Local government administration in Nigeria has changed dramatically. The core of the reforms and development was to provide for the people and bring the government closer to them. To accomplish this, leaders with a visionary sense of direction who are willing to carry out purposeful programs for the benefit of the masses are required. These leaders must be willing to serve the people and put them first in their administration. Scholars have paid commendable attention to the study of administration in Nigeria over the years, and Idemili North Local Government Area is one of the local governments that has implemented reforms and changes in administration. It has the ability to develop and benefit its citizens, just like any other local government. This The study focuses on the administration of the Idemili North Local Government Area from 1996 to 2010. Local government administration and its impact on the people is clearly a factor to consider in Nigeria’s political administration history. This is why such research is necessary. Although the military established the local government in 1996, the core of its development did not begin until civilian rule was established in 1999. Local government development has centered on the key sectors of agriculture, human development, health, trade, and transportation. Thus, this work adds to the history of Nigerian government administration, albeit at the grassroot level. By combining qualitative and quantitative research methods,

This paper investigates the various aspects of administration in Idemili North LGA, as well as the efforts of various local chairmen to bring development to the area. While describing some of the administrators’ accomplishments, it also examines their administrative shortcomings as well as the factors that hampered full democratic dividends in local government. For information, the study used an inter-disciplinary approach and relied on oral interviews, government documents, archival materials, and relevant secondary text. Finally, the work serves as a springboard for assessing grassroot administration and development, as well as opening doors to further important but unexplored areas of Idemili North LGA’s history.



The Study’s Context

Local government management

in Nigeria exists to fill a void that the national government is unable to fill. It attempts to bring government dividends closer to the people at the grassroots level. Local governments have undergone numerous reforms and developments over the years. Nigerian local governments have left a mark in history not because of their efficiency and effectiveness, but because of the many and varied changes they brought to Nigeria. Idemili North LGA is unquestionably an important part of grassroots administration.

The origins of modern local government in Nigeria can be traced back to the British colonial era. Because Nigeria is so diverse, the British merged different regions of the country.

country in order to facilitate and “efficiently” administer it. The British grafted an effective local government structure onto the North’s good administrative machinery. 1 A series of ordinances established a definite pattern of local government based on the Native Authority System in the North, which allowed the Emirs to pay officials and levy taxes on the people, among other things. In the East, indirect rule was imposed, but “the Aba Women Riot of 1929 exposed the shortcomings of the indirect rule system in the East and led to radicalization.”

system evaluation.”

2 The Eastern Region Local Government Ordinance of 1950 established the British system of local government in the East. The West 1 followed suit in 1952. 3

Following pressure from the “young elements,” the North did not accept elected members into the native administration until 1954. 4

Following the re-establishment of Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the federal government of Nigeria adopted various forms of local government, with respective regions taking responsibility for the structures, legislation, and operation of local government under their jurisdiction. The Federal Military Government, led by General Olusegun Obasanjo, reformed the local government system in 1976. “The 1976 reform established a uniform single tier, all-purpose local council throughout the country,” as expected.

country.”5 Following The Reform, the 1976 and 1999 Constitutions provided legal support for local governments. The provisions of the Constitution established the relationship between state and local governments on the one hand.

on the one hand, and the federal government on the other. The constitution also clearly defined the responsibilities of local government, making it a “constitutional expression.” 6 Local government was established to meet the social needs and aspirations of those at the grassroots and would be “judged by its success in providing these services.”

such offerings.”

7 Despite the enormous reforms and impact of Idemili North LGA on the people of the area, no detailed historical account of the LGA’s growth and development has been provided. As a result, this study on Idemili North LGA in Anambra State from 1996 to 2010 was necessary.

What is now known as Idemili North LGA was a part of Idemili LGA until October 1, 1996, when it was separated by General Sani Abacha’s regime.

Idemili North and Idemili South LGAs were formed when the local government was divided. The name Idemili comes from the Idemili River. The river originates at Agulu Lake in Aniocha LGA and flows through the majority of the state.

communities in the area. The Idemili River empties into the Niger River at Iyi-Owa in Onitsha. 8 Idemili North became one of Anambra state’s twenty-one local government councils on October 1, 1996. Ogidi community, which was the headquarters of Idemili LGA, is still a part of the current Idemili North LGA. Idemili North LGA is bordered by Oyi LGA in the north, Idemili South LGA in the south, Njikoka LGA in the east, and Onitsha North LGA in the west. There are ten communities that make up

Abacha, Abatete, Eziowelle, Ideani, Nkpor, Obosi, Ogidi, Oraukwu, and other local governments

Umuoji and Uke.

9 “Ancestral and cultural ties bind these communities together.” 10 The local government is divided into twelve political wards. Except for Ogidi and Umuoji, which each have two, each community has one.

Idemili North LGA covers an area of approximately 43.756 square kilometers. According to the 2006 census, the local government had a population of 431,005, with 219,223 men and 211,782 women. 11 The local government employs approximately 10.30% of the total population in

The state of Anambra.12 The local government’s proximity to the commercial city of Onitsha, as well as Anambra state policy in the last decade, have all contributed to the increase in population. With As a result, some markets have been transferred to local government communities. These include the Electrical Spare Parts market, which is now located in Obosi, the Building Material market, which is now located in Ogidi, and the Bakery Material market, which is partly located in Ogidi and Ogbuike (Ogbuike is in Oyi LGA). Other markets include the New Motor Spare Parts Market in Nkpor, the Old Motor Spare Parts Market in Nkpor, and the Obosi Motor Spare Parts Market. Aside from these major markets, each community within the local government has its own local markets that have continued to serve their needs and aid inter-group relations. The major markets in Idemili North are also a source of revenue generation, which, if properly utilized, could have contributed significantly to development. Rural-urban

Workers, traders, and artisans now live in communities such as Nkpor, Obosi, Ogidi, and Umuoji, where they commute to their various business areas.

There is no doubt that there are opportunities for growth in Idemili North LGA. As a result, the purpose of this work is to examine how the LGA administrators’ overall performance has either accelerated or slowed development in the area from 1996 to 2010.

Statement of the Issue

The success of a local government is primarily determined by how far the leaders are willing to go to ensure the welfare and well-being of the people. Idemili North, like any other LGA, was established to meet the needs of the people.

on the ground. The LGA leaders are responsible for ensuring that the people’s needs are met. Research into the history of administrations in Nigeria, particularly at the grassroot level, becomes critical, especially given the paucity of studies on local government administration in Idemili North LGA. Furthermore, it is necessary to assess how willing the leaders were to use the resources at their disposal to bring about any meaningful development in the area. To that end, the question of whether these leaders were selfless or selfish is raised.

Was the leadership willing to serve? How did the pattern of administration differ from one administrator to the next, and what levels of administration were there?

What, if any, development was carried out by the various leaders? These issues underpin the study’s problem.

Theoretical Structure

The research is based on the modern world system theory. The world system theory, proposed by Immanuel Wallerstein in 197414, holds that the system is composed internally of a variety of social structures and member groups with defined boundaries and lifespans. Wallerstein defined the system as being held together by a variety of tension-based forces. These forces have the potential to destabilize the system. He contended that one type of world-system—the modern capitalist economy—is based on economic dominance, in which operating political entities absorb whatever losses occur while economic gain is distributed to a few private Lords. 15 The primary geographic areas

The rest of the system is dominated and exploited. The periphery is made up of areas that both supply raw materials to and are heavily exploited by the core. The semi-periphery is a residual category that includes a collection of areas that fall somewhere between exploiting and exploited.

During the study period, the world-system theory can be effectively applied to the study of local government administration in Idemili North LGA. For one thing, the LGA’s constituent communities form a system. Some forces, most notably the political force, have kept these villagers together. This force, as the study will soon show, created tensions at the top among the ruling elites as well as at the bottom among the masses. Finally, there are sociopolitical forces. have stifled radical and meaningful development and appear to have torn the system apart. Furthermore, the political dominance of the elected chairmen by the state governors who appointed the various caretaker committee chairmen has increased the level of exploitation. The periphery, the masses, are exploited for economic gain rather than benefiting fully. The caretaker committee chairmen appear to be on the periphery, serving as a link between the exploited (Idemili North LGA citizens) and the exploiters (the state governors who appointed them). As demonstrated by the work, this system produced no positive results because the entrenched pattern of exploitation obscured any trace of development by these administrators. Worse, the ruling forces destroyed the local government administration system.


The Goal of the Research

The goal of this project is to chronicle local government administration in Idemili North LGA from 1996 to 2010. It examines how various local government chairmen administered the LGA and analyzes their accomplishments during their tenure. It also evaluates accomplishments to determine whether they had a positive or negative impact.

The Importance of Research

This study is significant in some ways. First, the study will broaden our understanding of the nature of administration at the grassroots level, particularly in Idemili North LGA, and the findings will serve as a springboard for good leadership at the state and federal levels. The study will inspire further research on local government administration in other Nigerian local governments while also playing a role in

The findings will be useful to historians, sociologists, political scientists, administrators, and analysts, among others, and will play an important role in stimulating future academic discourses. Furthermore, the study will serve as a reference document for researchers as well as a contribution to local government administration, thus contributing to the existing literature on Nigerian political history.

The Study’s Scope

The study spans the years 1996 to 2010. The establishment of Idemili North LGA in 1996 was a watershed moment. The year 2010 was chosen as the termination date because it is the end of Governor Peter Obi’s first term. The focus is on Idemili North LGA which includes the following communities: Abacha, Abatete, Eziowelle, Ideani, Nkpor, Obosi, Ogidi, Oraukwu, Uke and Umuoji. The different administrations of

The study also takes into account the chairmen of local governments. Tony Ezike (October 1996-March 1997), J.C Omekagu (March 1997-July 1998), Emma Ike (July 1998-April 1999), Okey Muo Aroh (May 1999-May 2002), Edwin Ekwuino (June 2002-Oct 2002), Nikky Nwabueze (Nov.2002-Feb 2003), Ben Mozie (March 2003-May 2003), Uche Ezediorah (Aug. 2008-July,2011)

Literature Review

Tony Onyishi (Ed.) discusses the historical development of Nigeria’s local government system in Key Issues in Local Government and Development: A Nigerian Perspective16. The work is an excellent source for this study because it provides conceptual explanations of local government in relation to development. It also assesses the various plans.

and local government programs aimed at boosting growth and development. Although the author provided a broad overview of local government, the work is significant in laying the groundwork for a basic understanding of the concept of local government and its application in Nigeria. The work also falls short of discussing specific local government administrations; thus, the current study will focus on the Idemili North LGA as a case study.

F.C. Okoli’s Theory and Practice of Local Government: A Nigerian Perspective,17 discusses both the theory and practice of local government in Nigeria. It provides a general history and function of local government in Nigeria. It is merely a general overview of local government administration in Nigeria, as was the previous work. Aside from theory,

The current research focuses on the practice of local government administration in Idemili North.

Similarly, Local Government Administration in Nigeria: Current Problems and Future Challenges18 articulates the problems of local government in Nigeria, as well as state and federal government interventions in the development of the local government system. This work is useful in understanding the factors impeding LGA development. The work, however, is limited to the issues and challenges of local government administration in Nigeria. The current study will broaden its scope to include the history, problems, and potential solutions of local government administration in Nigeria, with a focus on Idemili North LGA.

Government at the Grassroots19, edited by E.J. Otagburuagu, investigates grassroots leadership, revenue sources for local governments, and other issues.

and so forth. Though the work does not specifically address Idemili North LGA, it is relevant to the current study, particularly in terms of income generation. Local Government in Nigeria, by E.C. Nwankwo

Practice20 delves into the issues that local government administrators in Nigeria face.

in general. John J. Gorgan’s Handbook of Local Government Administration21 provides an overview of the principles and applications of government administration and management practices in the local government sector. The impact of the environment on the performance of local government administrators is crucial to this work. These works fall short of discussing specific Nigerian local government administration. The current study fills this void by using the Idemili North LGA as a case study.

Governance and Economic

Development in the Fourth Republic22, edited by Terhemba, Wnam, and M. S. Talla, focuses on community development and the importance of utilizing local governments as effective rural development tools. It also investigates the justification for the existence of local governments, as well as how politics and politicians hampered development and dividends associated with local government administration, particularly during the Fourth Republic. The work would be useful in understanding political developments in the Fourth Republic in Idemili North LGA.

Understanding Local Government Administration in Nigeria23 by R. C. Obi discusses major historical and development prospects in Nigerian local government practices. However, the work falls short of considering the changes in local government administration brought about by a specific local government and their implications for other local governments.

Their sociopolitical and economic development. This study attempts to fill the void.

Third Tier Government in Nigeria: Evolution, Development, and Prospects, by Ebonyi Ozor

Future24 investigates the evolution and development of Nigerian local government since pre-colonial times. The work also considers the future of Nigeria’s local government system, particularly following the 1976 Local Government Reform. This work is beneficial to the evolution of local government, of which Idemili North LGA is a part.

Principles and Practice of Local Government25 by E.E. Akpan provides a general account of local government in then-Eastern Nigeria and the need for improvement. The work explains the purpose and factors for establishing a local government, the functions that local governments perform, and the sources of revenue that local governments rely on. The project

provides concrete insight into the estimated expenditure in then-Eastern Nigeria between 1960 and 1961. However, the scope of the work is limited because it focuses on First Republic politics and governance. The current study focuses on local government administration during the Fourth Republic.

Local government is viewed as an extension of the state government in the work State Government26 by F.G. Bates et al. Because of the relationship between the two, the functions of state and local governments, according to the authors, overlap. According to chapter seventeen, the dual purpose of local government is to serve as a self-government area as well as a state administrative district. This work’s findings aided the current study.

in determining the nature of such a relationship’s applicability to Idemili North LGA However, the work focuses on the relationship between state and local government. Despite its usefulness, the current study focuses on how the relationship between the state and local governments impacted Idemili North LGA.

Local government is seen as an instrument for rural development in Government at the Grassroots Level in Nigeria27, edited by E.A.O. Oyeyipo and Odoh Adejo; the work also expresses the need to improve local government for greater development. Nonetheless, the broad perspectives on some local governments necessitate this research.

The Role of Local Government in Social, Political, and Economic Development by Aliyu Abubaka

Economic Development in Nigeria 1976-197928 emphasizes the roles of local government in economic development.

From 1976 to 1979, the country’s development was influenced by the Local Government Reform. With this background in mind, the current study 1996-2010 is necessary to see continuity in local government development, particularly after the creation of Idemili North LGA. The roles that local governments are supposed to play would be beneficial to the current study.

M. Atakpa and colleagues published “Analysis of Options for Maximizing Local

Government Internally Generated Revenue for Nigeria.”29 goes into detail about the various options for maximizing revenue generation and the challenges of utilizing the various revenue generation sources in Nigeria. The study proposes feasible and practical methods of increasing internal revenue generation in Nigerian local governments. Because the work is extensive,

For the current study, Idemili North LGA’s various revenue sources were investigated.

Some contributors to the work, namely F.C. Okafor and T.O. Okoye, discuss the Igbo in the changing world in the work A Survey of the Igbo Nation30. For them, contact with Western civilizations contributed to urbanization. Thus, development is viewed as a narrative concept synonymous with improvement, as evidenced by changes in the spatial organization of the neat Igbo rural living diffused city wards with positive elements of modern cities such as streets and route ways. The work shows that proper planning and contacts changed aspects of Igbo rural settlements.

Egodi Uchendu and colleagues31 investigate the concepts of leadership and followership in Africa. The work also investigates

Leadership values, perspectives on leadership, and African developments are all discussed. The work’s assessment of African leadership and development was extremely useful to the current author. A bird’s-eye view of leadership and

The evolution of the work allows for the current study. Chinua Achebe’s work32 is an excellent source for this study. The study concluded that Nigeria’s backwardness is a problem of leadership, not the environment or form of government in use. The work, while comprehensive, excludes specific details of local government administration and leadership in Nigeria, necessitating a study of Idemili North LGA to determine whether enthroning quality leadership at the local government level would serve as a springboard for good leadership at the state and federal levels.

Sources, Methodology, and Structure

The research is based on primary and secondary sources. The majority of the material used in the work is derived from oral sources, which are the primary source.

Informants are drawn from the ten communities in the research area and come from a variety of geographical and occupational backgrounds. Informants who could provide information that was reasonably reliable based on their experiences were given special consideration. The majority of the informants were involved in Idemili North LGA’s changes and continuity. Other primary sources include intelligence reports on old Idemili LGA from the National Archives Enugu. These did not adequately address the needs of the study’s subject. Books, journals, and other secondary sources include both published and unpublished works.

Local government, Idemili North, development, and leadership texts. Several academic libraries were also visited, including the Chinua Achebe Library in Idemili North LGA and the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Department of Political Science Library in Akwa.

The research is approached thematically and chronologically, combining description with data analysis. Thus, qualitative and quantitative research methodologies would be used throughout the project. The qualitative research methodology seeks to inform the researcher’s understanding of an event by relying heavily on narrative description. To describe and explain the period of local government administration in Idemili North LGA, it relies heavily on content analysis of oral histories, interviews, reports, and records. Qualitative research methodology, on the other hand, is based on empirical data and facts.

Using figures, charts, numbers, and statistics to validate or represent a historical event. Given the nature of the study, both methods were extensively used.

The work is divided into six chapters. The first chapter is the introductory chapter, which includes, among other sub-themes, the purpose of the study, its significance, and the methodology used. The second chapter discusses the establishment of local government. The third chapter looks at Idemili North up to 1999, as well as pre-democratic activities in Nigeria before 1999, when civil rule was restored after years of military rule. The fourth chapter examines the democratic dividends from 1999 to 2002. Chapter five examines Idemili North’s quasi-democracy from 2002 to 2010, when appointed local government chairmen ruled. The sixth chapter is


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