FORMER Governor of Anambra State, Biafraland, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Monday defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

Addressing a news conference Monday in Abuja, he said the PDP executive committee of his Ward in Umuaku Ward of Ihiala Local Council had been informed of his exit.

Mbadinuju, who was governor from 1999-2003, noted that that though the decision is painful but was a necessary end.

Describing the PDP as an unjust and unfair political party, he said he was left with no option but to dump the political grouping due to the unjust treatment meted to him over the years.

The former governor, however, expressed his unflinching support for Maj- Gen. Mohammadu Buhari and all the party's candidates in his home state just as he reiterated that it was painful to leave the PDP which still boasts of one of his mentors - the former vice president, Dr Alex Ekwueme.

Flanked by Dr. Ogbonaya Onu and PrinceTony Momoh among other APC stalwarts, Mbadinuju, while backing Buhari's presidency, said, "I first got to know Gen. Buhari when I launched my book on, 'How I Governed Anambra State' and this was in 2012. Through a mutual friend, I simply sent him an invitation letter to attend the ceremony, and behold, Buhari attended the ceremony at his expense. In fact, he drove from Kaduna to Abuja and sat at the ante-room even before many arrived the venue.

" That created a positive impression of him in my mind. It shows a trait of excellent leadership quality in the man. And now, having forced by injustice to leave the PDP, I thought the best place to be is where Buhari is. So, before I took this present step, I had the privilege to meet and inform him. I had a short but in-depth discussion with him one-on-one, and I can confidently say that Buhari is a great man.The things going for Gen. Buhari are his humility and accessibility to people, punctuality to time and responsiveness to issues. He demonstrated these to me personally. And with these qualities, at least I am confident that I would no longer apply for about 10 memos to the Presidency and still fail to get even one response. Buhari is the kind of leader Nigeria needs today," he eulogised.

In his address titled "The die is cast", Mbadinuju further gave an insight why he had to dump the PDP thus: " It is painful because, as a founding member of the PDP in 1998 who toiled hard to ensure that it gained acceptance of the majority of our people, I had very high hopes for the party. Given my enormous contributions, I was honoured with the flag of the party as its Anambra State Gubernatorial Candidate. We can all recall how I led the party to a resounding victory at the general elections of 1999 with 96% vote. Thus, I became the first elected PDP governor of Anambra State. In this capacity, I was thence privileged to lead the Anambra State delegation to the Jos National Convention for the nomination of the party's first Presidential Candidate.

" My role in galvanizing support for our son, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, the former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to clinch the presidential ticket was well acknowledged by all and sundry. It was a hurting experience for me personally and for all Anambrarians, and indeed for all Ndigbo, that Chief (Dr) Alex Ekwueme (Ide) did not secure the ticket at that historic convention.

"That loss in Jos represented the first major blow to our efforts in producing a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. But we take solace that Chief Alex Ekwueme, being a statesman of repute, accepted defeat with equanimity. For this, all Nigerians owe him a depth of gratitude. Personally, I remain politically grateful to him and to all the members and stakeholders of the PDP in the state. That is why it is painful to withdraw one's membership of the party that gave one such opportunity to serve and to advance one's carrier.


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