LOCAL GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TOWARDS THE DEVELOPMENT OF RURAL COMMUNITIES WITHIN THEIR AREA OF JURISDICTION
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
There is universal acceptance of local government as a vital instrument for rural and urban developments, irrespective of the ideological differences of societies and levels of development. Accordingly, Alhaji Abubakar Rim put it apply: Local government is the most important government of our and. It is the nearest and most immediate government for the man. The man in my village does not know who the president is, he does not even care who the governor of Kano is... He cares only about those who are councillors and chairman of his local government. (Constituent Assembly; 1978).
One of the major reasons for establishing Local Government is to bring government to the local communities so that the local people can participate fully in the process of governance, in order to provide essential local services and thus speed up the pace of social, economic and political development (Ogunna, 1996). Following this fundamental purpose of local government, the Guidelines on the 1976 Local Government reforms makes community participation imperative on Local Government. The principal objectives of the Reform as provided by the Guidelines were to:
(a) Make appropriate services and development activities responsive to local wishes and initiative by devolving and delegating them to local representative bodies;
(b) Facilitate the exercise of democratic self-government close to the local levels of our society, and to encourage initiative and leadership potential;
(c) Mobilize human and material resources through the involvement of members of the public in their local development;
(d) Provide a two-way, channel of communication between local communities and government (both state and federal).
Consequently, nations have been battling for the establishment of viable local government that will bring both government and development nearer to the people. Local government has and will continue to be one of the prime mores of development in different parts of the world and their importance and impact on daily activities of citizens cannot be over emphasized. The terms local government refers to a political authority set up by a nation or state as a subordinate authority for the purposes of dispensing or decentralizing polities’ power. In the English sense, it means local self-government.
Local government is a political sub-division of a national government, or in federal system, a sub-division of regional government in fact; local government administration is so intentioned with local government and rural development in Nigeria that any discussion on one out of necessity involves the other. This is because local government in essence, was created solely to bring development to the communities at the grass root.
Local government and rural development in Nigeria are not a new ideology. It is defined as a process by which the efforts of the people themselves are linked with those of governmental authorities to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions of communities, to integrate them into life of the action, and to enable them to contribute fully to the national progress. Also the role of local government in the promotion of development at the local level is clearly recognized as one of the underlying basis of the 1976 local government reforms which emphasized that none of the principal objectives of local government is to mobilize human and material resources through the involvement of members of the public in the promotion of local government biddle, L. U. I. (1965).
Many communities had built school, constructed roads and bridges, and organized higher education, scholarship schemes for their children etc. Local government and rural development in Nigeria as we recognize today is based on and has grown out of experience of the past. What is new is that these principles are now becoming more widely recognize than ever before. The principles of local government and rural development in Nigeria are not new, but it is the emphasis which makes almost a revolutionary. The concept of local government and rural development in Nigeria is based on the faith. In the ability of people to learn how to help them attain an improved standard of living building better communities taking one step at a time Alan Burns (sir). (1972).
Orewa G. O. (1983) Rural development has thus remained op the priority item o the programmes of the administration. In drawing up the blue print for rural development, government of Owerri municipal local aims primary at sensitizing and mobilizing the people at the grass roots level and deliberately and actively involving them in effective local government and rural development in Nigeria, encouraging, integrated and multi-dimension approach to local government and rural development in Nigeria for the government to achieve the grass roots development, it must get closer to the people. Local government and rural development in Nigeria groups and local government should work very closely, because for instance, a service project such as maternity dispensary or school which is built without the full support of the relevant local government , has very lean chances of survival, since the running and main tenancy expenses of such services are usually too heavy to be borne unaided b such community.
1.1 STATEMENTS OF THE PROBLEM
Our understanding in this study is to investigate and appraise to what extent the local government council as represented by Owerri municipal local government area of Owerri municipal local , has been and to mobilize human ad material resources for development of its area of authority. In line with the of 1976 local government reforms. The researcher will also in this course of this study to find answers to the following problems.
a. To what extents has the local government and rural development in Nigeria objectives of the present local government system been realized in Owerri municipal local government area.
b. To what extent has the local government approach to local government and rural development in Nigeria facilitated the realization of the reforms, including the present military government rural development objectives.
c. is there not a better alternative to the local government current attitude to local government and rural development in Nigeria?
The above questions are closely interlinked and will be my guide to conduct this appraisal work and suggest some possible solutions where necessary.
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In the course of carrying out the research the following research questions were formulated.
1. What is the relevance of revenue and expenditure to local government in Nigeria?
2. What are the implications of this revenue to the administration of local government?
3. To what extent is the derivation principle been applied to revenue and expenditure pattern of local government?
4. How can constitutional provision create problem in the application of revenue sharing formula to local government administration?
5. How can Nigeria evolve an appropriate revenue and expenditure pattern of local government?
In the course of developing this research work the following hypothesis have been formulated.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. The essence of local government is to bring about sustained development at the grass root level.
2. To find effective ways of stimulating teaching and helping people to adopt new methods and to learn new skills.
3. To ensure the preservative of the community spirit.
4. To find out it there are wider political representation.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THW STUDY
The local state government will be able to apply the out come of the study in their functions. The people that will benefit from the study are the staff of Owerri municipal local government and the people ie villages of Owerri municipal local government. Thos system should be encourage in other to achieve the goals and objective of the study especially in the area of local government and rural development in Nigeria Adamolekun L. and Rowland L. (1979).
1.5 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The terms defined here under are based on context of this research work.
ROLE: The expected function in Terms of Service to be rendered by local bodies’ actions of the local government geared towards rural development.
GOVERNMENT: The authorized or legitimate body of people or group of people in the society who make and enforce law on behalf of the people
RURAL: That under development part of the society or country whose dwellers do not have and infrastructure, and do not adequately reach the government.
DEVELOPMENT: Development should be viewed in terms of qualitative provision and improvement in the living standards of the majority of people in a particular area., There should be in terms of making available most of the necessary infrastructural facilities like good drinking water, good roads, medical facilities educational facilities and access to these amenities.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT: 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..