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Local Government  inNigeriahas been characterized by instability and disruptions emanating from one from of crisis or the other.  These crisis that were often promoted by the activities  of central government usually led to complete  dissolution and take over of the functions of the local government by the state government.

In other words, local government in this country has always been subjected to the whims and caprices of the state government. They were never firmly established to make any contribution to the construction of a stable and deeply rooted polity as the “panchayata, institutions seen to have done inIndia”.

The various local government reforms and particularly the 1976 reform were thus interracial armed at stabilizing  and rationalizing government at the local level.  Unfortunately however the chosen implementation strategies seem to  have resulted in unanticipated policy out comes.

As this matter of fact, by the end of 1983 it was clear to all that the aims of the 1976 reforms to create autonomous and viable local government system in the country had not couldn’t be realized.  It is our belief that this was government system to effectively handle the forms of  crisis that effected it during this period.

It is against this background that the topic “crisis management in local government system inNigeriawas chosen.


Every crisis has four main stages and allowing each crisis to pass through the four stages has been the bone of effective local government administration inNigeria.

The four stages of crisis includes:

i.        Prodromal stage (every warning stage)

ii.       Acute stage

iii.      Chronic stage

iv.      Resolution stage

crisis management aims to avoid the acute and chromic stages of crisis. A crisis is said to be effectively managed if it moves from the prodromal  to resolution stages. We are aware that this has not been the case in the local government.

If we look at the second republic 1979 to 1983, and the last civilian local government administration 1988 to 1989, there were various crisis which include:

i.        Financial crisis

ii.       power crisis

iii.      Man power crisis

iv.      Political crisis

v.       Crisis of confidence

The entire above crisis were unfortunately allowed to go through the four stages and had their unpleasant effect on local government administration in the country.

Enugunorth local government , our case study, is a very good exam[le of the effect of allowing a crisis of through the four stages.

The local government particularly during the 1988 to 1989 local government administration was afflicted by crisis.  These crisis went through the full  cycle and the effect was intervention by both the federal and the state government.

There were also casa of polarization of the council in many local government which is some cases ended with chairman removing their supervisory councilors. The peculiar circumstance of the creation and existence of local government coupled  with the unpredictability of its political and administrative environment inNigeria  largely accounts for the appeal of this topic.

“Crisis management inNigerialocal government administration to the author. Unfortunately, it is clear from the prevailing  literature that only very little work if any has been done by scholars and practitioner.

In view of the lapse identified an inquiry  into crisis   management inNigerialocal government has become most imperative.  It is hoped that this inquiry will stimulate near dimension and direction of crisis management.

Above all, its overall objectives could be the search for an effective and efficient local government ministration inNigeriawhile the specific will focus on evolving new strategies for building administrative base for local government in the country.


The objectives of this study includes:

i.        To examine the existing method of handling crisis in local government administration in the country and ascertain how far local government are performing within the bounds of available manpower.

ii.       To examine the structure of local government relevance toNigerialocal government with particular reference to power relationship.

iii.      To examine the inter-governmental relationship existing and byNigeriathree level of government and by extension ascertain the constraints on crisis management inNigerialocal government.

iv.      To attempt to appraise the existing and potential manpower for the local government

v.       To explore worker’s attitude to local government administration with a view of explaining the extents for Nigeria local government in the light of the findings and logically recommend ways for effective crisis management in local government through the country.


Local governments are established for political administrative and service provision purposes, which are further discussed below.

POLITICAL:      The establishment of local government is often linked with the desire to promote democracy.  The first consideration in this regard must be into participation which  if offers.  Democracy in a simple sense is a system of self-rule instituted to provide the authority or council of the local government, which is popularly selected.

Participation at this level  is not merely an end in itself it also serves to provide political training for local leaders and inculcate in the local populace democratic tenants to protect liberty, which is endangered through  exercise centralization of powers.

 ADMINISTRATION:  Modern states are geographically expensive and are also called upon to perform a large variety of functions and services. The size and complexity of modern government compel one forms decentralization or the other if-the central government is not to collapse out of excessive over loading or if many important functions and services are not suffer neglect. Local government is one  of the most preferred forms decentralization because it  allows for genuine decongestion of the central government as decision making powers and control of necessary resources are transferred to localities where they are expeditiously exercise to deal with local problems.

Secondary, local government is likely to promote greater efficiency in the provision of service merely by breaking the bulk of government workload, local government reduces it to manageable proportions, but above all it can harass local knowledge resources and expertise behind the administration of local affairs.  Many local factors like demography customers and tradition, socio-economic conditions and the local power structure constrain the usefulness of national solutions local problem.

 SERVICES:        Local government are impaired to provide Certain services in their areas of jurisdiction. As a matter of fact without the service provision role, there might be no point at to the existence of local government.  The government inNigeria was guided by three main criteria under the 1979 local government reforms. The functions development to local government are those:

a.       Which require detailed knowledge for efficient performance.

b.       In which success depends on community responsiveness and participation.

c.       Which are of personal native requiring provision close to where the individual affected line, and in which significant use is needed. The big question now is, to what extent had the local government achieve these purpose for its establishment it was clear that before the 1976 reforms local government were established and abolished with reckless abandon, their  functions and abolished needlessly ended and their reduced to achieve political was terminated the local government had not fulfilled the purpose for which they were established.  Matters were not better after the 1976 reforms. The reasons are traceable to the crisis and instability that had characterized the  local government.

In view of the above, the significance of this study, which is aimed at developing an effective crisis management tool and this creating a relatively stable environment became clear to make reasonable progress towards activity the purpose for their creation, local government require relatively stable environment tool which is what this study is all about.


In the course of this study, certain key concepts are met along the line which many be given different interpretation. For the purpose of this study therefore the following working/operational definitions are given to such concepts thus:

i.        CRISIS:     This is an unusually situations the outcome of which is uncertain or capable of generating conflicts.

ii.       LOCAL GOVERNMENT:    This is government at local level exercise through representative council established by lan to exercise specific power within defined areas.

iii.      CRISIS MANANGEMENT: Any measure that plans in advance for a crisis for turning point any measure that removes the risk and uncertainly from a  given situation and thereby allows one to be more in  control of ones is named a form of crisis management.

iv.      RURAL DEVELOPMENT:  This is the process of providing in habitants of the  rural areas with basis infrastructure and amenities which would enhance their standard of living it means the came thing as developing rural areas.

v.       CENTRAL AND REATIONAL GOVERNMENT:   This means the same thing as federal and state government respectively.

vi.      GOVERNMENT:         This can be defined as an academic field of study or political science. As a political science it looks into the functions and relationship of the organs concerned or state.

2.       PROPROMAL:   This simply mean’s initial take off stage of the crisis. When it is not noted by the management prodromal  is the early time were the crisis has been emanate.


Boyeya, A,G (1987) Political  Values and Local Government inNigeria, Lagos, Malthous press.

Egonwa J.A (1958) Principle and Practice of Local Government inNigeria Benin CitySMO Aka and Brothers Press.

Federal Republic of Nigeria (1976) Guidelines for local Government Reform,Kaduna Government Printer.

Nwatbodes, P.U (2003), Citizenship Education and Over View Vol. 2Enugu; 3T.C Publishers.