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INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION IN LAGOS STATE (2007-2015)
1.1 Background to the Study
David is the biblical man for all seasons, the most complex and many-sided human character in the bible. He was variously shepherd, fugitive, politician, king, poet, musician, prophet, warrior and so many attributes. The role in which David is best known to the Western imagination is that of ‘boy hero and giant killer’. When he killed Goliath, he became an instant public hero, a civic liberator providing possible inspiration for fictional heroes, following in wake from Beowulf to Jack of the beanstalk (1Samuel17: 1-58). This victory by the boy David can be liken to the introduction of Information Communication Technology in curbing or minimizing corruption and so many social vices in both private and public services.
The current use of the internet, digital connectivity, the explosion and use of e-commerce and e-business models to enhance efficiency in the private sector is pressuring the public sector to rethink hierarchical, bureaucratic organizational models (Ndou, 2004:30-46). Moreover, the increasing expectation of Nigerians and the pressured effective service delivery of the private sector are pressing the bureaucracy to be time responsive. As a result, the 21st century has experienced a shift in the role of government. Unlike before, the government’s role has been redefined to empower rather than serve the customer, shift from hierarchy to teamwork and participation, and be mission-oriented and customer-focused, and to enhance with prevention rather than cure (Osborne&Gaebler, 1992).
In the early 1980s, the need to reform the bureaucracy became imperative all over the globe. Consequently, the governments of developed and developing countries are faced with the challenge of transformation and the need to modernize administrative practices and management systems (Tapscott, 1996:60-66). In this regard, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is seen as a tool to support the work of governmental institutions and agencies with the objectives of delivering public services and information in a more convenient, citizen-centric way and to curb corrupt practices. In other words, Information and Communication can be an effective tool to ensure increased accessibility, inclusivity and flexibility of government services.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has recognized the importance of ICT for making service delivery prompt and effective. It has introduced ICT tools such as online payment of salaries and wages, accounting package, advertisement of vacancies and so on in different public offices. As a matter of fact, when the National Information Technology Policy was approved to guide the ICT project in Nigeria, this was followed by the enactment of the National Information Technology Development Agency Act 2007, which provided the legal platform for the creation of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Lagos State Government in an effort to align with the Federal Government NITDA policy, decided to have strategic partnership between herself and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through State Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness and Capacity (SPARC) program and related bilateral and multilateral aid which aims at bringing about reform that will position Lagos State in terms of its vision of Lagos becoming a mega city with world class ICT infrastructure, comparable to that of any other mega city in the world. Lagos State Government recognizes the necessity for competence in ICT. Therefore, in May, 2011 it Established Public Service Management ICT subgroup to guide the conception, design and implementation, applicable, development of ICT in the state .The Lagos State Government ICT Policy according to the state website design assured that “The relationships between people, process and technology is effectively managed by the singular most important document – the Policy which ensures business process alignment between the different aspects of any organization. An ICT Policy for Lagos State is therefore the most important outstanding document that will effectively guide how to manage ICT infrastructure and continuously align the acquisition and use of ICT resources with the States strategy. The policy document will define the course or method of action to guide and determine present and future decisions. If well implemented, the ICT Policy will ensure the establishment of guidelines and procedures for the acquisition, deployment, usage, and retirement of Information and Communication Technology resources in Lagos State government Ministries, Department and Agencies. It will also ensure the safety and security of Information Communication Technology resources within the State government from both internal and external threats” (Lagos ICT, 2011).
It should be noted that this ICT policy document was produced in collaboration with input from the Public Service Management ICT subgroup which will help in establishing and strengthening good governance within the LASG and in turn ensure the provision of a world class ICT solution benchmarked against International best practices. The policy document will be undergoing an approval process which is led by strategic Ministries, Department and Agencies, and when finally approved and put in place will help to structure, streamline and provide the needed rules and framework for the Lagos Stage Government. In addition to the ICT policy document, an ICT Acceptable User policy and Information Security Policy document were also produced (Lagos ICT, 2011).
The invaluable role of local government in Lagos State with its mandate to bring development nearer to the people has become a relevant discourse of our time. The United Nations (2009) and Nassanga (2006) explore the power of Information and Communication Technology in achieving this statutory role of local government. In Nigeria, there are several initiatives geared at accelerating development via the technological platform. Overcoming the challenges of transformation of administrative bodies as service deliverers to the citizens is only possible with proper application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) which allows citizens to access various electronic services. Hence, citizens are able to publicly express their opinion about the functioning of local government and proper conducting of public affairs, thus increasing the role of grass roots administration as a service oriented towards citizens. With these assumed benefits of Information and Communication Technology policy by LSG as enumerated above, this research work attempts to carefully examine the impact of ICT in Alimosho, Amuwo-Odofin, Badagry, Ikeja, Ojo and Oshodi-Isolo local government areas of the state.
It is imperative at this juncture to note that there is uniformity of function and responsibility for all the local governments throughout the Nigeria federation as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The functions are made up of mandatory for which local governments have full responsibility, those which they sharing functions with higher levels of government and those functions that the state or federal government can from time to time assign to local authority (Constitution, 1999).
In the Fourth Schedule of 1999 Constitutions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the functions of local governments are spelt out to include provision of nursery, primary and adult education, administration of maternity centres, dispensaries and leprosy clinics and health centres, lighting and drainage, support for arts and culture, control of pollution, public housing programmes e.t.c
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The recent development in information and communication technology provides opportunities for bridging the gap between the government and the citizens. ICT provide avenue for effective interaction between the government and citizens at local levels. It also serves as a tool for eliminating barriers confronting citizens’ participation in governance at local level.
The Lagos State government effort in implementing ICT across the entire state including local government areas should be commended as it is an effort in the right direction. However, for the projects and processes to be effective and efficient there is need for appropriate coordination and streamlining. The significant role information and communication technology is playing now in Lagos State strategic business decision and the role it will continue to play in the nearest future cannot be overemphasized. This therefore puts the state in the position to make concrete and crucial decisions on what the strategic role ICT centre should be playing in the development of ICT across the state and the use for effective and efficient service delivery.
The present state of affairs in the public sector, especially at local government level appears that the variables responsible for poor performance have not been dealt with and so the problem still lingers. It is against this background that the researcher sought to examine to what extent has information and communication technology been used to resolve the problems of ineffective service delivery, low performance and corruption in the local government administration.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study is to examine Information Communication Technology (ICT) and local government administration, in Lagos State between 2007 – 2015 with specific reference to Alimosho, Amuwo-Odofin, Badagry, Ikeja, Ojo and Oshodi-Isolo. Other specific objectives are to:
- examine the use of ICT in assessment of employees’ performance in the Local Government Areas in Lagos State.
- determine the extent to which ICT has improved transparency and accountability in the assessment on employees’ performance in the six local government areas
- investigate the relationship between information and communication technology and effective service delivery to the citizens in the six local government areas.
- analyse the effects of ICT on both the users and the overhead cost operations of the six Local Governments in Lagos State.
- examine the use of ICT vis-à-vis bureaucratic bottlenecks in Local Government administration in Lagos State.
1.4 Research Questions
To achieve the stated objectives, the following are the research questions to guide the study.
- Is there any significant relationship between the use of information and communication technology and the assessment of employees’ performance in the six local government areas?
- To what extent has the information and communication technology improved transparency and accountability in the six local government areas?
- Is there any relationship between information and communication technology and effective service delivery to the citizens in the six local government areas?
- What are the effects of ICT on both the users and the overhead cost of Local governments in Lagos State?
- What is the relation between the use of ICT and the issue of bureaucratic bottlenecks in Local Government administration in Lagos State?
The following hypotheses are formulated for testing:
H0: There is no significant relationship between the use of information and communication technology and employees’ performance in the six local government areas.
Hi: There is significant relationship between the use of information and communication technology and employees’ performance in the three local government areas.
H0: The use of Information and communication technology in all the six local government areas cannot ensure transparency and accountability.
Hi: The use of Information and Communication Technology in the six local government areas can ensure transparency and accountability.
H0: There is no significant relationship between information and communication technology and effective service delivery system in the six local government areas.
Hi: There is significant relationship between information and communication technology and effective service delivery system in the six local government areas.
1.6 Scope of the Study
Assessing the organizational structure of local government in Nigeria, it is discovered that local governments are not adequately equipped with modern technological advancement, thereby creating widening gap between the government and the governed at the grassroots level.
There is also a concern with high administrative cost not only in terms of salaries and allowances but also with regards to multiplicity and duplication of agencies and departments. There is no link between the high number of staff and their remunerations with service rendered to the people.
The study covers information and communication technology on the twenty (20) local government areas in Lagos State which include Alimosho, Agege, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Apapa, Epe, Eti-osa, Ibeju Lekki, Amuwo-Odofin, Badagry, Ikeja, Mushin, Ifako-Ijaye, Ikorodu, Kosofe, Lagos mainland, Somolu, Surulere, Lagos Island, Ojo and Oshodi-Isolo while six local government areas were selected for the adoption of ICT between 2007–2015. The choice of these six local government areas in Lagos State was based on the strategic mechanism that the state government put in place to ensure a more coordinated ICT adoption in the local government. It was observed that the local governments have introduced automated technologies in their operations which further justify their choice