It Is Well With ‘Odera’: A Tribute to  Late Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju

It Is Well With ‘Odera’: A Tribute to Late Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju

By Christian Aburime

As the Government and people of Anambra State begin the process of bidding a final farewell to a great son of Anambra State, Late Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju.

This is also a tribute to celebrate his life and achievements as a former Governor who left an indelible mark on the history of our beloved state.

This is in memory of no other than the Late Dr. Chinwoke Clement Mbadinuju, fondly known as Odera.

Dr. Mbadinuju was a man of many facets – an academic, a journalist, a politician, and above all, a compassionate leader.

Born in the serene town of Uli, Ihiala Local Government area of Anambra State in 1945, Odera’s life was one of profound destiny, marked by his uncommon belief in education and service to humanity.

He embarked on his educational journey at Mgbidi Primary School, where his brilliance and academic prowess shone through. His parents, recognizing his potential, encouraged him to pursue a career in teaching, sending him to Bishop Lasbrey College in Irete, Owerri.

Upon completing his studies, he returned to his alma mater as a teacher, inspiring countless young minds.

Odera’s thirst for knowledge led him to the United States, where he initially pursued a degree in Music at the State University of New York. However, his true calling lay in the realm of government and politics, and he subsequently switched his studies to Ohio University, where he earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Government and International Law.

His academic achievements opened doors to various teaching positions at esteemed institutions like State University of New York, Ohio State University, and Cornell University. But it was his love for his homeland that drew him back to Nigeria, where he embarked on a distinguished career in journalism.

Odera’s journalistic journey began as a correspondent for Times International, where his sharp intellect and incisive writing earned him recognition. He rose through the ranks, becoming the Editor of Times International and later the General Manager and Chief Executive of Daily Star, the then Enugu State government’s daily publication.

His foray into politics began with an appointment as Special Assistant (Political) to the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under President Shehu Shagari. After the 1983 coup, Odera returned to his legal practice in Onitsha, all the while dedicating himself to his Christian faith and community service.

In 1998, Odera’s political aspirations led him to join the Peoples Democratic Party, where he emerged as the party’s governorship candidate in Anambra State.

His campaign focused on restoring stability and prosperity to Anambra State, a state grappling with numerous challenges at the time.

In 1999, Odera assumed office as the Governor of Anambra State, marking a pivotal moment in his life and the history of the state. Despite the daunting challenges he faced, Odera remained steadfast in his commitment to serving his people.

With his characteristic intelligence, equanimity in the face of extreme provocations, and Christian faith in God, Odera embarked on a mission to transform Anambra State.

Among his several achievements, he established the Anambra Vigilante Services, Dora Akunyili Centre, the Alex Ekwueme Square, the New House of Assembly, and the Odumegwu Ojukwu University.

He also implemented a scholarship scheme for secondary schools, constructed over 140 kilometers of roads, provided boreholes in secondary schools, and established the Orient Oil Ltd.

Odera’s legacy extends beyond his tangible achievements. He was a man of integrity, humility, and compassion, always putting the needs of his people first. He instilled hope and a sense of unity in a state yearning for stability.

Although Odera’s tenure as Governor came to an end without a secure term, his contributions to Anambra State remained profound. He continued to serve his country, joining the All Progressives Congress and serving on its Board of Trustees until his passing away in April 2023 at the National Hospital, Abuja.

A devoted family man, Odera was survived by his wife, Mrs. Nnene Mbadinuju, and five children. Today, as we bid farewell to Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, we remember not just a politician, but a leader who embodied the true spirit of service. He was a beacon of hope, a man of unwavering principles, and a true patriot.

No doubt, Odera’s legacy will forever be etched in the hearts of the good people of Anambra State. His steadfast commitment to our people, his intelligence, and his unwavering faith will continue to inspire generations to come.

As he would usually say, it shall be well with Anambra State.

May his soul find eternal rest in the bosom of the Lord.

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