Zoning: Meaning, Structure & History in Nigeria

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Zoning – Meaning, Structure & History in Nigeria Politics

Zoning is a recent phenomenon in the political history of Nigeria. Zoning is a political device designed to ensure that political offices are distributed equitably among the various regions or geo-political zones of the country.

Zoning - Nigeria Politics
Zoning – Nigeria Politics

The objective of zoning is to ensure that top political offices are not monopolized by only a section of the country. Thus, unlike federal character which deals with the distribution of offices between states, zoning involves the distribution of offlces between regions or zones.

The National Party of Nigeria (NPN), the ruling party of the Second Republic was the flrst to adopt zoning in the allocation of political offices.

In 1979, the party allocated its presidential candidate to the North, Vice Presidential candidate to the South-East, party Chairman to the Southwest, party Secretary to the North, Senate President to the Southern minorities and Speaker of the House of Representatives to the South East.

The allocation of offices was based {m the strength of the party in each zone. It would therefore appear from the above distribution of offices that the party was strongest in the North. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and some of the major parties of the Fourth Republic have also adopted the principle of zoning in the distribution of offices.

The 1995 Constitutional Conference convened by the Abacha Administration also recommended that Nigeria should be divided into six geo-political zones, namely North Central, North East, North West, South East, South-South and South West with 6,6,7,5,6 and 6 states respectively. It is not clear why the South East has five states.

Although the Federal Military Government accepted the zoning arrangement for administrative convenience, zoning has not been enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution. Thus, unlike federal character, which is a constitutional provision that can be enforced in a court of law, zoning has remained a matter of discretion.

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