The hullabaloo about abolishing zoning is completely misconceived. The call to abolish zoning seriously underestimates and ignores the complex political character of Nigeria. Nigeria is not a Federation by accident. It is a Federation because it is composed of diverse peoples from different ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds. Nigeria is a divided society. Federalism is the only known political system that accommodates divisions and diversity. This is why Federalism is increasingly important in the world. 28 countries in the world constituting 40% of the world’s people have adopted the federal system.
Unity is a key challenge in many Federations. It is a key challenge in Nigeria with major divisions along class, linguistic, religious and ethnic lines. In the case of Nigeria, a sense of belonging or inclusion is vital to Nigeria’s survival. This is why the Constitution prescribes the federal character principle at Section 14. Federal character is about inclusion of the six (6) geopolitical zones in the allocation of political and public sector appointments including the office of President. Federal character has however assumed a negative connotation, as there is a strong perception that people gain offices at the sacrifice of merit. Zoning is the political name for the constitutional principle of federal character.
The call to abolish zoning is misconceived. All public institutions in Nigeria are zoned to include the 6 zones. This is why Subsection (3) of Section 14 of the Constitution stipulates that:
“the composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity and all to command national loyalty thereby ensuring that there is no pre-dominant of persons from few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or any of its agencies”
This shows clearly that zoning is a constitutional principle. Read more here