Barring any last minute changes, President Muhammadu Buhari may name Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, a former governor of old Abia State and one time National Chairman of the defunct All Nigerian People’s Party, ANPP from southeast of Nigeria as Secretary to the Government of the Federation so also, the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi is being penciled for the post of Chief of Staff to the President.
If Dr. Onu is eventually confirmed for that position, it will lay to rest controversies that has dogged who gets the plum job.
Those being considered to hold the office of the SFG, after the party;s touted natural choice, ex Gov. Rotimi Amaechi, lost out wereDr. Chris Ngige, Ogbonanya Onu and Prof. Anthony Anwuka., Imo State SSG.
Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu was born on December 1, 1951, in Ohaozara Local Government Area of present day Ebonyi State.
He obtained grade one with distinction in his West African School Certificate examination at Izzi High School, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. Dr Onu also obtained distinctions in Physics and Chemistry at the Higher School Certificate examination at the College of Immaculate Conception, CIC, Enugu, graduating as the best overall student. By 1976, he graduated with a first class honours degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Lagos. He later obtained his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Chemical Engineering (without passing through a Masters degree) at the reputable University of California, Berkeley, California, USA, in 1980.
Dr. Onu is a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering. He was also one of the longest served Directors of the Nigeria Cement Company, Nigercem, Nkalagu, Ebonyi State. He was the Visitor of Abia State University, Uturu.
In 1991, Dr. Onu was elected the first Governor of old Abia State. He was the first Chairman, Conference of Nigerian elected Governors. During his eventful tenure as Governor, he emphasized the use of technology as an important instrument for national development by starting the processes for the establishment of a Technology Village, as well as introducing computers into selected public schools. He introduced the Free Maternal Health Care Programme which enabled poor pregnant women to receive free healthcare services as a measure to reduce death during pregnancy and childbirth. Security of lives and property were considerably enhanced such that within a single year, the Abia State Police Command received two letters of commendation from the Inspector General of Police.
In 1999, he emerged the first Presidential Flagbearer of the then All Peoples Party, APP, which was later known as the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP. A true democrat and committed party loyalist, Dr. Onu demonstrated rare political discipline and consistency, by remaining one of the very few founding leaders of the opposition ANPP who remained in the party since its inception in 1998 until it merged into a new political party in 2013.
Odds Against Fayemi
So also, former Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi may be named Chief of Staff to the President but his preference for that job is said to be experiencing hiccups. Fayemi was the chairman of the party’s national convention held in Lagos where Gen. Buhari emerged as the APC presidential candidate. Later he was the appointed Director of Policy and Strategy of the Presidential Campaign Organisation.
Throughout the campaign and after Buhari’s victory at the polls, the former Ekiti State Governor stuck to Buhari like a tick. He was very visible at the Buhari Campaign Organisation’s head office as well as the Defence Headquaters where the President elect operated from before he was sworn-in. He became a permanent feature in the President elect’s kitchen cabinet and was a regular face whenever Buhari received high profile foreign dignitaries and sat at meetings. Fayemi was said to have endeared himself to Buhari because of his high intellectual write ups and proposals on various aspect of governance.
The stumbling block in Fayemi’s appointment was his inability to receive the endorsement of the APC’s hierarchy citing his dismal political performance in Ekiti State where he failed woefully to carry the people along in governance thereby leading to a woeful loss at the polls.
An APC leader claiming anonymity told www.infinitylive.com.ng that the move to give Fayemi any appointment by the Buhari administration will amount to killing the party in Ekiti State. According to him, “Fayemi as governor ran an exclusive administration listening to only himself as dictated by the wife and the advice of a few aides who held him captive.”
The party leader stated that if he is given a higher responsibility, he would continue along the same line “if you doubt me ask him to come and do a popularity walk in Ado Ekiti or drive in an open round the same state he governed for four years and see the type of reception he would get.