The trio of Amos Adamu, Onyeka Ownenu, and Chuka Odom, were once prominent in the public service while they held sway in different establishments. However, they appear to be out of circulation since leaving office. Where are they now? ELEOJO IDACHABA asks.
Dubbed the elegant stallion, Onyeka Ownenu last known public office is as executive director/CEO of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Abuja. Till date, she is respected as a living legend.
A singer, songwriter, actress, human right activist, social activist, journalist, politician and recording artist, she was also the chairperson of the Council for Arts and Culture in her native home, Imo state.
She also worked for many years in the United Nations (UN) in New York before returning to Nigeria in 1980 where she completed her mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps scheme (NYSC) with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
While in NTA, she made impact as an articulate, incisive and fearless reporter. Onyeka, according to facts, prefers to keep her personal life as private as possible. For example, even though she has children, it is not known if she is married to the father of those children and the identity of the man has remained her top secret till date.
According to Information Cradle, “It is not know for sure if Onyeka Onwenu is married to the father of her children. All that is known is that the perceived father of her children has a last name ‘Ogunlende’, because this is the last name of her two sons. However, Onyeka prefers to keep her personal life as private as possible, and not reveal a lot about her family. “She speaks openly about her motherhood and relationships with her children, but she does not disclose the name of her husband or if they are still together. When she was asked if she has ever been married to the father of her sons, Onyeka Onwenu refused to answer this question.”
She began her singing career in 1981 while still working in NTA, in an album titled: ‘For the Love of You’. Originally a secular artist, but now sings gospel music and continues to write and sing about societal issues in recent times such as health (HIV/AIDS), peace and mutual coexistence, respect for women rights and the plight of children. Her latest collection titled, ‘Inspiration for Change’, focused on the need for attitudinal turn-around in Nigeria. In 1984, she wrote and presented the internationally-acclaimed BBC/NTA documentary titled: ‘Nigeria, a Squandering of Riches’ which became the definitive film about corruption in Nigeria as well as the intractable Niger Delta agitation for resource control and campaign against environmental degradation in the oil rich region.
She has also served on the board of the NTA at various times. As a member of the Peoples Democratic Party till date,she was in the run to become a local government chairman of her native, Ideato North local council before she was appointed by former Governor Ikedi Ohakim to chair the state arts and culture. For a woman who once occupied public position she has been quiet for a while.
He is the former director general of the Nigeria Sports Commission (NSC). He was, before then, a director of sports in the ministry for 10 years.
Adamu holds a doctorate degree in Physical and Health Education and was a university lecturer before joining the National Institute of Sports (NIS).
In the course of his career as a sports administrator he was also appointed the sole administrator of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in 1992.
Adamu was involved in the administration and organisation of the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship. In December 2000, he was named president, organising committee for the 8th All Africa Games otherwise known as COJA in Abuja.
In 2005, Adamu was again picked as a member of the organising committee for the first-ever World Cup finals in Africa to be hosted by South Africa.
He later became an executive committee member of FIFA and CAF and on November 6, 2008, former President Umar Musa Yar Adua removed him as the DG of NSC for no official reason, although analysts posited that it may not be unconnected with the global football scandal involving him. On October 17, 2010, it was reported that Adamu allegedly agreed to receive £500,000 in order to influence the voting procedure for the 2018 FIFA World Cup bid. He denied any wrongdoing though.
An investigation by FIFA however banned him from soccer administration. Therefore, in November 2010, he received a three-year ban and 10,000 fines from the global football Ethics Committee after being found guilty.
Since he retired from service, information has it that this former football administrator has now taken solace in theological matters in the Baptist Church as well as farming, according to an interview his son, Ezekiel, granted a major newspaper last year.
He was quoted as saying, “The passion my father had for sport is the same for farming. Even at his age, he manages his farm himself in Oyo. I am sure he still wants to do many things. He had told me he wanted to become a pastor once he left office and he is presently taking a course. He also said that once he retires, he would leave active service. He didn’t want to be a retired administrator that would still be interfering in affairs.”
One mystery about this former sports administrator is that he has also succeeded in keeping most Nigerians wondering whether he hails from Kebbi he had claimed as his state of origin or Oyo, where he currently runs a private farm.
He is the former minister of state for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He served variously as commissioners for lands, survey and urban planning as well as special duties in Imo state between 2003 and 2007.
Initially, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he later joined the Peoples Progressives Alliance (PPA) alongside his former boss, Orji Uzor Kalu.
As one of the pioneer members of the Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA), Odom had also vied for the House of Representatives seat but lost. One mystery about this lawyer-turned politician is that it is unclear whether he is from Abia or Imo state, having served as special adviser to Kalu in Abia and later contested for the Reps seat in Imo as well as governorship primaries in Imo state in 2014 but lost.
Since he left office in 2010 as minister and his subsequent failed governorship bid, not much has been heard about him.