Constitutional Democracy and Caretaker Committee in Nigeria Local Government System: An Assessment

Jude C Okafor, Ikechukwu H Orjinta


Abstract

The 1976 Local Government Reform among other landmark changes unified the local government system in Nigeria, and the 1979 constitution made local governments the third tier of government and provided for a system of local government by democratically elected councils. More recently, elected local government councils have been dissolved and replaced with Transition Committees or Caretaker Committees appointed by the Governors’ of their respective states. This paper therefore, examines the impact of the caretaker committees in Nigerian Local Government on the practice of constitutional democracy. The discussion is framed by the theoretical perspectives and Nigerian literature on local government and constitutional democracy, and by the recent phenomenal wave of dissolving elected local government councils and subsequent replacement with caretaker committees. Contrary to popular belief, that local government as the third tier of government has failed to achieve the objective for which it was created, this paper observes that party politics has been the bane of Nigerian local government since its inception, and that democratically elected local councils with political and financial autonomy are the major conditions for an effective and efficient multi-purpose local government system in Nigeria.

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