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AN EXAMINATION INTO THE INTER-GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN NIGERIA

The  main  objective  of  the  paper  is  to  examine  the  place  of  local government  in  intergovernmental  relations  with  particular  reference  to South  Africa  and  Nigeria.  The  paper  adopts  the  qualitative  research approach. It draws its arguments basically from secondary data including existing  legal frameworks  and other  related  policies, textbooks,  journals articles and other publications. The paper notes that in either a unitary or federal  polity,  local  government  serves  as  incubators  for  experimental policies which can be reproduced at the national level. This is premised on the idea that it is the level of government that is better placed to effectively formulate and  implement development policies and  programmes that can efficiently solve problems  of service  delivery at local level. However, this idea seems defeated by the nature of intergovernmental relations in  most developing  societies.  The  paper  observes  that  the  nature  of intergovernmental  relations  in  Nigeria  has  over  the  years  eroded  the powers  and  functions  of  local  government  administration  and  has subsequently  relegated  this  level  of  government  to  a  subsidiary  or  an appendage of the state and central governments while there is cooperation between local,  provincial and national governments  in South Africa.  The paper notes that while local government in South Africa enjoy autonomy to a  certain  extent,  local  governments  in  Nigeria  are  not  enjoying  true autonomous status as a result of excessive interference from other levels of government. The paper recommends among others that there is an urgent need  to  devolve  more  responsibility and  autonomy  to  local  government authorities through a constitutional amendment to enable them to function effectively  and  efficiently.  It  concludes  that  local  governments  in  South Africa and Nigeria have crucial roles to play in the developmental process provided there is the peaceful atmosphere and adequate autonomy through harmonious  intergovernmental  relations  among  various  levels  of government.

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