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No such provision exists for local governments, and it is for this reason that their constitutional guarantee of third-tier status should be treated with circumspection.In the second schedule of the 1999 constitution, two types of legislative power are categorised, namely the Exclusive Legislative List and the Concurrent Legislative List.
Using a theoretical analysis, the paper finds that the combined effects of constitutional gaps and reform contradictions have rendered Nigeria’s system of local government an unfortunate ‘orphan’, and that, lacking a strong constitutional foundation, local government in Nigeria has been subject to the whims of both state and federal governments.However, little attention has been given to the deficiencies in the constitutional framework and the reforms that have shaped the operation of local government in Nigeria. Section two is the problem statement; section three presents the objectives and methodology of the study; section four traces the historical evolution of Nigeria’s local government system; section five explores its constitutional foundation, and section six presents key findings from the study.This paper aims to review the groundswell of debate in the light of these reforms and their constitutional provisions, and assess how local government could be made more relevant. Sections seven and eight conclude the study and offer recommendations.The paper argues that, despite numerous constitutional developments, current constitutional provisions for local government in Nigeria leave much to be desired.The recommendations to improve the system include that: local government should be given the status of a federating unit in the constitution, with its powers and functions clearly spelt out; the constitutionally mandated State Joint Local Government Account (SJLGA) should be abolished; and the constitution should be amended to create a chapter which guarantees the identity and autonomy of local government as a third tier of government.
Keywords: Administration, constitution, federation, government, local, reform Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Issue: December 2015 Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance 2015. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.