Many Africans do tend to assess situations and events through emotions, so, often when “the Berlin Conference of 1884” gets mentioned – as will be done, annoyance and anger would come up and shut out some lessons that could have been learned, and that the community could even benefit from today.
So, before the emotions that would prevent the Reader from continuing on with this article arise, let this be quickly stated. Any anger and negative feelings about the boundaries of countries in Africa should TODAY be rightly channelled at the African Union (AU). It is the AU that decided to have the principle of the INVIOLABILITY of Africa’s colonially inherited borders. The AU did not need to do so, but Africa being what it is, and personal self-interest having that place of importance in nearly all decision-making, we have what we have.
Europeans tend to have a more “national interest” type of outlook to life. The “scramble for Africa” in the 19th century could have pitched nation against nation, therefore, it became important for European powers of the time to share out Africa not through war, but peacefully, using international protocols and establishing international law. Thus Otto von Bismarck, the German Chancellor, invited representatives from stakeholder European countries to talks referred to as the 1884 Berlin Conference, where procedures to claim and acquire African territory were agreed, and they set up policies that would guide the formation of colonial boundaries. Seen from the European perspective, the Berlin Conference was not perfect, but it was effective. European powers only kept to their agreements concerning Africa to varying degrees. However, the ultimate aim of preventing full-blown war over acquisition of African lands, was achieved.
The lesson for Africa would be that there are other real options apart from conflict and war that can reshape Africa for the good of its peoples. Sub-Saharan Africa most especially should realise from the Berlin Conference, that it is quite possible to use international law, plus to create Continental laws that would be just and ethical, to address the issues inherited from the European colonial era. Thus, rather than the “violence settles it” approach, Africa could key into an alternative “law settles it” approach.
Turning our attention to Nigeria, the self-determination organisation called Lower Niger Congress (LNC), originator of a most CLEVER Strategy to decommission the imposed and illegitimate 1999 Constitution, is a pioneer in using LAW, rather than what could be war, to set the country onto a democratic formation decided upon by the indigenous peoples. The LNC’s Strategy is by way of a Constitutional Force Majeure. This term is quite a mouthful, and in a country where English is not the mother tongue, it can be shortened to a term, that would always be UNIQUELY associated with Nigeria, and that would not be confused with anything else. Thus, Nigeria’s Constitutional Force Majeure can be shortened to the user-friendly term, “Confom”.
Over the years, LNC formed an alliance with self-determination organisations in the Oodua (Yoruba) Bloc and the Middle Belt Bloc to together be the custodians of the Confom Strategy. The historic Confom was declared on 16th December 2020 by NINAS, the alliance of indigenous PEOPLES of the South and the Middle Belt (NINAS Territory). The significance is that this NINAS Confom has initiated the decommissioning of the illegitimate and sham 1999 Constitution. The final outcome is that the ethnic nations in the NINAS Territory will each repossess their self-determination and sovereignties, until now hijacked by the 1999 Constitution. The NINAS Confom is guided by United Nations policies and procedures. All stages of the NINAS Confom are based on law, and follow on logically. Each stage is democratic and involves “we the people”. In every aspect, the NINAS Confom is a well-organised, systematic process that gets thinking people aroused intellectually. Here are statements fundamental to the NINAS Confom that will be made increasingly evident to all, including the watching international community:
“The self-determination agitation shall be a bloodless, intellectually rooted, legally-grounded one.” – Professor Banji Akintoye, Chairman NINAS
“The NINAS Constitutional Force Majeure is the potent and orderly process…” – Tony Nnadi, Co-convener NINAS
As the NINAS Confom rolls on, the indigenous ethnic nationalities will use all the instruments and powers made available to them by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP; this document is available for free download on the internet). It is the ethnic nationalities who will decide via Regional Referendums, the level of self-determination they want to keep. They may decide to opt for full self-determination and form new countries, as is looking most likely.
Nigeria’s situation is that the Union ended with the military coups of 1966. What we presently call “Nigeria” is a fabrication of the illegitimate 1999 Constitution that is a forgery, and that the indigenous peoples of the NINAS Territory had never agreed to, and which they have repudiated. The next step in the Confom Strategy continues in easy logic. Elections renew the life of that Constitution because the winner (or rigger) of elections swears to uphold that invalid document. He or she swears to guarantee that their people’s natural resources, needed for their progress and benefit, will be seized by central government. He or she swears to guarantee that the 68-item Exclusive List that prevents their people’s ancestral land from developing, and that makes their people impotent, will be kept to. It is political parties that prepare for elections. Therefore, since Nigeria is now a Disputed Project because of the NINAS Confom, political parties should CLOSE SHOP, even if temporarily so that first of all, new and valid constitutional arrangements are obtained. That means, suspension of Elections 2023. Moreover, with the ongoing silent slaughter (ethnic cleansing/genocide), with the Islamist terrorists, Islamist bandits, and Fulani herdsmen militias overrunning the country, only the MOST FOOLHARDY political party, will, for selfish greed and personal gain, dare face their own people’s justified fury, by treacherously working against their people’s wellbeing, and seek to go for general elections in 2023.
The time has come to draw a line in the sand, and to STOP all the irresponsible “strong man” autocratic style of governance, that has no place in the 21st century. At such a time as this, with kidnappings, terrorists, and every form of insecurity (food, economic, health, educational etc) ravaging the land, a clever response is needed. Central government can even now, take up the side of international law, justice and democracy, and respond to the Five Demands of the NINAS Confom, rather than make false accusations of “secessionists” against those who simply want their United Nations-backed right to self-determination. The absurdity and irony of it all, given that the 1999 Constitution that upholds it is an illegitimate forgery, is that it is Nigeria that is actually a paper Republic!