UPDATED: Ogbonnaya Onu, First Abia Gov Passes, APC, Leaders Mourn, Extol Virtues

Chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have expressed their condolences to the family and friends of the first civilian governor of Abia State, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu.

Onu, an ex-minister of Science and Technology in the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari, reportedly died in a health facility in Abuja on Thursday following a brief illness.

He resigned in 2022 to join the APC presidential race.

Onu was sworn in as the first executive governor of the state in January 1992.

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, could not be reached as Efforts to get official reaction of were unsuccessful.

But the death of the 72-year-old politician was confirmed in separate interviews by two members of the All Progressives Congress National Working Committee.

However, speaking with the media, Deputy National Organising Secretary of All Progressives Congress, Nze Chidi Duru, described the late party man as deliberate and focused, adding that his death was a big blow to the APC.

Duru, described the late party man as deliberate and focused, adding that his death was a big blow to the APC.

He said, “I also just heard about the sad news from a credible source. Although I don’t have all the details yet, we are waiting for the announcement by the family before we can make an official comment on his death.

“He was a gentleman, focused and very deliberate. Everything we know about life is a continuum. He has run his race and gone to his maker. We can only continue to wish for his soul to be at rest wherever he is.”

The National Vice Chairman (South-East) of the party, Dr Ijeoma Arodiogbu, also confirmed the death of the politician, who he described as a founding father of the APC.

“Oh, yes. I just heard the news myself. In fact, I am planning to go to his place (Abuja residence) in the next one hour,” he said.

Arodiogbu also confirmed that the late minister was nursing an undisclosed illness for a while before his death.

“He has been ill for a while and had not been seen in public circle. Ogbonnaya Onu was a wonderful man. He was one of our best.

“You remember he was a presidential candidate but had to drop his ticket for Chief Olu Falae when the presidency was zoned to the South West.

“During the merger, he was one of the founding fathers of the party and remained a party man until his death. He was a big wig of the party in the South East. We will miss him so much,” he stated.

Barely an hour after the news of his death went viral, his residence in the Federal Capital Territory has become filled with mourners.

A graduate of the University of Lagos, Onu became a teacher at St. Augustine’s Seminary in the Ezzamgbo area of Ebonyi State.

After the completion of his doctoral studies at the University of California, he became a lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Port Harcourt, where he rose to become the pioneer head of the department.

The ex-minister began his political career as an aspirant for a senatorial seat in the old Imo State under the umbrella of the National Party of Nigeria.

In 1991, he contested for the position of Governor of Abia State on the platform of the National Republican Convention and won.

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