Local government is a necessary element of any country. It is almost impossible to run any central administration without subdivisions, and these subdivisions need to have elected representatives in the central government of the state. Want to know how this system works in Nigeria? Then read on. Let us take a look at the different types of local governments in Nigeria!
What is local government?
The local governments serve as subdivisions of the central government. These local governments act according to the rules of the central government. Their jurisdiction and abilities are usually restricted and dictated by the central government. In general, Nigerian states operate with the federal types of local government system.
In countries like Nigeria, the local governments represent the third tier of the government power. The common names for the local government entities include:
Types of local government in Nigeria and their history!
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Nigeria is a federal republic, and is therefore a union made up of self-governing states; these states are represented in the international arena and governed by the federal government.
Nigeria is one of the prominent federal republics. It consists of 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory. In addition, these states and territories have 774 local governments. As a federal republic, Nigerian states work with the federal types of local government system.
The local governments in Nigeria and their rights have always been a matter of discussion. The development of the system can be traced back to 1916 where it was first instituted in the Native Authority Ordinance. The Ordinance was the first attempt to establish the legal framework of the indirect rule over Nigeria. Nevertheless, the first types of local government structure established by the British were naturally met with resistance.
The main hot points of the resistance were witnessed in the West and East regions of Nigeria. There were two main problems with the Native Authority ordinance of 1916:
- The non-democratic component;
- Problematic coexistence with the traditional system of some local administrative systems.
The new type of local government system definition in Nigeria was introduced by the Local Government Ordinance 1950. It included the democratic changes which helped to establish three local government systems – North, East and West. Every region had absolute power over the functions of their local governments and these three regions of Nigeria were recognized as the Unitarian types of local government for that time!
The real federative status over the local governments in Nigeria started with the government reforms in 1976. These reforms were aimed at restructuring the local governments and decentralizing the country's system of power; at that time, there was a strong need to introduce a single government system in Nigeria.
Another main target of the reforms was to initiate the further divisions of states. It was necessary to provide more representatives of the various local governments to the central government.
The local government system was reformed again in 1988. The main idea for the restructuration was to professionalize the local government’s services. Eventually, this restructuration helped to form mandatory departments and offices of the local governments. It also helped to define the functions of the Local Government Service Commission, which is responsible for the monitoring of the local governments.
The Nigerian States today and their freedoms
Nigeria is divided into thirty-six states with one Federal Capital Territory. These states are also subdivided into 774 Local Government Areas which have reflected the complex development of the federative system of the country throughout history.
Adopting the federative system has helped Nigeria share power amongst the local governments; this power is monitored and inspected by the Local Government Council, which is headed by a Chief Executive.
The Local Government Areas have some certain responsibilities such as:
- Registration of marriages, births or deaths;
- Collection of taxes;
- Construction and maintenance of roads, streets and buildings;
- Maintenance of public transport.
Very little power is given to the local government in exchange for its loyalty to the federal government.
Nigeria is a representative of the federal type of local government system; the country had to go through a lot of changes to become the federation you know today; however, all these changes were much needed for it to become a modern federal republic!
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