Condolences and eulogies have been flooding in for Chinwoke Mbadinuju, the former governor of Anambra state.
Dr. Mbadinuju, well known as ODERA, died in the National Hospital Abuja in the early hours of Tuesday at the age of 78.
Bamidele Ajayi examines the lives and times of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, the first Governor of ANAMBRA state following the restoration of democracy in 1999.
Nigeria returned to democracy after about 33 years of military rule which serves as reprieve to many citizens.
Chinwoke Mbadinuju was among the 1999 Governors’ set who got elected under the platform of the People’s Democratic party.
Before entering politics, Dr. Mbadinuju was a Journalist, Lawyer and an associate Professor of Politics and African studies at the University of New York.
He was a personal assistant to Governor of the old Anambra State Dr. Jim Chris Nwobodo and served as the personal assistant to former president Shehu Shagari between 1980 and 1983.
Mr. Mbadinuju’s tenure opened up the state infrastructure, with the construction of Anambra state university now known as Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University in Igbariam and Uli.
While in government, Chinwoke Mbadinuju enacted legislation that established the Anambra Vigilante Services (AVG), establishing the popular Bakassi Boys as the feared vigilante organization credited with reducing crime in the state.
He was said to have been sponsored by an Anambra kingmaker, Emeka Offor, but eventually fell out of favor with his godfather, purportedly crippling his government and leading to the refusal of his second term ambition.
Many believed that the field between Former Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju and his new godfather Chris Uba, another power broker, excluded him from the 2003 Governoship contest, despite winning the PDP primaries, but his candidacy was opposed by Mr. Uba and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in place of Chris Ngige.
The Chris Ngige election was later overturned by a Supreme Court decision that declared Peter OBI the winner of the 2003 election.
Former Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju is from Uli in Anambra state’s Ihiala Council Area. He is married to Nnebuogo Mbadinuju and has five children.
Governor Chukwuma Soludo, Ohaneze NDIGBO internationally, and a slew of other Igbo leaders praised him as a worthy man whose contributions to the state’s growth and prosperity will be remembered.