Less than a week after Global Patriot Newspapers broke the news that former National Chairman of the now defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), Dr. Christopher Ogbonnaya Onu, would succeed Senator Anyim Pius Anyim as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the South-East caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Thursday, formally met with the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari to present Onu as the group’s candidate for the position.
Global Patriot Newspapers had reported, Monday, that Onu has been pencilled down for the position of SGF, which is presently being occupied by his kinsman, Anyim.
According to this medium, this is contrary to the widely held view that Dr. Chris Ngige would get the coveted job which the APC is said to have zoned to the South East geo-political zone of the country.
A high ranking source within the APC had told the Global Patriot Newspapers, Sunday that Chief Onu was preferred by the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, and other key leaders of the party because “he is more consistent, gentle and self-effacing.”
According to the Global Patriot Newspapers source, who preferred anonymity, Dr. Onu “is brilliant, sobre and nationalistic, and is the type of person needed for the onerous task of rebuilding Nigeria. The source further said that Onu worked assiduously to sell the candidature of Gen. Buhari to Ndigbo in the northern parts of the country and across Nigeria generally.
The South East zone formally presented former governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu as its candidate for the office, during its meeting with Buhari, which held Thursday. The group led by Imo State governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha met with General Buhari at the Defence House where they made the demands.
The south east caucus which was primarily at the Defence House to solicit Buhari’s assistance in getting the slot of the Speakership or Deputy Speakership of the House of Representatives, however, used the opportunity of the visit to formally present the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu as its preferred choice for the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.
“We know that we have lost out for the position of the senate presidency because we did not have ranking senator returned to the National assembly, we however appeal and we believe that you will be generous enough to consider the south east region to be considered for the position of the SGF,” said Okorocha who led the caucus.
Okorocha who is the chairman of the caucus noted that Buhari’s victory had helped them from being forced into going on exile.
“We (South east, APC) are more victorious than you are on your victory at the presidential election. Many of us would have gone on exile if you had lost. Although, we could not deliver the south east to you, what we were able to do however was to cut down the 7.2 million votes the PDP had projected to get from the south east”, he said.
Also speaking, Onu expressed joy that Buhari’s victory has brought unity to the country.
“Nigeria is more united now. The division that existed in the country had been reduced due to Buhari’s victory”.
Responding, the president-elect thanked the caucus for cutting down the volume of votes for the ruling PDP in the zone and reassured them that his government would not discriminate against anyone irrespective of tribe, party or religion.
Born on December 1, 1951, in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi state, Dr. Onu became the first civilian governor of the old Abia state (1991), then made up of what is today Abia and Ebonyi states and was chosen by his colleague governors as Chairman, Conference of Nigerian elected Governors.
A team player, he was selected at his party’s primaries in 1999 as the first presidential candidate of the now defunct All Peoples Party, APP.
He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees, BOT, of the APC and one of the key figures that engineered the mega merger of political parties that brought about the APC and led to the crushing defeat of the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the April 11 general elections.