Dominic Onyechi: A Man’s Undying Devotion to His Nation

Dominic Onyechi

Alex Abutu

Barrister Dominic Osekola Onyechi was born on September 15, 1956 in Onitsha, Anambra State. He was the first son of the late Barrister Dominic Ogojofo and the late Mrs. Grace Ifeyinwa Onyechi.

Growing up as a young boy, Onyechi had a number of interests and aspirations. He had fun spending time with his family and close friends. He enjoyed his college years at the College of Immaculate Conception (CIC), Enugu where he obtained his West Africa School Certificate (WASC) in 1974. Thereafter, he gained admission to the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics in 1980.

Pursuit of the proverbial Golden Fleece took him outside the shores of Nigeria to the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, India where he obtained postgraduate certification in journalism in 1990. Still in his quest for intellectual excellence and to fulfil his desire to become a lawyer, he returned to Nigeria to study law at the University of Lagos and obtained his LLB (HONS.) in 2002. Thereafter, he attended the Nigerian Law School, Abuja and was called to the Bar in 2003.

A thoroughbred civil servant whose dress code had always been the typical suit and tie except on Fridays when he put on traditional attire, Onyechi began his federal civil service career in the Federal Ministry of Information as Information Officer II in 1982 and rose through the ranks to the position of a director in 2012.

During his meritorious service to Nigeria, he brought to bear his exceptional leadership qualities which include diligence, eye for details and teamwork. As an enterprising civil servant, Onyechi was actively involved in the dissemination of government’s information through effective distribution.

As a budding officer, his talents and dedication to duty apparently did not go unnoticed by his then superiors. In 1987 when the former Nigerian First Lady, the late Maryam Babangida, began the Better Life Programme for Rural Women, and required a competent officer to coordinate the publicity and communication organ of the programme, Onyechi was immediately deployed for that purpose. This required him to travel frequently from Lagos to the new capital city, Abuja, to meet with his then-boss (the First Lady) to strategize on how best to sensitize rural dwellers across the country on the objectives and benefits of programme.

As a result of his functions as the head of communications for the programme, the Onyechi was afforded the opportunity of travelling across several states in the country. This exposed him to the diverse cultures of Nigerians and perhaps was partly responsible for his detribalized character and approach in his interaction with other tribes as it was common in his nature to accommodate persons of other tribes and to even go as far as interacting with them in their own dialects.

Consequently, at the exit of the then administration which brought operations of the Better Life Programme for Rural Women to an end, Onyechi continued to be actively engaged in carrying out his statutory role as a public information manager in other capacities particularly as he reached the top management level while in the then Research and Productions (R&P) Department (now Publications and Productions Department) in the Federal Ministry of Information.

These included but were not limited to interfacing with the parastatals of the ministry for the production of the government’s scorecard and the ministry’s performance reports; preparation of project implementation work plan for the ministry; supervising the sourcing of articles for the production of the various publications of the department; collaborating with public and private organizations; for example, the National Bureau of Statistics for the conduct of national survey/opinion poll; and participating in all activities of the department relating to policy formulation, planning and budget preparation among other functions.

It is on record and widely acknowledged that during his stint in the Publications and Productions Department of the Federal Ministry of Information, national publications such as the Federal Tender’s Journal, Nigeria Monthly and Ministerial Scorecards were well researched and produced with the highest ethical and professional standards. These are in addition to overseeing the editing and production of many federal government booklets, handbills and posters. Also worthy of mention was his appointment to head the communication unit of SURE-P Project Implementation Unit (PIU) from 2014 -2015.

Following his retirement from the federal civil service, he continued to work in his private capacity by up a law firm, D.O. Onyechi and Co., with several reputable individuals and corporate organizations sought his services.

As a devoted family man – and fondly called Dom –, Onyechi enjoyed his leisure time reading and analysing novels with his wife and children. He was also a soccer fan and enjoyed watching Arsenal FC play at home with his family.
He met his sweetheart, Nony Egwuatu, in 1978 and eight years later, on August 2, 1986, exchanged marital vows with her at Enugu. The marriage was blessed with two loving and beautiful children. Enthusiastic and loyal, he was committed to making his family happy. He loved his family dearly. He was a good father to his children and he successfully did everything to fulfil their needs.

Dom enjoyed travelling with his family to relax, renew and experience new things.
Some notable visits included London, the United States and Paris which he was particularly infatuated with, among other global destinations. He was a good Catholic and a great blessing to everyone he came in contact with. He was a kind and loving person, an individual who will for all time be remembered by his family and friends as being a welcoming, caring and giving person, someone who was a vital part of their lives.

He was always considered a great friend to those he knew. He enjoyed a broad group of very close friends and several acquaintances. From the many eulogies that have poured in following his demise, Onyechi is notably remembered mostly for his diligence, dependability, professionalism, and devotion to truth, justice, and service to humanity.

He passed away on August 10, 2018 in a ghastly motor accident on his way back to Abuja from Onitsha. He is survived by his loving wife, Nony Onyechi; children, Dr. Chukwuebuka Dom Onyechi and Ms Odera Onyechi; and brothers: Dr. Patrick Onyechi and Barr. Joseph Onyechi. Others are sisters-in-law: Mrs. Florence Onyechi, Mrs. Charity Onyechi and Mrs. Chidi Nwadiogbu; brothers-in-law: Barr. Ifeanyi Egwuatu, Mr. Chike Egwuatu, and Mr. Nonso Egwuatu; nephews, Odi Bosah, Solomon Onyechi and Joshua Onyechi; nieces: Nwando Bosah, Ifeyinwa Onyechi, Ngozi Onyechi, Chinwe Onyechi, Crystal Onyechi and Praise Onyechi.

He also left behind aunties including Mrs. Nkiru Umunna, Mrs. Amaka Onyenso, Mrs. Nkiru Enwonwu and Mrs. Ojinika Okeke; uncles: Dr. (Sir) G. Nwebube; cousins: Mr. Fred Onyechi, Mr. Emeka Onyechi, Mr. Victor Umunna, Mrs. Ifeanyi Obiozo, Dr. Nwachukwu Nwebube and Adaora Umunna. There is also his mother-in-law, Lady Philomena Ezim Egwuatu, among other individuals.

He leaves behind a legacy of life-long friendship and many cherished memories. Onyechi will forever live in the lives of all that he touched.