Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, an elder statesman, remains one of the most consistent politicians in the country whose contributions helped to birth the APC and made it what it is today.

Following the transition to civilian rule in 1999, Dr Onu emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Peoples Party (APP), but he forfeited the ticket to Chief Olu Falae, the presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) after both parties decided to fly a joint presidential ticket against the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

The PDP won the election and ruled for 16 years.

However, the 16 years of PDP rule distinguished Onu as a remarkable politician as he is one of the few who remained loyal to his party without defecting to the ruling party.

He remained a loyal member of the APP, standing by it through its metamorphosis to the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and the merger with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to form the APC.

In 2015, following the victory of the APC in the presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Onu the Minister of Science and Technology in November 2015. He was reappointed Minister of Science and Technology by President Buhari on August 21, 2019, making him the longest-serving Minister in the ministry.

Early life

Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, former Governor of Abia State, former Presidential candidate and former Minister of Science and Technology, was born on December 1, 1951, to the family of Eze David Aba  Onu in Amata, Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government Area of the Eastern Region, later Imo State, then Abia State and now Ebonyi State, Nigeria.

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He started his education at Izzi High School in Abakaliki, now the Ebonyi State capital, where he obtained Grade One academic result with Distinction in his West African School Certificate Examination.

He later sat for the High School Examination at the College of Immaculate Conception (C.I.C) Enugu, graduating as the overall best student. He proceeded to the University of Lagos and graduated with a First Class degree in Chemical Engineering in 1976.

He started as a teacher after he graduating from the University of Lagos at St. Augustine’s Seminary, Ezzamgbo, Ebonyi State. He later went for his doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Chemical Engineering in 1980.

Upon the completion of his doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Onu became a lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Port Harcourt, and later became the pioneer Head of the Department. He also served as the acting dean of the Faculty of Engineering and was also elected as a member of the Governing Council of the university.

Political career

Onu started his political career as an aspirant for a senatorial seat in the old Imo State on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). During the ill-fated Third Republic, in 1991, he contested for the position of Governor of Abia State under the umbrella of the National Republican Convention and won.

He was sworn in as the first executive governor of the state created on August, 27, 1991 and was sworn in January 1992. He was also elected the first chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Elected Governors by his peers and was in office as governor until 1993 when General Sani Abacha seized power in a military coup and dismantled all democratic structures already put in place in preparation for the Third Republic.

Onu is a certified member of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, and a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers.

He was conferred with the Nigerian national honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) by President Buhari.