Iyorchia Ayu

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Iyorchia Ayu
President of the Senate of Nigeria
In office
Federal Minister of Education
In office
Federal Minister of Industry
In office
June 1999 – 2001
Succeeded byStephen Akiga
Federal Minister of Internal Affairs
In office
July 2003 – June 2005
Preceded byMohammed Shata
Succeeded byMagaji Muhammed
Federal Minister of Environment
In office
June 2005 – December 2005
Preceded byBala Mande
Succeeded byHelen Esuene

Iyorchia Ayu is a former Nigerian Senator who was elected President of the Senate during the Nigerian Third Republic (1992–1993).[1] He later served in various Ministerial positions in the Cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007.

Early career[edit]

Ayu was born in Gboko in Benue State. He taught sociology in the University of Jos, including courses on the art and science of Marxism, and was the Chairman of the Jos University chapter of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).[1]

After entering politics, he was influential among the majority Tiv people in his home state of Benue. He was elected Senator in the Third Republic on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and became Senate President.[1] In November 1993, the senate impeached Ayu, who was a strong opponent of the Interim National Government established after the elected president Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola had been prevented from taking office.[2][3] However, he later became the Minister for Education in General Sani Abacha's military government.[1] In March 1994 he chaired a workshop on Technical Education in Nigeria, seeking ways to learn from Germany, the United States, Britain and Japan.[4]

Obasanjo cabinet[edit]

Ayu was said to be political godfather of George Akume, governor of Benue State from 1999-2007.[5] Ayu assisted in the 1998-1999 campaign to elect President Olusegun Obasanjo on the People's Democratic Party (PDP platform). Obasanjo appointed him Industry Ministry from 1999-2000.[1]

Ayu was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs in July 2003.[6] In September 2003 Ayu announced that Nigeria was negotiating security pacts with its northern neighbors Niger and Chad to clamp down on smuggling, human-trafficking and cross border banditry.[7] In June 2004 he inaugurated the Prisons Monitoring Committee to secure the rights of prisoners to acceptable conditions.[8] In August 2004, Ayu said that his ministry had started the distribution of national identity cards. The new card was to serve for identification purposes and for validation of other documents, such as passports and driver's licences. It would also be a tool for controlling migration flows, generating data for government planning, and detecting crimes.[9]

During a cabinet reshuffle in June 2005, Ayu was reassigned to become Minister of Environment.[10] At a meeting in Rotterdam in September 2005, Ayu called for an effective, sufficient and predictable financial mechanism to provide the technical skills and infrastructure needed for African countries to handle chemicals safely.[11] In October that year Ayu called for fair access to UNDP/GEF funds, and for increased allocations to developing countries.[12] In December 2005 he spoke at a conference on Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM). He praised the holistic, multi-sectoral approach of ICAM as a way to manage the regional ecosystem.[13] In December 2005, Obasanjo dismissed Ayu, giving no reason.[14]

Later career[edit]

After falling out with Obasanjo, Ayu left the PDP and joined the Action Congress (AC).[15] He was head of the campaign to elect Vice President Atiku Abubakar as President on the AC platform in April 2007.[16] In February 2007, Ayu was arrested and later arraigned by a Federal court on charges of terrorism. He was later released on bail.[17] In March 2007, he spoke out against the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to include Atiku's name on the list of candidates.[18]


  • Iyorchia D. Ayu (1986). Essays in popular struggle. Zim Pan African Publishers. ISBN 978-2150-02-9.


  1. ^ a b c d e "PDP's Men of Power". ThisDay. 2001-11-10. Archived from the original on 2005-12-02. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  2. ^ "Key Events in Nigeria (1990 - 2000)". Nigeria Exchange. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  3. ^ Maxwell Oditta. "Politics of dissonance and duplicity". Dawodu. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  4. ^ "Technical Education in Nigeria" (PDF). Education Resources Information Center. March 1994. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  5. ^ Uche Nnorom. "Who would emerge as Benue senators in 2011?". People's Daily. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  6. ^ "July 2003". Rulers.org. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  7. ^ "NIGERIA: Security pact negotiated with Niger and Chad". IRIN. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 4 September 2003. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  8. ^ "Prisons monitoring committee starts work in Nigeria". Afrol News. 15 June 2005. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  9. ^ "Nigeria: National identity card". Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 5 November 2004. Archived from the original on 7 December 2007. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  10. ^ "As Obasanjo Reshuffles Cabinet... Ministers Under Probe for Corruption". BNW News. July 14, 2005. Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  11. ^ "Nigerian Minister of Environment Addresses COP-2". International Institute for Sustainable Development. 27–30 September 2005. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  12. ^ "CCD-7 COP Highlights" (PDF). Earth Negotiatios Bulletin. International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  13. ^ "ACAM Workshop" (PDF). GCLME Newsletter. Guinea Current Large Marine Econsystem. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  14. ^ "Obasanjo fires Environment minister". Panapress. 2005-12-20. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  15. ^ ISMAIL OMIPIDAN (December 19, 2006). "Obasanjo withdrew N20b from PTDF to finance third term —Atiku". Daily Sun. Archived from the original on February 29, 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  16. ^ Taiwo Amodu (January 22, 2009). "DIVIDED ...Atiku's political camp in disarray over former VP's visit to Obasanjo". Daily Sun. Archived from the original on February 25, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  17. ^ Malachy Uzendu (8 March 2007). "Terrorism - Court Grant Ayu Bail". Daily Champion. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  18. ^ JACOB EDI (March 26, 2007). "Anarchy imminent if INEC disobeys court order – Ayu". Daily Sun. Archived from the original on February 29, 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-24.