THE ROLE OF ETHICS AND PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY IN FOSTERING LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT IN LAGOS STATE

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

There has been a considerable debate in the literature of political science and dating back to the period of Thomas Hobbes as to whether the state, as a sovereign entity, should be accountable to anyone or whether it should be treated as a moral and responsible agent. The consensus now seems to be that while the state must be self-accounting on the basis of the constitution and the laws of the country, the individuals who exercise power on behalf of the state whether appointed or elected, must be accountable for the actions they take on behalf of the state as a prerequisite for national development (Adamolekun, 2013). One of the most important and significant features of most modern societies today is the emergence of a powerful state bureaucracy. This, has raised the issue of bureaucratic power which can be abused by the bureaucrats, either for selfish ends (especially for personal or family enrichment) or in the course of their dealings with private citizens.

In regard to this latter issue, attention is usually drawn to the weak position of the citizens in relation to the powerful state bureaucracy. Most modern states have devised some methods of dealing with problems that may emerge from this interaction. In Nigeria, the public complaints commission, usually called the ombudsman system, has been established to act as a grievance redressing mechanism for the populace (Agarah, cited in Tunde and Omobolaji, 2009). Apart from that there are some other internal mechanisms and control measures put in place to ensure that the bureaucracy conduct its business within some ethical parameters. These internal mechanisms not only provide an ethical environment within which the bureaucracy is expected to perform its responsibilities but also act as a form of accountability to foster national development in Nigeria. These are the civil service rules (CSR) which replaced the general orders bequeathed to the public service by the colonialists and the civil Service Handbook.

The CSR is the grand norm for service conduct and it covers appointment to separation from the service, discipline, salary, leave, and reward for performance ( Abdullahi, 2013). Ethics means moral codes of conduct (Vittal, 2002). The concept of ethics occupied a central piece in the art of governance. In 172BC, the Babylonian code of Hammuurabi stipulated ethical rule of conduct for their judges and military ocers. The Aristotle of the Greek had prevailed on the citizens as well as the public oce holders to separate private activities and ownership from public activities and ownership. Both China and Britain as early as 622 BC had propagated the prominence of merit and non partisan service, as essential conditions for the public service in a bid to foster national development

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THE ROLE OF ETHICS AND PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY IN FOSTERING LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEVELOPMENT IN LAGOS STATE