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POLICY IMPLEMENTATION AND ADMINISTRATIVE CAPACITY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM IN RIVERS STATE
Public policies play crucial roles in the state and are equally instrumental to the development or underdevelopment of any given state. Whereas, there has been no lack of public policies since independence in Nigeria the paradox of public policy Implementation has continued to militate and mar the realization of policy objectives in the country. This study is aimed at discovering the obstacles to effective Implementation of policies in the local government system in Nigeria with a particular reference to Orlu LGA.To achieve this aim, two research hypotheses have been formulated and tested using a chi-square.Data was collected using carefully formulated questionnaires. The analysed data shows that, these impediments include among others; corruption, ethnicity bad leadership, political instability, low public service structures. The paper posits some sustainable development measures, such as effective use of political will, eschewing social vices (like ethnicity, favoritism nepotism and mediocrity), continuity of policies between local governments, eradication of corruption etc.
1.0 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
It has been observed that policy implementation is one of major problems confronting local government in Nigeria and organizations within. According to Adamolekun (1983), policy implementation refers to the activities that are carried out in the light of establishing policies. It refers to the process of converting financial, material, technical, and human inputs into outputs-goods and services (Egonwun, 1991). Edward (1980) defines Policy Implementation as a stage of policy making between the establishment of a policy (such as the passage of a legislative act, the issuing of an executive order, or the promulgation of a regulatory rule) and the consequences of the policy for the people whom it affects it also involves a wide Varity of actions such as issuing and enforcing directives, disbursing funds, making loans, assigning and hiring personnel, etc.
For several decades, developing countries around the world have operated federal or central policy implementation and administrative activities until some countries began implemention and/ or are still executing decentralisation. The policy, which stands for power sharing between central and Local Government (LG) has its appeal rooted in its assumed benefits. Among these are promoting democracy and development and above all, increasing people’s opportunities for participation in economic, social and political decisions. (Agrawal and Ribot, 1999:3; Steiner, 2004: 11). The rationale for decentralisation differs from continent to continent, but in most African countries it is an attempt to restructure the public sector in order to reduce central government dominance, make LG more effective and improve service delivery (Steiner, 2004).
Nevertheless, contemporary studies show that policy implementation and administrative capacity decentralisation is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that may yield both positive and negative effects depending on how it is designed and implemented. It is a complex adaptive process in which actors draw upon the activities of others and their rules to negotiate and renegotiate their unequal power relations. The decentralisation experience varies from one country to another (Ribot, 2004). As such it is arguable that to some extent, decentralisation reinforces existing inequities. In Nigeria, the drive for decentralisation is based on the urge to bring social services and government nearer to the people.
Local Governments deal with grassroots policies/keeping of law and order, basic sanitation, constructing and maintaining local roads, supplying water, administering local schools, providing skills training and employment for residents, etc. However, communities on a local level work with emphasis on building the economy, forgoing and strengthening the societies, and developing the non-profit section. Therefore, community development programs are aimed at improving the avidity of life of the people in the community. Local governments are supposed to be the strength of national development. A quiet rural community can possibly grow into a mega city and the local leader in the place of the chairman makes this possible. The effective management administration hinges on the quality of personnel and how they are being trained for productive services to be done to the community. Therefore, the need arises for the local government administration unit to improve the human resources and manpower development, motivation, performance appraisal, proper selection of employees.
The administration by design, is supposed to direct and control all other personnel in the LG. The Head of Department sees to the recruitment of new staff, pension, training, and promotion of staff. They are also in-charge of staff discipline of senior staff, retirement and even promotion which can be done based on the general assessment of the staff.
The Akuku-Toru Local Government administration department setting is divided into two (2) broad sessions namely: Open Registry and Secret Registry.
Registry is designed to be a place where written records are kept or a place where register of events are kept. However, a registry in the context of public service rule refers to a room where written records, documents are kept. It should a room in every ministry or organization where all files and records relating to staff are kept or it is a place where all clerical work is performed.
While the Secret Registry is a place where confidential file/ records are kept intact.
But such offices remain as good as inactive without proper attendant and functionality. The staff and personnel in charge of most offices and positions work as ghost workers, including the supervisors who have bigger roles to play in the organization. A personnel staff or assistant should be able to manage the affair of a registry, while two or more staff may be required for functional activities of another registry. In every large organization where the volume of work required is cumbersome, the number of the personnel that should manage the affairs of such registry could be as many as seven (7) or more.
Implementation problem occurs when the desired result on the target beneficiaries is not achieved. Such problem is not restricted to only the developing nations. Wherever and whenever the basic critical factors that are very crucial to Implementation of public policies are missing, whether in developing or developed nations, there is bound to be ImplementationProblems. These critical factors are communication resources, dispositions or attitudes, and bureaucratic structure (Edwards, 1980). The four factors operate simultaneously and the interact with each other to aid or hinder policy Implementation.
By Implication therefore, the Implementation of every policy is a dynamic process, which involves the interaction of many variables as would be discussed below.
Communication is an essential ingredient for effective Implementation of public policy. Through communication, orders to implement policies are expected to be transmitted to the appropriate personnel in a clear manner while such orders must be accurate and consistent. Inadequate information can lead to misunderstanding on the part of the implementers who may be confused as to what exactly are required of them. In effect, Implementation instructions that are not transmitted, that are vague or that are in consistent may cause serious obstacles to policy Implementation. Conversely, directives that are too precise may hinder Implementation by stifling creativity and adaptability (Edward III, 1980). Without sufficient resources it means that laws will not be enforced, services will not be provided and reasonable regulations will not be developed.
In addition to communication and resources disposition or attitude is another key factor that affects policy Implementation. Most Implementers can exercise considerate discretion in the Implementation of policies because of either their independence from their nominal supervisors who formulate the policies or as a result of the complexity of the policy itself. The way the Implementation exercise their discretion depends to a large extent on their disposition towards the policy. Therefore the level of success will depend on how the implementers see the policies as affecting their organizational and personal interest. Where a policy will result in reduction of pay, low self-esteem or loss of position to the Implementers, the attitude of disposition will be affected adversely.
On the other hand, if a policy will enhance the status, the pay or the self esteem of the implementer such implementer will be favorably disposed to it. It is to be noted that the fact that communication resources, and positive disposition are put in place there is no efficient bureaucratic structure, the problem of Implementation can still arise especially when dealing with complex policies. As observed by Edward (1980) where there is organizational fragmentation it may hinder the coordination that is necessary to successfully implement a complex policy especially one that requires the cooperation of many people. It may also result in wastage of scarce resources, inhibit change, create confusion leads to policies working are cross-purpose and at the end, result in important functions being overlooked.
However, there are in addition to the above, some problems that seem peculiar to federal Polytechnic Nekede in the area of policy Implementation. These are usually problems that lead to Implementation gap and which can be traced not only to the policy itself but also to the policy maker and the policy environment and it was on this background that research was carried out.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Since the take off of local government administration, many policies have been formulated but are not fully implemented due to one problem or the other. Lack of political will/attitude to policy Implementation have been a serious problem to policy Implementation in various organizations and Nigeria at large. Policy Implementation or delivery is negatively or positively affected by the attitude or behavior disposed to a policy. That is, if they are negatively disposed to a policy, there will be lack of commitment to the Implementation process. It has been observed that the Nigerian state is privatized, dependent, weak, and lack autonomy. Therefore, despite the availability of public policies that stand a chance to improve the lives of the average Nigerians, poor Implementation design, conception, and discipline, mar Implementation chances and cause policy failures. This is because the instrument methods, knowledge technology, equipment, models and modes of delivery utilized in Implementation a policy, determine whether Implementation and performance would be successful or not. The institution in most cases, down-plays the crucial issue of Implementation design of public policies. This trend translates to the advent of public policies without clear-cut modalities or mechanism of Implementation. Policy objectives are therefore in most cases, misinterpreted or worst still abandoned.
There are poor programme leadership and management personnel who can steer, direct and motivate program efforts. It is only an able, committed and enthusiastic devotion could build and strengthen the commitment devotion loyalty, support and enthusiasm of staff in program Implementation. Unfortunately, the Nigerian state mainly parades an array of misfits for highly sensitive public positions, and this ugly scenario led to the inability of program leaders to create favorable environment for policy Implementation.
Lack of resources has confronted many policies In the institution. When most policies are formulated adequate provision of resources is not made to implement them. There is thus politics of Implementation because the resources needed for adequate Implementation are not provided to realize policy objectives.
Many Implementers have failed in the institution and Nigeria at large as a result of corruption. When corruption penetrates the Implementation process, public policies become muted and the desired goals may not be achieved. Most public policies are formulated and funds appropriate for, but corruption like an octopus has continued to entangle, ruin and make impossible the Implementation process. Due to corruption, Nigeria is still under the yoke of excruciating poverty and underdevelopment despite the several efforts being made to alleviate poverty.
The problems militating against the efforts of the local Government Councils in the attainment of an efficient and effective discharge of statutory functions to the Local Communities are enormous.
It relates to the inconsistent process to which the internal sources of revenue are harnessed to boost the Local Government revenue base.
Funds are only committed to capital development in relation to capital receipts. The resources of the Local Government Councils are meant to be utilized for efficient and effective discharge of statutory obligations. However, this does not go down as supposed because of delayed release of funds and corrupt practices.
To achieve self-sustained, internally self-generating socio-economic development, the need to realize development priorities to emphasize the development of human capital both as the object of development and as custodian and mentor of socio-economic development, as the supplier and consumer of skills as well as the terminal products and services of all development efforts stands. The world bank notes that the human capital development is key, bed-rock and indeed, fundamental index upon which national aspiration and development can be achieved. This research is focussed on evaluating policy implementation and administrative capacity of local governments in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major objective of the study is to access policy implementation and administrative capacity of local governments in Nigeria. Specific objectives are as follows:
- To know the significant relationship between corruption and policy Implementation in Nigerian Local l government councils.
- To examine the impact of poor policy Implementation programme in Nigeria economy.
- To know if there is a positive relationship between poor leadership and policy Implementation in LGA
- To ascertain if inadequate provision of resources or fund affects policy Implementation in Nigeria.
- To know if lack of political will to positively realize objectives affects policy Implementation.
- To find the problem of policy Implementation in Nigeria.
- To proffer solution to the problems.
- What is thethe significant relationship between corruption and policy Implementation in Nigerian Local l government councils?
- What is the impact of poor policy Implementation programme in Nigeria economy.
- Is there is a positive relationship between poor leadership and policy Implementation in LGA?
- Does inadequate provision of resources or fund affects policy Implementation in Nigeria?
- Does lack of political will to positively realize objectives affects policy Implementation?
- What is the problem of policy Implementation in Nigeria?
- What solutions to the problems can be proferred?
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho: There is no significant relationship between corruption and policy Implementation in Nigerian Local government councils
Hi: There is a significant relationship between corruption and policy Implementation in Nigerian Local government councils
Ho: There is a negative relationship between poor leadership and policy Implementation in LGA
Hi: There is a positive relationship between poor leadership and policy Implementation in LGA
1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY
The study is focused on policy implementation and administrative capacity of local government administration in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. The study also looks at the various administrations and especially on how administrative power is being managed for developmental purpose of Akuku-Toru Local Government.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
The researcher met with some problems in undertaking this study, notably in some areas of data collecting. The problems are as follows:
Time was a problem as the time allowed for the study was grossly little.
Choosing the right local Government for case study, it was not easy to get the right local government that could give out accurate and detailed information needed by the researcher.
Resources was another constraint as the researcher was unable to execute the work more effectively due to insufficient financial resources because of this, the researcher has to make use of the little information available.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
To understand these projects better, major terms used are explains thus:
Local Government: This is the lowest tier of government of grassroots level or the closest government to the people.
Administration: This refers to as the part of management that is concerned of planning, organizing, directing policies formulating and controlling organizational resources through peoples, making activities performed to meet the goal of the organization.