Home Politics Shettima, Akpabio, Nwifuru, Otti, Ohanaeze, others mourn – The Sun Nigeria

Shettima, Akpabio, Nwifuru, Otti, Ohanaeze, others mourn – The Sun Nigeria

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From Jude Chinedu, Enugu and Okey Sampson, Umuahia

More tributes have continued to pour forth for the late Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who passed on last Thursday, at the age of 72.

Dr. Onu, who was the first civilian governor of Abia State in the short-lived Third Republic, aspired to be the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 election.  The former governor became the presidential candidate of the All Peoples Party (APP) in 1999, but gave up his position to Chief Olu Falae, after the defunct APP merged with another party, Alliance for Democracy.

Vice President Kashim Shettima said Onu’s impact on Nigeria’s political landscape is immeasurable. He described the late minister, “as a true statesman and accomplished Nigerian leader.

“As the first civilian governor of Abia, he laid a strong foundation for good governance and democratic principles. His legacies in Abia State will forever be remembered.

“As the Minister of Science and Technology, his dedication to nation-building was evident in his focus on fostering scientific advancements and technological innovation in our great nation, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Shettima said beyond his political achievements, late Onu was a man of integrity, wisdom, and unwavering principles.

Senate President, Godswill Akpabio in his condolence message said, “Onu was a perfect gentleman. He will be missed for his wisdom, mature composure, zest for excellence and proven integrity.

“Onu was known for coming first in every endeavour he engaged in, and played politics without bitterness all his life.

“On behalf of my family, the Senate and the National Assembly, I wish him eternal rest with the Lord.”

Ebonyi State governor, Francis Nwifuru described the death of the former minister as a rude shock, saying, he would “be remembered for his candour, knack for excellence and relentless commitment to the development of Ebonyi State and Nigeria in general.

“Dr. Onu, who also served the nation as Minister of Science and Technology was a thoroughbred politician and an advocate of justice and fairness.  It is indeed a sad development losing a patriotic leader who stopped at nothing at rendering best services to his people when he served in different capacities.”

Abia State governor, Dr. Alex Otti, described Dr. Onu’s death as a huge loss to Abia and Ebonyi states, the Igbo nation and Nigeria as a whole. According to Otti, Dr. Onu was one of such living statesmen with the character, carriage and a statesman disposition required to reposition the nation for the better.

He promised that Abia would honour and immortalise Dr. Onu by ensuring that the democratic journey he started in Abia as a civilian governor many years ago was advanced to a level where the welfare and well-being of Abians would be made an institutionalised priority at all times.

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo described the late former minister, as one of the most principled Nigerians in history.

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, in a condolence message signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia, on Friday, said that the demise of the first civilian governor of Abia State was shocking.

The statement said that the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, was heart-broken on hearing the sad news.

Iwuanyanwu lamented the death of high profile Igbo dignitaries in a close sequence: Prof George Obiozor, Prof Joe Irukwu, Elder U. K. Kalu, Prof Ben Nwabueze, Dr. Sylvanus Ebigwei, Prof Chike Edozien, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife and now Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, noting that most of them were members of the Presidential Advisory Council of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.

He recalled how Onu displayed an awesome and remarkable magnanimity when in 1999, he surrendered his presidential ticket in the All Peoples Party (APP) to the presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Chief Olu Falae.

He said that Ogbonnaya Onu was a rare Nigerian who resisted all the entreaties and tantalising perquisites of the ruling party, but chose to remain in the opposition throughout the 16 years of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

“While we pray to the Almighty to grant the soul of Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu an eternal rest in his bosom, we urge the immediate family and indeed the government and the good people of Ebonyi State to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude,” the statement reads.

The Chairman Northern States Governors’ Forum, expressed deep sorrow over the demise of the first civilian governor of Abia.

Yahaya, who is the governor of Gombe, in a condolence message on behalf of the 19 northern governors, said the late Onu made remarkable contributions to Nigeria’s political landscape.

He said the late former minister left behind a legacy of humility, hard work, and exceptional service to the nation.

The NSGF chairman recalled that the late Onu’s tenure as governor of Abia and his subsequent role as minister of science and technology were characterised by dedication and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin, in a condolences message, said that Onu was a consummate patriot, who served his people and the entire nation and commiserated with his immediate family, friends, political associates and the people of Ebonyi over his demise. Former governor of Anambra State and two-time Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, described Onu’s exit as an unquantifiable loss to Nigeria, entire Igboland and the South East geo-political zone in particular.

He noted that the account of political development in the country, especially from the truncated Third Republic till date, couldn’t be complete without mentioning Dr. Onu’s positive contributions.

According to him, when Nigerians needed a change from the 16- year rule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Onu made himself the sacrificial lamb to offer Nigerians an alternative in the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“As a former colleague in the FEC, I remember his intelligent contributions to memos during our weekly meetings. The country lost a teacher, an erudite scholar, intellectual, politician and public servant par excellence,” Ngige said.

A member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Benjamin Apugo recalled the role he played in making Dr. Onu, the first governor of Abia State and said he was happy that he late politician never disappointed him as a governor.

Apugo said that Onu governed Abia with the fear of God and did not loot the state unlike some others after him.

The APC chieftain described Onu as not only a gentleman, but also a man of integrity who conducted himself with the highest level of comportment in whatever public space he found himself.

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