Human Interest

Ngige mourns, says Ogbonnaya Onu was amongst forces that dismantled 16- year PDP rule


By Our correspondent

Former Governor of Anambra State and two-time Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has mourned the death of former Governor of Old Abia State and immediate past Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu.

Ngige expressed shock and deep grief over the demise of Onu, describing his 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, cannot 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 Progressive Congress (APC).

Ngige recalled with nostalgia, their first meeting in 1993 when Onu was the Governor of Abia State on the platform of the National Republican Convention (NRC) and himself, the President of the Igbo socio-economic think-tank, Aka Ikenga, to discuss South East regional integration.

He said, “We got closer in 2012 during the formation of APC. That time, I belonged to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) with the current President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Bisi Akande, Segun Osoba and others. As a matter of fact, I volunteered and was assigned the role of monitoring Dr Onu to continue with the merger discussion, during which he selflessly gave up his ANPP National Chairmanship to see that the merger succeeded.

“The merger of ANPP, Muhammadu Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), our party, ACN and a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) led by then Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, produced the ruling APC in 2013.

“By 2015, we outsted the PDP and became the ruling party at the centre. I was appointed Minister of Labour and Employment, and Onu, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation. Both of us served eight years in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) under President Muhammadu Buhari.

“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.”

Further extolling Onu’s selflessness, he recounted how the former Abia State Governor as the presidential candidate of the All Peoples Party (APP) in 1999, unconditionally stepped down for the candidate of Alliance for Democracy (AD), following an alliance between both parties.

Ngige added that Ogbonnaya Onu was a big Iroko tree in Igbo land,whose death will leave a large vacuum in Igbo and National political landscape.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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