CONFLICT MANAGEMENT IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE: A CASE STUDY OF OJO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY The term conflict specifically means breakdown of relationship between parties and this was corroborated by oxford English dictionary definition in which conflict was defined as a serious disagreement, on argument, a struggle, a fight. The history of mankind cannot be devoid of conflict from the primordial age to the era of communal capitalism, feudalism up to the present. A lot of attempts were recorded in capturing various sources of conflict and how it can be effectively managed. In every organization where people of different backgrounds and interest have to interact in the collective effort towards achieving a common goal, conflict is bound to take place. This is because every member of the organization comes from different places, background and brings to the workplaces his own personal interest, ambition, which he/she earnestly desires to achieve along organizational goals. These individual goals may not necessarily be compatible with that of other members and as a result of this conflict will definitely come up in the organization: Conflict management may be planned and formal or unplanned and verbal or physical ranging from passive resistance to active aggression. Conflict takes place between individuals and between groups, between distinct organizations or groups within an organization and conflict no doubt is an important element of social interaction and apart from being a "negative " factor that "tear apart" conflict may contribute in many way to the maintenance of groups and collectivities as well as the cementing of inter personal relations. A conflict is therefore endemic. It is common knowledge that an organization needs peaceful co-existence for survival, which may be threatened by conflict.? Conflict management is very crucial in the achievement of organization goals for proper understanding of each other actually when there are disagreement between the employees and employers over some issues like conditions of employment etc. Karl Marx and some scholars say that industrialization is a mixed blessing, which has brought prosperity, strike and dispute in industries. It is unthinkable to find any organization without conflict. The local government, which is the third tier of the Executive arm of government, is established to meet the welfare needs of the local people. Although the various local councils in the country were created in the early 50s to perform localized functions and to bring government closer to the people, the purpose of local government is essentially to promote democracy at the grassroots level and ensure service delivery. A local government system may be recognized as either a single - tier or multi-tier local government. It is single tier if it performs all the functions assigned to a local government within its area of jurisdiction and it is multi tier, if two or more local councils share responsibility for local services within a given local territory. The management structure of local government takes the form of mayoral or mayor - council model. The mayor (chairman) is a weak mayor, as he does not have the power to appoint, remove and supervise the entire administrative staff. The ubiquitous presence of conflict can hinder the local government in discharge of its constitutional duties. The activities of various social groups in the local government if not effectively controlled or managed can be costly in terms performance and reputation. In fact any organization without conflict is as good as dead. Conflict can only be dysfunctional or harmful where there is no machinery that is put growth of the organization. Conflict management expressed in what ever form pose cost to all industrial relations actors, certain machinery have to put in place for emerged overtime and new approaches are being worked out to reduce the effect of conflict in both public and organized private sector in order to prevent the development of all forms of costly expression of industrial discontents.