By Emeka Oraekota
Before now, most political pundits had written off Dr Mbadinuju, as a political lightweight on account of what transpired in the state under his watch as the governor. It could be recalled that Dr. Mbadinuju was the first civilian governor of Anambra State after the military junta voluntarily relinquished power in 1999. The era of Mbadinuju witnessed a lot of intrigue and power play among the godfathers in the State. Although despite the great distraction, he managed to keep his head up and finished his first term in office on a strong note. His party then, PDP made sure he did not return to power after his first term.
But while he left the government house in Awka, it appears he left with the soul of the State. From the day he steps out of office, till date, Anambra State has not known peace politically. Anambra State post Dr. Mbadinuju is grappling with one political crisis after the other, with the masses of State at the receiving end. Political pundits have attributed the inability of PDP to settle what is now known as Dr. Mbadinuju riddle [injustice] as the reason behind the festering crisis in the party in State. After blackmail was effectively applied by the leadership of PDP to get Mbadinuju out of the office, many who did not know the undercurrent behind his ouster naively believed that with the coming of Dr. Nwabueze Ngige, Anambra State shall be better.
The situation became even worse as Ngige had to fight for his dear political life arising from the bitter political fight between him and his godfathers. There was no truce between the warring factions for one day. Many believe that for Ngige to come of the war of attrition against his godfathers alive, he is the luckiest man around. Sensing that Ngige was about to beat them to their game, his godfathers, elected to tell the truth of what transpired on the Election Day that brought him to office, and as result, the court removed Ngige as the last option.
Meanwhile, it was when Dr. Mbadinuju left office that facts started emerging as to what transpired under his rein. His enemies framed him up as the person responsible for the death of Anambra State chapter of Nigeria Bar Association [NBA] chairman and his wife. Other atrocities committed by his political enemies and opponents were adroitly presented as though he, Dr. Mbadinuju committed them. All these became known to Nigerians when the political crisis in the State refused to abate despite his forced exit from government house Awka. On his part, Mbadinuju sought severally to explain his position to the leadership of PDP to no avail. The frustration of not getting the ear of the party to put the facts on the table made him to write a book where he chronicled his stewardship in the State as the governor. One thing his traducers could not pin on him in the course of the persistent blackmail against his person, is corruption. The third tier of government last functioned as such under Dr. Mbadiuju. Under him, the twenty one  local government areas got their monthly allocation as and when due. He did not fiddle with their allocation. In-fact, it was under Mbadinuju that pure democracy functioned last in Anambra State. This writer believes that the chemistry that exist between him and General Mohammadu Buhari [GMB], the President elect today, is as result of Mbadinuju’s zero tolerance for the menace called corruption while in office.
In June 2013, at the lunch of this important book that sought to put in proper perspective, his toil for the State when he held sway; an interesting comedy occurred. Report has it that the Chairman of the book lunch, General Mohammadu Buhari was already seated at the venue of the occasion, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua by exactly 7..30 am, ahead of the scheduled time for the event. However, by 9 am , which is the exact time for the event, none of the organizers was around. The President -elect in his characteristic manner patiently waited for them. When eventually Dr. Mbadinuju, the author of book, and other organizers showed up and saw GMB already seated, they became blushed. In the book lunch proper, GMB singled out the administration of Mbadinuju for praise over Dr. Mbadinuju’s zero tolerance for corruption. GMB was particularly impressed by the performance of Mbadinuju in the area of managing the resources of the State despite the sustained blackmail and pull him down forces arrayed against him.
Many who graced that occasion of the historic book lunch believed that it was only a matter of time before Dr. Mbadinuju joins GMB in the APC. When in January 2015 Mbadinuju finally called it a quit with PDP and pitched his tent with GMB in APC, many who saw it coming were not actually taken aback. They saw it as fulfillment of prophecy. Political pundits believe that the reason that PDP were not able to return mind boggling figures as what it scored in Anambra State in the last general elections, was as a result of the eagle eyes vigilance of Dr. Mbadinuju and other progressives in the State APC, though, the unholy alliance between APGA and PDP robbed APC of victory in the State.
All that is needed now is political motivation for the likes of Dr. Mbadinuju that worked in the State; through appointment in APC government. If this done, it will only be a matter of time before Anambra becomes an APC State. If it comes to real followership, Dr. Mbadinuju and others boast of it in abundance. This is perhaps his strongest point.
Emeka Oraetoka, an Information Management Consultant & Political Researcher lives and wrote in from Abuja