Types of Intergovernmental Relations In Nigeria

As a nation that practices federalism, Nigeria comprises three tiers of government including the federal, state, and local government. For the central and regional governments to achieve their set goals, the different levels of government must interact. This interaction of the various levels of government is referred to as intergovernmental relations. In this article, the six types of intergovernmental relations in Nigeria would be discussed. Read on to learn about the 9types of intergovernmental relations in Nigeria. 

Types of Intergovernmental Relations In Nigeria

The types of intergovernmental relations in Nigeria would be described below; 

  • National-State Relations 

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria establishes the intergovernmental relationship between the federal government and state governments. First, the creation of the states in Nigeria is one of the constitutional provisions of the federal government. Another intergovernmental relationship between the federal and state governments in Nigeria is in revenue allocation since allocations to the 36 states in the country come from the federal account. The allocation from the federal government to 36 state governments in Nigeria is 24 percent of the federal account. 

The federal government and state governments also collaborate in areas of security, provision of basic amenities and providing a business-friendly environment for investments to thrive.

  • Nation-State-Local Relations 

The nation-state-local relation is a type of intergovernmental relationship between the three tiers of government. According to the 1999 constitution, the federal government is typically required to go through the state government if it wants to interact with any of the local governments. From time to time, the federal and state governments jointly execute certain community development projects with the local governments. And when the federal government wants to undertake reforms and make necessary changes to the local government system, it does so in consultation with the state government. The federal government also allocates revenue to the local governments through each of their respective state governments. In addition, the federal governments give out grants to local governments for specific services, through their respective state governments. 

  • National-Local Relations 

According to the provisions of the 1999 constitution, the federal government interacts with the local governments through their respective state governments. Hence, the state governments act as the intermediaries between the federal and local government areas. The federal government is statutorily required to allocate a portion of the federal revenue account to the local governments, through the state governments. The federal government also provides grants to local governments, from time to time. The federal government may also engage in official interactions with the local governments to know how the funds that are disbursed to the local government are spent. The federal government in consultation with the state government can embark on reforms of local government systems, and effect necessary changes where necessary.  

  • Inter-State Relations

This type of intergovernmental relation exists between multiple states in Nigeria. Interstate relations in Nigeria are greatly influenced by certain factors including the ethnic composition of the states and political party affiliations. The states involved in this sort of interaction need not be adjacent, that is, these states involved mustn’t share a boundary before an interaction can happen. Also, legislation need not be in place to govern the interaction between two or more states. However, this type of intergovernmental relations is quite underdeveloped in Nigeria. 

  • State-Local Government Relations 

In Nigeria, state governments and their respective local governments interact on several levels. Both the state and local governments combine to deliver certain services in areas of primary education, health service, agriculture and industrial services, however, the state government bears the responsibility of providing the standards and general controls for such services. The state government may also assign additional functions to the local governments within the state. 

Since Local governments are creations of the state government per the provisions of the constitution, the state government has superior powers over the local governments within their state. Hence, state governments perform supervisory functions over local governments such as approving the estimates, bye-laws, and major programs of local governments before implementation. Other supervisory roles state governments have over the local governments within their state include inspecting their operations, auditing their books, and regulating the appointment of certain professionals such as medical doctors working with the local government.   

It is statutorily required for state governments to pay the local governments within their state 10 percent of the internally generated revenue, so that service delivery can reach the grassroots. In practice, however, this stipulated revenue-sharing formula isn’t always upheld by every state government. In addition, state governments execute community development programs with the local governments with their state, and may also provide specific grants to help the local government.  Also, a local government council can be dissolved by the state government if an inquiry shows they are found lacking in their duties.

  • Inter-Local Relations 

The type of intergovernmental relations is between two or more local governments within a state. Due to the over-dependence of local governments on the federal and state government, this sort of official interaction among various local governments is underdeveloped in Nigeria. 

In federalism, the power ought to be equitably shared among the federal, state, and local governments to ensure parochial and collective goals are met. But in the case of Nigeria, power-sharing is lopsided within the political system. According to the 1999 constitution, the federal and state governments enjoy a great deal of sovereignty while the local government does not enjoy such autonomy. The local governments’ over-dependence on both the federal and state governments, as well as the oversight functions of the other two levels of government makes it difficult for meaningful strides to be made by the local government. Therefore, amendments to the constitution that gives more power to the local government tier would be a welcome development to improve better service delivery to the grassroots. 

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