1.1 Background of the Study
Local government is widely accepted as a
viable instrument for rural transformation and for delivery of social
service to the people.
Local government is the third tier of
government in a federal system like Nigeria. As a third tier of
government, it is charged with the responsibility of rural and community
development. It is divided into political sub-division of the nation
into units to power. This is why the National guideline for local
government reform of 1978 of Nigeria conceived of local government.
Government at the local level exercised
through a representative council established by law to exercise specific
functions with defined areas. These powers should give the local
government substantial control over local affairs as well as staff and
institutional and financial powers to initiate, determine, and implement
profit so as to complement the activities of government in the area
As a third tier of government endowed
with statutory grant from federal and state government, local government
were expected to serve as effective agent of social, political and
economic development at the grassroot level.
The 1975 local government reform
assigned more authority and functions to the local government. They were
recognized as third tier of government in the country with the
responsibility of facilitating community development through bringing
the government nearer to the local people through local government
transformation. (Abubakar, 2010; Aluko 2006; Anyanwu 1992).
The reform was a method designed to
bring an improvement in the social and economic life of the people, the
rural communities and making process of their development self
sustaining by reducing rural muting the basic needs of the people
increasing employment and providing amenities like roads, water supply,
light, good communication network, hospitals, designed to improve their
rural social political, economic and cultural lives.
Prior to the nationwide reform, the
performance of local government in community development was very poor,
although since the reform (local government) have also performed much in
this context. The low performance of local government can be attributed
to various factors hindering factors or problems include poor
management of resources, poor financial allocation from both state and
federal government, poor implementation strategy of their project,
unskilled personnel from local people, state and federal government and
many more (Barikor, 1984).
The need for effective and efficient
local government for community development cannot be overemphasized. For
community development to take place properly in a developing country
like Nigeria, local government must be used. The local government needs
to mobilize and deliberately involve the local people in the
participation of the political and social activities at the state and
federal levels. Local government is responsible for creating necessary
awareness among the local people.
Community development is the process of
improving the general standard of living of the people at the local area
through positive, social, economic improvement, high industrialization,
socio-cultural and political change to enhance social improvement.
Since change is an in edible character of nature, then there is need for
improvement in the standard of living of the people. This improvement
can only be achieved through local transformation of the local
communities by the local government. It is against this background the
study was undertaken.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Local government may be regarded as
government of the grassroot, it is created and it derives its power from
the statutory instrument of the state or central government. It
performs certain duties and functions. According to the 1970 local
government reform, a local government is a government at the local level
exercised through representative council’s area (Ibodje 2000). The same
reform also recognized local as the third tier level of government at
the local level.
In Nigeria, the structure of local
government varies from one to another before 1976 to include divisional
council, district council and local council. In some, local government
was known as native authority.
Nevertheless, several problems hinder
the local government from achieving its community development objectives
in the country (Adeyemi 2012).
Sagbama Local Government Area since its
creation like any other local government in Nigeria has its own problem
which inhibits the effort of the local government to achieve effective
community development. There is several criticisms hold by different
people against the performance of the local government authority towards
The aforementioned therefore, require a
sociological investigation to assess the performance of Sagbama Local
Government Area in community development.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study is to investigate the role of Sagbama Local Government in community development.
i. To assess the performance of local government especially
in the area of development, education and infrastructural facilities and
ii. To identify factors militating against Nigerian local
government system in community development.
iii. To ascertain the level which Sagbama Local Government
has been living up its constitutional responsibilities in terms of
iv. To provide intellectual thoughts on the issues raised and
stimulate areas for new research.
v. To suggest solutions to the problems identified.
1.4 Research Questions
This research seeks to answer the following questions
i. What is the degree of seriousness towards the provision of
infrastructural facilities by Sagbama Local Government Area to its
ii. Is Sagbama Local Government Area satisfied with the revenue available to her?
iii. Have the available financial resources bun misappropriated?
iv. What type of project does Sagbama Local Government Area carry out?
v. Has Sagbama Local Government Area embarked on any
agricultural and industrial programmes in the course of governance?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study will be
viewed in three perspectives, which includes; theoretical, practical and
i. Theoretically, this study is significant in the sense that
it will provide governments at all levels the much needed data for
policy formulation, its findings shall serve as basis to many other
literatures to be written and also contributing to the variety of
written and also contributing to the variety of knowledge that exist in
Bayelsa State, Nigeria and the world at large concerning the issue under
study. This research work shall serve as a beaconing light to other
research that would be carried out on similar subjects. In essence, it
shall serve as a major source of literature review to other researchers.
ii. Practically, this study shall recommend some practical
alternative measures aimed at improving the role of local government in
iii. Methodologically, this study is significant in the sense
that various research methods have been used in explaining different
phenomenon. Their suitability will be proven here thereby enabling us to
contribute to the research methods used.
1.6 Definition of Terms
Role: Role is that
complex of pattern of behaviour associated with a particular social
status in a given social group (Martins 2005). Operationally, the
conceptual definition stands for this research work.
Local Government: Local
government has been defined in the guideline for local government
reform of 1976 as government at the local level exercised through
representatives, council established by law exercise specific powers
within the defined areas (Bello-Imam 2007). Operationally local
government is seen as a system of local administration under which local
communities and towns are organized to maintain law and order, provide
aid encourage some cooperating and participation of the inhabitant in
joints endeavours towards the improvement of their conditions of living.
Development can be defined as a systematic increase of man’s
capabilities for mastering his environment, satisfying basic human needs
and realizing his potentials (Claude Ake, 1980). Operationally,
development refers to the fundamental efforts by people or society to
come to grip with the imperatives of their environment.
Community development is defined as the process by which the efforts of
people are united with those of government authorities to improve the
social economic, social cultural conditions of the community’s life of
the nation and enable them to contribute fully to the national progress
(UN). Operationally, the aforementioned definition still stands for this