Local Government (LG) is the closest tier of government to the people, and the quest for local government autonomy still generates exciting and healthy debate in Nigeria. This study examines critically the opportunities and problems, which confront the Nigerian local government system in its efforts to establish itself as a true tier of government. The objectives of the study were aimed at achieving some specific goals which were to find out why the practice of complete local government autonomy is difficult in Nigeria; to investigate the level of autonomy in Nigeria local government system, and to suggest measures that can be adopted to check state interference in the local government affairs in Nigeria. Three major hypotheses were formulated to guide the research. Three hundred (300) questionnaires were distributed to the staff in Nkanu west local government area while two hundred and seventy-six (276) were properly completed and returned. A five-point Likert scale was used for making data analysis. The theoretical framework adopted in this study is the Marxist theory. The proponents of this theory see local government as an instrument of the central governments, which works either as a direct means of securing proletarian compliance through suppression. The findings revealed that there were constitutional loopholes or contradiction that tends to provide the impetus for the unscrupulous state of officials to nurse the inordinate desire for hedging in the local government left, right and center. However, the findings also revealed that the area of jurisdictional rivalry between the state and local governments are mainly the lucrative ones, like rate collection, distribution of fertilizers, and other farm inputs like pesticides. Recommendations were made that local Government autonomy is anchored on an improved revenue base, adherence to constitutional provisions, political stability, accountability, and transparency in governance.
Published Date: 2021-09-03; Received Date: 2021-08-13