication of key terms used in this address. Before such an exercise in linguistic analysis, however, permit the writer to declare that this writeup intends, secondarily, to indicate the extent to which the United Nations Millennium Development Goals have been attained at the Local Government level of administration in Nigeria, the Niger Delta and our States in particular. However, the paper focuses more and primarily on the responsibility of the local government towards the attainment of these self-same goals.

We thus wish to explicate the concept of Local Government and to give a cursory insight into what the goals to be achieved are all about. Let us say here, that after the explication of terms, we shall go on to address the historicity, structure, finance and function of Local Government. We shall then connect Local Government to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, mindful of what they ought to do. If there are problems that can militate against the Local Governments in their attempt to practically address these goals, we shall discuss them, and thereafter make some recommendations. To the explication of terms now we turn.

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NaijaSky

THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GRASSROOT
« on: June 20, 2015, 08:14:28 PM »

Offline Isaac Adeniran

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Re: THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GRASSROOT
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2015, 08:15:02 PM »
Local Government: What it is:


The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the 1976 Local Government Reforms, explained Local Government as follows:
“Local Government is Government at Local level exercised through representative councils established by Law to exercise specific power within defined areas” (Government print: 1976).
The United Nations Office for Public Administration explained Local Government as:
“A political division of a nation (in a Federal or State system) which is constituted by Law and has substantial control of Local affairs including the power to impose taxes to exact labour for prescribed purposes.
W. A. Robson, in the Encyclopedia of the Social Services, defines Local Government as involving:
“The conception of a territorial, non-sovereign community possessing the legal right and the necessary organ to regulate its own affairs.
This, in turn, presupposes the existence of a Local authority with the power to act independently of external control as well as the participation of the local community in the administration of its affairs”.
The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition( 1978), volume 17, defines Local Government as: “a political subdivision of national government or in the case of Federal Systems, a subdivision of regional Government”.
The New Columbia Encyclopedia (4th Ed.), defines it as the: “sub-political administration of the smallest sub-divisions of a country’s territory and population. Ugwu (2002) defines Local Government as “the lowest unit of administration to whose laws and regulations communities who live in a defined geographical area and with a common social and political ties are subject.

Though these definitions may tend to vary, yet they expose features characteristic of Local Government, among which are that:
i. Local Government is government at the local level;
ii. It has its autonomous existence and endowed with a legal status;
iii. Specific powers are reserved for it;
iv. It can impose taxes and incur expenses;
v. it exists within a defined territory;
vi. It is seen as a distinct tier of Government;
vii. It must provide authority over a given population;
viii. It must provide avenues for the promotion of the welfare of the members of the community;
ix. It comprises elected members, such as chairmen and councilors.

Having listened so far to the definitions given above, at least , each one of us are present can say something about what Local Government is, at least , the fact that it is the government closest to us at the grass root level. And, as a matter of fact, may we now draw your attention to the origin of the word “Local “. “Local” as a term is derived from Latin “Locus”, which means “place”. This understanding of the etymological meaning of “Local” as “place” can further assist us in understanding Local Government as the government of our immediate “place”, be it our town, group of villages or group of clans. Your local government thus means the government of your place.

NaijaSky

Re: THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GRASSROOT
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2015, 08:15:02 PM »

Offline Isaac Adeniran

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Re: THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GRASSROOT
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2015, 08:15:41 PM »
THE STRUCTURE OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNDER THE 1999 CONSTITUTION OF NIGERIA

THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE


Basically, the structure of the presidential system of Local Government at the grass root level consists of the legislature and the executive, the judiciary being absent.
THE EXECUTIVE ARM
This consists of the chairman, vice chairman, supervisors and secretary of council. The chairman of the Local Government council is the chief executive and accounting officer of the council. The secretary of council, and the supervisory councillors are appointed by the chairman of council.

THE LEGISLATIVE ARM
The Legislative arm of the Local Government council is composed of the leader of the council and other councillors. The functions performed by the legislative arm are defined by law but essentially include:
a. Debating approving and amending the annual budget of the Local Government;
b. Vetting and monitoring the implementation of projects and programmes in the annual budget of the Local Government;
c. Examining and debating the monthly statement of income and expenditure rendered to it by the Chairman of the Local Government;
d. Advising, consulting and liaising with the Chairman of council;
e. And performing such other functions that may be assigned to it from time to time by an edict or law of the state in which it is situated.

There may be other theoretical Structurization of the Local Government. These can be categorized into the
Administrative Structure
where the Chairman, Secretary, Supervisory councillors and Heads of Department are involved;
The Financial Structure
where the treasurer and Auditor General of the Local Government are involved;
The Committee Structure
where there are several committees such as:
i. The Financial and general purpose Committee
ii. Police and Community relations Committee
iii. Education Committee
iv. Works and Housing Committee
v. Health and Environmental services Committee
vi. Agriculture, Rural and Social Services Committee
vii. Financial and Economic planning Committee;

The Personnel Structure, headed by the head of Personnel.
The Personnel Department is responsible for the Personnel of all Local Government which acts in liaison with the Local Government Services Commission, which is charged with responsibilities of staff discipline, welfare and training in the Local Government.
Due to the concomitant democratic resonance of modern Local Government system, the political structure of the local government tends to overshadow other structures and thus remains pivotally significant.

NaijaSky

Re: THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GRASSROOT
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2015, 08:15:41 PM »

Offline Isaac Adeniran

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Re: THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GRASSROOT
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2015, 08:16:25 PM »
LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE


In his analysis of the society, Karl Marx was apt to submit that there are basically two principal structures in the society, the first being the substructure and the second being the superstructure. The first, sub-structure refers to the economic system, while the second, the super-structure refers to the political system. The thinker went on to aver that the sub-structure controls the super-structure. Put in other words, the economy of any given society dictates the political structure of that society. The U.S.A. is the most vibrant economy in the whole world. Owing to this singular fact, the U.S.A. has almost the best systems in terms of its polity, defense, education, etc.
Here, we intend to say that the finance of the Local Government can dictate the pace of the administration of the Local Government. Surely, “the success or failure of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of any Local Government largely depend on financial resources available to the individual Local Authorities and the way these resources are utilized”(Adedeji:1969:96).

FUNCTIONS OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The Local Government system by democratically elected Local Government Councils is guaranteed under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, section 7. Based on this section 7, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution provides for the functions of a Local Government Council under its Fourth Schedule. This schedule tends to derive mainly from the Basic and Constitutional Transition Provisions(Decree 15 of 1987). Thus, functions of Local Governments are categorised into
i. The Exclusive list; and
ii. The Concurrent list.

The exclusive list of functions are those functions that are solely performed by Local Governments, while the concurrent list of functions are those that the Local Government performs in collaboration with State and federal Governments. The State and/or Federal Government can also perform these functions on behalf of local Governments until Local Governments are in a position to perform such functions.

According to the Fourth Schedule 1 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution,
The main functions of a Local Government Council are as follows:
a. The Consideration and the making of recommendations to a State commission on economic planning or any similar body on
(i). The economic development of the State, particularly in so far as the areas of authority of the council and of the State are affected, and
(ii) proposals made by the said commission or body;
(b). Collection of rates, radio and television licenses;
(c). Establishment and maintenance of cemetries, burial grounds and homes for the destitute or infirm;
(d). Licensing of bicycles, trucks(other then mechanically propelled trucks), canoes, wheel barrows and carts;
(e). Establishment, maintenance of and regulation of slaughter houses, slaughter slabs, markets, motor parks and public conveniences;
(f). Construction and maintenance of roads, streets, street lightings, drains and other public highways, parks, gardens, open spaces, or such public facilities as may be prescribed from time to time by the House of Assembly of a State;
(g). Naming of roads and streets and numbering of houses;
(h). Provision and maintenance of public conveniences, sewage and refuse disposal;
(i). Registration of all births, deaths and marriages;
(j). Assessment of privately owned houses or tenements for the purpose of levying such rates as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of a State; and
(k). Control and regulation of:
(i). Out–door advertising and hoarding;
(ii). Movement and keeping of pets of all description,
(iii). Shops and kiosks,
(iv). Restaurants, bakeries and other places for sale
(v). laundries, and
(vi). Licensing, regulation and control of the sale of liquor

Under section 2 of the Fourth Schedule, the functions of a Local Government Council shall include participation of such council in the Government of a State as respects the following matters:
(a). The Provision and maintenance of primary, adult and vocational education;
(b). The development of agriculture and natural resources, other than the exploitation of minerals;
(c). The provision and maintenance of health services; and
(d). Such others functions as may be conferred on a Local Government Council by the House of Assembly of the State.

NaijaSky

Re: THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GRASSROOT
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2015, 08:16:25 PM »

Offline Isaac Adeniran

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Re: THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GRASSROOT
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2015, 08:17:21 PM »
THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE FUNCTIONS


As earlier indicated above, the executive arm of the Local Government is constituted by the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman elected with him, the secretary and Supervisors appointed by the Chairman. The specific functions of these key officers specified in the Handbook on Local Government (1999) are as follows:
(a). The Chairman
The Chairman, as the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer, shall perform the following functions:
(i). He shall observe and comply fully with the checks and balances spelt out in the existing guidelines and financial regulations governing receipts, and disbursement of public funds and other assets entrusted to his care and shall be liable for any breach thereof;
(ii). His accountability shall not cease by virtue of his leaving office and he may be called upon, at any time, even after leaving office, to account for his tenure as chairman.
(iii). The Chairman as chief Executive and Accounting Officer shall face periodic checks in order to ensure full adherence to the finance (control and management), And to this end:

(a). All instructions relating to expenditure of public funds by the Accounting Officers shall be in writing;
(b). All accounting officers shall be responsible to account to the public accounts committee for all monies voted for each department and shall be peculiarly liable.
(c). The Chairman as Chief Executive and Accounting officer shall render monthly statement of income and expenditure and annual reports to the Local Government Council for it to consider and debate in order to ensure accountability and enforce the performance ethics. The format and content of the annual report shall place emphasis on performance and concrete achievements of the Local Government targets and output during the relevant year;
(d). The Local Government chairman shall render quarterly returns of the actual income and expenditure of the Local Government to the State Government for onward transmission to the office of the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with a copy to the Central Bank of Nigeria;
(e). The Chairman as Accounting Officer shall be bound by the provisions of any other rules, regulations, guidelines, edicts and laws governing the roles and functions of a Chief Executive and accounting Officer;
(f). The Chairman shall ensure the strict observance of the spending limits by all concerned;
(g). All reference to the secretary as accounting Officer in the financial Regulations and any other rules, regulations, guidelines, edicts or laws shall be construed as reference to the chairman;
(h). The Chairman shall direct the officers of the Local Government and shall allocate responsibilities to the Vice-Chairman Secretary and Supervisors at least once every week;
(i). The chairman shall hold meetings with the members of the Executive Committee of the Local Government, i.e., Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Supervisors at least once every week;
(j). He shall maintain liaison with the Local Government Legislature and the leader of the legislature in the interest of the Local Government;
(k). He shall countersign the annual performance evaluation report of the heads of department of the Local Government which shall be initiated by the secretary to local Government.

(b). The Vice-Chairman
The Vice-Chairman, who shall be elected with the Chairman of Local Government, shall be assigned responsibilities for the administration of a department of the Local Government.
1. He shall act for the Chairman in his absence;
2. The Vice-Chairman may be called upon at anytime, even after leaving office, to account for his tenure as Vice-Chairman.

(c). The Secretary to the Local Government
The Secretary to the Local Government shall be appointed by the Chairman and shall hold his office at the pleasure of the Chairman. He shall:

1. Serve as the secretary of the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Local Government and keep the records thereof;
2. Coordinate the activities of the departments of the Local Government;
3. Liase, on behalf of the Chairman, with the Local Government Council through the leader of the Council;
4. Liase with the secretary to the State Government and other necessary State functionaries on State-Local Government relations; and
5. Perform such other duties as may be assigned to him, from time to time, by the Chairman.

(d). Supervisors
The Supervisors shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Local Government in consultation with the Local Government Council. Each Supervisor shall hold his appointment at the pleasure of the Local Government Chairman who appointed him or her and the supervisor’s tenure shall automatically remain the discretion of the Chairman.

The functions of the supervisory councillors as the political heads are as follows:
(a). Political heads of their respective departments;
(b). Member of the finance and general purpose Committee which in effect is the cabinet to the Local Government,
(c ). Giving directives to executive heads of Local Government departments on general policy issues only, but not on the internal management of the department;
(d). Assisting the Chairman to supervise the execution of Local Government projects within their respective departments;
(e). Chairman of relevant committee i.e. their respective departments (such as Education, Works, health, etc;
(f). Carrying out such other functions as Chairman or council may assign to them from time to time.

NaijaSky

Re: THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GRASSROOT
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2015, 08:17:21 PM »


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