Citizen Initiatives and Social Accountability in the Nigerian Local Government System
A Study of Benue State
Keywords:Benue State, Local Governments, Citizen Initiatives, Accountability, Assessment
This study interrogates civic engagement to exact accountability from Local Government officials in Benue State outside the conventional mechanisms of public accountability. It specifically assesses the initiatives by ordinary citizens, communities, independent media and civil society organizations to hold both elected and appointed officials at the third tier of government accountable in Benue state. Both primary and secondary data sources were used for the study. Primary data was obtained through questionnaire and interviews, while secondary data was sourced from official records, journals, newspapers and magazines. Out of a total of 396 questionnaires administered to respondents in the six local government areas across the three senatorial districts in the state, 384 representing 96% were duly completed and returned. Linear regression used for the bivariate variable reveal that, measures by citizens’ groups to promote accountability have been more of opportunistic reactions to events and often episodic. This is because leadership positions in the Local Government are more of an imposition characterized by governors selecting people through a flawed electoral process. Consequently, the leadership hearkens to the voice of the governors more than the people. The study amongst other things suggests free and fair elections at the local government as well as public sensitization of the people of their constitutional rights.