Home Nigeria Ogbonnaya Onu, first civilian governor of Abia, is dead

Ogbonnaya Onu, first civilian governor of Abia, is dead

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The first civilian governor of Abịa State, Ogbonnaya Onu, is dead.

Mr Onu, who was the minister of science and technology in the Muhammadu Buhari administration, died in an Abuja hospital, according to the BBC Igbo News.

A relative told PREMIUM TIMES that the former governor died early Thursday morning in an undisclosed hospital in Abuja.

“He has been sick for some time now. His family was planning to fly him abroad for treatment before he died early today,” the source said.

He hailed from Ụbụrụ in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, South-east Nigeria.

Ogbonnaya Onu at a glance

Mr Onu graduated with a First Class Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos State in 1976 before obtaining his doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley four years later.

He would later serve as a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State where he rose to become the pioneer Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering of the institution and later, acting dean of the engineering faculty.

The 72-year-old began his political career when he unsuccessfully sought a senatorial ticket of the now-defunct National Party of Nigeria in the old Imo State.

He later contested and was elected the first civilian governor of the then-newly created Abia State in 1991 under the platform of the National Republic Convention. He was sworn in January 1992.

The former governor became the presidential candidate of the All Peoples Party (APP) in 1999, but gave up his position to Olu Falae after the defunct APP merged with another party, Alliance for Democracy.

In 2015, Mr Onu was appointed as minister of science and technology by the Nigerian president at the time, Mr Buhari. By 2019, he became the longest-serving minister in the ministry with his reappointment in 2019 by Mr Buhari.

The former minister only resigned from the position in 2022 to contest the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress which was won by Bola Tinubu, who eventually emerged as Nigerian president in the 2023 general elections.

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