For decades, there have been a lot of complaints about the performance of local governments in terms of the quality of service delivery and the level of impacts of such services to the people at the grassroots level. The problem may be attributed to low level of autonomy enjoyed by the local governments, over the year or due to political and administrative control of the Local Government Council by the State Government through ministry for Local Government as well as Local Government Service Commission. The concern of the study is, to examine the extent to which Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments provide essential services for the promotion of socioeconomic conditions of the people between the periods of 2004-2015.The study adopted service delivery theory, which helped in explaining the quality of service delivery in
Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments of Kaduna State. Yamane‟s formula was used in the determination of sample size of the study. Multi-stage sampling technique was adopted in which cluster, purposive and proportional sampling was used. The primary data for the study were sourced through questionnaire and unstructured interview while secondary data were gathered from official publications including relevant documents on socio-economic activities from Information Units, Finance and Supplies, and Works, Transport, Housing and Survey Departments of the two local governments, federal monthly allocations covering the periods 2004-2015, relevant Sections (Forth Schedule) in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Data were presented and analysed through Tables and the use of Chi-square statistical tools in testing the research hypotheses. The study revealed that there is no full autonomy in local government of Kaduna State and the performance of these local governments is very low, although Zaria Local Government performed better in the provision of local service delivery than that of Kaduna-south, for the period under study. The study recommended among other things that, State and local government joint-account should be abolished; local governments should be given full autonomy so as to be able to improve their performance in the delivery of quality services to their communities.
1.1 Background to the Study
Local Governments in many countries of the world are regarded as competent unit of government that can access the needs of local dwellers, mobilize and harness local resources with the help of local talents and support of the State and/or central government. A modern local government is expected to play the role of promoting the democratic ideals of a society and coordination of development programmes at grassroots level. It mobilizes popular support and participation in developments; initiates local projects and resolves competing claims, over resources through planning and budgeting. It helps greatly in collecting vital data which can be used in preparing development programmes for State and Federal levels of government; it also helps to cultivate the spirit of self-determination in the mind of people.
Central governments of many countries are relying increasingly on local governments to perform services related to economic and social development. New systems of local government are being introduced in many countries of the world especially (Asia and Africa) with a view to increasing the contributions of local government to economic and social development programmes (Omar, 1999). Essentially, local government is created for developmental purposes which include national integration, economic and social development, and development of the human and other resources. Development is the function that has been obvious in the theories of local government.
This implies that local government is a reliable and dependable vehicle of development. According to Omar (1999), it is understandable that central government in many countries should wish to involve local government in accelerating development. Local governments are closest to the people at grassroots and so should have intimate knowledge of people‟s needs, problems and potentials. As local governments increase in competence and resource-base, they are used to reduce congestion of responsibility in the central government, thereby enabling national agencies to concentrate on overall developments measures. In urban areas in particular, local governments are often expected to provide the basic infrastructure for social and economic development. Local government serve to increase the participation of people in administration of services, thereby facilitating the adoption of programmes to local conditions and needs and gaining acceptance of such programmes by the people. Local governments can through taxation and other sources of revenues, increase finances available for development. Local government can contribute towards national integration by serving as instruments for associating people with national development programmes and by providing a training ground for national leaders of the future.
According to Galadima (2000) a local government, more especially under a devolved system is obliged to perform certain socio-economic and political functions as its contribution to the developmental process. In realization of this therefore, a lot of efforts are being made with a view to making Nigerian local government system responsive to the much needed desire of enabling the local governments contribute their quota towards national development. Notable of such efforts were: the formulation and implementation of the 1976 local government reforms, enshrining the provision of the 1976 local government reform in the 1979 Constitution, the inclusion of local government programmes and projects in the National Development plans, instituting the Dasuki Committee which worked out some strategies for improving local government administration, applying the 1988 Civil Service Reform to local government, and providing more funds to local governments, occasioned by eventual increase in the percentage of financial statutory allocations to local governments from 10% -15% and from 15% -20% in 1989 and 1992 respectively. Altogether, the intent has been to enable local governments partake actively in the process of national development. In view of the above, this study seeks to assess the of service delivery with particular reference to Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments of Kaduna State, so as to know the level of their performance or otherwise in this crucial period where people are calling for the scrapping of the local government system while others talk of giving them full autonomy for better performance.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
For decades, there have been a lot of complaints about the performance of local governments in Nigeria series of reforms have been made to ensure efficient service delivery but without any significant change. We have witnessed the 1976 Local Government Reform as well as the application of the presidential system to local government with the view to making the system more viable and strong third tier of government, but yet the system has failed to perform as expected. This problem may be attributed to low level of autonomy enjoyed by the local governments, over the years or due to political and administrative control of the local government by state governments through ministry for local government as well as local government service commission.
Local governments are strategically placed to carry out the functions of the provision of service delivery for two basic reasons: firstly, their proximity to the people. This, not only removes physical and psychological distance between the officials and the governed, but also helps in articulating and aggregating their demands of the people. Secondly, the provision in the reforms and Constitution empowered the local government to take full responsibility for grassroot development through the provision of service delivery i.e feeder roads, primary education facilities, primary health care services and agricultural facilities. etc within their area of authority. However, this has not been the case in many local governments in Nigeria, including Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments of Kaduna State.
Similarly, there have been more and more funds allocated to and disbursed by the local council‟s for the purpose of bringing about service delivery at the grassroots level but, yet those services provided and the level of impacts of such services on the social and economic well-being of the people have over the years remained unsatisfactory. For example, provision of accessible roads networks, primary education facilities, primary health care centers, rural electrification, agricultural facilities, etc are grossly inadequate and their provisions are not up to standards and therefore, the goals of local service delivery in promoting grassroots development has not been accomplished. The concern is, to examine the extent to which Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments provide essential services for the promotion of socio-economic conditions of the people between the periods of 2004-2015.
1.3 Research Questions
This study attempts to answer the following research questions:
- What is the relationship between local government autonomy and the provisions of accessible roads networks, primary education facilities, primary health care centers, rural electrification, agricultural, etc (Service Delivery) in both Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments?
- To what extent does the performance of Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments affect services delivery?
- What are the problems facing both Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments in the course of discharging their responsibility?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to assess the role played by Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments in the provision of accessible roads networks, primary education facilities, primary health care centers, rural electrification, agricultural facilities, etc (Service delivery) of their areas. The specific objectives of the study include:
- To determine the relationship between local government autonomy and service delivery in Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments of Kaduna State; ii. To determine the level of local government performance and service delivery in
Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments of Kaduna State; iii. To identify areas of problems affecting the performance of Kaduna-south and Zaria
Local Government in discharging their responsibility, and iv. To proper recommendations for improved service delivery at the grassroots level of governance.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
- There is no significant relationship between local government autonomy and the provision of health care facilities, primary education, agricultural facilities, local roads, and electricity, etc (Service delivery) in Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments of Kaduna State.
- There is no significant relationship between the local government performance and the provision of health care facilities, primary education, agricultural facilities, access roads, and electricity, etc (Service delivery) in Kaduna-south and Zaria Local
Governments of Kaduna State.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Section 7 (5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides for certain functions (exclusive and concurrent) to be performed by local governments as third tier of government i.e. the mandatory functions and functions jointly performed with the State government. Given these set of functions, the need for research in this field become relevant due to the recognition of local government as a system of government at the grassroots.
Also this study attempts to bridge the gaps left in the previous studies. Many researchers and Scholars have conducted studies in the area of local government administration and effective service delivery with different combination of variables of interest. Abubakar (2008) study the role of local government on socio-economic development in Soba local government. Bosede (2011) conducted a study on evaluation of local government in Zaria with focus on socio-economic development. Abdulsalam (2011) examined the autonomy of local government system in Zaria and Soba Local Government area. But to the best of our knowledge, there are indeed very few if any of the studies that used a combination of performance, autonomy and service delivery. Therefore, the importance of this study can never be overemphasized because; the study would be of paramount importance to the local government as institution of grassroots governance, but to the society at large. The study will also contribute to the existing knowledge and literature in the field of public administration and local government and development studies. Expectedly, the findings of the study will serve as guide to policy makers, when making governmental policies that affect local government councils as relates to service delivery.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
This study pays particular attention on the role of local government in service delivery, with special reference to two selected local government areas in Kaduna State from two different geo-political zones with the largest population based on the 2006 population census, i.e. Kaduna-south and Zaria Local Governments respectively. The study would have broadened the scope to cover more local governments but delimited to only two selected.
The study covers Eleven (11) years period (2004-2015). The choice of Eleven years (11) period due to the proliferation in funding of Local Government Councils since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999. The study is limited by time, finance, as well as inadequate information that are regarded as confidential by the relevant authorities. Nonetheless, these do not have much effects on the fundamental issues raised in the study as well as on the major findings.
1.8 Definition of Basic Term (Operational Definition)
The following terms are operationally defined as they appeared in the study:
- Local Government
The term local government as used in this study refers to government at local level or grassroots that are expected to provide services to the people within its areas of jurisdictions. It can also be defined as government at the grassroots level exercise through representative council established by law to exercise specific powers within defined areas.
The term autonomy as used in this study refers to relative discretion which local government enjoy in regulating their affairs. The degree of autonomy enjoyed by local government depends on the extent to which it operate freely from the control of the state and federal government in the management of local affairs.
- Service Delivery
This can be defined as a process in which the local governments provide essential services to the people within its areas of jurisdiction i.e. primary health care services, construction of access roads and drainage, primary education, agricultural facilities, pipe born water, electricity, etc to enhance and promote socio-economic development.
This can be defined as the ability of local government council to perform its function and achieved its goal and objectives with or without difficulty at a given time.