THE roles of the three tiers of government in Nigeria – the federal government, the state governments, and the local government authorities (LGAs) – have been an important topic that has been subjected to debate over time.
There have been several calls on the need to renegotiate inter-governmental fiscal relations, particularly by appropriating more responsibilities and revenue to the state governments and local government authorities.
Currently, under the sharing arrangement, the Federal Government takes 52.68 per cent of the revenue share, states get 26.72 per cent, while local governments get 20.6 per cent.
The structure of the three tiers of the government is made of the federal government, 36 state governments and 774 local governments.
The 1999 constitution clearly states the roles of these various levels of government.
The current distribution of responsibilities is provided in the Second and Fourth Schedules of the 1999 Constitution and they are shared as follows:
The Federal Government is composed of three distinct branches – the executive, legislative and judiciary – and their powers are vested in the constitution.
It is indicated in the constitution that the Federal Government is responsible for matters that are of national concern, particularly in the areas of defence, foreign affairs and monetary policy.
Other responsibilities of the Federal Government include overseeing Shipping, Federal Trunk Roads, Aviation, Railway, Postal Posts, Telegraphs, Telephones, Police and other Security, Regulation of Labour, Inter-state Commerce, Telecommunications, Mines and Minerals, Social Security, Insurance, National Parks, National Statistical Systems, Guidelines for Minimum Education Systems, Water Resources Affecting More than One State, Electricity, Antiquities and Monuments, Industrial, Commercial and Agricultural Development, Scientific and Technological Research, Statistics and Survey, University, Technological and Post-primary Education, Health and Social Welfare.
States in Nigeria also enjoy some sort of sovereignty, but within the constraints of the Federal Government, as stipulated in the constitution.
Like the FG, each of the 36 states also has its own capital city and its executive, legislative and judiciary.
Here are some of the roles state governments play in Nigeria: securing lives and properties, establishing education and health services, and development of agricultural and non-mineral natural resources.
The local government is the government tier that caters to the people in the grassroots. These local governments are headed by council officials, and their responsibilities include making law to address the issues of their locality.
Some other functions of the local governments are: naming of streets and roads, numbering of houses, registration of births, marriages and deaths, construction and maintenance of local roads, construction of drainages, construction and taking care of cemeteries and burial grounds, and supervising homes for the destitute and infirm.