The research topic is caretaker committee and local government administration in Nigeria. A comparative study of elected and appointed officials in Anambra State. The research design was used for this study was survey design. This design was used so as to be able to capture the entire domain of the study. The main purpose of the study is to determine if there is any significant different between the elected and appointed officials in the achievement of local goals. We adopted both primary and secondary source of data collection while the main research instrument used for this study is research questionnaire. This study analysis relied on the functional approach to advance its arguments. The approach is necessary because local government exist to promote democratic ideals which involve giving fair consideration to minority views while allowing majority position to prevail. It was found among others that the caretaker committee system, cedes the local government system, this projects examines these contradictions in local government system and suggest among others that the sustainability of local government should anchor on a comprehensive review of the 1999 constitution and there is also the need to promote accountability and transparency at all levels of governance by putting mechanisms in place like strengthening the anti-corruption body in the country.
- Background of the study
Historically, the caretaker committee system of local government has no place in the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria. However, its practice is dated to theSecond Republic dispensation.
Ogunna (1996) noted that during the second Republic in all the states of the federation, local governments were run by caretaker committee consisting of party loyalists appointed by state governors.
Since after its practice in the second republic, the idea of managing the local governments with the caretaker committees has been on the increase in Nigeria: between 2003-2013, out of the 36 states in Nigeria, 25 states have the local government administered by the caretaker committees (Okafor and Orjinta, 2013).
Apparently, this increase is as a result of the Lacuna created by the 1999 constitution as amended in sections 7 and 8 which discussed the structure and composition of the Local Government. Those sections of the constitution did not specify the term of an elected local government council and how it should be funded. The governors then capitalized on these loopholes and turned the local government into an avenue of settling their loyalists.
Section 7(1) of the 1999 constitution states thus:
The system of local government by democratically elected government council is under this constitution guaranteed, and accordingly, the government of every state shall subject to section of this constitution ensure their existence under a lawwhich provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and function of such council.
Similarly, the section 1(2) also states that, “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any person or group of persons take control of government of Nigeria or any part thereof except in accordance with the provisions of this constitution”.
In the same manner, Section 1(3) of the constitution emphatically summarized it by stating inter-alia:
If any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this constitution, this constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.
Notwithstanding the illegality of the caretaker committees, what is worrisome however, is the reason many state government has resorted to this practice as a panacea to rural development in Nigeria.
We believe that in a democracy, leaders should be a product of the choice of the people but that is not the case in this circumstance.
Abbas & Ahmad (2012) emphasized that the situation has gotten so embarrassing that even where elections have been conducted, Governors may deliberately force the tenures of local government chairmen to lapse early, so as to pave way for them to appoint loyalists as caretaker committees. The primary aim according to Abbas & Ahmad (2012) is for the committees to work towards returning their local government votes to the ruling party at any point in time.
Despite the foregoing, caretaker committee is seen as a way in which a sitting government especially a state government selects and appoints individuals in most cases of the same political parties to manage the affairs of the local government.
This study thus is designed to evaluate and conduct a comparative analysis of the performance of the roles and responsibilities of Local Government Councils as enunciated in the Fourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution in the hands of democratically elected and politically selected/appointed officials. It further seeks to determine which of these crop of political leaders at this level of government has engendered rural development most. It also tries to evaluate the most responsible of those crass of political leaders to the people that promotes democratic ethos.
- Statement of the problem
For some time now since the advent of democratization in Nigeria and the adoption of the 1999 Constitution, the Local Government Council seem to have turned out an appendage instead of a level of government as enunciated in the Constitution. From 2012 till date, several states have resorted to the use of caretaker committees to run local government councils in spite of the provisions in Section 8 of the Constitution which guaranteed the system of democratically elected officials at the local government system. Allegations ranging from corruption to poor performance have been advanced for the action of state governors who select their surrogates as caretaker committee members and administer the local government councils according to their whims and caprices. Funds from statutory allocations are moved into a pool referred to as joint account from where state governments determine its usage thereby making the system a subsidiary of the second tier of government.Of course, the determination of the composition and funding of the local government by the state makes the former subservient and redundant thereby negating performance and realization of dividends of democracy at the grass root.
1.2 Purpose of the study
The objective of this study is to have a comparative study of the elected and appointed officials of local government in Anambra State, Nigeria. Specifically the study is set out;
- To determine if there is any significant different between the elected and appointed officials in the achievement of the goals of local government.
- To ascertain if caretaker committee system has hindered democratic governance in the local government of Anambra State.
- To determine if the use of caretaker committee s against the elected officials, the basic reason for the colossal failure of the grass root development in Anambra State.
- To ascertain if the running of the local government with caretaker committee impedes the constitutional function and powers of the local government.
1.3 Research question
The study resolve around the following research questions
- Is there any significant difference between the elected and appointed officials in the achievement of local government goals in Anambra State?.
- To what extent has caretaker committee hindered democratic governance in the local Government System in Anambra State?
- To what extent has caretaker committee as against the elected officials a basic reason for the failures of the grass root development in Anambra State.
- Does the running of the local governmental with caretaker committee impede the constitutional functions and powers of the local government?
1.4 Statement of Hypothesis
- Ho: There is no significant difference between elected officials and caretaker committee in the achievement of local government goals in Anambra State.
Hi: There is a significant difference between the elected and appointed officials in the achievement of local government goals in Anambra State.
- Ho: Caretaker committee has not hindered democratic governance in the local government system in Anambra state.
Hi: Caretaker committee has hindered democratic governance in the local government system in Anambra State.
- Ho: The use of caretaker committee as against the elected officials is not a basic reason for the failure of the grass root development in Anambra State.
Hi: The use of caretaker committee as against the elected officials is a basic reason for the failure of the grass root development in Anambra State.
- Ho: The running of the local government with caretaker committee does not impede the constitutional function and powers of the local government.
Hi: The running of the local government with caretaker committee impede the constitutional function and powers of the local government.
1.5 Theoretical Framework
According to lyoha (1992) “a theory is a set of ideas explaining a phenomenon”. Advancing this definition further, it is observed that a theory does not only explain, it test and evaluates relationship between variables with the aim of providing a set of structing principles to govern the translation of hypothetical statement into practice.
This research work will adopt the Elitist theory. In political science and sociology, elite theory is a theory of the state which seeks to describe and explain the power relationships in contemporary society. The theory posits that a small minority, consisting of members of the economic elite and policy. Planning networks, hold the most power and that this power is independent of a state democratic election process. Through positions in corporations or an corporate boards, and influence over the policy-planning networks through financial support of foundations of positions with think tanks or policy discussion groups, members of the “elite” are able to exert significant power over the policy decisions of corporations and government.
Elite theory opposes pluralism, a tradition that assumes that all individuals or at least the multitude of social groups, have equal power and balance each other out in contributing to democratic political outcomes representing the emergent aggregate will of society. Elite theory argues that either that democracy is a utopian folly, as it is traditionally viewed in the conservative Italian tradition, or that democracy is not realizable within capitalism, as is the view of the more maxist compatible contemporary elite theory permutation.
The most important advocate of this theory are Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923), Gaetano Mosca (1858-1941), Robert Michel, James Bunham.
At this juncture, however the elitist theory becomes the most appropriate theory in analyzing caretaker committee and local government in Nigeria which the major contention is that the activities of caretaker committee have affected the grassroot development in Nigeria and Anambra State in particular.
1.6 Significance of the study
This research work will bring to the fore front the long neglect of the local governments by the federal government. Therefore after the due study of the findings both the federal and state government would be able to retrace their steps and give local government their due position as government at the grass root.
The research work will be able to address the issue of joint account between the state and local government. Also the work would stimulate the practice of democracy at the grass root. In this sense the local people would be enabled to participate in the development of their areas. This would give the local government the impetus to harness the local resources available in their area of jurisdiction for the betterment of the life of the people at the grass root.
This research work would further direct the attention of scholars to the issue concerning local administration. Local government in Nigeria would be enabled to take their rightful position in the governance of Nigeria.
1.7 Scope of the study
The study is on caretaker committee system and local government administration in Nigeria, a comparative study of elected and appointed officials in Anambra state. It will x-rayed the extent to which caretaker committee has impeded the activities of local government in Nigeria. It will also look into and assess the extent to which the constitutional provisions contributed to the challenges faced by the local government in Nigeria and Anambra state in particular.
This research work covers the entire 21 local government area in Anambra state. There has been few research work specially directed to caretaker committee and local government administration. It will also help local government in Anambra state and other local government in Nigeria to identify the extent to which the caretaker committee system have impeded the activities of local government.
- Limitations of the study
In the course of this study, the researcher encounters many impediments and challenges as follows;
- Time factor: As a student, the researcher was faced with time constraint in carrying out this work coupled with his studies.
- Financial constraint: This happens to be the most critical challenges facing the researcher. Buying of his text books in class, and sourcing information from internet daily was very difficult to the researcher.
- Physical and emotional stress in gathering information and putting them together in articuling this research work.
- The unwillingness of the staff of the local governments to release some basic information needed for the study is another serious problem.
However, it must be pointed out that the spirited effort were geared to address some of these limitations, for exampole, the researcher to rely on academic journals, newspapers, magazines, internet etc when local government officials were not forth coming.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Local Government: This can be define as a unit of government below the regional or state government established by law to exercise political authority, through a representative council within a defined area.
Administration: This can be define as the activities that are carried out in order to plan, organize and execute policies and programs towards achieving a target goal.
Caretaker committee: It is a group of people selected or appointed on adhoc capacity to carryout a given function (administrative or political) pending when a permanent body is constituted.
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