Association of Nigerian
Scholars for Dialogue
CONFERENCE OF NATIONALITIES
THE CAMPAIGN FOR DEMOCRACY, LAGOS,
DECEMBER 17 - 19, 1998
CENTURY HOTEL, OKOTA, ISOLO, LAGOS
Participants noted that:
1. This is the first time since the amalgamation of the country in 1914 that the Nationalities making up Nigeria have met on their own free will and without preconditions.
2. The Conference is a reflection of the deep understanding that the partners that constitute the Nigerian Federation are the Nationalities, not the states, senatorial districts, armed forces, traditional rulers or political parties.
3. There is widespread disaffection and feeling of alienation amongst these Nationalities.
4. Rather than allow the continuation of the language of the
deaf, of intolerance and coercion, we should engender the culture of
unhindered debate, accommodation, tolerance and consensus.
Following three days of fruitful discussions, the Conference resolved as follows:
I. CONSTITUTIONALISM AND DEVOLUTION OF POWERS
The Ethnic Nationalities shall be the building blocks of the Federation, with the right to self-determination.
The Federating Units shall have powers comparable to the Regions in the 1963 Constitution. And they shall have their own constitutions.
II. REVENUE SHARING
The principle of Revenue Sharing shall be in accordance with derivation, that is 100% to the owners. With the owner communities paying tax to the Union Government.
All revenue accruing to the Union Government or Federation Account shall be shared between those Federal units and the Union Government on the basis of the new responsibilities assigned to each of these levels. But the Federating Units shall have a larger share.
The military and other institutions should be subjected to democratic civilian control.
All recruitment and appointment into Federal Institutions should reflect the units that make up the union.
A new National Army should be put in place with Regional Commands. These commands should ensure that the membership of the troops under their control consists of a substantial number of indigenes.
IV. COMMUNAL/NATIONALITY CONFLICTS
The Conference, after considering the conflict among the various nationalities in the Niger Delta, taking cognisance of the fact that the conflict is preventable and unnecessary in the first instance, and realising the fact that the conflict was engendered mainly by external factors premised on communication gap between the various nationalities in the area, hereby resolve:
To establish a Niger Delta Peace Project Committee to resolve the crises in the area and the Committee is hereby set up;
To appeal to all parties concerned to stop fighting and allow the committee to wade into the matter, and to stop inflammatory statements or action capable of causing further crises, loss of lives and properties;
To set up a permanent Secretariat for Nationalities aimed at fostering unity amongst the various nationalities through discussions, seminars, conferences and other conflict resolution mechanism with a view to building a united Nigeria where equity and justice will be enthroned; and
Having regard to various conflicts existing among the nationalities,
the Secretariat will be saddled with the responsibilities of settling
ensuring the convocation of the Sovereign National Conference where the
basis of living together in a single country will be discussed.
V. OTHER ISSUES
The Conference of Nationalities resolve that we have to come to terms with our past. In this wise, all those who have committed economic, cultural and political crimes against our people and the ethnic nationalities should be brought to book. These cases will include political assassination, looting of public treasury, persecution of nationalities and the failed or successful overthrow of Governments in the Country.
The on-going Transition Programme by the military cannot resolve the crises in the country. Therefore, whatever Constitution or Government that results from this can only hold in the interim.
The Sovereign National Conference (SNC) has become imperative and inescapable. It was therefore resolved that the nationalities should convene their own individual conferences, and that the SNC be the apex Conference to harmonise the decisions of the nationalities' conferences.
This should be expedited before the crises become too expensive in time and casualties.
The Federal Government's reaction to the Jesse tragedy stands condemned as most insensitive to the problem of the people in the oil producing area. In view of this, the conference calls for adequate compensation for the victims and survivors of this tragedy.
Finally, the Conference of Nationalities thanks the Campaign for
(CD) for facilitating this crucial congress.
PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES
DAY ONE: FRIDAY DECEMBER 17, 1998
8.00 hrs REGISTRATION
9.00 - 10.30 OPENING CEREMONY
Welcome Remarks by
Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chairman, Campaign for Democracy
Opening Remarks by
Professor Wole SOYINKA, Nobel Laureate
Keynote Address by
Chief Anthony ENAHORO, Chairman, NADECO
10.00 - 11.00 a.m. TEA/COFFEE BREAK
11.00 - 15.30 FIRST SESSION
11a. m. - 12.00 p.m. PAPER 1
"Historical Background to the Present Nigerian Polity" by
Baba OMOJOLA, Economist; Nationalist
12.00 p.m. - 13.00 p.m.
"Restructuring Security Agencies and Institutions Amongst Tiers of
Mr. Edet, UNO, Social Scientist
13.00 - 14.30
"Fiscal Federalism" by
Professor Akin FADAHUNSI, Economist
14.30 - 15.30 LUNCH BREAK
15.30 - 18.30 SECOND SESSION
15.30 - 17.30
Panel Discussion: Experiences from Other Lands: South Africa, Ethiopia, Asia.
Professor Halton CHEADLE, Constitutional Law Professor Served on the Committee that produced South Africa's Constitution
Professor Bereket SELASIE, Constitutional Law Professor; Chairman, Constitutional Making Committee on Eritrean Constitution
Professor Reg AUSTIN, INTERNATIONAL - IDEA
17.30 - 18.30
"Framework of the Nigeria Constitutions" by
Professor Itse SAGAY, International Lawyer
DAY TWO: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 1998
09.00 - 16.00 THIRD SESSION
09.00 - 12.00 Presentation of all other Papers and Submissions
12.00 - 12.30 TEA/COFFEE BREAK
12.30 - 15.30 Committees' First Session
15.30 - 16.00 LUNCH BREAK
16.00 - 19.30 FOURTH SESSION
16.00 - 18.30 Committees' Second Session
18.30 - 19.30 Summary of Committees' Proceedings by Rapporteurs
DAY THREE: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1998
09.00 - 15.00 FIFTH SESSION
09.00 - 11.00 Report of Committee of Rapporteurs
11.00 - 11.30 TEA/COFFEE BREAK
11.30 - 14.00 Adoption of Resolutions and Communiqué
14.00 - 15.00 CLOSING CEREMONY
Closing Remarks/Vote of Thanks by
Dr. (Mrs.) Joe OKEI - ODUMAKIN
Dr. M.T. Akobo
Chief Arthur Nwankwo