Local Government Autonomy in Nigeria

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTONOMY IN NIGERIA; A NEED FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM "The basic irony between the U.S system and ours is that; while the various forms of local government are working wonders even when they are not mentioned anywhere in the U.S constitution; complaints over the failings of the Local Governments abound here even when they are entrenched in and catered for by the 1999 Constitution”. 1. INRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

All over the world, the local government system is the tier of government that is closest to the people. It is designed to bring governance and service delivery to rural and underserved communities. It is also an avenue for deepening democracy and decentralizing power through greater citizen participation in electoral processes and decision-making. It also serves as an arena for political development at the grass-roots level. Thus, Section 14(4) states:

The composition of Government of a State, a Local Government Council, or any of the Agencies of such Government or Council, and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or Council or such Agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recorgnise the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the peoples of the Federation.

This Section of the Constitution has been termed by many authors as the “Local Government Character”. It thus means that like what it is applicable to other jurisdictions, where the local government system is a tier of government so also in Nigeria, the system of local government is meant to be a tier of government at the grass root, burdened with the sole responsibility of bringing the government closer to the people; as envisaged by Section 14(4) of the Constitution.

According to the Black’s Law Dictionary, “autonomy” is defined as...
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