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Intergovernmental relation and performance of local government in Nigeria

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Study Level: BTech, BSc, BEng, BA, HND, ND or NCE

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Intergovernmental Relations (IGRs)


The research work examines The inter governmental relation and performance of local government in Nigeria, with special attention on Abuja Municipal Area Council, (AMAC), Abuja. Inter-governmental relations in Nigeria entails formal allocation of powers both vertical and horizontally among various levels of government. In this relationship local government is seen as a third tier or level of government with power to transform their areas of jurisdiction through good governance. Local government is not mutually exclusive of other levels of government and that as such there is bound to be an interaction between the local and other levels of government in Nigeria. The study is a historical and descriptive and adopted the system theory and power theory, to guide as means of vivid understanding of IGR and Local Government. To guide the study, four research questions and three hypotheses were posed. The researcher employed a survey design and a simple random sampling techniques used for data collection. The data collected was analyzed using question while the hypotheses were analyzed using the chi-square. The finding indicated that: There is significant relationship between Inter-Governmental Relationship and local Government in Nigeria. The study therefore, revealed that right from 1954 – till date, local governments have been subjected to all sorts of control by other tiers of government namely, Federal and State governments, following the 1976 local government reforms, it was believe that the situation reforms, it was believe that the situation would improve, but instead, the status quo still remained. The study further reveal that inter governmental relations, among the levels of governments in Nigeria were in disarray due to the conflicts over issues of tax jurisdiction, revenue allocation, IGR, funds transfer, over concentration of power at the centre, illegal removal of elected local government officials among other factors. This lopsided relations has impacted negatively on good governance and by extension inability to implement live touching projects. Based on this, the study posits that for cordial relationship between local and other tiers of status of local government must be clearly spelt out, the issue of joint state – local government should be allowed to function as government with minimal control from the state, election rather than appointment should be the means of choosing leaders at the local level, judiciary should be made to be independent and the undue interference on the local government by the state or federal government has to be properly addressed. Also the present 1999 and 2011 amended constitutions for local to be constitutionally created and not state, there should be direct disbursement of federation allocation to local government account.

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Background to the study
1.3 Statement of the Problem
1.4 Objectives of the Study
1.5 Research Questions
1.6 Statement of the Hypothesis
1.7 Significant of the study
1.8 Justification of the study
1.9 Scope of the study
1.10 Definition of Terms

2.0 Introduction
2.1 Conceptual Clarification
2.2 Theoretical Framework
2.3 Literature on the Subject matter
3.0 Area of study
3.1 Research Design and Sources of Data
3.2 Study Pollution and Determination of Sample Size
3.3 Instrumentation
3.4 Procedure for Data Collection and Data Analysis
3.5 Limitation of the Study
4.0 Data Analysis, Findings and Discussions
4.1 Findings of the Study
4.1.1 Test of Hypothesis
4.2 Discussion of the Study
5.0 Summary of Finding
5.1 Conclusions
5.2 Recommendations
5.3 Proposal for further studies
Appendix I
Appendix II


It is a well known fact by practitioners and scholars that local government is a viable tool for rural transformation and delivery of social service to the people. Whether unitary or federal political system; the strategic importance of local government to the development process is not in doubt. However, this is contingent in the relationship that exists among levels or tiers of government (Enefiok and Ekpe, 2014).

According to Karingi,(2003), globally, federalizing necessitates the combination of self and shared rule. It accommodate multi-level government that authorizes autonomous  political units to perform its peculiar functions within a political saturation. Despite the imitating of formal decentrali0zation poli0cies, unsuitable intergovernmental relations can engender these relationship between central and local government. In Nigeria, local government by constitutional provision stands as a district level vis-à-vis federal and state government

Enefiok and Ekpe (2014) posit that the concept of intergovernmental relations took the centre stage at a period when there were numerous and complex problem facing three levels of government. They argued that the concept has its beginning in Nigeria around 1950s with the establishment of advisory body on intergovernmental relations. This was necessary because of numerous and complex problem confronting three levels of government in our heterogeneous society. This interrelationship becomes necessary for the achievement of national integration for a harmonious co-existence of the parts, as well as the whole for sold governance and meaningful development.

However, six patterns of relationship in Nigeria intergovernmental relationship in Nigeria intergovernmental relations a identified by Enefiok and Ekpe (2014) are:

  1. Federal-state relations
  2. Federal-state local relations
  3. Federal-local relations
  4. Inter-state relations
  5. State-local relations
  6. Inter-local relations

This research work this, exosmic the impact of intergovernmental relations on local government Administration, the Abuja municipal Area council (AMAC), Abuja as its concerns, and the consequence of such relationship on good governance and project implementation for development purposes.


The wave of popular pressure for political reforms that spread across most developing countries in the period stretching from the late 1980s to the mid-1990 culminated in the restoration and establishment of democratic institution. In most countries, where transition to elected government occurred, the most visible sign of the changes that took place was the repositioning of the third tier of government to its proper position for grassroots development. Indeed, general political reform is went hand in hand with economic reforms. Thus, during the 19902 and beyond, a considerable amount of discussion took place and centered on the question of good government to improve the situation in the rural areas (Maidoki and Philip, 2009).

The 1999 Nigeria constitution stipulates the function and powers of the levels of government in such a way that no one level of government can single-handedly perform the functions of service delivery to the people. Cooperation has thus become an important prerequisite for governance (Shah, 2006, cited in Solomon, 2014). Nigeria Federation like most other federal systems of government is characterized by diverse ethnic groups languages, culture, political power. The need to cater for these diverse elements and ensure service delivery at the grassroots level necessitated the creation of local government. According to  Lawson (2011), in a unitary system of government, there is a strong centre and weak constitutes. In a confederal state however, the constituents are stronger than the centre. In a federal system, every unit is granted autonomy, to decide whether to stay in the union or to back out. However, event over the years in Nigeria’s Federation have shown the over-dominance of the federal government vis-a -vis inter governmental relations, which is structurally improper. The existing mechanism and institutions for intergovernmental policy coordination are very weak and need to be important to be improved and strengthened.

Ajulor and Okewale (2011), argued the intergovernmental relations (IGR) provides platform for series of legal, political and administrative collaboration between levels of government with varying degree of autonomy. It is generally referred to as the transaction between levels of government either national or regional or among federal, state and local government. Examining the conflict among the three levels of government, Jihadu (1998.27) points that:

The dynamics of Federal – state local government relations within the Federalist constitutional framework is one of a see-saw between interdependence and co-operation on one hand and conflict on the other hand, between the centre and the units and between the units themselves.

Abia (2010) maintained that local government was made the third tier of administration with some autonomy, which allows for interaction with the central and state governments. The characteristics of the federal government are, inter alia, the separateness and independence of each level of government, mutual non-interference in the distribution, of power, the existence of a supreme court and a court of law to act as an arbiter in intergovernmental dispute.

Solomon (2014) asserts that by the arrangement of the 1999 constitution on the distribution of powers, Nigeria still remains a centralized federation with strong unitary elements. Currently, there are compliments about over-concentration of power in the Federal government and demands for re-structuring of Nigeria by ethnic minority and Niger Delta people. Adamolekun, 91983) and Olopade (1984) were of the view that if Nigeria want to practice “true federalism”. It should go back to its 1963 constitution. Yet there are centrists who continue to support a very strong Federal government in order to counter Nigeria’s history of political instability.

Fadayi (2001) argued that unhealthy relationship between the states and local government in the Nigeria fourth republic. During this period, more than ten local government chairman have, by state execute flat, been remove or suspended from office. According to him, it was this that infuriated the local government chairman an made they to sue the thirty- six governors and their state assemblies. Also, the stop page of the monthly revenue allocations to some states for their conduct of election into newly created local governments made the federal and states governments to be at loggerhead. For example, the complicit between the Obasanjo administration at the federal and governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos in 2003.

The unhealthy rivalry between local government and other levels of government is a result of a number of interrelation factors: undue interference by the states government, unconstitutional removal of the local government chairman by some states governments, shortening of local government chairman tenure of office, joint states – local government account which the former controls and what the perceive to be an attempt by the federal government to relate directly with lo-cal government (Solomon, 2014). This research project will, therefore, examine these challenges in greater details and also considers why they occur in the first place respect to governance, and then, suggest ways it can be controlled.


Local government is not mutually exclusive of other levels of government.

Nwabuze (1983) argued that the functions set aside for local government in the fourth schedule of Nigeria 1999 constitution have to be conferred upon the local government by the State House of Assembly and do not derive from a direct constitutional grant as contained in section 7(6). Therefore, there is bound to be an interaction between the local government and other levels of government.

However, as caption, by the Vanguard Newspaper editorial (1999), it is unfortunately, the relationship has not been cordial because local government complains about undue interference from state government. The Vanguard Newspaper report on Sokoto State government that was council, and the court prohibited it from deducing 3% of its statutory allocation to fund the Sokoto Emirate Council, as passed by the Sokoto State House of Assembly (Vanguard Newspaper, 1999 p27).

In the Nigeria political sphere and governance intergovernmental relations among the levels of government have been in disarray due to unhealthy rivalry. The problem is not unconnected to the dissatisfaction in the distribution of functions among the levels of government and lack of adequate tax powers allocated to the states and local government in relation to their functions, undue removal of local government elected chairman by the state governors through their audit powers, joint state – local government account, and shortening of the tenure of local government chairmen, during other factors.

In previous studies and research work, scholars and researcher have discussed various issues that brings about conflict between local government and others levels of government, but not much work as been done in providing solution to such conflictual relationship. However, a gap which this study attempt to fill by investigating these following problems:

  • Is their dissatisfaction in the distribution of functions among levels of government in Nigeria.
  • What powers does a state government have to remove elected local government chairmen.
  • What necessitate the undue interference in local government affairs by the state government and federal.


The purpose of the study is to assess the impact of inter-governmental relations on local government administration. It will also evaluate it, determine its effects on the processes of governance success and failure and discuss, likely means by which they can be controlled. The other objectives this research seeks to achieve are:

  • To determine the extent to which intergovernmental relations affect local government administration in Nigeria.
  • To ascertain the effect of unhealthy rivalry between local government and other levels of government as a result of a number of interrelated factors.
  • To determine the relationship existence between local government and state government.
  • To make suggestions for policy implication in the light of the findings of the study.


In this study, an attempt will be made to provide answers to the following questions.

  1. How does inter-governmental relations influence local government administration in Nigeria?
  2. What is the relationship the relationship between inter-governmental relation and local government administration?
  3. To what extent do inter-governmental relations affect Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC)?
  4. What are the available measures provide in the constitution of control and prevent unhealthy rivalry?


The following hypotheses formulated would be tested, to help provide answers to the research questions:

Ho:       There is no significant relationship between inter-government relationship   and local government administration.

H1:       There is significant relationship between inter-governmental relationship and          local government administration.

Hypothesis Two                                                             

Ho:       There is no significant correlation between inter-government relations and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).

H1:       There is a significant relationship between inter-governmental relations and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).

Hypothesis Three

Ho:      Prospect of IGR can bring about sustainable service delivery in Abuja         Municipal        Area Council (AMAC).

H1:       Prospects of IGR cannot bring about sustainable service delivery in Abuja Area     Council (AMAC).


The study’s findings will help to inform the administrator of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and other government authorities on how to ensure healthy rivalry and the need for accountability to avoid ill relationship among government administrators. The findings are also intended to help policy makers develop and maintain governmental affairs, and provide a platform for transparency, responsible and accountability in resources management. Finally, it is to aid policy maker, managers, government authority to ensure positive inter-governmental relations and to introduce measure to control such and, be able to manage scarce resources and accommodate project development at the local government level.


Global demand for infrastructure and service delivery at the local government level is on high demand. Decades of significant service delivery and infrastructural deficit due to under investment and poor maintenance in infrastructural assets is holding back governance, development and economic growth of AMAC and Nigeria local government administration in general. This study will be significant endeavours in promoting positive impact of inter governmental relations.

Assessment of inter governmental relations are not new in the country. There are instances where such exercises are undertaken by the scholars in the social and management science to understand the relevant of this relation as it affect local government in developing countries.

The evaluation of beneficiaries of impact of inter governmental relations in  service delivery satisfaction or lack at the local government level and among other levels of governments in providing road network, health facility, educational facilities, or social services like fire, water, primary health care, school, etc. That is, perception of the general public in the application of inter governmental relation is very much instructive

Moreover, the study will provide recommendations on how to evaluate inter governmental relations on local governmental as well as services delivery in terms of administration of good governance that  ensure prompts efficiency and effectiveness in  Abuja Municipal Area Council.


Though, the concept of inter governmental relation and local government is so broad and significant to the continuous survival of social and economic growth in this period of global democratic phenomenon. The study covers impact of inter governmental relation on local government administration in Nigeria. The study basically Abuja Municipal Area Council.



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Account Name: Emmanuel Idorenyin Samuel.