Local government is government at a local level established by an act of parliament or statute, decree or edict, charged with administrative and executive duties on matters concerning the inhabitants of a particular district, and given the powers to make bylaws for their purpose.
Reasons For Creating Local Governments
1. Participatory democracy: Local governments provide an opportunity for the citizens to practise the democratic form of government in their community. They learn the techniques and skills of politics, by campaigning and contesting elections to represent their wards in the local government council. The training at this level prepares them for greater political participation at the state and national levels.
2. Bringing government closer to the citizens: Local governments are created to enable them to fashion out good policies and programmes which the local communities require. Local government functionaries are representatives of the central government and are empowered to enact bylaws, which would protect the collective interests of the people at the local level.
3. Equitable socio-economic development: Local governments are created to serve as a means of distributing the resources of the country equitably, for the socio-economic development of their localities. This is done through the equitable sharing of the resources and amenities of the country between the different tiers of government.
4. Choice of leadership: Local governments give people the opportunity to elect their own people as their representatives in the local government council. These personnel exercise governmental powers on behalf of the people, understand their people more than ’outsiders’ and are accountable to the electorate.
5. Familiarity: Local governments are more knowledgeable and thus better equipped to handle cases involving religion, matrimony, land, chieftaincy disputes, history and communal clashes between different communities in their areas.
6. Communal participation in development: Local governments provide a forum for the people to establish development associations, to resolve their joint communal problems, and work together to provide facilities like pipe-borne water, electricity, schools and hospitals which individuals may not be able to provide and which has not been provided by the central government.
7. The link between the people and the government: Local governments act as a link between the rulers and the ruled. They educate the people on the policies of the state and national governments and give government a feedback on the response and needs of the people.
8. Experimentation of government policies: The local governments are often used as experimental grounds for testing the policies and programmes of the government. The tests are often carried out in selected local government areas to determine the suitability of such programmes.