From the New York Times 31 years ago:
Ethnic Quota For Nigerians Is Challenged
By JAMES BROOKE and SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES, NOV. 6, 1988
At the age of 11, Adeyinka Badejo is learning the hard way about affirmative action, Nigerian style.
The daughter of an eminent political science professor here, Miss Badejo hoped last month to win admission to a Nigerian Unity School – a Government-financed prep school for top universities here and abroad.
To Miss Badejo’s dismay, she discovered that several of her sixth-grade classmates scored lower than she did on a national test, but that they won admission to the prestigious boarding school system. In this West African nation where virtually everyone is of the same race, the difference is ”state of origin” – often a code phrase in Nigeria for tribe.
Miss Badejo scored 293 on a 400-point test – three points below the cutoff for girls from Ogun state, a southern state largely populated by members of the Yoruba tribe. If she had been born to parents from Kano state, the northern heartland of the Hausa and Fulani tribes, she would have sailed into a Unity School with a score as low as 151.
Miss Badejo’s rejection was a result of Nigeria’s policy of ”reflecting the federal character.” Through nationally mandated quotas, this policy is intended to insure that Nigeria’s disadvantaged tribal groups have equal access to higher education and to Government employment.
Femi Badejo, Adeyinka’s father and a professor at the University of Lagos, decided to sue Nigeria’s Minister of Education on the grounds that the Unity School’s admission policy constitutes discrimination.
In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and one of its most diverse, the case has attracted attention comparable to lawsuits challenging affirmative action programs in the United States.