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Satisfactory nationwide development without constructive local governments’ input is mutually exclusive. Meaning that institution of effectual local administrations not to produce deleterious interaction-effect of development is essential. This paper evaluates published articles between 2010 and 2020 on Nigerian context to comprehend what undermines impactful local governments’ participation in national development to pinpoint lessons for African nations. It addresses the question of how abject local government in place do not support its positive involvement in overall national development. The intrinsic purpose of local government according to the classical theory’s logic is the paper’s theoretical foundation. Deriving from a literature review methodology, the paper proffers reform agendas to enhance optimal efficacy of local administrations in the intergovernmental relations schemes for development in Africa from literature insights of the Nigerian situation. The analysis parallel the three thematic codes evolved from the classical theory’s justification of local government: optimization of local governance, enhancement of local democracy, and facilitation of efficient local services delivery. It observes that implementation of ineffectual decentralization policies and lack of local autonomy are critical factors undermining optimum development in Nigeria, viz African countries. Whereas, decentralization and local autonomy accentuates the centrality of local government in the national developmental trajectory.