Confusion and diffusion in local government; a case study from Eastern Nigeria
Callaway, Barbara J.
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation is a case study of the development of local government in former Eastern Nigeria. In discussing this topic several inter-related themes and analytic problems are dealth with. A primary concern of this project is to present an analysis of political change in a non-Western society and to relate this process to several topics such as the use of representative local government as an agent of political development and urbanization as a focus of social change. In this respect an urban case study is presented as a perspective from which to inquire into the politics of the larger society of which the city is a part. There is an attempt to analyse the process of "modernization" in what was Eastern Nigeria by studying the development of local government in the urban milieu. And finally, I attempted to illustrate why political institutions imported into Igbo society have not functioned as expected by tracing the historical development of British colonial administration and the subsequent introduction of representative local government. The principle contention of the dissertation is that the processes of "Westernization" modernization" and "political development" have served to stretch and diversify rather than to destroy the traditional order among the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria. In contrast to other studies which have stressed the breaking down of traditional culture upon contact with a more "modern" one, this study emphasizes that in this case contact with Western culture reinforced, rather than disrupted, traditional values and methods of doing things. The traditional Igbo political system is a compound of self-governing primary units such as family, clan and village. The functions of formal government were minimal and the superimposed formal apparatus of representative local government based on the "model" of local government in Britain was never accorded full legitimacy and never succeeded in replacing the substructure of decentralized autonomous political cells characteristic of the traditional culture. It is suggested that elements of cultural resilience may yet prove to be most significant in understanding the modernization and development process in any given society. This study is based on research conducted during two trips to Nigeria in the summer of 1960 and the spring and summer of 1966. Material was also collected in libraries and archives in Los Angeles, Boston, London, Ibadan and Enugu. In Nigeria in 1966 I spent three months in Aba, Eastern Nigeria, which is the focus of my case study. Here I interviewed thirty ex-councillors of the Aba Urban County Council, fifteen "retired" politicians active in regional and national politics prior to Nigeria's first military coup of January, 1966, and a cross section of twenty-five lawyers, doctors and teachers living in the city. In addition, a questionnaire was administered to 250 secondary school pupils in the city's schools. While in Aba I was also given access to all the records and minutes of the Council. The military regime at that time placed no restrictions whatsoever on my research, and in fact, by granting me immediate access to pertinent material, greatly facilitated it.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston UniversityPLEASE NOTE: Boston University Libraries did not receive an Authorization To Manage form for this thesis or dissertation. It is therefore not openly accessible, though it may be available by request. If you are the author or principal advisor of this work and would like to request open access for it, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.