Structure of Local Government in Nigeria

The structure of the local government refers to the institutional framework within which the local governments exist. This includes the geographical size, population, the tier system and organizational component focuses on the decision making organ such as the council, various committees and their responsibilities.

Local government structure could be single tier or multi-tier. The main difference between the two arrangements is as follows:- A single tier system does not share responsibilities.

It takes care of all the functions and powers assigned to a local government alone while multi tier structure framework is arranged in layers or strata called tiers.

It could be two or more strata or layers. Each stratum is assigned power and functions.

The essence is to facilitate decision making and implementation. There are also a structural chain of command and unity of purpose in the hierarchy of the system.

At the apex of the hierarchical structure of the local government is the chairman; who is the chief executive of the local government.

The next to him is the Vice chairman, then the secretary to the council whose post is political.

The next in the structure are the supervisors and the head of personnel department (HPM), who is the head of service in the local government.

The above set of officers constitutes the executive committee. The next in the hierarchy are the various heads of departments.

Under the heads of department are other categories of subordinate staff. These categories of staffs are spread in the various units and sub units.

Administratively, the vice chairman the secretary, supervisor, internal auditor, information officer and head of personnel report to the chairman through the secretary.

But in some cases, these chains are lines of communications but sometimes abused due to political patronage and in search of undue favours from the chief executives.

When decisions are taken, it is the responsibilities of the secretary to the council to communicate to the head of personnel who will subsequently communicate the head of department for implementation of such decision.

The supervisors are responsible for the proper supervision of the implementation of such decision to ensure full realization of the objectives of the decision.

However, when issues or decision are political in nature, the secretary of the council will have to minute such matter to the political head – the supervisor; who will in turn communicate the various heads of departments in close consultation with their subordinate in full implementation of the decision.

In reporting back, these process and channels of communication are maintained to ensure that memos or circulars do not get lost or misdirected in the process of moving from one department to another and from one unit to another sub-unit.

To ensure that no loss is recorded, the movements of these papers, circulars or memos are documented.

Such records will include date of receipt, subject matter, date of leaving the department or unit and destination.

Local Administration

Local administration is the extension of the national government activities to all the nook and crannies of the state.

Usually, the national government establishes field offices (provincial and area) throughout the country to articulate and execute national policies and programmes.

In local administration –

The unit operation is national in scope

The functionaries are national government employees (civil servants) mere agents or representative of the national government.

The issue are not purely local in nature but even when local in nature, are given national recognition and solution.

Little discretion is allowed to the functionaries.

The population is marginalized and there is no independent source of revenue

In local administration, the emphasis is on development within the broader framework of a national development plan.

The guiding criteria are efficiency and effectiveness. Services and amenities must be provided efficiently and effectively within the dictate of national policy guidelines.

All major projects are nationally conceived, approved and distributed to the various localities in accordance with national development objectives.

The local population has little or no impact on the initiation and selection of projects and services which it can embark upon.

Moreover, in local administration, there is no provision for independent sources of revenue.

All revenue generated, whether within specific geographical are or outside it, are treated as national revenue and expended in accordance with the national needs.

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