By Innocent Kalu/Sun News Online
For a man who has broken loose from the shadow of his legendary father, the late Dr K.O. Mbadiwe, to stamp his own authority and set a self agenda for progressive engagement in a society where many are deficit in honour, Greg could be said to have done well for himself as he attains the age of 55. There was a mild controversy in 2004 when he was nominated to the National Reform Conference as the representative of the youth.
He had hit 50 already and people begun to ask whether life actually started at 50 or the proverbial 40. However his input into the conference left an indelible mark in the minds of Nigerians both old and young. In essence, he became the bridge between both divides. Ambassador Mbadiwe who is the current Chairman National Bureau of Statistics has traversed the world of diplomacy, corporate business politics and national politics, and came out better for it.
Indeed when President Yar’Adua appointed Mbadiwe, a lawyer, economist, diplomat, consummate businessman and astute administrator as the Statistics Board Chairman, he was expected to use his wealth of experience garnered over the years to breathe life into this all important department of government in line with Yar’Adua’s vision of evolving an enduring mechanism to plan for national growth.
A scion of Nigeria’s most flamboyant politician and wordsmith, late Dr. K.O Mbadiwe, Greg, born on March 12, 1955 was exposed early to the corporate world when he took charge of the flourishing family business in 1990. The Afro Properties and Investment Limited and Metropolitan Press Ltd were some of the businesses that dealt on real estate, printing, oil and gas. That was after he obtained a degree in Economics in 1978 from the State University of New York.
After his National Youth Service, he attended Buckingham University, England where he earned a law degree in 1982. Two years after he was called to the Nigerian Bar after graduating from the Nigerian law school in 1984. With 28 years experience as a lawyer, Mbadiwe has traversed the business world not only as a corporate player but management expert.
This invaluable experience came handy when as Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Congo between 1999 and 2003, Mbadiwe initiated and executed trade pacts between Nigeria and his host country. Such pacts also benefited Nigerian youth who moved in their hundreds to the Congo to engage in various businesses. Most of them are still there as eloquent testimony to.
In 1996, he was elected the Assistant National Financial secretary of UNCP while in 1997 he became a founding member and signatory to PDP Formation (National) and co-founder in Imo State. A year later, he was appointed member, National convention, PDP electoral panel, Jos. Unfortunately, pettiness and political horse trading denied him the governorship of Imo State in 1999.
However he was not deterred as he plunged himself into the service of PDP. Even while as Ambassador to Congo, he was drafted home to assist in the re election of President Olusegun Obasanjo as the Director, Research, Planning and Strategy at Legacy House. He was later appointed a member of the National Reform Conference between 2004 and 2005.
Because of Ambassador Greg Mbadiwe’s unassailable integrity and transparent lifestyle, PDP has always relied on him for the execution of sensitive national assignments. Thus in 2006, he served as a member, PDP Screening Panel, North East for the Gubernatorial and Assembly primaries and also as the chairman, PDP Screening Panel, North West for the National Assembly elections. In all these assignments, he acquitted himself creditably.
That was also how he discharged his duties as a member, governing board of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) between 2005 and 2006 and later as the Chairman of FRSC between 2006 and 2007. Impressed by his patriotic service, a grateful nation in 2006 bestowed on him the prestigious national honour of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR).
Ambassador Mbadiwe who speaks English and French, has also been awarded more than 20 chieftaincy titles across Nigeria while more than two dozen organizations have given him awards. He is currently a member of the Elders’ Council in Imo State after serving as Chairman, Independent Peace and Reconciliation Committee, Orlu Zone.
Married to a fellow lawyer, Alice with five boys and a girl to show for it, Ambassador Mbadiwe is the author of Nigerian Foreign Relations in the Obasanjo/Atiku years.
Mr Kalu is an Owerri -based Journalist