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Library Philosophy and Practice 2009

ISSN 1522-0222

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Local Government Administration: The Case of Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State

Monday Obaidjevwe Ogbomo
Department of Library and Information Science
Delta State University
Abraka, Nigeria

 

Introduction

The Universal Declaration Human Right (UDHR) states that everyone has the right to take part in the government of his or her country. The role of ICT in facilitating (political) information exchange is manifested in the way information flows faster, more generously, and less expensively throughout the planet for decision-making and for development (Ahmed, et al, 2006). Gurumurthy (2004) defined e-governance as the use of ICTs to improve government interaction with citizens. ICTs facilitate the sharing of information or ideas by different nations of the world. They can improve government and strengthen democracy and citizen empowerment, and can help foster most transparent governance by enhancing interaction between government and citizens (United Nations Economic and Social Council, 2000). It can be particularly powerful in providing a voice to people who have been isolated and invisible.

Electronic Administration and Technology Acceptance

E-administration is the conversion of paper processes to electronic processes. Its objective is to transparency and accountability, leading to better governance (Bagozzi, et al., 1992). Local government administrators must understand the power of technology and acquire the necessary knowledge and skills (Davis, 1992).

Role of ICT in Local Government

Moemeka (1994), Shepherd (1998), the United Nations (2005) and Nassanga (2001) explore the power of ICT in development and empowerment. Information leads to self-actualization, especially when combined with other resources (Castels, 2003). ICT speeds up the flow of information and its use in decision-making (Ahmed et al, 2006). Idowu (2003) identifies ICT facilities that we commonly have at our disposal. These include computers, telecommunication, and tools for banking.

Benefits and Problems of ICT for Local Government

According to Bagozzi, et al. (1992), the benefits of ICT include accuracy, speed, enhanced communication, increased productivity, and acquisition of skills and knowledge. There are also problems, including illiteracy, which is a serious problem in Africa, especially in rural areas. According to Hafkin (2002), ICT requires various kinds of literacy and the inability to read and write is a major barrier to local government administration. Idowu, et al. (2006) note the importance of funding for ICT implementation. Other challenges include unreliable Internet access and power supply, and rapidly-growing populations.

Methodology

This study used a survey. The population of the study consists of all dwellers of Akwukwu-igbo and Ibusa in Oshimili North local government area. The total population is 4,016. From the population, a sample of 200 respondents, representing 5 percent of the population was used for the study. A questionnaire was the instrument for data collection and the data were analyzed through simple percentages.

Findings and Discussion

Section A: Respondents

Table I: Age

Age Frequency Percentage (%)
15-25 20 10
26-35 60 30
36-45 96 48
46-56 24 12
Total 200 100

Table II: Gender

Sex Frequency Percentage (%)
Male 79 39
Female 121 62
Total 200 100

Table III: Marital status

Marital status Frequency Percentage (%)
Married 120 60
Single 80 40
Total 200 100

Table IV: Occupation

Occupation Frequency Percentage (%)
Student 35 17.5
Civil servant 24 12
Farmer 71 35.5
Traders 70 35
Total 200 100

Section B: The effect of ICT

Table V: ICTs available in the local government area

ICTs Frequency Percentage (%)
Radio 22 11
Computer 60 30
Mobile phone 36 18
Telephone(landline) 48 24
Television 21 10.5
Internet 13 6.5
Others - -
Total 200 100

Table VI: Benefit of ICTs for local government administration

Benefits Frequency Percentage (%)
Participation in governance 18 9
E-governance 16 8
Accuracy 41 20.5
Enhances communication 62 31
Increases productivity 63 31.5
Others - -
Total 200 100

Table VII: The problems of ICTs in local government administration

Problems Frequency Percentage (%)
Power supply 41 20.5
Illiteracy/ICTs illiteracy 50 25
Lack of ICT skills 35 17.5
High cost of ICTs 55 27.5
Absence of cyber café 19 9.5
Others - -
Total 200 100

The results of the study confirm previous findings about e-government and the role of ICT in development. Those surveyed pointed out problems of ICT in local government, including power supply, illiteracy/ICTs illiteracy, lack of ICT skills, the high cost of ICTs, and lack of facilities such as cybercafés. This support the work of Idowu (2003) and Hafkin (2002). Computers and telephones are the ICTs most often available in the local government area. This supports the work of Ahiakwo (2002) who described the role of computers in storing administrative, budget, and other information. Study participants believe that ICT increases the speed of information services. This is in line with the work of Ahmed, et al. (2006). It was also observed that the benefits of ICTs towards local government administration are enhancement of communication and increased productivity. This is in line with Bagozzi (2006) who noted that ICT helps to enhance communication among administrators and staff and also increases productivity.

Conclusion

The use of ICT in government has set the stage for greater transparency and the possibility for greater citizen participation. In spite of the advantages, certain problems were identified. These problems represent barriers to progress. ICTs such as Internet, GSM system, computer, and online tools for effective information and communication service delivery should be made available in the local government area.

References

Ahiakwo, C.O.(2000). The role of Internet connectivity in Nigeria. Available: http://www.isocnig.org.ng/conferencepaper/paper17.htm

Ahmed, H., et al. (2006). Measuring the impact of ICT on women in Bangladesh. Available: http://iec.cugh.Edu.cn/worldcomp2006?EEE4168.pdf

Bagozzi, R.P., Davis, F.D., & Warshand, P.R. (1992). Development and test of a theory of technological learning and usage. Human relations 45 (7): 660-686.

Castels, M. (2000). The rise of the network society. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell publishing.

Davis, F.D. (1989). Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly 13: 319-340.

Gurmurthy, A. (2004a). Gender and ICTs: Overview report. Bridge development: Gender. Available: http://bridge–icts.ac.uk/reportscep-Ictsor.pdf .

Gurmurthy, A. (2004b). Bridging the digital gender divide: Issues and insights on ICT for women economic empowerment . New Delhi UNIFEM

Hafkin, N.J. (2002). Gender Issues in developing countries an overview. Paper presented at the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) Expert Group Meeting on Information and Communication Technologies and Their Impact on and Use as an Instrument for the Advancement and Empowerment of Women, republic of Korea, 11-14 November 2002.

Idowu, B., Ogunbodede, E., & Idewo, B. (2003). Information and Communication technology in Nigeria: The health sector experience. Journal of information Technology Impact 3 (2), 69-76.

Moemeka, A. (1994). Communicating for Development: A new pan-disciplinary perspective . NY: State University of New York press,

Nassanga, G. (2001). Local considerations in formulating ICT policy in the East Africa Region: Uganda case study. Paper presented at the Regional Media Convention on Safeguarding the Public Interest, Kampala.

Parliament Office of Science and Technology (2006). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in developing countries. Available: http://www.parliamentUK/document/upload/hostpar261/pdf

Shepherd, A. (1998). Sustainable rural development . New York: Macmillan.

United Nations Economic and Social Council (2000). Ministerial declaration on development and international cooperation in the twenty-first century: The role of Information and Communication Technology in the context of a knowledge-based global economy. Available: http://www.un.org/documents/ecosco/docs/2000/e2000.iapdf

Women 2000 and Beyond (2005). Gender equality and empowerment of women through ICT. Available: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/public/w2000.html .

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