16 J.L. Pol'y & Globalization 1 (2013)

handle is hein.journals/jawpglob16 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization                                                     www iste.org
ISSN 2224-3240 (Paper) ISSN 2224-3259 (Online)                                                       -t
Vol.16, 2013                                                                                       IISt

    Decentralization and Democratic Local Government in Cross
                      River State, Nigeria: A Fact or Fallacy

                  Ikeji, C. C; Utulu, Paul.B; Ojah,Okpo; Akpan, Emmaunuel I; Ibah, Joseph
                     Institution of Public Policy & Administration University of Calabar.

This study focused on decentralization and democratic local government in Cross River State, Nigeria. Sample
size of 900 was adopted for the purpose of the study. Stratified random sampling was used in the study.
Stratification was done on the basis of geopolitical zone, political party affiliation and educational status of the
respondents. 900 political party members evenly distributed (300 apiece) among the three leading political
parties in the last general elections were used as respondents for the purpose of the study. Each respondent has at
least an SSCE/WASC educational qualification. 300 respondents were interviewed in each of the geopolitical
zones (i.e. South, Central and North). One hypothesis was tested. Results showed the political class themselves
perceive the local government administration system in Cross River State as not effective and development-
focused based on the provisions of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Keywords: Decentralization, Democratic, Fact, Fallacy, Local Government

        According to Abutudu (2011), governance at the grassroots in Nigeria is in a state of crisis. This crisis
stems from what increasingly looks like deliberate efforts to stem the advance of democratic governance at the
local government level in the country. As a tier, the local government retains its outward appearance. It even
goes through the motions of performing its functions. However, the crisis into which it is enmeshed has
undermined its essence as government whose authority is directly derived and anchored in the Constitution.
        Section 7 (1) of the 1999 Constitution specifically provides: The local government by democratically
elected government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed'. The section went on to enjoin state
governments to give content to this provision through enactment of enabling laws. According to the constitution
of Nigeria, the only form of governance under which the local government must be run as a democratic one.
There has been a conscious andsystematic degradation of this constitutional provision on democratic governance,
and this constitutes thecentral problem of the local government system in Nigeria today. Democracy seeks to
anchor government on the people. The principal means of doing this is elections. Elections, in a simple sense,
enables a people to choose those who will govern them. In enabling 'government', elections, as the chief tool to
midwife a democracy, also implies that those given the mandate to govern must view that mandate in terms of
the imperative of promoting the welfare of the electorate. Equally, those who have been given the mandate to
govern must be responsible andaccountable to those who gave them the mandate; that is, the electorate. In effect,
'development' and 'good governance' are key concepts that have become increasingly intertwined with
democracy. Denied of its anchor on ademocratic base, the local government system in Nigeria is invariably
suspended from the grassroots. The local councils can hardly be developmental, just as they are practically
unaccountable. They are in fact imposed structures that have increasingly become sad and forceful reminders of
the systematic disempowerment that has become the lot of the grassroots in Nigeria (Abutudu, 2011; Ikeji, 2002;
Ikeji, 2006).

Problem Statement
The need for an effective and development-focused local government administration system in Nigeria in real
terms is a problem and challenge that most states of Nigeria have not been able to solve. It is generally believed
that a representative and effective local government administration will in turn lead to development at the
grassroots level bearing in mind that local government system is the closest level (tier) of government to the
people (Abutudu, 2011). It is pertinent to spell out pointedly that the beauty of 'Decentralization' (the principle
upon which the system of local government is based) is arguably in the mobilization of the local resources and
people with good knowledge of their local needs for effective grassroots transformation. This is in line with the
philosophy of grassroots participation and 'bottom-top' approach to development pursuits. However, this goal
and hope as captured in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has generally remained a mirage
since the inception of the present democratic dispensation in Nigeria in 1999.This problem has been reported in
other studies (Ikeji, 2002; Ikeji, 2006; Abutudu,2011;Mukoro, 2009;Green, 1995; Wunsch and Olowu, 1990;
Olowu and Erero, 1997). The local governments in Nigeria are generally believed to be non-independent, non-
autonomous, foisted (forced) on the people by the political elites, and therefore unaccountable and inefficient in
the performance of their democratic and political duties. The general feeling is that an effective local government

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 2,700 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Access to this content requires a subscription. Please visit the following page to request a quote or trial:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?