Ghost Workers Are Not The Only Challenges Facing Local Government Administration


by Hassan Umar Kamfut

Local Administration has been the concern of every responsive political system in the world. This is because, local Administration basically, concern the involvement of grassroot people in the provision of social and economic amenities to rural area where they come from.

Again, it is a govt at the door step of rural inhabitants. It is assumed therefore that, the dev’t of these local areas entails the overall dev’t of the state. In view of the above, Nigeria created seven hundred and seventy four (774) LGs across the six geo-political areas to ensure dev’t at the grassroot level.These LGs are however faced with series of problems and difficulties which in the longrun constitutes their challenges. This write up basically is concerned with highlighting these challenges and suggesting possible solutions to these challenges which adopts a descriptive approach rather than prescriptive approach.


No matter how differently the concept is defined, it focus on the transfer of political powers to local areas by involving the inhabitants in the provision of basic needs in their respective communities.

The 1976 LG reform guide lines also defined LGs as “government at the local level, exercised through representative council, establish by law to exercise specific powers within a defined area”

The main issues raise from the above definitions are:-

That LG is a political authority i.e it has the right to exercise political power, which means, right to take decisions which are binding on the people and to obtain compliance.

That, LG is a creation of central govt and subordinate to central authority.

That LG is created by law and exercised its powers through representative council.

That LG is govt closest to the people.

From the above issues raised now defines LG as a political unit established by law to perform specific functions through elected representatives of the people at grass root


Refers to the administration of a community by a body which is not responsible to the local people but to those who appoint them to govern the community.

However, LG is seen as govt by local inhabitants freely elected to carryout programmes to improve the well beingof the people at grassroot.

Administration perse, is getting things done, therefore, LG Administration entails the whole process of decision making at LG level or selected persons by state govt to carry out certain functions for the benefit of the local inhabitants.


Therefore are things that put LG to the task of demonstrating its skills and ability towards justifying its establishment. LGs are created basically tonprovide govt closer to the grassroot people, thereby providing the needs of those people without necessarily waiting for central govt.

The challenges are therefore revolves round fundamental problems and obstacles for achieving those goals.



Autonomy simply refers to freedom, independent, free from external and remote control.This dev’t has made LG an appendage of state. It is a major challenge of LG administration, because LGs wait to take directives from state instead of carrying out self initiatives for the dev’t of local LGs.


Again the practice of LG funds passing through state joint account is a serious impedement to LGs and posed a challenge to its task of providing social and economic amenities for its populace. The joint account paves way for the state govt to dictates to LGs and again divert huge sum of the funds meant for LGs to other things entirely.


Again, the practice of approval of bye laws made by the LG council by state legislature renders the concept of autonomy of LG futile, since there is no element of independence and freedom of legislation.


LG’s source of finance is either through federation account or statutory allocation and internally generated revenue.

a) Statutory allocation comes from federal govt and the state govt is supposed to augument the efforts of FG by giving 10% of their IGR to LG. The problem faced by LG is that, the statutory allocation by FG is delayed, not given on time. When it is released, it passed through state joint account and problems are compounded. Even the 10% the state suppose to give to LG is not given. This posed a serious challenge to LG administration, because no
administration can achieve its goals without funds, and LG funds are delayed and hijacked by both upper tier of govt.

b) Again, the IGR of LG which is suppposed to sustain LG is mismanaged and misappropriated by those in positions. Revenue collectors print their receipt nowadays and use for their selfish interest instead of using LG authorized reciepts. This corrupt practices continued unabated because, people in high places also benefit from this ugly rooting of LG funds.


LG are faced with the problem of inadequate skilled workers such as engineers, accountants, medical Doctors, town planners, statisticians etc. Reasons for this ugly dev’t are that, there is a very low image of LG in the minds of these professionals.


There is lack of job satisfaction that can keep them in the LG. Most skilled and qualified personnels and professionals prefer to gamble their luck either in private organisations or establish their own firms rather than stay at the LG where there are no incentives and be wasted away. This have made LG to be surviving on unskilled labour, some are diploma and certificate holders who can not defend the certificates they hold. This situations is a great challenge to LG efficiency, people who dont know their left and right in, can hardly be productive and effective.


Priority is what is considered most, urgent or first before others, A hungry man’s priority should be eating food and not drinking soft drinks. If you drink soft drinks, you will still be hungry and it will amount to misplacement of priority. The challenge of LG administration is particularly nowadays a priority misplacement. Most council chairmen instead of carrying out projects that would have direct bearing on the lives of their people, embarked on projects that satisfy their selfish ends. For instance, instead of digging bole holes to provide potable water, a council chairman is busy renting house to few.


This refers to been disobedient, indiscipline has to do with low moral behaviours. Staff of local authorities, from senior to junior cadre have various forms of indiscipline. Most senior officers of LGs hardly come to work and when they come, they stay under shades and the junior staff play the truancy even more, staking the effectiveness of LGs.This situation spell doom for LG administration and pose a serious challenge to local authorities.


make them to believe that, govt business is no mans business and abandon the rules that guide moral conduct and professional ethics. Official functions are seen as an extension of private life which can be done at will.These attitude has drastically affected the performance of LGs.


Again, the people whom LG is established to serve are in most cases not involved in decisions that affect them directly.The result of this is that, the rural inhabitants lack interest in whatever the local government does for them or serving their godfathers.


The suggestions are basically from observations and experience and therefore are practical and problem solving as the case may be. What can be done to put LGs in their rights place for maximum productivity is that;

1) LGs should be given practical autonomy in terms of direct reveneue allocation from the federation account.

2) The marriage of convenience, tag joint account proved itself repugnant and detrimental to LG administration.

3) The blame on LG on none performance is attributed to this lack of autonomy particulary financial autonomy.

4) Political and otherwise too, the LG is not autonomous because of directives from state institutions and govt.

5) Remove all these problems and set LG free and independent as a tier, let LG get its allocation direct from federation account, poor performance becomes history.

When the above is done, LG becomes attractive and professionals looking for jobs at FG will prefer to be at home, hence there will be skilled workers in the LG system and greater performance will be ensured.

Again, LG chief executives have to prioritized what they intend to do for the benefit of the community, rather than choosing to persue what interest them as individuals or group.

LG is a govt at the grassroot level where the inhabitant are suppose to be involved in the governance of their area, one way of involving these inhabitants is to consult them, when they are properly consulted their needs will be known and persued accordingly.

Also, the political officers of LG should be disciplined, top bureaucrats in the councils should develope the culture of staying in offices so that they will lead by examples.

Professional ethics has to be planted in LG administration for greater productivity.


This write up captioned the challenges of LG Adminitration explored the meaning of LG and local Administration and evaluated the problems of LG where emphasis was placed on lack of autonomy which leads to undue interference by state govt making LG as appendage of state govt, unskilled staff and indiscipline among other things. Also argued that, if LG is autonomous and its allocation comes direct, it would have made a conducive work place that can give job satisfaction and attract skilled labour which in turn can improve performance, efficiency and productivity.

Thank You
Hassan Umar Kamfut