THE FUNCTIONS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT
In a federal system like Nigeria, local governments are close to the grass root and hence can be effective socially, economically and politically. Apart from providing and maintaining basic infrastructures, local governments can complement the economic activities of other levels of government. The activities of the National Directorate of Employment, for example, or the back–to–land programmes that are agriculturally based, can have more positive impact at the grassroots level by working with local governments. Chapter one of this research project work talks about the background of the study. it reveals the purpose of creating local government. Chapter two of this research project work diagnoses the nature and the role of local government in rural development in Nigeria. Chapter three explain the research methodology, that is the instrument used in collecting data and information. Chapter four of this research work talks about the data presentation and analysis and research findings. Chapter five of this research project work covers the summary, conclusion and recommendation.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
It has been observed that the way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among many, distributing to every one exactly the function he is competent to. This is why local government as the third tier of government is very important. In recent times, local governments in Nigeria have been assigned specific development roles by the constitution. But this should not be taken to suggest that in the past local governments did not contribute to economic development. For example, between 1955 and 1965, local governments were responsible for an average of 12% of total public expenditure in the country.
A local government may be defined as government at the local level established by law to perform specific function within defined areas. Local government is vested with substantial powers to take control over local affairs. It is the integration agent, indeed, the tendon that joints the rural people, their problems, aspirations and progress, to the central government.
Local Government, “simply and precisely, is the government at the local level.” Put in another way, Local Government is a system of devolution of power to the local authority to provide services of a 1961 nature. It is an autonomous or independent body created by law and charged with the responsibility of administering and dealing with matters of local importance within the area defined by that law. Today however, the local government is constitutionally recognized as the third tier of government.
In order to leave no doubt as to what our central concern in this work is all about, it is important to start by defining local government. The United Nations Office for Public Administration define local government as: A political subdivision of a nation or (in a federal system) state, which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs, including the powers to impose taxes or to exact labour for prescribed purposes. The governing body of such an entity is elected or otherwise locally selected.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Local government authorities in Nigeria are faced with so many problems that make them incapable of carrying out their functions effectively. However, the problems will be itemized, some of which have been addressed by different administrators. Prominent among them include the following:
a. Can embezzlement or misappropriation of funds by the official of the rural people contribute to the rural development of their areas?
b. Can the inflow of the rural people to the urban centers because of lack of social amenities bring about rural development?
c. How to carry the rural dwellers along with the modern trends of the development?
d. How to ensure full utilization of resources available to the local government?
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to achieve meaningful result from this research, the following research questions have been formulated as a guide to the research and shall be examined:
a. Does the performance of Oredo Local Government Area in the field of rural development measures up to its legal responsibilities?
b. Does weak financial base, limits the capacity of Oredo Local Government Area to meet its goal in rural development?
c. Does morale among the staff of Oredo Local Government Area militates against the realization of its rural development responsibilities?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
a. To know the performance of Oredo Local Government Area in the field of rural development.
b. To improve the weak financial base which limits the capacity of Oredo Local Government Area to meet its goal of rural development?
c. To see how Oredo Local Government Area has helped in economic development.
Since it is conviction of the Federal Military Government as emphasized in the guidelines for the Local Government, the objective of this study is also based on Federal Government Objectives. The result of such an empirical research would place us in advantageous position to inquire whether the Local Government has achieved any significant level of economic development at the grassroots level of development. We will look into the problem hindering such goal attainment. This research is to find out the performance of the Local Government in the surprised role which it should play, e.g building of roads, maintenance of maternity home and markets etc.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this research is for its outcome to throw more light on the problem facing Oredo Local Government in the area of economic growth:
a. To ascertain solution to these problems. We also hope that the result will be of interest to policy makers on the country.
b. It is also intended to be beneficial to the residents and indigence of Oredo Local Government who are the target group of the economic development activities of the Local Government, who may be ignorant of the problems facing the Local Government.
c. Finally, a critical and careful observation into this research work will further help disclose the factors responsible for a go slow in rural development in Oredo Local Government and possible ways of tackling such problems.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The area to be covered by this research work is limited to Oredo Local Government with it headquarters at Kings Square, Benin City. The research intends to critically examine the role of the Local Government in rural development of in the local area as well as Edo state at large.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
During the conduct of this research work, some factors posed as constraints to the determined efforts of the research to carryout the research study to such a depth and in such a manner that it ought to have been carried out judging from its relevance to management, such factors include:
a. Management Restriction: management more often than now allow access to information that are considered very confidential in nature like detail information of organization of the organizational corporate profile. As a result of the restrictions the author was able to work with only the information that he has access to.
b. Time Constraint: Time is also another factor tat acts as hindrances in carrying out this research study. This is as a result of the fact that other things were still being attended to in the course of carrying out this research work.
c. Financial Constraint: money also acts as a problem in the conduct of the research work. Traveling expenses were incurred in getting the materials for the research work. Also incurred, were expenses for the typing and distribution, building and a lot of other expenses.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
It is pertinent to clarify the following concept used in the project work, namely:
Local: Rural areas, unsophisticated.
Government: The machinery by which the will of state is being carried out.
Empirical Research: It is a type of research that is been carried out in order to get information or to know things about something you are looking for example Local Government, communities etc.)
Cause: It is a kind of knowing or finding out the problems facing a particular situation or a thing.
Effects: this can be defined as the effect of a situation or a thing. It could be a positive effect or negative effect.
Inadequate: It is a situation where there is an insufficient or inappropriate amount of something in relation to another.
Financial Capacity: It is the level of finance or amount of money available for an organization, individual or government.
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