Restructuring State - Local Relations in Nigeria: Issues and Perspectives

  • Nuruddeen Muhammad Muhammad Koko Department of Political Science, School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Malaysia
  • Azmil Mohd Tayeb Department of Political Science, School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Malaysia
  • Siti Zuliha Razali, D Department of Political Science, School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Malaysia
Keywords: local governments, local government autonomy, restructuring, intergovernmental relations


Federations thrived where levels of government exist and function based on shared rule and self-rule concurrently. Thus, a key defining feature of federalism is the assignment of responsibilities between component units such that each unit is assigned specific responsibilities within its jurisdiction. However, in Nigeria, the disproportionate distribution of responsibilities and resources amongst the component units had resulted in a dysfunctional federation. By virtue of the provision of section 7 of 1999 Constitution, Supreme Court's judgements and extra-judicial pronouncements, local governments are under the "supervisory control" of the State Governments (SGs). However, the extent to which this supervisory control is exercised has been at the front burner of every discourse on Nigerian politics and particular governance challenges. While examining state-local governments relations from both legal and operational viewpoints, this paper illustrates how the SGs wore away the intent of the framers of the Constitution, which is to institute a system of local government that is properly organised, monitored supervised by the SGs. A qualitative research approach was used. Data was collected via official documents, relevant literature, and interviews from officials of the SGs and local governments and experts selected purposively and conveniently. The paper established that local governments are failing simply because the SGs have failed to perform their responsibilities per the spirit of the Constitution and other extant laws. The article finally advocates for an efficient and effective local government system premise on the federal decentralise system. In doing that, it is important to stress that the existing legal aspect does require slight adjustment especially granting the Houses of Assembly of State and state judiciary reasonable autonomy to checkmate the excesses of the SGs. Moreover, accomplishing this will significantly restructure and improve the operational aspect of the relationship for a virile local government system.


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How to Cite
Muhammad Koko, N., Mohd Tayeb, A. and Razali, S. Z. (2021) “Restructuring State - Local Relations in Nigeria: Issues and Perspectives”, Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH), 6(8), pp. 406 - 415. doi: 10.47405/mjssh.v6i8.908.