The Washington Consensus: Birthing of the Lower Niger Independence Movement (LONIM) by Pro-Biafra Groups
On the weekend of September 2-4, 2017, representatives of leading self-determination groups operating in the Lower Niger, of which civil-war Biafra is part, assembled in Washington, DC, USA to deliberate over the ways and means for coalescing efforts to achieve the desired objective of restoring the unalienable rights of all indigenous inhabitants of the target territory nonviolently in the shortest time possible. Document posted below, which was released at conclusion of retreat convened in the District of Columbia Maryland suburb, is titled THE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT.
(Issued in Washington DC, USA on the 6th Day of September 2017 at the end of a 5-day Summit and Retreat of the leaderships of the various Eastern Nigeria pro-Independence self-determination groups with leadership of the Lower Niger Congress (LNC) in furtherance of the adoption of the LNC Referendum template by these groups).
(i) It will be recalled that as a part of the growing dialogue around the subject of the inevitable constitutional reconfiguration and reconstruction of Nigeria, a Solemn Assembly of the peoples of the Lower Niger, held April 27th, 2015 in Port Harcourt, had adopted the 1885 ethnolinguistic map of the Lower Niger territory as the geographical basis of the prospective Lower Niger Federation and had amongst other decisions, mandated a General Referendum for the peoples of the territory on the future of the territory, in readiness for that impending constitutional reconfiguration and reconstruction of Nigeria.
(ii) That following a series of consultations, the leaderships of various pro-Independence self-determination organizations in Eastern Nigeria, including MASSOB and IPOB (under the Directorate of State, DOS), both of which publicly declared their adoption of the Lower Niger Referendum template (June 2017), is the preferred route to attaining the Self-determination quest of the territory. It will be recalled that the Niger Delta agitation group had in 2016, tabled the restoration of the sovereignty of the former Eastern Region by way of a Referendum as their sole demand.
(iii) That the Lower Niger Referendum template consists of the nonviolent processes by which the ethnic nationalities of the combined old Eastern and Midwestern Regions of Nigeria, in rejection of the fraudulently imposed 1999 Constitutional Order, seek to simultaneously exercise their right to Self-determination via a Referendum, with a transitioning modeled after the apartheid-era CODESA in South Africa, that accommodate existing governance structures during the transition period.
(iv) That for the avoidance of doubt, the vision and ideological bent of the Lower Niger Congress, and by extension, the larger Lower Niger Independence Movement (LONIM) and for the new society it seeks to establish, is driven by the Biafranist ideology embodied in the Ahiara Declaration of June 1st, 1969. The processes and methodology for pursuing the Self-determination goal of the target territory shall be as articulated by the Lower Niger Congress in its Referendum template.
(v) That after months of intensive, rigorous interrogation and exchanges, the leaderships of the various pro-Independence (pro-Biafra) groups proposed a 5-day Retreat – September 1-5, 2017 in Washington, DC with leadership of the LNC for the purpose of giving effect to their decision to aggregate their various Self-determination initiatives and efforts, into the Lower Niger Referendum process as outlined by the 2015 Solemn Assembly of the peoples of the Lower Niger in Port Harcourt.
(vi) The Washington Retreat, which has been successfully concluded, had included a working visit by the whole group to the Downtown Washington, DC Offices of Fein & Devalle, PLLC for a comprehensive review and preview of the entire Referendum undertaking, from the perspective of an experienced lobby group.
ACCORDINGLY, the Washington Retreat:
(1) AGREED that the various Self-determination groups shall collectively operate as the LOWER NIGER INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT (LONIM) in pursuit of the unalienable rights of ethnic nationalities of the former Eastern and Midwestern Regions of Nigeria.
(2) AUTHORIZED the setting up of a LOWER NIGER REFERENDUM COMMITTEE (LNRC) to coordinate the efforts of the Lower Niger Independence Movement and that while the modalities for the operation of the Lower Niger Referendum Committee are being worked out, the component cooperating groups are authorized to continue the implementation of their programs which come within the approved workplan of the Lower Niger Referendum Committee, while the LNRC intensifies effort to Integrate, streamline, synergize and harmonize the operations and exertions of the erstwhile individual groups.
(3) RATIFIED and ADOPTED for immediate implementation, the resolutions of the 2015 Solemn Assembly of the peoples of the Lower Niger, particularly the Referendum Mandate thereof, the mandate for drawing up of the Charter of Relationships and mandate for the LOWER NIGER ASSET PROTECTION AND GUARANTEE SCHEME.
(4) AUTHORIZED the immediate setting up of a LOWER NIGER REFERENDUM FUND to help mobilize the funds required to effectively drive and prosecute the Lower Niger Referendum campaign.
(5) ADOPTED the Radio Biafra International (RBi), based in the Americas, as the Voice of the Lower Niger Independence Movement.
(6) AGREED that these decisions and understanding (1-5 above) reached at the Retreat shall, for ease of reference, be collectively referred to as “THE WASHINGTON CONSENSUS”.
(7) That other Self-determination groups and initiatives in the Lower Niger, which were not in attendance at the Washington DC Retreat, shall be free to join the Lower Niger Independence Movement by openly subscribing to the Lower Niger Referendum template amply outlined in the NOTICE BOARD (https://goo.gl/5x98Q7) of the LNC-USA website.
Issued this 6th Day of September 2017 at Washington DC, USA.
Signed by the mandates and representatives of the various groups as follows:
(1) For: Lower Niger Congress
Dr. Okenwa Nwosu.
(2) For: IPOB (Under the DOS) & Associated Groups
(3) For: MASSOB & Associated Groups
(4) For: I. D. O. & Associated Groups
(5) For: B. L. C & Associated Groups.