Local Government and the Challenges of Community Development in Lagos State, Nigeria (1999 – 2012)

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Awosika, F.O
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In contemporary scholarship, the discourse on local government system has shifted from the debate on the requisite level of autonomy for local government administration, to the more topical issue of the impact of the local government system on grassroots development. Whereas scholars are agreed on the import of local government in any form of governmental contraption, however, there are divergent views on the extent of the role of the local government system in community development. Specifically, the work examines both the import of local government in respect of certain indicators of community development and also, the impact of local government strategies to community development. The work is equally an attempt to assess the effects of intergovernmental fiscal relations on local government and community development activities in Lagos State. Being an effort that interrogates the extent to which local government administrations impact on community development, and by extension, the citizenry at the grassroots, the work draws its analysis from the scenarios in five local government authorities in Lagos State, viz; Amuwo-Odofin, Epe, Mainland, Ikorodu and Ikeja.The five local Governments were based on the five administrative divisions of Lagos,which are Ikeja,Ikorodu, Epe, Lagos Island and Mainland.The local government selected under each division was arrived at by simple random selection through balloting. The choice of some local government systems in Lagos as case-studies is partly derived from the impressive developmental progress that Lagos has recorded since the beginning of the fourth republic. The study employs three theoretical platforms for its analysis. These are; the Democratic Participatory School, The Efficient-Service School and The Developmental School. While the Democratic and Participatory Schools of Thought are complementary in outlook, the Developmental School holds a differing perspective thereby balancing the various view-points on the extent of the effects of local government administration on community development. In furtherance of the objectives set out in the research, we employ a case study research design as its methodology, in which two qualitative research methods (in-depth interview and focus group discussion) were used to gather data. Subsequently, the data were content-analysed. The conclusive findings of the work show that the involvement of stakeholders in project initiation and implementation is key to the development process of their community. Similarly, effective communication between local government authorities and community members is fundamental to the attainment of community development goals. Thirdly, the activities of community development associations is critical towards achieving adequate provision of basic amenities for the rural populace. The findings also reveal that corruption negates the attainment of development at the local government level. As a panacea for system improvement and by implication overcome the identified challenges, the study recommends among others that: recognition and establishment of local communities as centers of development in the local government, improving and strengthening the local communities in this quest, creation of opportunities for the communities to determine their socio-political and economic needs and satisfaction, involvement of the communities in the making and execution of decision that affect their everyday life and effective condition of the activities of the community. In the final analysis, some tentative conclusions are reached to suggest that the local government system is still found wanting in forging and implementing community development initiatives at the grassroots level.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos.
Local Government , Community Development , Corruption , Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Political science
Awosika, F.O (2014), Local Government and the Challenges of Community Development in Lagos State, Nigeria (1999 – 2012). A Thesis Submitted to University of Lagos School of Postgraduate Studies Phd Thesis and Dissertation, 353pp.