BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR THE STUDY
The concept of intergovernmental relations is associated with states having a Federal Administration system where the relationships between the Federal, Central or National Governmental and major sub-national unit (province, region or state) is formally spelt out in the constitution. Intergovernmental relations have been seen as a system of transactions among structured levels of government in a state. It is also seen as registration in which the parties are negotiating advantageous positions for power, money and problems-solving responsibility (Olugbemi: 1980).
The goals of intergovernmental relations are said to be to promote peace and harmony among the three tiers of government, which are the Federal, State and Local Government. This is to accelerate the achievement of a self-reliant economy. In so doing, inter-governmental relations will also help to minimize inter-jurisdictional conflicts among the various levels of government. Also it would help in boosting greater nationaleconomic integrationthrough the activities of the three levels of government. Again to enhance the emergence of co-operative rather than competitive federation there is also need to enhance effective and efficient utilization of available human and material resources among the three levels of government as this would help in solving the problem of rural and urban poverty, also to achieve a situation where there is special need for integrating programmers on a nation wide scale. To look into the situation where states, local government or unit of the federal set up have responsibilities with no resources base to perform them (John Nwafor: Unpublished work).
The achievement of the objectives of inter-governmental relations is dependent on some social factors within the Nigerian social System. Some social factors include the political setting and the state of the economy in the nation. Looking at the political setting, the inter-governmental relation is basically based on the three tiers of government that is the Federal, State and Local Government. But looking at that, the Federal and State Government is said to have more autonomy than the local government due to the fact that they are the last tier of government (John Nwafor: Unpublished work). That is why local government is not given its full autonomy to do things on its own. The other tiers of the government still tell them what to do, how to make their own policies, how to elect/appoint those to rule them like the Chancellor or Chairman and so on. Local Government is still dependent on the other tiers of government making them too subordinate and loyal for my liking (Nwokedi, Ralph: 2002).
To this, there should be greater independence of the state and local governments in the Federal Government for their survival and performance of fundamental responsibilities. There should also be several reforms which should lead to the recognition of the local government as the third tier of government with relative autonomy and jurisdictional powers as provided for in the constitution.
Another problem is the state of the nation’s economy. The nation’s economy really influenced the nature and scope of intergovernmental relations in the local government in Nigeria. The wealth of any nation is a key factor in determining its pattern of material relation. Between 1960 and 1970, the basis of fiscal relations between the Federal, State and Local Government were richer and more powerful than the local government. But these problems will come to an end if the local government has greater control of the tax revenue. The local government should control 50% of the tax revenue allocation of its area without the Federal or State government interference. They should also receive grants and aids from outside and within the country, making them powerful and independent of their own. Their federation Allocation Account should be granted to them annually or monthly as the case may be. They should be allowed to run their affairs especially when it comes to monetary matters. (F Okoli and Onah O, 2002).
In so doing, channel of communication should be at its high level between the Federal, State and Local Government in order to produce an effective result. This is because without one another there would not be effectiveness due to the fact that an inter-governmental relation is a relationship between the three tiers of government.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
To appreciate the depth of crisis in the Federal system in Nigeria, one has to follow the recent trend of the raging controversy between the Federal and State Governments over the exercise of power or control of revenue resources of local government on how not to have assumed the undue Prominence given to it as a constitutional question if Nigerian Leaders, particularly at the Federal level had adhered strictly to the norms of federalism and followed the precedents established by the past democratic governments in Nigerian federation.
In Nigeria, the issue of sharing resources among the three levels of government has remained controversial due to lack of an acceptable formula. It generates tension and bad blood among the three tiers of government. This has resulted in setting up of different committees or commissions to prescribe the formular to be used. Also there exists a conflict between the Federal, State and Local government over acceptable formular for sharing revenue. For instance, the conflict is usually whether the principle of derivation, need, natural interest or landmass should be used as a basis for the purpose. Even when these principles may be generally accepted as the main basis for working out revenue allocation formular, conflict might arise following as to which of the principles takes precedence over others as the main criteria for sharing the revenue.
This is the problem of tax jurisdiction, which refers to the problem of which aspect of government should collect what revenue over a particular area. These have been serious problems between the Federal, State and Local Governments. Their share of tax revenue seriously affects local governments. They are the lowest level of government. Likewise they collect the least amount of tax revenue, which makes them still stagnant.
Another problem is the existence of control of one level of government by another in any aspect (Abonyi, 2005). The local government is dominated by the Federal and State governments. They do not have their own autonomy making them too dependent on the other levels of governments. Honorable mention must be made of the problem of finding the best method of channeling revenue from one level of government to another especially from the Federal to the Local Government. (Ugwu, 1998:90).
(1) Did the constitution make any provision for intergovernmental relations in Nigeria?
(2) What is the relevance of inter-governmental relations in local government in Nigeria?
(3) Is the local government autonomous in nature in Nigeria?
(4) What effects has inter-governmental relations had in Local Government Administration?
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to know if truly the local government has a clear autonomy within the three tiers of Nigerian government Nigeria,
Other objectives of the Study include
(i) To determine the relevance of inter-governmental relations in Nigeria
(ii) To determine if the local government is independent and can work on its own.
(iii) To recommend measures required for an improved inter-governmental relations in Nigeria.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of great benefit to local government administrators. This is because it will be expose the challenges it is facing in administering and fostering important inter-governmental relations which would help in ensuring full autonomy and making the local governments independent.
It would also be of great significance to researchers by way of making them aware of problems that have been uncovered by these researchers, so that they would know where to start from in their subsequent research work in the area of inter-governmental relations in Nigeria.
It would also be useful to university students like students of Godfrey Okoye University when doing a likely research. The study would be significant to policy makers and policy implementers, as they would make use of the findings and recommendations of this study.
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