THE IMPACT OF INTER-GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN NIGERIA. (A STUDY OF LAGOS ISLAND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, LAGOS STATE)

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 Introduction

Inter-governmental relations refer to the structures and processes which exist in a decentralized system of government for the coordination of the activities of the various levels of government as they perform their constitutionally-assigned roles inter-governmental relations encompasses all the permutations and combinations of relations among the units of government in a federal system, it comprises the activities and attitudes of persons occupying positions in all the units of government under consideration: Federal, State, Local as well as in the judicial, legislative or executive branches of government as they relate with each other Inter-governmental relations includes conceited and regularized actions of officials as well as the one-time occasional occurrences such as new statutes and landmark court decisions in their interrelationship. In fact, it is inter-government relations, which makes a federal entity a system of government. Otherwise, the federation becomes just a collection of independent entities. As a result of the relationship between levels of government in from the principle of division of powers in such way that no level of government is subordinate to the other on matters constitutionally allocated to it, but also from a realistic conception of federalism as a total system of imperfectly shared responsibility.

Background of the Study

Since all governments within the federal system serve the same people, the sharing of powers provides a compelling imperative for intergovernmental cooperative transactions.

In contemporary federal political systems, intergovernmental relations flow vertically and horizontally in five separate and different channels, namely:

Federal—State; Federal—Local; State—State; State—Local and Local—Local

In the Nigerian federation, the horizontal relations among states and among local governments remain underdeveloped, while the channels for inter-governmental federal state and even federal local relations are better developed, notwithstanding the increasing trend for meetings between states on geo-political basis and the periodic meeting of local government officials.

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 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 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 formula to be used.  Also there exists a conflict between the Federal, State and Local government over acceptable formula 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 formula, 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).  Local governments are dominated by the Federal and State governments.  They do not have their own autonomy, making them too dependent on the other levels of governments.  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).

Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study is Impact of Inter-governmental Relations on Local Government Administration in Nigeria, with particular reference to Lagos Island Local Government Area of Lagos State.

Other objectives of the study include;

To determine the relevance of inter-governmental relations in Nigeria To determine the main sources of conflict among the various levels of government in inter-governmental relations in Nigeria. To recommend solutions to inter-jurisdictional conflict among the various levels of government. To recommend measures required for an improved inter-governmental relations in Nigeria.

Significance of the Study

This study will be of great benefit to Lagos Island Local Government Area of Lagos State.  This is because it will be exposed to the challenges it is facing in inter-government relations.

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.

The study would be significant to policy makers and policy implementers, as they would make use of the findings and recommendations of this study.

Research Questions

Did the constitution make any provision for intergovernmental relations in Nigeria?

What are the areas of intergovernmental relations in Nigeria?

What is the relevance of intergovernmental relations in local government in Nigeria?

What are the causes of conflicts between the levels of government in Nigeria?

What effects has intergovernmental relations had in Local Government Administration?

Scope of the Study

The study is in the Impact of Intergovernmental Relations in Local Government Administration in Nigeria.  But due to the fact that there are many local governments in Nigeria, the researcher decided to center the research in Lagos Island Local Government Area of Lagos State as the case study.


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