Problems of intergovernmental relations in Nigeria and possible solutions

Problems of intergovernmental relations in Nigeria and possible solutions

For a country to truly develop and succeed, each of the arms and levels of government need to work together. What are intergovernmental relations and what are the main problems with them in Nigeria?

Intergovernmental relations in Nigeria

Definition of intergovernmental relations

Intergovernmental relations (IGR) could be seen as important interactions between the levels of government in a country. More specific, intergovernmental relations is a huge system of local, state, and national institutions working together.

Politicians in Nigeria

Problems of intergovernmental relations in Nigeria

In Nigeria, there are 36 states and also a separate federal territory (FCT or Federal Capital Territory). Each of the states has its own local government. Also, let’s not forget about separate branches of power: parliament, executive, and the judiciary. Inside them, there are a lot of small units as well. Eventually, we have a really big network.

Nigerian president

It’s clear enough, that in such case intergovernmental relations would be very difficult and untimely. Though there are mechanisms in Nigeria, which can properly connect these government units.

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Nigerian senate

Some of the major problems of intergovernmental relations in Nigeria are as follows:

1. Financial frauds

And again, we are back to the problem of corruption in Nigerian. In Nigeria, the problem is complemented by financial frauds within both federal government and state government. On the local level, we can observe this problem as well, but its scale is not so big due to budget cuts by the highest authorities.

How to stop this? By implementation of the strong regulation of government activity and budget management. Of course, before this, we would face strong resistance from those officials who appear to be totally stuck in corruption schemes. But it is not really a great deal at all when we have support from the people. Financial mismanagement can make intergovernmental relationships seem like barroom brawl for money.

Nigerian judges

2. Congestion in the governmental system

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Maybe, the real problem of IGR and the reason for complexities in Nigeria lies in the lies in the many ministries, offices, policies, etc. It’s not a secret, that there are lots of ministries, advisers, advisers to advisers, etc in Nigeria. We can suggest a solution to this problem, simply cut off the excess ones, reducing expenses, and simplifying the state system.

Prosecutors and high judges of Nigeria

3. Lack of control of governmental units

Another obvious issue with Nigerian state system and relations inside it is about the complete ignorance of the main rule for democratic government. This rule is known as “system of checks and balances.” The point is that each representative of each level of government watches and checks the activities of another. This means that all levels acts has checks on each other. The process of carrying these constitutional duties often result in frictions among these government levels.

Senators in Nigeria

4. Federal system of government

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The federal system of government gives a lot of independence for the states. They can exist and function with minimal interference from the center. This means that whether we like it or not there will always be a situation where the states will create their states version of some government agencies and laws; make their own policies; reject some federal government policies, etc. Therefore, as much as we may want smooth intergovernmental relations, with the presence of true federalism, IGR may not always be as smooth as we may wish it to be.

LASTMA and police

5. Loyalty to political parties

Being a multi-party state, the president and the state governors can belong to different political parties. It is a glaring fact all over the world, that in party politics, government office holders are always loyal to their political parties. Even in some of the most developed democracies in the world, party loyalty often comes first; members of different parties in government hardly agree on any issue easily.

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In Nigeria this has been one of the greatest problems of IGR, we see situations where state governors obviously from different parties, should have come together in one voice, pull resources ideas, personnel and time together to fight a menace or support a course for the benefit of the country. Rather what happens are politicians who would stop at nothing to exchange words and blame each other's political parties.

Nigerian governors

What is the result of our short and unpleasant research? It is simple: the main problem of intergovernmental relations is about the issues inside the state apparatus in general. Also, IGR can be improved in Nigeria, but it would most likely not going to be smooth always.

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