Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism

 Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism: A Study of Ebonyi State Government and Ezza South Local Government Council. – Project/Research Work

Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism – This research work on the topic “Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism: a study of  Ebonyi State government and Ezza south local government council  was undertaken to explore the relationship existing state and local governments in Nigeria democratic federalism.

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The study adopted description survey approach with inductive-dedicative reasoning. The specific objectives of the study was to identify the areas where Ebonyi State government activities affects Ezza south local government in socio-economic and political development, to investigate the extent which Ebonyi State government and Ezza south local government obey the 1999 constitution in their inter-governmental relations and to identify that factors militating against effective state and local government relationship in Ebonyi state. The findings of the research show that Ebonyi state government intrudes the constitutional responsibilities of Ezza south local government area especially in the area of politics and finance, that these two tiers of government does not follow the constitutional guideline in their relationship, it was also discovered that political influence, God-fatherism among other factors that are militating against state local government relationship in Ebonyi State. It is the position of this paper that Ebonyi state government and Ezza south local government council should follow the constitutional guideline in their inter-governmental relationship, that the two tiers of government showed allow their relationship to promote harmony and avoid conflicts that can hinder corporate existence in a heterogeneous and pluralistic society like ours, that local government system should be given free hands to handle their own affairs according to their political and financial needs etc. it is believed that if the above recommendations are followed, proper inter-governmental relationship will be witnessed not only in Ebonyi State in particular, but Nigeria in general.

Introduction

Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism – Nigeria since independence in 1960, has been bedeviled by a plethora of political problems revolving around disharmony, predicted upon ethnic disintegration and nurtured in acrimony deprivation, marginalization and inter-governmental conflicts. This has resulted to unhealthy and competitive rather co-operation federalism with attendant social- political conflicts and agitation all over the various regions of Nigeria.

However, in a federal system with the spirit of democracy, a supreme constitution is meant to regulate the actions of government at all times. Infact, the essence of a democratic federation from a political perspective is best expressed in the concept of constitutionalism, which means that an agreement is reached according to which the powers of government are shared between, the various levels. This agreement which has to be respected within the dictates of the constitution has sovereign powers over and this motion fits into the argument of theoretical model of federalism which maintains that each unit of government within such structure should operate independently within statutory or constitutionally defined spheres of competence.

The constitutional control set out the relationship between the stakeholders and the various tiers of government in such a way that neither tier of government dictates the decisions of the other.

Furthermore, a given political system with the concept of democratic federationalism derives its existence from a supreme constitution, which defines and determines the process of governance and regulates the actions and decision of various levels of government in relation to the citizens.

Federation demands both the horizontal and vertical interaction of the various levels of government, namely; the federal, state and local levels. Thus, in a federal arrangement like Nigeria, inter-governmental relations  (IGR) appears to focus attention on two major discernibles issues, notably the increasing recognition of the importance of smooth and effective management of complex political system and equally the need to manage the wide array of transactions among constituent bodies (Okafor, 2002). A federal political arrangement signifies a decision of governmental powers between the national government and constituent units and such a decision is usually specified in the constitution.

Constitutionalism, within a federal context therefore, implies that both the federal, state and local governments have specific constitutionally guaranteed competence for which they have to take responsibilities.  In essence, it means that each level of government has some activities on which it makes final decision, thus, no level of government, takes supreme control of others except within the prior view of the constitution. It is against this background that the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria succinctly declares accordingly in section (2) that the federal republic of Nigeria shall not be government nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the government or any part thereof expect in accordance with the provision of the constitution.

Consequently, every level of government of Nigeria federalism is expected to operate within the content of the constitutional powers and provision. It equally follows that no level of government can be reasonably assessed without reference to the constitutional limitation or otherwise in the federal structure of Nigerian government. It is background that this research work sees to access the level of inter-governmental relationship between the government of Ebonyi state and Ezza south local government council from 1999-2007.

Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism – Statement of the Problem

After the handsome and lofty design for effective local system as contain in 1976 local government reform in Nigeria. It is obvious in modern times, following the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria that such gains made in the inter-governmental relations make depriciated because of the deliberate action of state government in interpreting an ambiguous constitution.

As a matter of fact, the local government system have been made weak and sickly in the discharge of her socio-economic and political duties for which they were being treated as appendages or state extensions rather than tier of government that effectively play their part in inter-governmental relations process.

Because of insufficient funds, arising from the overbearing influence of the states on local government administration, the local governments are given funds that can barely pay staff salaries and other overhead costs, thus impairing a developmental activity which constitutes the reason for their existence. However, it is to be noted here that intergovernmental relation go beyond fiscal relationship, to include developmental, administration, strategic socio-economic and legislative (Okpata, 2013).

However, since 1999 constitution, the dwindling and abysmal performance of the Nigerian local government as the third tier of government in  Nigeria federalism has continued to attract the concern’s of many Nigerians, even among the political class themselves, who make efforts to investigate the cases. Which some view the problem as arising from inherent weakness of the constitution. Others attributed it to the operators (political class) of the constitution. Although, in a given federal structure, the constitution allows sufficient room for the perspective tiers of government to influence bargain with and persuade each other. The major question however, as at what level and or with what pattern of relationship can the local government in Nigeria. Influence and bargain its autonomy with the states and federal government?

It is against the above analyses in line the 1999 constitutional  provisions that this study seeks to investigate the level of autonomy between Ebonyi state government and Ezza south local government area from 1999-2007.

Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism – Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to explore state local relationship in a democratic federalism in Nigeria, focusing on Ebonyi state government and Ezza south local government council relationship. The specific objectives are;

a)            To identify the areas where Ebonyi state government activities affects Ezza south local government initiatives in socio economic and political development.

b)            To investigate the extent which Ebonyi state government and Ezza south local government obey the 1999 constitution in their inter-governmental relationship.

c)            To identify the factors militating against effective state/local government relationship in Ebonyi state.

Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism – Research Questions

The necessary questions that necessited these studies are;

a)            In what areas has the state control on the local government affected Ezza south local government initiatives in socio-economic and political development?

b)            Do Ebonyi state government/Ezza south local areas follow the pattern of relationship designed in 1999 constitution?

c)            What are the factors militating against state local government relationship in Ebonyi state?

Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism – Research Hypothesis

The below state hypothesis will be tested at the cause of this study:

Ho1 there no area where the activities of Ebonyi state government affects the intitiatives of Ezza south local government in socio-economic and political development.

HA1 there are areas where the activities of Ebonyi state government affects the initiatives of Ezza south local government in socio-economic and political development.

Ho2 Ebonyi state government and Ezza south local government do not always obey the 1999 constitution in their relationship.

HA2 Ebonyi state government and Ezza south local government do obey the 1999 constitution in their relationship.

H03 there are no factors militating against effective state –local government relationship in Ebonyi state.

HA3 there are factors militating against effective state –local government relationship in Ebonyi state.

Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism – Significance of the Study

The findings of this work will be beneficial to government institutions, public sector organizations, academic institutions and general public in many ways;

Firstly, federal state and local governments will benefit from this study on how to enhance effective inter-governmental relationship that will boast socio-economic and political development in the systems.

Also, public sector organizations as well as academic institutions will gain from the submissions made in this work in the further researches.

Nevertheless, the general public will benefit from lofty and beautiful inter-governmental relationship envisaged by this study.

Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism – Scope of the Study

This study will only cover the inter-governmental relationship existing between Ebonyi state government and Ezza south local government area from 1999-2007. It will focus on political, economic and socio-cultural relationship that is exisiting between the two governments.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

The researcher suffered a lot of setbacks at the course this research work. Such setbacks includes; lack of relevant materials that could help the researcher to carry out good research work, lack of finance, time and the unwillingness of some respondents to volunteer relevant information about their institutions because they are afraid that it will expose them etc.

However, the research ensured that the above problems are surmounted for effective research work.

Inter-Governmental Relations in a Democratic Federalism – Definition of Terms

The following terms will be defined for the purpose of this study:

Inter-Governmental – It means the relationship existing between one level of government and another. It could be political, economic or socio-cultural relationship.

Democracy– It is government of the people, for the people and by the people. It also means the type of government that allows people to choose their representatives periodically via elections.

Federalism– It is the governmental arrangement that permit horizontal and vertical interaction of the various level of government that is federal, state and local government. It accommodates the interest of the neglected minority.

—-This article is not complete———–This article is not complete————

This article was extracted from a Project Research Work Topic

INTER-GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS IN A DEMOCRATIC FEDERALISM: A STUDY OF  EBONYI STATE GOVERNMENT AND EZZA SOUTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL)

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