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‘Nigeria lost an outstanding intellectual’ — Buhari, Fayemi mourn Onu

Former President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the death of Ogbonnaya Onu, an ex-minister of science and technology.

Onu died at the age of 72.

TheCable understands that the late politician took ill after the 2022 All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary and was abroad for treatment for six months.

In a statement on Thursday, Garba Shehu, spokesperson of the former president, quoted Buhari as condoling Onu’s family and the government of Abia state over his demise.

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“The nation has lost one of its most outstanding scientific minds and intellectuals. He was an intellectual giant,” the former president said.

“My heart goes out to his family, the government and the people of Abia State and the country at large.

“May his soul rest in peace.”

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Buhari was once a presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) when Onu was its national chairman.

The late former minister was instrumental in the merger that led to the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2013.

‘HE PUT NATIONAL INTEREST ABOVE PERSONAL AMBITION’

In his reaction, Kayode Fayemi, former governor of Ekiti, described Onu’s death as a great loss for the country.

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Fayemi said the late politician, with whom he served in the federal cabinet between 2015 and 2018, was a man of great integrity who played a pivotal role in the struggle to establish democracy in Nigeria.

“In the lead-up to the historic 1999 presidential elections, Dr. Onu took the courageous step of stepping down as the presidential candidate of the All People’s Party (APP) in favour of Chief Olu Falae, the presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). This selfless act exemplified his dedication to the greater good of the country and his willingness to prioritize national interests over personal ambition,” Fayemi said.

“Throughout his illustrious career in public service, Dr. Onu was a steadfast advocate for good governance, transparency, and accountability.

“He served meritoriously in various capacities, including as Governor of Abia State and as Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, where he championed initiatives aimed at harnessing science and technology for national development.

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“Dr Onu was also pivotal as one of the founding fathers of the All Progressives Congress, the product of the historic merger of leading opposition parties in 2012 and also played a key role in the party’s victory in the 2015 election.

“As his colleague in the Buhari cabinet, I can attest to the fact that he was exemplary in many ways. His prodigious intellect, immense capacity, stellar character and compassionate love for the Nigerian people was evident all through his time as Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation.

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“His visionary leadership and dedication to serving our country will be greatly missed. His legacy will continue to inspire us to uphold the values of democracy, justice, and good governance.”

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