By Osita Ebiem
In October 2014 a meeting of Biafra freedom movement activists was called by Festus Afamefule in Barcelona, Spain. The venue of the meeting was in the hall which was made available to the Biafrans by the Catalonians with whom the Spanish Biafran activists have worked closely together since the last ten years. In attendance at the meeting were many battle-hardened activists of the Biafran freedom movement.
Afamefule is a medical doctor based in Madrid, Spain. James Achike who was also at the meeting lives in Austria. Achike is an inventor and veteran Biafran scientist and engineer of the Ogbunigwe fame. There were several other notable Biafran activists and foreign friends of Biafra who attended the meeting. There were also others like Emmanuel Enekwechi who heads the Biafra Government in Exile (BGIE); he is a clinical psychology professor in the United States and Tony Nnadi of the Lower Niger Congress, who attended the meeting virtually through internet video call-ins.
The proceedings of the meeting were coordinated and covered by the radio station, Biafra Voice International (BVI). The coordinator of the radio station is Emmanuel Okezie who lives in Germany.
In the last four years this meeting is one of the series called with the aim to unify and streamline the activities of the various groups that are working at different levels in the multi-faceted Biafra liberation movement. It was a success. At the meeting it was decided that with the current critical situation in the Nigerian social and political scene it is time and urgent to go home and form a Biafra Shadow Government (BSG) in accordance with the stipulations of the Biafra Charter. (A copy of the charter can be obtained from the internet at www.biafrafoundation.com.) The reason for the urgency is to forestall a disarray and panic situation in the Biafran area, by having a political and administrative structure in place on the eventuality that the Nigerian state disintegrates very quickly.
Festus Afamefule left Madrid on the second half of December 2014 to go home to oversee and help in forming the BSG. On getting home Afamefule organized a small team of individuals and together they took a tour of all the ten states that make up the Biafran territory. The ten states the team visited are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers states. The team had a wide and enthusiastic reception throughout.
At the end they had a series of meetings deliberating on all the aspects and details of the Biafra Shadow Government. Their last meeting took place in Uli on January 18, 2015.
Uli is the town that became famous during the war because of its role as the home of the iconic Biafra Airport. At its peak the airport became the busiest in Africa. Through hard work, dedication and creative efficiency of Biafrans, Uli Airport was receiving hundreds of planes weekly with hundreds of thousands of tons of food and medicines that helped to save the lives of millions of Biafran civilians. The airport was designed, built and managed entirely by indigenous Biafran engineers and virtually all the flights were nightly flights under heavy bombardment from the enemy – Nigeria.
On the 18th of January the Biafra Shadow Government (BSG) was formally formed and constituted as spelt out in the Biafra Charter. The meeting was well-attended and there were representatives from such Biafran freedom movement groups like Eastern Peoples’ Congress, Joint Revolutionary Council, Biafra Liberation in Exile (BILIE), Biafra Regional Emancipation, Ben Onwuka’s Biafra Zionist Movement (BZM), Eastern Veterans Social Welfare Initiative, Afra Descendants, USP, World Union of Biafran Scientists (WUBS), BIAMOS, Aladinma, Lower Niger Congress, representatives from some aspects of Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and people from a host of other groups.
The officers of the Shadow Government are Kalada Jene who was unanimously voted to head the provisional government, I. Nwoko is the deputy and the secretary to the government is E. A. Dignity. The officers were charged to go to work immediately in forming their government according to the provisions of the Biafra Charter. The Shadow Government is to work in close relationship with BGIE and all other Biafran organizations at home and abroad, sharing information, harmonizing and coordinating strategy and activities.
In response, the officers and members of the BSG accepted their job and acknowledged the seriousness of the responsibilities that go along with their position. Specifically they gave assurances that they will go to work immediately especially in organizing a network that will ensure the security of lives, properties and territorial borders of Biafra land, both proactively and as a response to any threat of aggression from outside.