‘Why Nigerians must key into Buhari’s change agenda’
Mbadinuju who spoke with The Guardian in Abuja, believed that Nigerians yearning for good governance would surely reap the proceeds from Buhari’s anti-graft campaign, diplomatic shuttle abroad and wide-ranging measures put in place to reposition the country’s economy.
Mbadinuju popularly known as ‘Odera’ when he was governor from 1999–2003, said he had no regrets defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC prior to the 2015 general elections.
Said he: “I left my former party and joined the All Progressives Congress because of the prospects of a Buhari presidency. I was convinced entirely that Nigeria would be better with Muhammadu Buhari at the helm of affairs. He comes in with inspiring antecedence as one committed to sincerity of purpose and a credible pedestal. I had to leave the PDP because I saw that the sincerity of purpose had eroded and I had to convince Nigerians across board that we needed a president who could return the country from the brink.”
Continuing, he noted: “What President Buhari is doing is cleaning the mess of previous administration. It is clear that the president is not the cause of our political problems but rather finding solutions of past and present problems. Former administrations brought the ‘cankerworm’ and ‘caterpillar’ of corruption, injustice, poor economy and other plagues upon Nigerians with a culture of dealers instead of leaders.”
Reminiscing on his days as governor, he said it behooved on well meaning Nigerians to close ranks with progressives in the polity to ensure the success of the Buhari-led administration.
He recalled that during his tenure in Anambra state, former President Obasanjo handed him a gold award for security and vigilance for quelling down insecurity, adding that he served Anambra State to the best of his capacities amidst a clandestine coalition to resist change from the “normal” way of doing things.
This, he argued was what was going on presently in some quarters who were vehemently opposed to the new ways of doing things in Nigeria and were bent on making a dent of President Buhari’s efforts.
His words: “It is true that I served in the past but today we must embrace the new approach to governance being engendered by the Buhari administration. We must strive to comprehend the vision of a greater Nigeria and sacrifice for the greater good of the country. What transpired in Anambra, which I captured in a book that had President Buhari as special guest of honour and chairman during the launch has seen history vindicate me from the deliberate attempt at a campaign of calumny against my efforts and achievements, like paying workers salaries on the 27th day of every month and Christmas bonuses every year with 0nly 200 million naira allocation from Abuja.”
He expressed confidence that President Buhari who he said was prepared for the job having led the country in the path of prosperity in the past, has done more than mischief-makers would attempt to make of him.
“It is clear now that what Mr. President said are indeed what he is doing. If you look at President Buhari’s diplomatic travels to ECOWAS Summit, America, France, Malta and the other places, you would agree that the President was not travelling for himself but for the Nigerian people.
“When juxtaposed with the anti-corruption crusade that the administration has brought on board, you could see the sincerity of purpose. Now he (Buhari) is making sure that those who stole Nigeria’s wealth are brought to justice, unlike the previous administration where malfeasance was rife in governance.”
He asserted that since the inception of the administration, the international community has begun to take Nigeria more seriously in the areas of best practices and international standards, stressing that Nigeria was taking back her rightful place in the comity of nations.
Mbadinuju defended the decision of Buhari to retain the portfolio of the Petroleum Minister as it was meant to right the wrongs of the oil sector that has bedeviled Nigeria.
He believed that the APC administration was determined to surmount the country’s current challenges as well as ensure that the aspirations of every section was met.
He enthused: “Giving every section of the country a sense of belonging regardless of primordial considerations have been the crux of President Buhari’s governance trajectory and this is reflected in his appointments into positions of responsibilities. This effort could be enhanced by Presidential Liaison Officers (PLOs) from the respective geopolitical zones who would effectively bring the presidency closer to the people in terms of enlightening the people of Nigeria on the genuine intentions of the government. I think Nigeria is more cohesive under the present administration.