In the study of the idea and practice of ethnic self determination within a national polity in contrast to the positive value of the cohesion of different ethnic groups within a nation, developments in Nigeria provide a valuable case study. In the course of research on the role of the Nigerian Diaspora in Nigerian development,with particular reference to politics, I again came across this conference communique that exemplifies the spirit of ethnic self determination,particularly within a national setting which some members of that ethnic group understand as hostile to the interests of their ethnic unit.
I won’t pretend to have a significant grasp of the significance of this communique in the larger scheme of Nigerian politics,but I am reposting it with this introduction because this initiative is worth studying for its historical value and as a guide to possible future developments.
COMMUNIQUE OF THE YORUBA PEOPLE’S CONFERENCE ON “THE WAY FORWARD FOR THE YORUBA PEOPLE,” PHILADELPHIA, JULY 17, 2010
(a) Whereas, we, the Yoruba people, numbering forty million, endowed by the Creator and Ruler of all with unique strengths and capabilities of our own;
(b) Whereas we are a people with our own history, and with our own culture that we have evolved under God in the long course of our history;
(c) Whereas our membership, since 1914, of the country called Nigeria, has worked towards suppressing, repressing and destroying our culture, our history, and our uniqueness as a people;
(d) Whereas our Yoruba Nation now stands in real and imminent danger of national collapse, cultural degradation, and loss of virtues and of visions;
(e) Whereas we the Yoruba Nation have for many decades increasingly lost a troubling percentage of our best brains in the mass exodus of highly educated people from the chaotic economic and political life of Nigeria;
(f) Whereas all of these have generally resulted in the imposition upon us of unwarranted and unjustified political, cultural and ethical norms that are repugnant to our own;
(g) Whereas this imposition has been enforced and sustained by resolute, criminal and ever escalating acts of electoral manipulation that sometimes descend to the depths of utter brigandage;
Therefore, we the Yoruba people here assembled resolve as follows:
(a) That it has become necessary for us, the Yoruba people, to dissolve the political ties which have connected us with the Nigerian State , and to take up among the Nations of the world, the separate and equal nation-statehood to which the Laws of God and the essence of international law entitle us.
(b) That a body with the name of Oodua Foundation be, and is hereby established, to educate, mobilize and organize the Yoruba people towards the establishment of our own Yoruba Nation-State;
(c) That it is only through the creation and independence of our own Yoruba Nation- State that we can preserve and develop our Yoruba national identity and culture, and promote our economic progress and prosperity as a nation.
(d) That we act in accordance with Article 20. 1. of the African ( Banjul ) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights that all peoples shall have the right to existence and have unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination to freely determine their political status.
(e) That we are committed to a peaceful pursuit of this goal, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (Resolution 61/295 of September 13, 2007).