GRASSROOTS GOVERNMENT AND ITS IMPACT ON POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AMONG CITIZENS OF NKANU EAST GRASSROOT GOVERNMENT AREA ABSTRACT The title of this research project is “Grassoot Government and its impact on political participation among citizens of Nkanu East local government area. Grassroot government is highly imperative for a meaningful development of the grassroots in Nigeria. The researcher was motivated to carryout research on this topic as a result of high degree of financial and administrative dependence of Nigeria local governments on the higher level of governments, to the extent that it is merely a myth to talk about grassroot government in Nigeria. The purpose of this research work is to investigate the autonomy of local governments in Enugu state in this fourth republic. The researcher, in conducting the study made use of both primary and secondary sources of data with the structured questionnaire as the main instrument used. The population of the study was the people of Nkanu East local government area of Enugu state. The sample size is statistically determined using Taro Yamani’s formula for a finite population. The stratified random sampling technique was used to select the sample for the study, whereas the data collected were presented and analyzed with frequency, percentage and tables. The study revealed that to a very high extent grassroot government is highly needed for grassroots development in Nigeria. It identified that abuse of autonomy of local government, constitutional provisions such as state and grassroot government joint account, political instability and over dependence on statutory allocation are some of the factors militating against grassroot government in Nigeria. The researcher recommended for a concerted effort by both Federal and state government to make grassroot government a reality. The establishment of institutions and associations for checking abuse of autonomy and for transparency and accountability were also recommended by the researcher. TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE: INRODUCTION Background to the Study Statement of the Problem Objective of the Study Research Question Research Hypotheses Significance of the Study Scope of the Study Limitation of the study Definitions of Terms CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE Conceptual Framework Theoretical Framework Empirical Studies Summary of Literature Review CHAPTER THREE: RESERCH METHOD Research Design Area of the Study Population of the Study Sample and Sampling Techniques Instrument for Data Collection Validation of the instrument Reliability of the Instrument Method of Data collection Method of Data Analysis CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS Research Question 1 Research Question 2 Research Question 3 Summary of Findings CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS, IMPLICATION OF THE STUDY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND SUMMARY Discussion of Findings Conclusion from the Study Recommendations Suggestions for Further Studies References- Appendix A Appendix B LIST OF TABLES Table 3.1: Population Distribution Table for the study Table 3.2: Sample size Distribution Table for the study Table 3.3: Instrument Distribution and Returned Rate Table Table 4.1: Extent Nknau East Grassroot government is participation in Politics Table 4.2: Extent grassroot government is needed for grassroots development Table 4.3: Factors militating against grassroot participation in Politics Table 4.4: Responses on the Low Level of Development at the Grassroots. Table 4.5: Measures to Make Grassroot government a Reality
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Background of the Study The scholarly discourse and investigation in constitutional studies and federalism, particularly in respect of grassroot government autonomy, is engendered mainly by the overbearing powers of the state and sometimes lack of elected executive chairmen at the grassroots. State encroachment into grassroot government affairs and their total control of the local councils by appointed committees who are loyalist to the State Governors has thus triggered research works aimed at reversing such encroachment given the immense role that can be played in grassroots politics by the grassroot government (Elekwa, 2017).
In Nigeria, reforms have been articulated and executed in a bid to correct certain perceived excessive state encroachment, abuse of powers and the use of undemocratic leaders and caretaker committee to run the local governments by the state governments in Nigeria. Of all government reforms deliberately put in place to address this problem, the 1976 grassroot government reform which for the first time recognized grassroot government as a third tier, accords autonomous powers to the local councils and reduced excessive politicking of state over grassroot government occupies an enviable place in Nigeria's political system. Irrespective of the nature and extent of flaws that may characterize grassroot government in principle and practice in Nigeria, it has, for fairly some time, become an important issue for considerations at the National Assembly. Not surprisingly, it has been subjected to various critical assessments. The foregoing nevertheless, not much intellectual efforts have been deployed in examining the grassroot government as a vehicle for redressing inordinate usurpation of powers of local governments by state governments in grassroots politics in the country. The basic issue to which this article seeks to address is to, in an exploratory manner; examine the grassroot government within the context of unrestricted local governments powers and authority over grassroots politics (Nwatu, 2016) Globally, various strategies and approaches have been adopted or used by government for the purpose of good governance, and in their efforts at distributing the state resources to reach the people at the grassroots. However, there has not been congruence or general agreement on which strategy is the best, especially in the administration of the rural areas. Decentralization constitutes the basic and principle basis for the establishment of Local government. A renowned International scholar of Local Government, Manhood as quoted in Dalhatu (2016) that "too much concentration of political and economic power at one level would ultimately and inevitably lead to what he referred to as managerial constipation". According to him, the basis of Grassroot government is inextricably woven around the principle of decentralization. Grassroot government is the product of decentralized administration. He further defined decentralization as: an arrangement by which the management of the public affairs of a country is shared by the central/ state/province and grassroot government in a manner that the Grassroot government is given reasonable scope to raise funds and to use its resources to provide a range of socio-economic services and establish programmes to enhance the welfare of those resident in its area of authority. Nwatu (2019) supported this expression when he noted that grassroot government is a theory and practice in Nigeria has never been absolute. As Obasi (2015) observed, historically, grassroot government system in Nigeria has passed through a tortuous and chequered path. And when compared with the core civil service it witnessed more returns and reorganizations. Before the 1976 Grassroot government Reforms, grassroot government remained under the effective control of regional (and later state) governments. The strict control by regional governments was changed when the 1976 reforms established what Aliyu (2017), called a comprehensive standardization of a system of grassroot government within a national framework. The federal government spearheaded the reform to achieve grassroot government autonomy. The Federal Government observed that state government continued to encroach on the exclusive powers and responsibilities of the local councils, as their place was specially defined in the 1979 constitution. Despite the fact that grassroot government system is entrenched in the constitution as a third tier of government, successive civilian administrations since 1979 have seriously ignored the autonomy rule. Ironically, the military regimes appeared to fare better in terms of guaranteeing the autonomy of the grassroot government Abonyi, 2016). Proponents of council autonomy believe that it would help the course of grassroots development by eliminating the negative influence and interference of the state Governors. Other benefits of grassroot government include guaranteeing the right of the council heads to govern and manage their natural resources using appropriate planning standards; opportunity to design appropriate policies, programmes and projects suitable to peculiar areas, effective delivery of democratic dividends to the grassroots and public accountability (Nwatu, 2012). Yet the degree of fiscal and administrative dependence of local governments on state governments is so high that the local council officials are now mere servants of the governors of their respective states. The above discussion indicates to a very reasonable extent to which the joint account remains a conduit pipe for the draining of Grassroot government allocation by the State Government. This study, therefore, examine grassroot government and efficient social services delivery at the grassroots in Nkanu East local government area of Enugu State.
Statement of the Problem Over the years, the grassroot government administration has been faced with series of developmental and economic challenges where different policies have rendered the councils incapacitated to discharge their constitutional mandates. Fiscal relationship between state and local governments has become a problematic issue in intergovernmental relations in Nigeria. In this respect, the higher tiers of government have excessive control on the finance of local governments. Although the constitution enjoined states to pay 10 percent of the statutory revenues to grassroot government councils (LGCs), in Nigeria very few states honoured the provision. The failure of the constitution to articulate a clear line of authorities to both the state and local authorities and the continuing debate over the involvement of state governments in distributing grassroot government allocation from the Federation Account has affected the capacity of local governments to provide essential services at the grassroots. Majority of the state governments made some unnecessary deductions and more often diverted the funds to other areas of personal interest while the money is meant for development of grassroot government areas, and this has contributed significantly to the abysmal performance of local governments in providing good governance for the community. In some states, the state government used to award contracts on behalf of local governments via State Joint Grassroot government Account whether the project has a direct impact on the local populace or not. One of the problems facing local governments in Nigeria today is the problem of not being autonomous. This research work intends to investigate this problem with a view to fashion out solutions to the problem. Grassroot government is needed for grassroots development in Nigeria, but, there have not been much meaningful development at the grassroot government levels as a result of the problem of not being autonomous. This problem stated above, drew the attention of the researcher to this subject matter. Objectives of the Study The main objective of this study is to examine grassroot government and its impact on political participation among citizens of Nkanu East local government area of Enugu State. The specific objectives of the study include; 1. To evaluate the extent of political participation granted to grassroot government. 2. To examine the extent to which grassroot government is needed for development in Nigeria. 3. To investigate the factors militating against grassroot government in Nigeria in this fourth republic. 4. To examine whether lack of political participant is responsible for the low level of development of grassroots in Nigeria. 5. To identify the measures to make grassroot government in Nigeria a reality. Research Questions 1. To what extent is grassroot government to political participation? 2. To what extent is grassroot government needed for development in Nkanu East? 3. What are the factors militating against grassroot government participation in politics? 4. To what extent is lack of grassroot government responsible for the low level of development of Nknau East local government? 5. What are the measures to make grassroot government in Nigeria a reality? Significance of the Study The study of the imperative of grassroot government in development in Nigeria is very necessary especially now that the country’s constitution is undergoing review and amendment process. When the study is successfully carried out, it will strengthen the inevitability of grassroot government in Nigeria. The study will help the Nigerian law makers to perceive grassroot government as a tool for meaningful development at the grassroots. It will therefore, help them to see the need to end the unnecessary and undue state government interference and control over grassroot government in Nigeria. The study will as well be vital to the higher levels of government, especially the state government who continued to agitate against grassroot government through their state governor’s forum meeting. The findings of the study will help them to see the need for local council autonomy and end their selfish and baseless agreements. The study will help the people of Nknau East local government Area in particular and the general people of Enugu State to see the need for grassroot government as a panacea for rapid grassroots development. The study will serve as a reference material, for further research into this area, for this study exposed new and current thoughts as regards the imperative of grassroot government in grassroots development in Nigeria. Scope of the Study The study focused primarily on the grassroot government and its impact on political particpaiton among citizens of Nkanu East local government Area. The study covered only Nknau East local government area of Enugu state. The researcher however, believes that the findings made from the grassroot government could be applied generally to appreciate better the inevitability of grassroot government in grassroots development in Nigeria. Limitations of the Study This study like every other human academics quest is faced with constraints which to a large extent limits the geographically coverage of the study. Finance was among the factors that actually hindered a wider coverage of this research work. Some of the areas needed to carryout this study was not actually visited to the satisfaction of the researcher as a result of finance. The researcher also has to finance other aspects of the study such as questionnaire printing, typing of the work and other academic activities as students. Another problem that hindered the process of this study was the scarcity of relevant materials and the signs of disappointment showed by the people of Nkanu East local government area by not cooperating well with the researcher, they showed a high level of unhappiness as regards the state interference and control over grassroot government in Nigeria. Above all, the researcher was subjected to a stipulated time limit which the study is to be completed. The time given was not enough to meet with the requirements of the study and other academic activities as student. Notwithstanding these problems, the study still recorded a huge success as the efforts of the researcher yielded a reasonable and rewarding project. Definition of Terms / Acronyms Some major concepts and terms used in this study were defined in accordance to their usage in the work as shown below; - Autonomy; Autonomy can simply be defined here as the enjoyment of self-govern status. In other words, it refers to the right or freedom of a body to set the parameters of its operations. - Local Government: - Broadly define here as the third tier of government. It is government at the minimal stage, called grassroots government in Nigeria. - Development: Development here covers a positive change over all social goods and services which can hardly be effectively and efficiently provided by the private business sector since they cannot recoup the investment made in it from other users. Such goods and services include; roads, national security, public parks, good environmental condition, electricity etc. - Democracy: In this study, democracy means government of the people by the people and for the people. A government in which the views and aspirations of the people are aired. - Inter-governmental Relations: Inter-governmental relations in this study means, the interactions that take place among the different levels of government within a country. Usually, the concept is associated with states having administrative system where the relationship between the central government and the major units are formally spelt out in the constitution. - Grassroots: Grassroots are ordinary people in society or in an organization, rather than the leaders or people who make decisions. It could also mean the agricultural and rural areas of a country, the people inhabiting these areas, especially as a political, social or economic group.
References Abonyi, N. N. (2016), Intergovernmental Relations in Democratic Federations, Enugu: John Jacobs Classic Publishers.
Aliyu, A. Y. (2015), “Grassroot government Reforms in Nigeria: An Overview” in Suleiman, K. and Aliyu, A. Y. (eds) Local Government Reforms in Nigeria, Zaria: Institute of Administration Press Unit.
Elekwa, N. N. (2017), “Grassroot government Autonomy: Myth or Reality “Nigeria Journal of Public Administration and Grassroot government (NJPALG) Vol. III No.
Nwatu, R. (2016), Inter-Governmental Relations: An Introduction, Enugu: Majesty International Limited.
Obasi, I. N. (2016), Grassroot government and Implication for Public Accountability” In Ozor, Ebonyi (ed), Public Accountability: Financial Management in Local Governments in Nigeria, Lagos: Lizzibon Printing and Publishing Company. Ofodu, H. I. (2013), Grassroot government Financial Management in Nigeria, Enugu: Obasi Publication Limited.
Okoli, F.C. (2012). Theoy and Practice of Local Government: A Nigerian Perspective, Enugu: John Jacob’s Classic Publishers Limited.
Okolie, D. O. and Eze F. E. (2004).Grassroot government Administration in Nigeria: Concepts and Applications,Enugu: John Jacob’s Classic Publishers Limited.
Oyeleye, O. M. (2007), “Grassroot government in Southern Nigeria: The Direction of Change”. The Nigerian Journals of Public Affair Vol. IV No. 1.
Ozor, E. (2012). The Struggle for Public Accountability: Financial Management in Grassroot government in Nigeria, Lagos: Lizzibon Printing and Publishing Company.
GRASSROOTS GOVERNMENT AND ITS IMPACT ON POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AMONG CITIZENS OF NKANU EAST GRASSROOT GOVERNMENT AREA
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