What is the most basic level of governance in Nigeria?
The localisation of government in Nigeria was established by law in 1976. Interestingly, one of the purposes of establishing the local government was to encourage participation of the people at the grassroots in administering their affairs. Through this medium, it was intended that the impact of the Constitution as executed by the federal and state arms of government was felt by the people at the local or often termed grassroots level. Nigeria is undoubtedly one of the world’s most prominent black democracies. Like many other federations, the Nigerian federation has evolved over time and has undergone considerable political restructuring to realise the object of true federalism. Perhaps unlike other federal unions, Nigeria’s federalism has generated considerable debate and controversy. Part of this controversy revolves around the three-tier structure of the federation: the federal government at the centre; the Federal Capital Territory and 36 state governments; and 774 local governments. It has been difficult to deal with and hold government at the federal and state levels accountable for the constitutional backing they enjoy, it had become increasingly popular and important to examine and check the functions of governance at the grassroots. What is a local government? Simply put, this is the art of governance done within a specified local area by state endorsed representative councils, who have been delegated specific power by the state government to make certain laws that address the unique needs of their locality carefully observing the larger constitution of the nation. Hence,they are the last links in the chain of authority nearest to the local communities and the grassroots. Some functions of the local government. 1. They make recommendations to the state thereby helping the state to be more precise in its planning 2. They see to the welfare of the destitute in their locality 3. They are charged with generating revenues for the state through vehicle licensing 4. They are responsible for the naming of streets and roads and numbering of houses 5. They are responsible for the registration of births, marriages and death. 6. One important function of the local government is to provide the space, feedback for the testing of state policies before larger implementation. 7. It is the function of the local government to provide public utilities to the people such as construction and maintenance of roads, construction of drainage, provision of street lighting, recreation centres like parks and gardens and open spaces among others.