It is obvious that the place a school is located has an impact negatively or positively on the educational opportunities available to those committed to it. There is a general consensus therefore that improving the availability of school opportunities increases greater equality in gender and socio-economic status participation. This therefore influences the policies and measures being embarked by numerous administrations across the world to tackle the educational imbalance between classes, states and ethnic groups in the country. In this paper, equality of educational opportunities entails a lot of things. It means giving the same type educational treatment to everybody without any form of discrimination regardless of any location, disability or barriers the individual may have. The 1999 Nigerian constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria coded, institutionalized and legitimized political patronage representative for sharing the national positions and resources. It provided not only the clauses of “federal character” at the national level and diversity at the local and state level of government, but also instituted a Federal Character Commission to oversee, implement and ensure compliance. There are educational disadvantaged states in Nigeria that led to the introduction of “Catchment Area” which is another phrase in the admission policy to promote equalization of educational opportunity. In this paper, the type of school, topography of site, population, nature of host community, aesthetic value of the site, availability of amenities, pollution levels are some of the factors put into consideration prior to the establishment of a school. Barriers to educational opportunities as identified in this paper include; individual differences amongst pupils, selection methods, quota system of admission, unaffordable costs, gender discrimination, armed conflicts and limited admission spaces.
Given the complexity of Nigeria’s political formation, and the federal character as well as its chequered political history before independence and after, it became increasingly necessary for Nigerians to define the processes whereby the corporate existence of the nation-state and the peaceful co-existence of its people could be ensured. Thus, the quota system as a national policy was reviewed in 1967 and adopted for filling vacancies into federally owned schools and institutions. Ironically, the policy was carried out without having in place a body constitutionally designed with the responsibility of implementing it. By 1975, the issue of “Federal Character” had become a serious political issue. The setting up of a Constitutional Drafting Committee in 1977 by late General Murtala Muhammed’s government was part of the efforts to resolve the problems of inequality and marginalization that were expressed by many Nigerians. Thus, as part of its proposals, the Constitution Drafting Committee adopted “Federal Character” in discussing issues of marginalization. The extent to which this federal character principle has resolved or impacted on political integration in Nigeria is the main focus of this presentation. Exploring secondary data, the study examines the necessity for affirmative action in Nigeria and the effectiveness of the federal character principle on political integration of the country.