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Ogbonnaya Onu

(Opinion) Dr Ogbonnaya Onu as a case study in political perseverance

Ogbonnaya Onu
Ogbonnaya Onunu


The Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, born December 1, 1951, is a known name for so many good reasons. He was the first democratically elected Governor of Abia State from Feb 1992 to Dec. 1993. Before politics he had already carved a niche for himself as a scholar who placed first in many fields and was able to obtain a doctoral degree without the masters.

One of his researches on synthetic fuel may have helped the Americans in the success in shale fuel that is giving hell to Nigerian crude oil.

On morals, he has distinguished himself as a Nigerian who has swam in the tempestuous political waters without drowning or staining himself in scandals and financial heists, common faults with many today. He has scored high points in perseverance and discipline, maintaining an impeccable record in his political stance, shunning lucre and prebendals that have haunted others. He reminds me of the American who proudly said, “I don’t want to be the president but I want to be right.”

Dr. Onu unlike so many survived the temptations to drift ideologically. A founding member of APP and ANPP, he remained steadfast through thick and thin and was able to restructure and reposition the party through mergers of like minds till it metamorphosed into a majority status from political obscurity. He came out with a book a few weeks ago titled From Opposition to Governing Party and during the presentation warned that APC should beware of what happened to PDP as not to fall into such pits. I am yet to get that book and will be happy to equip myself with the strategies that charged APC to a high political voltage.

In my opinion, the book came too early. The election ended in April and before a birthday, a book is already relaxing in the shelf. An insight and commentary on Buhari’s one year in office would have further equipped the book. Dr. Onu is still owing us a book on how he honed his political fortunes in Abia when his so-called Godfather breathed down him and how he was able to lionize from a lamblike status. In Abia politics, Bende Road is a euphemism for a quasi aristocrat who saw himself as an overlord and hardly tolerated the views of others.

But Dr. Onu intelligently demystified the quasi aristocrat. Dr. Onu at that time employed or rather read ahead and realized that our man could not get beyond his political level of competence which was thuggery. Dr Onu owes posterity the facile details of the inflammable intrigues that he doused without firing a shot, not even using foul words as many would have resorted to.

This brings to mind the above hinted Peter’s Principle as propounded in the late eighties which Dr. Onu may not have read but acted instinctively.

The theory of Peter’s Principle would be seen by many to be another version of law of diminishing returns. See how it goes. A good mechanic was promoted to a supervisor status and cherished the new nomenclature but could not act effectively in the new capacity. He was a good mechanic to earn the promotion but in an instance where there was a serious mechanical problem, he went under the vehicle trying to solve that problem instead of directing other mechanics on how to solve the challenging problem. While under the vehicle, other departments that he was supposed to be supervising suffered as he was wasting attention on one area only. This errant supervisor judged by Peters Principle had reached his level of competence and could not go further. In other instances some people are unteachable.

That was exactly what Dr. Onu saw in the man he met as a party overlord in Abia and deftly dismantled his political apparatus with the aid of many willing hands, long neglected and abused by the overlord whose style was to keep the underlings under stupefaction by any means; drugs may have been employed to keep his victims hooked.

I praise Dr. Onu for not beating his chest over this or even broadcasting it when it happened but now, this experience would help many. Such political lessons are needed by the youths of today as to guide their actions and bequeath a lesson on politics and modesty. This reminds me of late Ibrahim Waziri, the exponent of politics without bitterness. If Dr Onu’s new book delved into the success of APC and the pitfalls of PDP why not why and how a God father crumbled in Abia.

A friend hinted that I should read A Footprint Memoirs of A Chief Servant by the same author. This is necessary because these overlords refuse to keep quiet and hide their ignorance. The man at Bende Road has recently been granting interviews making spurious claims but let the truth be told that he has passed his level of competence because he still thinks that megalomaniacal stories and false claims are still lauded in Nigerian politics.

The great irony is that here is somebody who was a principal player in NRC and had a lot of command to the process that yielded an icon like Dr. Onu, yet today he has become a town crier for a governor who came some years after Dr. Onu and evidently in his political nappies when our Bende Road dede was at his peak. Outside odd jobs and howling, our man of Bende Road is of little consequence. Upon the claims made, there is need to correct these fallacies lest some people be deceived into taking them for facts.

As against many of the claims in Vanguard of December 12, 2015, Buhari’s campaign trail freely campaigned in Aba, Abia’s most populous city where he was given a new and potent name, Okechukwu which has today manifested that Buhari’s share and destiny cannot be taken by another.

He falsely claimed that APC was rigged out in Abia. No! APC did their ultimate best and were rewarded according to their efforts and popularity.

They were clearly beaten by APGA who came up with more showings. The dream of APC being boosted by Orji Kalu and family is a claim yet to be seen as previous showings and the last election seem to differ with Orji Uzor Kalu’s present political weight. Did our man confirm with Orji Uzor Kalu if he is migrating? Experience has shown that Kalu cannot leave PPA and has consistently contested from this party of his dreams.

On his calumny on Senator T. A. Orji the former Governor of Abia State, facts are sacred and his deeds are on the marble and will be very hard to be obliterated as there are numerous schools, health centers, hospitals and especially the Diagnostic Centre. Oracular figures like Dr Onyebuchi Chukwu, former Minister of Health, Mr Labaran Maku, former information guru, penultimate NUJ president, Femi Fanny Kayode and many others visited and applauded.

The fact that Chukwudi and Ikechukwu Apugo were part of Ochendo’s administration are unspoken condemnation for our man at Bende Road, the former crayfish seller whose most prized property was a Honda 50 motorcycle during and after the civil war. He claims to be a strongman but dodged enlisting as a soldier in the civil war.

It is a pity that some people are shameless, otherwise why would a man who opposed the construction of the Central Bank have the impudence to talk of development. If T. A. Orji did not pay over 400 million for falsely claimed ownership of lands, Central Bank building wouldn’t be there today. The records are there in Abia treasury and that of central Bank.

We are anxiously waiting for Dr. Onu’s memoir especially that of bulldozing and overcoming a serious political obstacle in Abia.

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