Dr. Samuel Ominyi Egwu, is the Senator representing Ebonyi North Zone, the former Minister of Education (2008 – 2010) and the former Governor of Ebonyi State (1999 – 2007).
Born on June 20, 1954, young Sam. attended St. Johns Primary School, Iboko where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1965. In 1981, he bagged a Bachelor of Science Degree (B.Sc) in Agricultural Science, from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). He continued his pursuit for higher education there at UNN and in 1986, he got the Master of Science Degree (M.Sc) in Agric. Science. Determined to reach the zenith of academic attainment, he enrolled for his Doctorate Degree at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology and in 1994, bagged a Ph.D in Agronomy.
Dr. Sam Egwu got into the academia as a Lecturer and so remained until 1998 when he was appointed the Commissioner for Education in Ebonyi State. He served as a Commissioner under the Military Government of Simeon Odoye for a brief moment, and resigned to contest for the exalted position of the Governor of Ebonyi State. In 1999, Dr. Samuel Ominyi Egwu was elected as the First Civilian Governor of Ebonyi State
Dr. Sam Egwu was new in governance at the time he was elected. Expectedly, it was an upheaval task containing with the enormous challenges associated with the high profile office of a Governor. Interestingly, he performed creditably and made some remarkable marks on the sand of Ebonyi history. For Dr. Egwu, the two major problems that the State had to fight head-long were: poverty and education – and gave his best to addressing these problems while he was in power.
The policies of Dr. Sam Egwu on education, Sports and cultural development, agriculture and human capacity development were attractive and helped move the State to a different level. It is worthy of mention that, one of the first policies introduced by Dr. Sam Egwu upon assumption of office, was a free and compulsory education for Ebonyi children. This was most appropriate in view of the high poverty rate that was then prevalent in the State, which resulted in many Ebonyi children resorting to hawking and engaging in all kinds of menial jobs, across the length and breadth of the Country. To say that this laudable policy contributed in increasing the number of schools ’ enrollment in the State, amounts to stating the obvious.
He introduced a scholarship scheme in partnership with foreign Universities called HIPACK which provided platform for young Ebonyians to study up to Doctorate levels in all disciplines in different renowned Universities abroad. Most of the beneficiaries of that project returned home and became resource persons at the Ebonyi State University while many others are practicing in other areas and as employers of labour.
Dr. Egwu laid the foundation stone for the Permanent Site of Ebonyi State University at Ezzamgbo, Ohaukwu Local Government Area. His administration built and commissioned many academic blocks at the Permanent Site, and moved some Faculties into thereto. He also built a massive structure for the Faculty of Agriculture and built another complex for the Faculty of Law.
Dr. Egwu had human touch and was compassionate. He shared the grief of those who were in grief, he rejoiced with those who had course to rejoice and he admonished when it was necessary. He empowered many young people. He felt that there was need for new ideas and creativity to be brought into governance and because of that, he reshuffled his cabinet and occasionally, changed Coordinators at intervals and appointed new people into different offices at different times. By so doing, he created opportunities for a lot of people to make their own contributions to the development of the State.
In Sports, Dr. Egwu introduced female soccer programme called Ebonyi Angels through which young ladies from the State and those with the talents harnessed their creativities in football. He established some recreational centres in Abakaliki and provided other sporting facilities.
Dr. Sam Egwu is married to Chief (Mrs) Eunice Ukamaka Egwu and the marriage is blessed with children.