A local government may be defined as government at grass root or local level established by law to perform specific functions within defined areas.
NEED FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY
i) Provision of infrastructures like markets, primary health care at local level.
ii) Provision of transport and recreational facilities.
iii) Rapid development of local communities.
iv) Town planning and housing in the areas of street naming, layout and affordable public housing.
v) Local government serves as a link between the state government and the people.
vi) It provides political leadership training.
FUNCTIONS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY
i) Collection of rates
ii) Provision of markets and motor parks
iii) Making by-laws
iv) Granting of various licences
v) Provision of public health
vi) Public enlightenment services
vii) Registration of deaths, marriages and births
viii) Provision of welfare services
ix) Maintaining law and order at community level
SOURCES OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS REVENUE
i) Grants from the state and federal governments
ii) Bank loans and overdrafts
iii) Fees and fines on defaulters.
iv) Rates on business in their area of jurisdiction.
v) Profits from business ventures established by the local government such as transportation.
vi) Statutory allocation from the federation account
vii) Special levies
STRUCTURE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY
In a unitary system of government, local government is generally created by law of the central government and is subject to control by the central government. In a federal system, local government is created by a state or regional government.
CONTROL OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY
i) Legislative Control: Local government can be controlled by modifying the law establishing it.
ii) Non-approval of by-laws: Laws made by local government are known as by-laws and subject to the approval of the highest law making body in the country.
iii) Legal action by state or central government against the operation of local authority.
iv) Expenditure of local authorities can be controlled
v) Manipulation of monetary grants
vi) Judicial review is when the laws that brought the local government into existence is subjected to court litigation.
vii) The Public: The public can check the activities of the local government via the press.
viii) Ministerial Control: Local governments have a supervising minister who oversees their activities.
ix) Dissolution of Elected Councils: An elected council member can be dissolved via executive order. The fear of this goes a long way in the control of local government authorities.
PROBLEMS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY
i) Inefficiency: Local governments are generally inefficient due to failure to higher competent staffs based on merit.
ii) Financial Problem: Most local governments are starved of fund by the higher authorities thereby hampering it activities.
iii) Excessive control from state and central government
iv) Corruption and Embezzlement on the Parts of Local Government Staff: Most workers at the local government see their appointment as an opportunity to dip into the treasury (National Cake).
v) Poor Quality of Staff and Party Interests: Appointments and recruitment into the local government are based on political patronage. This leads to the employment of poor quality staffs.
vii. Lack of Autonomy: Local governments generally lack autonomy. They are frequently influenced by the control the state and federal government.