MBADINUJU "S DAYS OF LONG KNIVES.

 




MBADINUJU "S DAYS OF LONG KNIVES

BY NKIRU NWAGBO


The month of November this year would go into the history books as the month Anambra for the first time buried an ex- governor of the state. NKIRU NWAGBO who was there from his inauguration till his demise reports on the crucibles of his four year tenure .

The banks of Otuocha River was polluted with blood of Omabala children and parents while the bomb blasts  reduced high rise buildings to dust along Awkuzu - Aguleri road to the main market.


Human lives were treated with contempt as the Umuleri- Aguleri- Umu Oba Anam  war raged over the ownership of some potions of land bordering the two communities in Anambra East local government area.


It had started in 1998 to 1999 and there seemed to be no end to the communal clash until he became the Governor of Anambra state.


His first action  was to end the war and he stormed the area interfacing with the natives, Tin gods and principalities that had held the communities hostage and with the collaboration of the then National Assembly member representing Anambra East and West Federal Constituency Chief Emmanuel Obiajulu Anosike the warring communities were brought home for Christmas.


He took head long the challenges of Infrastructural development and prosecuted the Joint Action on Development aka JAD which tried to link up the 179 towns of the state.


His style of governance was one that wanted all hands on deck hence he left no one by the road side .


Soon the bubble bursted and the man Dr Chinwoke Clement Mbadinuju found himself trapped by the same elements that ought to  have been the tonic to a great Anambra state.


His friends associates and kinsmen became his traducers and his benevolence became his tragic flaw .


They struck from all angles exploiting his human nature to the peril of his vision for the "Light Of The Nation" with his believed benefactors breathing down his neck and compelling him against his wishes to be overwhelmed with the trappings of governance.


The then Anambra State House of Assembly were divided over the choice of the post of the Speaker and other Principal Members of the legislature.


Rising from the ashes of this first baptism of fire , he brazed up for the task ahead but his traducers came calling once again.


Mbadinuju was accused of setting up the Anambra Vigilant Group aka Bakassi Boys to fight his political opponents and his foes had to cash in on that to fight him dirty.


Apparently the genesis of the Bakassi Boys was occasioned by those days of long knives when deadly armed robbers write letters to landlords and tenants informing them of their visitation and all and sundry must keep vigil with money in tact for those marauders.


At some point churches became a place of refuge for inhabitants of Onitsha as emergency night crusades were being held for  the fear of the bandits paying one an  unscheduled visits.


At Upper Iweka and major flash points in the commercial city it was suicidal for one to carry a black waterproof bag as your hand may be cut off and your bag taken away from you.


At Nnewi town it was a bank to bank robbery that would last for several hours unchallenged by the security operatives.


It was in response to this near state of anarchy that the late Governor Mbadinuju brought in the Bakassi Boys that took on the gangsters and within five months the robbers were sent packing and most of them relocated to other  states.


Indeed the success stories of Mbadinuju was hinged on the operations of the security outfit and calm was restored in Anambra state.


But what appears to be a paradox of fate was that the human flaw to every good policy which  consumed the good intentions of that security arrangements as sone people cashed in on that to form a cloned Bakassi Boys and political opponents and business rivals used it to get back at their enemies.


At the peak of this development a group known as Anambra People's Forum APF  was formed as a pressure group in the People's Democratic Party PDP.


The forum had about eighteen local government Chairmen , fifteen members of the state House of Assembly, seven out of the eleven members of the Federal House of Representatives.


Deepening the predicament of the embattled Mbadinuju was the support of the National leadership of the PDP couldn't help matters as several repeated party Congresses were held and cancelled.


The party had concluded that Mbadinuju would not get a second term but it was yet to factor in how this plot could be hashed.


It was the same fake Bakassi Boys that were used to perfect the plot and while Mbadinuju was away in Houston United States Of America attending the ASA USA meeting of Anambra people abroad reports got to him that the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association NBA Onitsha branch , his wife and the unborn baby were killed .


As at then the Association had been at war with the government of Mbadinuju over sundry issues and Mbadinuju was accused of ordering the killings.


Similarly the opposition in Anambra had caused too much distraction that the embattled governor was busy fighting the opposition and some much cash flights were the order of the day and the National leadership of the PDP saw Anambra state as a cash cow and the state was milked to an extent that the governor could not pay workers salaries and projects could not be executed.


Schools were closed for more than one year and both teachers and their families felt the hash gravel pains of poverty and hunger while the Nigerian Labour Congress NLC in Anambra continued it's protests to a point that the workers held the funeral of Mbadinuju while he was alive as a  sitting governor.


The travails of Mbadinuju was not only physical but spiritual as the practice of voodoo took the center stage .


It was even rumoured at some point that Mbadinuju was under a spell as he could no longer take firm decisions and stand on them  and his Aids and Assistants continued to breath down his neck ripping off tax payers money.


Even at most PDP rallies Mbadinuju was addressed as a one term governor .


According to him , "When we attended our rally in Owerri Imo state one of the Aids  of President Obasanjo would climb the stage and walk up to me and say remember you will serve only one term and go and it happened several times"


"I wondered why and even my fellow governors could not tell me why this conspiracy against me " 


"One day some of my Aides came to me to tell me that seven rituals have been performed by my enemies for me to die while I am sleeping and part of the rituals have been taken to Abuja for me to end it all" he said.


The voodoo machinations got to it's climax when monkeys entered the Executive Chambers of Anambra Government House in Awka and convened a meeting at night.


The Executive Chambers of the government house is both sound and air proof with all the security details in charge and it became a mystery how this monkeys could gain access to the Holy of Holies of Anambra state.


While Mbadinuju battled to remain afloat  the troubled waters of Anambra politics the PDP was shopping for his replacement.


At the last National Working Committee meeting of the PDP it was concluded that Mbadinuju would not be candidate of the party for 2003 general election.


On that fateful day Mbadinuju came back to Anambra state and formed the Odera Victory Movement and announced his defection to the Alliance for Democrat AD and a rally was held in that regard and the then National Chairman of the AD Comerade Paschal Bafiawu handed him the flag of the party as it's gubernatorial candidate.



But Mbadinuju"s departure from the PDP did not happen without some grave consequences.


At the peak of his frustration he laid a cause on the party in Anambra.


"Yes they said that I owed worker's salaries and schools were closed for months but it is the same opposition in the PDP that caused it and I am not the only governor that had these problems" 


"Abuja would call for Congresses, send their officials , approve the outcome of the elections and go back to cancel them" 


"They would call me on phone to ask for millions of naira and every week am summoned to Abuja for one allegation or the other and Anambra people's money were shared amongst the National leadership of the party "


"Yes  today am no longer in the PDP but this party will never know peace in Anambra state because of all the PDP governors and even those that had worse situation I am the only governor that did not get a second term and because of that treatment against me the PDP will never know peace" he said amidst pains and frustration.


True to his cause the party has remained in limbo since the exit of Mbadinuju with multiplicity of factions and camps being sponsored by self styled godfathers and principalities till date .


His successor Dr Chris Ngige who the  buccaneers felt could be Cowed and pocketed stepped into power and within five months in office he served them a full dose of their medicine sending them to the dust bin of history and they ultimately lost their deposit and anticipated dividends for removing Mbadinuju hence the cause on the party become efficacious in good time and too early.


Out of office Mbadinujus  traducers could not let go . He was arrested and sent to the awaiting trial section of the Onitsha Prison where he stayed for months facing charges of murdering Bar and Bar Mrs Igwe and the unborn baby .


Even security operatives found him as a veritable source of money making while his properties were either confiscated or sold outright with the officers of the anti graft agency paying him periodic visits with one allegation or the other.


Apparently Mbadinuju was alleged to been  assassinated in prison custody but for the bail that was granted by the court.


On that fateful day he had left his prison room and was acknowledging cheers from his supposed supporters when officials of the Onitsha Prison pushed him inside his vehicle and told the driver to move quickly.


Less than thirty minutes after he had left there was prison break and the hoodlums headed straight to his cell first but were disappointed that he could not be found hence the entire prison was thrown open and detainees and inmates fled to unknown destinations.


Mbadinuju however tried to launch a come back to politics when he tried to pick the Anambra South Senatorial District ticket of the PDP in 2007 but lost the bid after he had fallen victim to the known buccaneers in the party who had taken money with a promise to secure the ticket for him .


He returned to his legal practice yet he was a permanent guest to the anti graft agencies as well as the security operatives.


Just last year it was rumored that Mbadinuju is dead but was refuted though he was indeed sick and needed medical attention but the resources were no longer there but for some friends who offered to help.


Just mid this year Dr Chinwoke Clement Mbadinuju finally bowed out from this mother earth . Bowed out of allegations and counter allegations, bowed out from his tormentors and that would never let him enjoy a one hour sleep at night, bowed out from the buccaneers that ripped him off and made him recluse of himself.


Today those who had gone to town peddling stories about his style of Governance have come to terms with the stalk realities of how Mbadinuju governed Anambra state .


Those that executed his political failure have become not only contrived but irrelevant and some are facing charges with several pending matters in the courts while Mbadinuju has gone home to have his final rest.


Anglican Arch Bishop of Awka Rt Rev Alexander Ibezim summed it up when he stated that Anambra is a difficult state to govern hence Mbadinuju should not be blamed but those elements and principalities whose stuck in trade is to creat anarchy in the area as in the destruction of the Cartage in the old European era.


Ibezim who disclosed this at the funeral ceremony of former governor of Anambra state Dr Chinwoke Clement Mbadinuju noted that against all odds he discharged his duties to the best of his ability.


This is coming as the trio of former governors of the state Sen Chris Ngige , Mr Peter Obi and Dame Virgy Etiaba along with Gov Charles Soludo praised Mbadinuju for laying the foundation of the infrastructural development of the area.


At the Government House Awka on Wednesday where a service of songs was held in honor of the former governor Ibezim stated ; 


"Leading Anambra state is a difficult task for one day how much more in four years?"


*We were all here when Mbadinuju was in power as governor and we saw everything but I commend him for doing bid best and he tried in view of the situation as it were"


"Today he is in a coffin and a coffin is not a place where living people stay and this is a lesson to all and sundry to learn "


"The lession we must learn from this is that be you a politician, man of God public servant one day you will be in a coffin and that is why you must live a good life so that people would speak well of you" for those in power who are in power who do not use public funds to serve the people, this is the time to change your ways because one day you would be like this just as everyone" he said.


Corroborating the position of the Arch Bishop former governor of Anambra state and immediate past Minister for Labor and Employment Sen Chris Ngige noted that;


"Anambra state is a difficult state to govern and Mbadinuju came at the most difficult time in the state yet he left many legacies for the state "


"He was an Aide to the late Vice President Alex Ekwueme and an accomplished civil servant and we must commend him for what he did as a governor because it is not easy at all" he said


Gov Charles Soludo took his time to enumerate the achievements of Mbadinuju noting  that he gave his best and laid down his life for the foundation of Anambra state.


"He hadn't much coming to him when he was governor but he did his best and the with less than a billion coming from the Federal Allocations he was able to establish the Anambra state University, Dora Akunyili Women Development Center, Alex Ekwueme Square, the Judiciary headquarters"


"History would continue to be kind to Mbadinuju because he was a kind man and the heavens have attested to it by this drizzling of the rain and we shall forever remember him for posterity" he said.


Also speaking Presidential candidate of the Labour Party and former Anambra state governor Mr Peter Obi paid tribute to Mbadinuju and prayed God to give the family and those that are mourning him to bear the lost with fortitude.


First female governor in Nigeria and former governor of Anambra state Dame Virgy Etiaba noted that Mbadinuju deserve to to be celebrated adding that though she didn't know him too well , the stories told about him and his regime as governor show that he lived a good life and a devoted christian.


At the Commendation service at the International  Convention Center Awka the Director General Governor's Forum South East and former senator of Anambra Central District Iyom Uche Ekwunife noted that Mbadinuju did his best adding that he deserves a funeral of such nature having served the state and laid the foundation of Anambra state.


Oil Magnate and kinsman to Mbadinuju noted that his kind heartedness is a great virtue to emulate adding that the former governor"s disposition to human capacity development is one that deserves commendation.


Perhaps Mbadinuju"s kind hearted nature may have been his tragic flaw as a state as difficult as Anambra do not need to be governed with kid gloves .


However Mbadinuju"s unassuming nature appears to also be a virtue for  him as he goes home without any debt to pay while those that ruined his government would continue to chew their nails in perpetuity.

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