Condolences as first Abia civilian gov, Ogbonnaya Onu, dies at 72

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

The former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Muhammadu Buhari administration died in an Abuja hospital at 72.

The former National Chairman of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) who resigned from the Buhari administration to contest for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2022 but lost to President Bola Tinubu hailed from Ụbụrụ in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

The longest serving minister in the ministry of science was an engineer and author.

The family of the deceased, in a text signed and issued to journalists in Abakaliki by Dr Uzoma Onu, said “The burial arrangements will be communicated in due time.”

Following the news of his death, condolences have continued to pour in from different personalities across the country.

President Tinubu, who extended his condolences to the family of Chief Onu over his demise in a statement yesterday by his spokesman Ajuri Ngelale described the deceased as a luminous star in Nigeria’s political firmament.

He noted that the deceased was a principal draughtsman in the founding of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and a valiant partner in the victory of the party in the 2015 elections.

“Most importantly, the president celebrates the life of an accomplished scholar, first-class engineer; a man of proven integrity; defiant to indiscipline, but ever yielding to the highest standards of rectitude.

“President Tinubu affirms that Chief Onu epitomises Nigeria in concord; in wholeness, as the late statesman believed in and defended Nigeria’s unity, advocated peace, and promoted fellowship across the Niger,” the statement added.

The president also condoled with friends and associates of Chief Onu, Ebonyi and Abia state governments, and all Nigerians grieving this gaping loss.

President Tinubu prayed to God Almighty to grant repose to the gentle soul of this great leader.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari, in a terse statement yesterday through his media aide, Garba Shehu, also joined family members of the deceased and the entire nation in mourning the demise of a notable politician.

In his reaction to the news of the death of the former chairman of the ANPP, a party that once fielded him as a presidential candidate, Buhari said the nation had lost “One of its most outstanding scientific minds and intellectuals. He was an intellectual giant. My heart goes out to his family, the government and people of Abia State and the country at large. May his soul rest in peace.”

Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin, also described late Dr. Onu as a consummate patriot whose death was a huge loss not only to Ndigbo, but to the entire country.

In a condolence message by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ismail Mudashir, Senator Barau said late Onu was a consummate patriot who served his people and the entire nation very well.

“Throughout his lifetime, he was committed to nation-building. He was a consummate patriot who lived a life of service not only to his people but to the entire nation.

“He left indelible footprints in the political space of our country. He was a progressive politician par excellence,” said Barau.

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in last year’s elections, Mr Peter Obi, has also said that the death of the first Abia State civilian governor is a huge loss to Nigeria.

Obi, on his X handle on Thursday, also expressed sadness over the death of Onu.

“Dr Onu was a gentleman par excellence, a patriotic and detribalised Nigerian who served the nation in different capacities. His contributions to our educational growth as a lecturer and author remain commendable.

“Dr Onu was a leader who stood for peace and progress of the nation. He pursued justice and courageously stood up for equity and good governance. He was committed to the development of the nation,” Obi said.

Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State yesterday expressed shock over the death of the former governor of old Abia State, adding that the development was “devastating and unexpected.”

A statement by Oguwike Nwachuku, Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Imo State governor, said his principal received with shock the sad, devastating and unexpected news of the passing of Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, a man he loves to describe as one of Nigeria’s intellectual and political giants with extraordinary gentility.

The statement said that with Dr. Onu’s death, the South East, Nigeria and the global community have lost a statesman who believed so much in the unity, peace, progress and development of Nigeria.

 The statement said Dr. Onu remained a leading light in the APC family having, for many years, imbibed the tenets of progressive democracy as the easiest route to serve the people.

The statement said Governor Uzodinma therefore consoled the APC family, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the government of Nigeria, the South East geopolitical zone, the government and people of Ebonyi State and all political associates of the deceased over the huge.


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