Self-determination for the Yoruba people of Nigeria

Self-determination for the Yoruba people of Nigeria

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Since the 19th century, the Yoruba have found themselves forced into political and economic union with peoples with who they have absolutely nothing in common.
 
First, towards the end of the 19th century, the British unilaterally abolished the Yoruba Empire, which had been in existence for centuries, and annexed it into a territory that they called the Southern Protectorate. The ‘protectorate’ designation was not to protect the Yoruba people but to protect the lucrative commercial interests of Britain in Yorubaland.
 
Second, in 1914, the British without consultation with the Yoruba people amalgamated into the country Nigeria, the Southern Protectorate and the Northern Protectorate that they had also previously established. The British introduced separate governance for the two protectorates in their recognition of the fact that the Yoruba had nothing in common with the other peoples in the amalgamated territory.
 
Third, in the 1950s during various consultations regarding independence, the leaders of the various ethnic groups in Nigeria made very clear to the British their desire to go their separate ways. Indeed, the Yoruba leaders were opposed to the idea of one country. The British refused to grant independence unless the ethnic leaders agreed to form one country. Therefore, the parties were forced to agree to a federation of autonomous, self-governing regions with separate constitutions.
 
Fourth, in 1966, the Nigeria army committed a crime against the state when they assassinated the elected leader of the Yoruba and abolished the self-governing Western Region of Nigeria, the home of the Yoruba.
 
Fifth, in 1999, the Nigeria army when leaving office foisted on the Yoruba, a constitution that was neither negotiated nor agreed with them. Between 1966 and 1999, the Nigeria army abolished the rule of law and governed without the consent of the Yoruba people.
 
After more than 100 years of being forced to be part of the country Nigeria as outlined above, it is now the wish of the Yoruba people to right the wrong that have been perpetrated on them and to establish their own country, the Oduduwa Republic, with membership of the United Nations (UN).

The proposed Oduduwa Republic is compliant with the Montevideo Convention of 1933, which stipulated that to become a state, a region must meet 4 requirements: a) a permanent population, b) a defined territory, c) a government, and d) the ability to form relations with other states. Until the military coup of 1966, the Yoruba had their own autonomous government in the Western Region of Nigeria, and there will be no difficulty in reviving that government.
 
The proposed Oduduwa Republic meets five standards set by President Bush in 1991 for the recognition of the Soviet Republics: 1) self-determination consistent with democratic principles, 2) recognition of existing borders, 3) support for democracy and the rule of law, 4) preservation of human rights and rights of minorities and, 5) respect for international law and obligation. The Yoruba have a tradition of democracy, the rule of law, preservation of human rights and respect for their neighbours.

The right of the Yoruba to self-determination is guaranteed under the UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) 1960, which says: All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development’. Nigeria is signatory to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
 
The right of the Yoruba to self-determination is guaranteed under The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Article 20: 1, which says: ‘All peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self- determination. They shall freely determine their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development according to the policy they have freely chosen’. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) adopted the Charter in 1981.
 
The proposed Oduduwa Republic enjoys protection under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which prohibits a Member State from exercising force against a non-member not recognised as a state. General Assembly Resolution 3314 [XXIX] of 14 December 1974 allows the Security Council to intervene to ensure effective protection for a non-member state.

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