GRASSROOT DEMOCRACY AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION (A CASE STUDY OF OREDO LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF EDO STATE)
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Democracy in its true meaning is synonymous with grassroots democracy. Grassroots democracy is a people/community – driven participation in elections, governance and decision making. Grassroots democracy can be seen as a tendency towards designing political processes where as much decision making authority as practical is shifted to the lowest level of organization. Thus, a local government is a government at the grassroots level of administration meant for meeting peculiar grassroots need of the people (Agagu, 1997).
Appadorai (1975) also defined the local government system as government by the popularly elected bodies charged with administrative and executive duties in matters concerning the inhabitants of a particular district or place. Local government was further defined by Lawal (2000) as that tier of government closest to the people, “which is vested with certain powers to exercise control over the affairs of people in its domain”.
Local government is a system of public administration at a local level, charged with the responsibility of bringing the people at the grassroots closer to the government. The local government authorities in Nigeria operate in an atmosphere in which for reasons of high level of illiteracy, general despondency, and political disenchantment, their activities are somehow remote from media scrutiny and the watchful eyes of non-governmental organizations (Jega 2011).
The situation is further worsened by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria which places the local government authorities under the crippling and domineering influence of the state governments that are only willing to concede limited autonomy to this tier of government. Thus, the Nigerian Local Government system which is the third tier of government has no interactive links with the community for which it was designed and created. This has made so many people to wonder if there is grassroots democracy in Nigeria. Though the government is located at the local level, it is run by elites who are alienated from the culture of the people (Akinola 2006). Thus the local government and the communities that ought to be partners in progress have been operating at parallel lines. This has resulted in the poor performance of the local government over the years in grassroots development. There have been several reforms over the years by the Federal Government of Nigeria aimed at stimulating self government and to encourage initiative and leadership potential at the grassroots level. The Federal government hopes that these reforms will further enshrine the principle of participatory democracy and political responsibility among all Nigerians, especially at the grassroots level (Usman 2010).
The hope of the Federal government for rapid youth development at the grassroots have become a mirage as successive local government councils have grossly under-perform in almost all areas of their mandate including youth development. Corruption is at the rooftop as politicians and government officials display their ill-gotten wealth in flagrant opulence.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study is examining the relationship between grassroots democracy and youth development in Local government administration. Youth development according to UN (1971) is the qualitative changes which are brought about within the youth populations. Youth development deals with details of the process of improving the livelihood conditions of youths in such a way as to bridge the gap between youth from affluent background and ones from poorer background. Diejemaoh (1973) defined youth development as a process of not only increasing the level of per capita income of youths, but also the improvement in the quality of life of the youths measured by education, food and nutritional level, health, recreation and security. This study will examine how local government administration has used the instrument of grassroots democracy in the process of youth development.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1.To examine the level of grassroots politics being practiced by local government administration.
2. To find out if grassroots democracy has translated to youth development in local government administration.
3. To determine the method by which grassroots democracy and youth development can be entrenched in local government administration.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the level of grassroots politics being practiced by local government administration?
2. Has grassroots democracy translated to youth development in local government administration?
3. What are the methods by which grassroots democracy and youth development can be entrenched in local government administration?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
The results from this study will educate the local government leaders and the general public on the benefits of grassroots democracy and youth development in local government administration.
This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the grassroots democracy and youth development being practiced by Oredo Local government administration.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
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Akinola, S. R. (2006). Structural Transformation and Polycentric Governance: A Constitutional GatewayTowards Nigerian Democratization. A paper presented at a working Conference on ‘‘Designing Constitutional Arrangements for Democratic Governance in Africa: Challenges and Possibilities. Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, 30 –31 March 2006.
Appadorai, A. (1975). The Substance of Politics. New Delhi, Oxford University Press
Diejemaoh, V. P. (1973). ‘‘Rural Development in Nigeria; The Role of Physical Policy’’. Proceedings of the 1972 annual conference of the Nigerian Economic Society.
Jega, A. (2011). Report of Proceedings of the National Workshop on Study of Democratization at the Grassroots in Nigeria (1999-2010) held at the Electoral Institute Conference Room, on Tuesday 1st March, 2011.
Lawal, S. (2000). “Local Government Administration in Nigeria: A Practical Approach” In Ajayi, K (Ed.) Theory and Practice of Local Government, Ado Ekiti, UNAD.
United Nation (1971). ‘‘Integrated Nature of Rural Development in Africa’’. Proceedings of International Conference organized by agency for Social and Economic Development, Uganda
Usman, G. A. (2010). Local Government and Grassroots Democracy. Daily Independent Newspaper, 13th June, 2010. Lagos, Nigeria.