A HISTORY OF DISTRICT AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION IN THE NORTHERN DISTRICTS OF ZAZZAU EMIRATE, C. 1902 – 1976

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A HISTORY OF DISTRICT AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION IN THE NORTHERN DISTRICTS OF ZAZZAU EMIRATE, C. 1902 – 1976

Abstract:

This thesis is a study of the districts and local government administration in the Northern part of Zazzau Emirate, 1902-1976. It examined the various processes and fundamental changes witnessed in the spheres of administrative development at the grassroots level. In pre-colonial period, the relationship between the emirate central government and its areas of jurisdiction (towns and villages) was clientele in nature. There was no direct communication between the major emirate officials and the areas placed under their control. What charecterised the magnate was dependence on slave messengers (jakadu), who acted on behalf of their masters at the emirate capital over their areas of authority scattered around the emirate. The two basic features of the pre-colonial system were absenteeism of major officials in the rural areas and disconnected areas of administration. This system was, however, radically changed following British colonial intervention early in the 20th century. By 1907, compact districts with resident heads were created primarily to collect taxes and to maintain law and order. This development ensured firm consolidation of colonial enterprise and further indicated clear departure from the old system. In the 1920s and 30s, the district head system was instituted as solid bedrock for colonial exploitation. From the 1950s, concerted attention was directed at improving the local government system and, to overturn colonial legacies. There was a shift and new approach to development oriented administration at the local level. In post-Independence Nigeria, the predominance of traditional authorities was challenged and supplanted with popular and participatory (democratic) local government system. The culmination of this was the revolutionary 1976 Local Government reform which insulated and reduced traditional authorities to mere advisory functions in the affairs of local government system. Institutions of coercion – police, court and prison, hitherto controlled by the Native Authority (NA) were all taken-over by the state and federal governments. And similarly, haraji and jangali taxes were also abolished. Constitutionally, local governments were recognised as a Third Tier of government. Consequently, three Local Government Areas emerged in the area of study – Zaria, Ikara, and Kaduna in the old Kaduna State. This heralded renewed vision by both the military and civilian regimes on the need of re-empowering and bringing government closer to people. Generally, this study demonstrated that the district head system was not traditional but colonial creation basically meant for maximum exploitation. As presented, there was an attempt to clearly depart from the usual concentration on colonial period and bigger polities to district and village areas. Other important arms such as the police, court and prison systems were also given the desired attention as against typical focus on the central of administration.

A HISTORY OF DISTRICT AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION IN THE NORTHERN DISTRICTS OF ZAZZAU EMIRATE, C. 1902 – 1976

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