Local governments are controlled through the following mechanisms:
Local governments are established by an act of parliament or decree stating their functions, powers and limitations. Their operations are thus guided by these laws. Furthermore, the legislature could amend these laws or investigate the performance of, or allegations about particular local governments.
The power of supervising the activities of local governments is delegated to the ministry or department responsible for local government. The department is empowered to approve their annual budgetary estimates, major projects, strategies of implementation and bylaws before they take effect.
Local governments are legal entities which can sue and be sued. Courts can call local governments or their officials to order if theybreach any law establishing or guiding them. The courts can declare their actions illegal or unconstitutional if they violate the provisions of the constitution.
The supervising department is empowered to approve or reject local government budgetary estimates. They may not introduce new rates or levies, implement new projects or obtain internal or external loans without approval by the supervising ministry. Their accounts are also audited by the central government auditors.
Control By Public Complaints Commission
Dissatisfied members of the public can seek redress through the public complaints commission, where their rights and liberties are violated by local government employees. The commission could investigate the activities of such employees and recommend punitive or corrective measures.
Reasons for control of local government
Local government administration is controlled for the following reasons:
Effective implementation of policies
Local governments are controlled to enable them to implement the policy guidelines and objectives of both the federal and state governments. They are expected to execute government programmes according to specification and guidelines.
Even distribution of amenities
Local governments are controlled to ensure geographical spread of social amenities to the various communities. Without adequate supervision, some local governments may deprive certain communities of social amenities like water supply, feeder roads, dispensaries and maternity homes.
Judicious use of public funds
Local governments are controlled so that they can account for the Statutory revenue and special grants which they receive from the federal and state governments. For example, contract awards are thoroughly scrutinised to ascertain their genuineness and impact on the people.
Appropriateness of laws
Local government bylaws are subject to approval to avoid possible abuses.
Appointment and discipline of staff
Local governments are controlled to ensure proper recruitment, promotion, transfer and discipline of employees.
Approval of annual estimates
The annual estimates of local governments are checked and approved to enable the central government to ensure consonance between their capital expenditure, recurrent expenditure and the expected income in a financial year.
Quality of councillors
Local governments are controlled so that the quality of councillors at the helm of affairs could be kept high enough.