Onyeka Onwenu
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Onyeka Onwenu

Onyeka Onwenu
Onyeka Onwenu

May 17, 1952 (1952-05-17) (age 66)
OccupationSinger, actress, politician
Home townArondizuogu, Imo State

Onyeka Onwenu (born 17 May 1952[1]) is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, actress, human right activist, social activist, journalist, politician, recording artist and X Factor series judge.[2] She is from Arondizuogu, a small town in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. She is the youngest daughter of the Nigerian educationist and politician D.K Onwenu. Her father died when she was four years old,[3][4] in an autocrash.[5] She was dubbed the "Elegant Stallion" by the Nigerian press. She was the former chairperson of the Imo State Council for Arts and Culture[6][7] and currently the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Centre for Women Development.[8] She is respected as a living legend.


Onwenu possess a BA in International Relations and Communication of the Wesley College of Massachusetts, USA, and a Master's degree in Media Studies from The New School for Social Research in New York.[9] She worked for many years in the United Nations in New York before returning to Nigeria in 1980 where she completed the mandatory one-year National Service in National Television Authority (NTA). While in NTA, she made an impact as an articulate, incisive and fearless reporter. In 1984, she wrote and presented the internationally acclaimed BBC/NTA documentary called "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 of Nigeria.[10] She has also served on the board of the NTA.


Onwenu began her music career in 1981 while still working in NTA, releasing the album "For the Love of You". Originally a secular artist, she now sings mainly gospel music, and continues to write and sing about issues 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 an attitudinal turn around in Nigeria.

She is in partnership with Paris-based La Cave Musik, headed by a Nigerian cultural entrepreneur, Onyeka Nwelue and a UK-based Jungle Entertainment Ventures, headed by musicologist David Evans-Uhegbu. La Cave Musik is set to release her collection titled "Rebirth of a Legend".

In 2013, she was named as one of the three judges on the Nigerian version of The X Factor. In recognition of her contribution to music and arts in Nigeria, she has been celebrated by professionals like Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Laolu Akins, Charles O'Tudor, and former PMAN president Tony Okoroji among others in the arts industry in Nigeria.[11]


Onyeka Onwenu is a member of the People's Democratic Party.[12] She was in the running to become Local Council Chairman of her native land, Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State, but was appointed Chairperson of Imo State Council for Arts and Culture by former governor Ikedi Ohakim. On 16 September 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed her the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Centre for Women Development.[8]


Onyeka Onwenu has featured in numerous Nollywood movies and in 2006 she won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role,[13] In 2014. She was in the movie Half of a Yellow Sun with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton.


Year Film Role Notes
1999 Not Your Wealth
Conspiracy with Nkem Owoh
Chain Reaction with Pete Edochie & Liz Benson
2004 Government House
2005 Women's Cot with Joke Silva & Zack Orji - this film received 4 nominations and won 1 award at the 2nd Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2006[13]
The Tyrant with Pete Edochie
Rising Moon
Omalinze Queen with Stephanie Okereke
Every Single Day
2006 Different World with Ramsey Nouah
2007 To Love an Angel with Ramsey Nouah
The Trinity with Kanayo O. Kanayo
2013 Half of a Yellow Sun Odenigbo's Mother with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton
2018 Lionheart Abigail Obiagu

See also


  1. ^ Makams, Ahman (20 October 2012). "Onyenka Onwenu: Queen Of African Pop Music". Leadership. Archived from the original on 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ Onyeka Onwenu, Toolz, MI excited about Glo X factor
  3. ^ Amadi, Ogbonna (2 March 2012). "Onyeka speaks at 60". Vanguardngr.com. Vanguard Media. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "Am I married to the father of my kids? No comment ----Onyeka Onw". Ghanaian Agenda. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ Adetayo, Ayoola. "Onyeka Onwenu: 10 things about the legendary musician you need to know". Retrieved .
  6. ^ "Charles O'tudor Fetes Onyeka Onwenu". AllAfrica Global Media. Retrieved 2010.
  7. ^ Nwangwu, Onyinyechi. "NCAC Honours Onwenu, Samanja, Others". AllAfrica Global Media. Retrieved 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Onwenu bags FG appointment". The Nation Newspapers. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  9. ^ "Onyeka Onwenu's Biography". AFROBIOS. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ "Nigeria, A Squandering of Riches". BBC/NTA. 1984. Retrieved 2013.
  11. ^ "Charles O'tudor Fetes Onyeka Onwenu". AllAfrica. November 1, 2008.
  12. ^ Onyeka Onwenu gets political appointment
  13. ^ a b "AMAA 2006 - List of Winners". African Movie Academy Awards. Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 2010.

External links

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