Tinubu, Buhari, Akume, Obi, Barau, Uzodimma, Others Mourn as Ogbonnaya, 72, Passes On

* Ex-president says he was an intellectual giant, loyal party man

Deji Elumoye, Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Sunday Aborisade in Abuja and David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

President Bola Tinubu and his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, have extended their condolences to the Onu family over the passing of the first civilian governor of Abia State, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu. He was aged 72.
Other Nigerian leaders, who sent condolences to the Onu family included the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in 2023, Peter Obi; Deputy President of the Senate, Jibril Barau; Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma and former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji uzor Kalu, among others.
The president, in a release by his Media Adviser, Ajuri Ngelale, mourned a luminous star in Nigeria’s political firmament who was minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, 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.

Tinubu celebrated the life of Oni as an accomplished scholar, first-class engineer; a man of proven integrity; defiant to indiscipline, but ever yielding to the highest standards of rectitude.
He affirmed that Onu epitomised Nigeria in concord; in wholeness, saying the late statesman believed in and defended Nigeria’s unity, advocated peace, and promoted fellowship across the Niger.
Tinubu also condoled with the friends and associates of Onu, Ebonyi and Abia State Governments, and all Nigerians grieving the loss.

Muhammadu Buhari
On his part, Buhari, who joined family members and the entire nation in mourning the demise of a Onu, in a statement, said the nation has 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.”

Also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume, CON, has on behalf of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), mourned the death of the former Minister of Science and Technology,  Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, aged, 72.
In a statement yesterday by the Director Information, OSGF, Akume described the late former minister as detribalised Nigerian and a statesman who believed in the unity of Nigeria which saw the abolition of the State-of-Origin Syndrome as exemplified by the appointment of non-indigenes into key positions of responsibilities during his administration as the first civilian Governor of Abia State.
Akume described the late Ogbonnaya as an epitome of a thorough-bred politician with impeccable integrity whose unflinching support and loyalty contributed immensely to the evolution of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and also a quintessential philomath whose indelible footmark in the academia , especially in the engineering world will remain evergreen.
He commiserates with the Government and people of Ebonyi State, his immediate family and prays to God to grant the soul of the departed eternal repose.

Peter Obi
Obi, while expressing sadness at the news of Onu’s passing, described his death as a significant loss to the nation.
In a condolence message, Obi hailed Onu as a patriotic and inclusive Nigerian leader, who served the nation diligently in various capacities.
He highlighted Onu’s notable contributions to Nigeria’s educational advancement, both as a lecturer and author.
“Dr. Onu epitomised leadership characterised by a commitment to peace, progress, and justice. He courageously championed equity and good governance, leaving a lasting impact on our nation.
“The passing of Dr. Onu is an immense loss to our nation. May God comfort his family and all of us as we mourn his departure, granting us the strength to bear this irreplaceable loss. May he rest in eternal peace,” Obi concluded.

Jibrin Barau,
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Jibrin Barau, in a condolence message by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ismail Mudashir, said Onu was a consummate patriot, who served his people and the entire nation.
He commiserated with the immediate family of the deceased, friends, political associates and the whole people of Abia State over the loss.
“The demise of  Dr. Onu is not only a loss to the Ndigbo but our entire country. 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,” he said.

Orji Kalu
Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has expressed sadness over the passing of Onu.
Describing him as a nationalist with passion for unity and progress of Nigeria, Kalu acknowledged the invaluable contributions of the former minister to nation building.
The former governor admonished  the Onu family to take solace in the fact that their late patriarch lived a purposeful life, even as he urged the deceased’s children and loved ones to sustain his worthy legacy.
“The demise of former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu is a huge loss to Ndigbo and Nigeria in general. The late statesman was a consummate politician and  selfless philanthropist who was committed to nation building.
“Having served meritoriously in various capacities in the public sector, his wise counsel on national issues will be greatly missed. He will be remembered for his outstanding leadership qualities. The former governor will be greatly missed,” he said.

Hope Uzodimma

Imp State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser, Oguwike Nwachuku, said he received with shock, the sad, devastating and unexpected news of Onu’s passing.

He said he was a man he loved to describe as one of Nigeria’s intellectual and political giants with extraordinary gentility.

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

The statement further stated that 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.

Nkeiruka Onyejeocha

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, has expressed grief over the passing of Onu.

Onyejeocha, in a statement, said she was shocked by the news, as a role model, peacemaker, and unifying figure, who prioritised the nation’s interests.

He described Onu’s death as a huge loss to Ebonyi State, to the entire South East and Nigeria as a whole.

She described Onu, who also served as a former Minister of Science and Technology from 2015 until 2022, as a role model, peacemaker, and unifying figure who prioritised the nation’s interests.

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