ASSESSMENT OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTONOMY IN AKWA IBOM STATE
This study focused on the Assessment of Inter-Governmental Relations and Local Government Autonomy in Akwa Ibom State. This study is aimed at assessing how inter-government relations influences local government autonomy. Three null hypotheses were formulated and tested at P< .05 alpha level. The instrument used for data collection was questionnaire. The data collected were analyzed using chi-square. It was concluded that the autonomy of local government depends wholely on the activities of the other tiers of government, in terms of allocation of revenue, performing the concurrent functions and the inter-jurisdictional administration. And that local government in Akwa Ibom State is not autonomous, due to the control of the state over the local government. Recommendations were made to seek the measures which the three tiers of government can operate in order to enhance the autonomy of local governments in Akwa Ibom State.
1.1 Background of the study
The concept of Inter-governmental Relations is associated with states having a Federal Administrative System where the relationships between Federal, central or National Government and Major Sub-National unit are formally spelt out in the Constitution. Intergovernmental Relations have been seen as system of transactions among structured level of government in a State. It is also seen as registration in which parties are negotiating advantageous positions for power, money and problems solving responsibility (Olughemi 2008).
The goals of Intergovernmental Relation are said to be, to promote peace and harmony among the three tiers of government, which are the Federal, State and Local Government, and promote also a self reliant economy. In so doing, Intergovernmental Relations will help to minimize inter-jurisdictional conflicts among various levels of government. Also to boast greater National economic integration through the activities of the three levels of government. Again to enhance the emergence of cooperative rather than competitive Federalism. There is also need to enhance effective and efficient utilization of available human and material resources among the three levels of government. This will help to solve the problem of Urban and Rural poverty. Political setting is also a machinery which the objectives of the Intergovernmental Relations can be achieved. Looking at the political settings the Intergovernmental Relations is basically based on the three tiers of government which are the Federal, State and Local Government. But come to think of this, the Federal and State Government is said to have more autonomy than the Local Government due to the fact that the Local governments are the last tier of government. This is why Local Government are not given full autonomy to do things on their own. The other tier of government still tells them what to do, how to make their own policies, how to elect and appoint those to rule them, like the Chairman Councilors and so on.
Nwokedi, Ralph: 2004, noted that “Local Government is still dependent on the other tiers of government, making them too subordinate and loyal for my liking: To this, there should be greater independence of the Local Government from the Federal and State in order enhance their survival and performance of fundamental responsibilities. There should also be several reforms which will lead to recognition of the Local Government as the third tier of government with relative autonomy and jurisdictional powers, as provided for in the Constitution. Another machinery through which the objectives of Intergovernmental Relations can be achieved is the economy of the nation. The wealth of any nation is a key factor in determining it’s pattern of material relation. Between 1960 and 1970, the basis of fiscal relations between the Federal State and Local government were richer and more powerful than the Local Government. But this problem will come to an end if Local Government has greater control of their tax revenue. The Local Government should control at least 40% of the tax revenue allocation of it’s own area, without the interference of the Federal and State Government. They should also receive grants and aids from outside and within the country, making than powerful and independent on their own. Their Federation Allocation should be granted to them annually or monthly as the case may be. They should be allowed to run their affairs especially when it comes to monetary matters. (F.Okoli and Onah, 2002).
Channel of communication should be at it’s highest level between the Federal, State and Local Government in order to produce an effective result as different levels of government which are working together to achieve the same goals and objectives.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
To appreciate the depth of crisis in Akwa Ibom State, one has to follow the recent trend of the ranging controversy between the Federal and State Government over the exercise of power or control of revenue resources of local governments in the state on how to have assumed the undue prominence given to them as a constitutional question. If the leaders, particularly at the state level had adhere strictly to norms of federalism and followed the government in Nigeria as a democratic nation.
Although, different committees had been set up to prescribe the formula to be used for sharing revenue allocation in order to be acceptable to states in the federation, but the case is different when the state receives the allocations and come back home to their Local Government, the State Governments tends to control the allocation of the Local Government revenue share instead of paying them off. The state government decides to handle the development projects of the local government, instead of allowing the local govenrments to take charge of their own local programs in order to foster development and participation of people at the local level.
There is another problem of tax jurisdiction which refers to the problem of which aspect of government should collect what revenue over a particular area. These have been a serious problem between the state and local governments in Akwa Ibom State. Their share of the tax revenue seriously affects the local governments. Likewise, they collect the least amount of tax revenue which makes them still stagnant.
Abonyi, 2005, Also noted another problem of Local Government to be the existence of control of the Local Government by the other tiers of government. In Akwa Ibom State, the case is not different, as the State Government takes control of the Local Government. The Local Government do not have their own autonomy, making them too dependent on the other levels of government, especially the state where they belong. Findings must be made for the best method of channeling revenue from one level of government to another especially from the Federal to the Local Government (Ugwu, 2010). It is against this background that the researcher decided to carry out this study to find out the relationship between intergovernmental relations and local government autonomy in Akwa Ibom State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to assess the impact of intergovernmental relations and local government autonomy in Akwa Ibom State.
Other purposes of the study include:
- To determine the influence between revenue allocation and local government autonomy in Akwa Ibom State.
- To assess the influence between concurrent functions and local government autonomy in Akwa Ibom State.
- To recommend solutions to inter-jurisdictional conflicts among the various levels of government.
1.4 Research Questions
- How does revenue allocation influence Local Government’s autonomy?
- How does concurrent function influence Local Government’s autonomy?
- How do inter-jurisdictional conflicts influence Local Government’s autonomy?
- Revenue allocation does not significantly influence local government autonomy.
- Concurrent function does not significantly influence local government autonomy.
- Inter-jurisdictional conflicts does not significantly influence local government autonomy.
1.6 Significant of the Study
This study will be of great benefit to local governments in Akwa Ibom State. This is because they will be exposed to the challenges they are facing in intergovernmental relations.
It will also be of great significance to researchers by way of making them aware of problems that have been uncovered by other researchers, so that they will know where to start from in their research work subsequently in the area of Intergovernmental Relations. It will also be useful to university students when doing research of this nature. The study will be significance to policy makers and policy implementers, as they will make use of the findings and recommendations for this study.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study is the assessment of inter-governmental relations and local government autonomy in Akwa Ibom State. Despite the fact that there are many local governments in Akwa Ibom State, but since they have the same pattern of operation, under the same state and ruled under the same constitution, the researcher has made findings in the area of difference and similarities of the local government in Akwa Ibom State and has come with a conclusion that they operate in the same way, under the same state government, with the federal character and sharing the same joint-state account like other local governments, it is through this background of findings that. The researcher sees it deemed and has decided to generalize the study to local governments in Akwa Ibom State and also to be specific to a particular local government in some cases.
1.8 Delimitations of the Study
The research is purposefully designed to investigate the importance and to assess the relationship of intergovernmental relations and how it affects the autonomy of local governments in Akwa Ibom State. It is set out to gather resources in order to build strong facts on issues affecting inter-government Relations and autonomy of Local Government. This study is also focused on assessing the relevance of intergovernmental relations in Akwa Ibom State, to recommend solutions and also set measures required for improved inter-governmental relations in Akwa Ibom State.
1.9 Limitations of the Study
The researcher met with some problems in undertaking this study, notably in some areas of data collection. The problems are as follows:
- Time was a problem, as the time allowed for the study was grossly inadequate. The researcher had to use the time allowed for lectures for this research.
- Generalization of all local governments in Akwa Ibom State for the study was not easy, since a particular local government is not used as a case study. But despite this, genuine information was not be a problem.
- Resources was another constraint as the researcher was unable to execute the work more effectively due to insufficient financial resources because of this, the researcher has to make use of little information he could get.
1.10 Assumptions of the Study
- It could be assumed that there is a relationship between different levels of government in Akwa Ibom State.
- It could be assumed that the lack of autonomy in Local Government is due to the activities of the other tiers of Government, i.e The Federal and the State Government.
- It could be assumed that the three levels of government making up the Inter Governmental Relation have an importance role to play in order to achieve the aim of its existence.
1.11 Definition of Terms
In the course of that research work, some terms will be used and for easy and adequate understanding of the entire work, these terms have to be explained.
A particular entity, with governments, that has a population, occupying a particular geographical area and are free from external control.
This is the third tier of government within the state, and charge with the responsibility and administration of the people at the grassroots. It is also a government established at the local level through an Act of parliament to deal with specific matters as it affects the local people.
This is not only the first but the mega-government which exercise exclusive powers and it’s superior to both the State and Local Government
The capacity of a system to make decisions about it’s action without the involvement or the interference of another system. It is the state of being free from external control, having independence to function freedom to act and self reliant. It is also seen as self government.
This is an end result to which an organization or government activities is being directed objectives are hierarchical in nature and are determined or formulated after economic, social and political forces affecting the organization have been appraised.
Administration is a determined action taken in pursuit of conscious purpose. It is the systematic ordering of affairs and the calculated use of resources, aimed at making those things happen which we want to happen and simultaneously preventing developments that fail to square with our intentions. It is the marshalling of available labour and materials in order to gain that which is desired at the lowest cost in energy, time and money.
The interactions that exist among various levels/tiers of government within a state and eventually the state in question has to be associated with a Federal System is Inter-governmental Relations.