The need to critically examine the Local Government Administration in Nigeria with specific reference to Mushin cannot be over-emphasized. In the first place, scholars have focused attention on general discussion of the structure of Local Government Administration without looking at the evolution of individual Local Government Administration. This examination would be discussed in phases: pre-colonial, colonial and post colonial phases. Indeed, Local Government Administration in Nigeria has pre-colonial trait. In the first place, the traditional institution was in charge in various Emirates, kingdoms and states. The Emirs, Obas and Obi’s had retinue of chiefs with portfolios in the running of their Local Government Administration. The most striking responsibility of the pre-colonial rulers was the maintenance of law and order within their locality.
The amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria into one administration in 1914 by Lord Frederick Lugard perfected the system of Indirect Rule in Nigeria as it was in India. In other words, indirect rule was a form of local administration2 and the only unique thing about it was that it governed indirectly by making use of the existing traditional structure. The military intervention during which we have many reforms and including the 1976 Local Government reforms. The 1984/1985 reform, the 1988 civil service reforms, as well as the 1989-1991 reform have far-reaching effects on the Local Government which will be discussed in subsequent chapters. Under the 1989-1991 reform, the Federal Government brought the local government into special focus by introducing the presidential system to the Local Government. In 1991, the president in his Budget speech to the Nation granted both financial and administrative autonomy to the local government, and the doctrine of separation of powers came into play.3This gave rise to:
(a) The office of the chairman and vice-chairman
(b) Secretary to the local government
(c) The executive and
(d) The legislative council was constituted by the legislative council comprised the chairman, vice-chairman and supervisors.
At the third tier level of government local government level which is the focus of this research, members of a council ward elected a councilor to represent them in the local government council. All elected councilors within a local government authority meet and take decisions on behalf of all the people who live in that area. The political head of the local government is called chairman who is elected by the members of the local government. The chairman is the head of the executive arm which comprises himself. Vice-chairman and four supervisory councilors. The legislature on the other hand comprises of councilors and headed by the clerk of the house.4
There is no way we can talk about local government without knowing the real definition of the term and we must note that there is no consensus among scholars as to the exact meaning of local government. This has led to different definitions of the concept by different scholars, authors of the concept by different scholars, authors and intellectuals. Infact, several studies, researches, projects etc have been undertaken by scholars in various aspects of local government ranging from its finance, problems and prospects, structure, staffing, administration. Development and training, and to the study of the concept of local government itself with the view of giving if the appropriate meaning it deserve. Hence there is no universally acceptable definition of local government, but attempt would be made to harmonise various definitions by different authors and scholars alike.
According to Barber, local government means authority to determine and execute matters within a restricted areas inside and smaller than the whole state. The variant, local self government is important that it emphasizes the freedom of the local unit. To a greater or lesser, extent to decide and act on its own initiative and responsibility. This implies that local government involves the administering of services on a local level by local bodies and in attempting to construct an adequate definitions certain basic distinction must be drawn. Hickey asserted that what local self government means is as follows:
The management of services and regulatory functions by locally elected councils and officials responsible to them under statutory and executive with enough financial and other independence to admit of a fair degree of local initiative.From this above definition, it can be deduced that local government is established by law, composed a generality of the people, and subject to the control of National government. Adebayo conceptualizes local government “As government at local level exercised through representative council established by law to exercise specific functions within a defined area”. He explain that it is this functions that gives the council reasonable control over local affairs as well as staff and financial power.7 From the various definitions of local government, one can say local government means the third-tier of government established by law to carry out specific functions. Hence, the 1976 local government reforms marked the beginning of the development of modern local government system in Nigeria. Local government can be regarded as the connecting rod between the people at the grassroot and central government.
Local government is built on the premise of administrative efficiency and political education at the grassroot level. As a result of the importance of local government, it is better placed than other levels of governments to accelerate the pace of socio-economic and political development of Nigerians. It was believed that local government was able to carry out these responsibilities more effectively than both the state and central or federal governments due to its closeness to the people and it ability to easily articulate their needs and demands so that appropriate solutions can be sought. Therefore, local government is in a better position to provide services which require intimate local knowledge and sensitivity.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objective of the research, it to examine the growth and development of Mushin Local Government administration. Indeed, many works have been written on local government, but none has specifically been concentrated on Mushin Local Government. This work will therefore be focusing on a neglected area. The case study will highlight the growth and development of Mushin Local Government administration.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
In the course of carrying out this study an examination of cogent reasons for dividing Lagos into various local government areas would be done. These councils are Badagry, Epe, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Lagos, Agege, Ayerom-Ifelodun, Alimosho, Amuwo-Odofin, Apapa, Eti-Osa, Ibeju-Lekki, Ifako-Ijaiye, Kosofe, Lagos Island, Lagos Mamland, Mushin, Ojo, Oshodi-Isolo, Somolu, and Surulere local government councils. The year 1976 marked the evolution of Mushin Local Government and the year 2003 was the first tenue of democratic spirit.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND PROBLEMS
This research work shall draw heavily from secondary sources such as textbooks, journals, periodicals, articles and newspapers, magazines and from the primary sources such as personal interview to be carried out in the Local Government.
In writing this essay, materials were consulted in the libraries, like University of Ilorin Library, Kwara State Library. Materials were also consulted in Lagos state library and visits were also paid to the office of Mushin Local Government headquarters. Besides, interviews I were conducted with some officers of the local government. Among the valuable books consulted include MAMSER – Report of the Political Bureau. MAMSER-ABUJA-1987. The book is of immense importance to this work especially the development local government. The book, among others, illuminates the local government performance. Some agree that effectiveness in the performance of local government derives primarily from excessive government control and interference unnecessarily in the councils affairs.
The book also points out the structure of local government, functions of local the government and the definition of local government. Another book consulted is Olusegun Obasanjo and Akin Mabogunje’s Element of Democracy – ALF publication 1992. This book made mention of how the western people were being ruled by the ‘Obas’ before the military intervention of January, 1966. And under the 1963 constitution the Federal Republic of Nigeria made provision for each region, a House of Chiefs as a second chamber of the upper House to the House of Assembly, which had the legislative power of the state, but the intervention of the military in 1976 marked the beginning of a new dimension of change with regard to traditional rulership in local government administration. Also of immense value to this project is a hand book on Mushin Community titled “Mushin, centre of commerce”. The book talled about Mushin in general.
Another useful book consulted is Local Government in Nigeria: the changing scene by G.O. Orewa and J.B. Adewuni, the book deals with the rise of modern local government areas in 1950’s and the decline of these local governments in the 1960’s and 1970’s and the reform introduced on a national scale in 1976. Another book consulted is “Who is Who in Mushin”. This book is a comprehensive detail of the notable traditional rulers. Companies and individuals in Mushin Local Government Area. The contribution of Alex Gboyega in his book titled Political values and local government in Nigeria. The book provided necessary information to the background of this work.
Chapter two of this essay discuss the historical background of local government administration in Nigeria. In this chapter also the pre-colonial political institution in Nigeria, historical origin of Muslim Local Government and Local Government and traditional institution in Mushin will be discuss. Chapter three of this research work discuss the obligations and duties of local government council. Chapter four of this research work discuss the problems and prospect of Mushin Local Government Administration and the conclusion of this research work.