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.