CONFERENCE OF NATIONALITIES
THE CAMPAIGN FOR DEMOCRACY, LAGOS,
DECEMBER 17 - 19, 1998
CENTURY HOTEL, OKOTA, ISOLO, LAGOS
THE CENTURY-OKOTA RESOLUTIONS
Communiqué of the Conference
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
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
4. Rather than allow the continuation of the language of the deaf, of
intolerance and coercion, we should engender the culture of open, unhindered
debate, accommodation, tolerance and consensus.
Following three days of fruitful discussions, the Conference resolved as
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
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
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 and 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
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 Democracy
(CD) for facilitating this crucial congress.