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CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR A CASE STUDY OF ENUGU NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT ENUGU

CHAPTER ONE

 INTRODUCTION

The Nigerian society is under-going a rapid transition in addition to the inevitable and unusually gradual transformation processes that affect all social systems, the institutions economic, political, legal etc. of the Nigerian society, are being deliberately and hurriedly reformed to avoid the pitfalls of the past new decision programes are established and new strategic adopted all in an effort to achieve a social order.

One of the on-going strategies to do this is the reform introduced into the public sector by the office of the chief of General Staff (CGS) making the local government an effective third tier of the government. Usually, such reforms tend to point to one form of organizational crisis or another crisis were refers to an usual situation the outcome of which is uncertain or capable of generating conflict. With regards to the Nigerian public sector, it arises out of the inherent disposition of the system to distort the political and administrative processes by its decisions or operations. It also arises from situational uncertainties and inadequacies of an organization.

There could be power tussle, inadequate funds or time to execute all envisaged projects. Psychological disorientation of the populace / employee and its rejection of the reform. There could be also either a lack of understanding of the full implication of established programmes or a deliberate clinging to politics established primarily to protect institutionalized class relations. Any such crisis is capable of distorting the achievement of the desired objectives of the public sector. Part of the process of ensuring success in the achievement of goals of these public sector organization is to understand the dynamics of such crisis and apply appropriate remedies, provided that thee change motivators are genuine and determined.

It is a known fact that the understanding of the dynamics of crisis is lacking in the public sector of the Nigerian economy it is equally true that the Chief Executive and administrators in the public sector are involved in the management of crisis rather than in crisis management. From the foregoing, it is seen that there is no effective tool for crisis management in the Nigerian public sector because  of its large size. It is pertinent that an organization within this sector is used as a  reference point in order to limit the wideness of this study. The Enugu North Local Government (ENLG) has been chosen for proper representation of the public sector organization in the economy. 

In this thesis, we intend to identify a few crisis situation that could hit ENLG and through the research, rank them in the order of their probability of occurring. I will then use the crisis with the highest probability, to develop a crisis management tool for organizations within the public sector of the Nigerian economy.

 1.1     BACKGROUND OF STUDY

The local’s government has been characterized by instability and discontinuity emanating from one crisis situation or the other. These crisis are often prompted by the activity of the federal government and other environmental factors which usually lead to complete dissolution and or take over of functions of the management group by government appointed administrators. In order words, the LG. of this country have always been subjected to the whims and caprices of the federal government. They were not allowed to make their own decisions as to contributing to the Nigerian economy or either way they give enough financial assistance (authority) to be accountable to the devise inherent is such local government.

The various government reforms are aimed at stabilizing and rationalizing local government organization or corporations. It is quite unfortunate however that the chosen implementation strategies seen to have resulted in unanticipated policy outcomes. As a matter of fact it is clear to all that the aims of establishing the local government in Nigeria which is to be an effective third tier of the government has not been realized. It is believed that this is mainly due to the inability of the local government to effectively manage the forms  of crisis that afflicted it since their inception.   It is against this background that crisis management in local government is being investigated.

Every crisis has four (4) main stages and allowing each crisis to pass through the four states has been the bare of effective local government in Nigeria.

The four stages of crisis include:

  • Prodromal stage (early warning stage )
  • Acute stage
  • Chronic stages
  • Resolution stages

Crisis management aim at avoiding the acute and chronic stages of crisis. A crisis is said to be effectively managed if it moves from prodromal to resolution stage we are aware that this has not been the case in the local government their crisis have been known to have gone through the four stages with inevitable consequences.

 If we take a look at the second republic and early part of the aborted their republic (1988-1989) there were various crisis among which were:

  • Financial crisis
  • Power crisis
  • Manpower crisis
  • Political crisis

The entire above crisis, we unfortunately allowed to go through the four stages and this had their unpleasant effects on the local government in the country. For example, the Enugu North Local Government administration was engulfed by crisis during the year 1988 and 1989. this crisis went through the full cycle which cumulated in the intervention of both the state and federal government leading to the suspension of its popularly elected chairman.

Another example can be cited from the demonstration carried out by members of the National union of local government (NULGE) Enugu North local government branch on March 9th ’94 protesting for the non-payment of salaries for 6 months.

Furthermore, the strike action carried out by the National Union of Teacher (NUT) calling for the collection of their annual subventions directly from the federal government and not from the local government because they believe that this cannot be effectively carried out by them. It can be seen that after about two (2) decades of its establishment the local government cannot manage available resources and avoid conflict or crisis from happening.

 1.2     STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

It is quite unfortunate that going through literature very little work has been done on how best to handle crisis by scholars and practitioners. In view of these identified lapses, an inquiry into crisis management in the local government has become imperative. It is hoped that this inquiry would stimulate new dimension and direction for crisis management whose overall objective could be the search for an effective and efficient local government administration. In Nigeria, with specific focus on evolving new strategies for building a stable base for local government organization in the country.

 1.3     RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The basic research questions for this work are:

  • How can we change from crisis management to the management of crisis?
  • How do employee or workers perceive crisis?
  • What factors influence management attitude to crisis?
  • What role does the federal and state government play in local government crisis?     

 This study will attempt to provide appropriate answers / solution to these questions which are regarded as key variables in the local government administration in Nigeria, such answers is hoped would assist in providing insights into the kind of measures to be adopted to ensure effective and efficient crisis management in Nigeria.

 1.4     OBJECTIVE  OF STUDY

The objective of this research would include:

(a)  To examine the existing methods of handling crisis in Enugu North Local government and ascertain how corporations are performing within the bonds of available manpower in the local government

 (b)  To attempt to appraise the existing and potential manpower for co-operations in local government administration with a view to explaining the extent of their involvement.

 1.5     SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

The significance of this study work is aimed at developing an effective crisis management tools and thus creating a relatively stable environment becomes clear. In order to make reasonable progress towards achieving the purposes for their creation, the public sector organization requires a relatively stable environment and an effective crisis management tool which is what this study is all about.

 1.6    SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The study touches on various forms of crisis that had characterized the public sector organizations in the country.

This using the Enugu North Local Government (ENLG). As a case study, an attempt is made to identify possible crisis that could effect the public sector organizations, their effect and probability of occurring based on the findings, the study attempts to develop crisis management for use in organizations in both public and private sectors.

It is sine-qua-non to mention were that in the course of the preliminary library research, it is discovered that very few up to date materials / literature on the public sector administration in the local government could be found. This is more so in finding documents that dealt with crisis management as it affects public corporation and local government.

 1.7     DEFINITION OF TERMS

In the course of this work: certain key concept were met along the line which may be interpreted differently for the purpose of this study therefore the following operational definitions are given to these concept thus:

 Crisis

This is an unusual situation in an organization or corporation the outcome of which is uncertain or capable of generating conflict.

 Local Government

This is government at the local level exercised through a  representative council, established by law to provide / exercise specific power within defined areas.

 Public Sector

  This is the part of a nations economy which is controlled mainly by the government 

 Crisis Management

 Any measure that plans in advance for a crisis (or turning point), any measure that removes the risk and uncertainty from a given situation and thereby allows one to be more in from of crisis management.

 Rural Development

The process of providing inhabitants of the rural area with basic infrastructure and amenities, which could enhance their standard of living.

REFERENCE

Anikpo Mark (1985)     Nigerian’s Evolving class structure in area edited Political Economy of Nigeria, Lagos, Longman publisher

Federal Republic of Nigeria Guidelines for local government reforms (1976), Kaduna, Kaduna government Printers.

Rex Ugorji (1989), Management of crisis in business organization, Being a paper presented at a workshop on crisis management organized at Enugu by the federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN ) in partnership with FIDREX management consultant Lagos. 

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