Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu was born on December 1, 1951 to the family of late His Royal Highness Eze David Abba Onu in Uburu, Nigeria. He was the best graduating student in both his Secondary and Higher Schools. In 1976, he graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos in Nigeria. In 1980, he also graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, USA without passing through a Masters Degree.
On his return to Nigeria, he became a lecturer in the University of Port Harcourt. He was the First Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering where he offered leadership as he nurtured from scratch the establishment of the Department. He served as Acting Dean, Faculty of Engineering and was elected by Senate into the Governing Council of the University.
In 1991, he was elected as the First Governor of the Old Abia State. He ran an open and transparent administration. He carried out many reforms, promoted national unity, improved the security of lives and property, established many educational institutions, promoted the use of science and technology for development, instituted the Free Maternal Health Care Programme which drastically reduced the death of poor pregnant women at childbirth, among many other things. His fellow Governors elected him the First Chairman of the Conference of Governors in Nigeria. He received several honours and awards including the Governor of the Year Award and the Star Governor Award.
In 1999, he was elected the Presidential Flag bearer of the All Peoples Party (APP), which later became the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). He demonstrated uncommon discipline and principle as he remained in opposition when politicians of his rank and circumstance joined the ruling political party. In 2010, he was elected the National Chairman and Head of the ANPP. As the then largest Opposition Party in Nigeria, he also became the Leader of Opposition in the country. He initiated the idea and worked hard with many others to form the All Progressives Congress (APC), the first successful merger of major opposition parties in Nigeria and in Africa. The APC, in less than two years of existence, transformed from an opposition party to the governing party by producing the President of Nigeria.
Dr. Onu is an inventor and holds six patents registered in Nigeria. He is an author with many books in technology, philosophy, biography and poetry. He is highly recognised in engineering practice as a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and a Fellow of the Academy of Engineering.
On November 11, 2015, Dr. Onu was sworn into office as the Nigerian Minister of Science and Technology. He is working hard to promote research and innovation as well as the use of science and technology for nation building. He is married to Dr. Mrs. Chinyere Onu with children and grandchildren.