Relationship Between Federal, State, And Local Government

Table OF Contents
1. Relationship between Federal, State, And Local Government.
2. Differences Among The Three Tiers Of Government
Relationship Between Federal, State And Local Government
In a federal system of government, the constitution provides for power sharinh between the central (federal) government and the component units, the states and local government. The constitution also prescribes the power relations between the central government and the component units.
Therefore, there is no ambiguity or confusion as to the functions and authority exercised by the relationship shared by the three tiers of government in Nigeria, in terms of;
i. Performance of functions in line with the provisions of the constitution.
ii. Power to make laws
iii. Power to carry out functions in accordance with constitutional provision.
iv. Capacity to provide good governance.
1. Performance Of Functions In Line With The Provision Of The Constitution:
The constitutions prescribes functions for the three tiers of government. Some of the functions are those in the exclusive list and performed by the federal government.
Such functions are defence, monetary policy, immigration, mines and power, aviation, communication, customs and excise. The federal and state governments perform some functions which are common to both levels. Such functions are contained in the concurrent list. They include works, Health, education, agriculture, tourism, commerce and industry. The local government and the state government perform certain functions which aree special to the localities. These are the residual functions, and they include religious. Customary and chieftaincy affairs.
2. Power To Make Laws:
The legislative arm of government is the body that makes laws. In nigeria, the legislature comprises of
i. The National Assembly, which comprises, the senate( the upper legislative chamber) and the House of Representatives ( lower legislative chamber). Both are the federal level of government. They make laws for the good governance of the nation.
ii. The house Of Assembly:
Each of the 36 states in Nigeria has a House of Assembly. The House of Assembly is responsible for making laws for the good governance of the state.
iii. The Local Government Council:
The Council is the law making body of the local government. The Council makes bye laws which are carried out by the local government.
In terms of powers to make laws, the three legislative bodies are not equal. The senate which is the upper legislative chamber and the House Of Representatives are the highest law making bodies in Nigeria. Laws emanating from the state House of Assembly are subject to the laws of the National Assembly. This means that laws made by the Natioinal Assembly override the laws of the State House Of Assembly.
Also, the laws made by local government councils are subject to the laws of the State House of Assembly. In fact, the House of Assembly legislates or makes laws for the good governance of the local government.
3. Power To Carry Out Functions And Provide Good Governance.
The constitution made elaborate definition of functions for the three tiers of government. The Constitution also prescribed the sources of revenue of the three tiers of government outside their Internally Generated Revenu (IGR) sources. Performance of functions is related to availability of funds and other resources (human and material). In view of this, the power to carry out statutory functions of the federal, States and Local governments in limited by the availability of funds.
The Federal government controls the resources and finances of the nation. The federal governments disburses or allocates funds to the states and local governments using certain constitutional criteria or formula.
Therefore, the federal enjoys greater powers to carry out its constitutional functions more than the other tiers of government. The functions allocated to states by the constitution are enormous, but the resources are limited. Most states depend on the monthly federal allocation for funding recurrent and capital expenses. Most state governments that depend on the monthly federal allocations hardly carry out their recurrent expenditures, not to talk of carrying out capacity or development projects.
Generally, states depend on the federal government to carry out big projects on desertification, erosion control control, electricity, health, education etc.
At the local government level, the story is the same. There is elaborate constitutional prescription of function as for the local government.
The constitution also provides for funding of the local government through the state- Local Government Joint Allocation Committee (JAC). In reality, the funds meant for local government operations are tampered with by state governments. This affects the capacity of the local government to perform its allocated functions.
Accordingly, the local government even though is the third tier of government is a mere appendage of the state. Its autonomy and capacity to provide service and development at the grassroots level of society are greatly inhibited by control by the state government.
Differences Among The Three Tiers Of Government
The differences are in the following areas;
a. Functions
We have earlier stated the various functions which the constitution prescribes for the three tiers of government – the exclusive functions. For the federal, the concurrent functions for the federal/states. The residual functions for the states and local government.
b. Legislative Powers:
We have also stated that the constitution grants powers to make laws to the three tiers of government. While the law making function at the federal level is carried out by the National Assembly (Senate and the House of Representatives). The House of Assembly of each state makes laws for the state.
At the local government level, the council which is an elected body of local representatives is the law making body. It makes bye laws for the good governance of the local government area.
It is important to mention that the laws of the state are subject to the laws of the federal government. This implies that if there is conflict between the laws override those of the state. This relationship is the same between the laws of the state and those of the local government.
c. Executive Powers:
The executive powers of government are exercised at the federal level by the president who is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces Of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
At the state level, the Governor is the chief Executive Officer of the state. At the local government level, the chairman is the Chief Executive officer of the local government.
The president, the Governor and the Chairman of local government exercise executive powers of the various tiers of government. The president is the head of government and he appoints ministers and other major functionaries of the government. He must present such appointments for screening and confirmation by the senate. He also presents bills and budget proposals to the National Assembly for approval before the become law. The constitution grants powers to the president. He ensures good governance, security of life and property of citizens, peace and progress of the nation, even development and equitable distribution of resources and infrastructural growth of the nation.
In the state, the Governor is the head of government. He appoints commissioners and other advisers to assist him in governance. He depends on the State House of Assembly in the same way the president and the National Assembly relate.
At the local government level, the chairman is the leader of government. He provides leadership by appointing supervisors who work under him. He work closely with the Council which made up of elected representatives of the people. The local government chairman provides leadership for even development and governance of the rural communities. He ensures security of life and properties of the rural dwellers.