Uche Nnaji, widely known as Nwakaibie, is a prominent figure from Akpugo Nkanu West LGA in Enugu State, Nigeria. As the eldest of four children born to Chief and Mrs. Obed Nnaji, Uche now enjoys a happy marriage and is blessed with four children.
Uche completed his entire education in Enugu State, attending the University of Nigeria’s Nsukka Campus, St. Patrick’s College in Emene, and Santa Maria Primary School (now Ziks Avenue Primary School) in Enugu. His roots in the area earned him the title of an authentic “Enugu Boy.”
Tragically, Uche’s father passed away in 1978. His mother stepped up to the challenge, admirably taking on the financial responsibility of raising the family and managing her late husband’s estate. She ensured that her children received a nurturing upbringing and a strong foundation.
Uche built a successful career as a businessman, starting with the purchase, installation, and commissioning of specialized hospital-grade plumbing and sanitary wares for the new UNTH, ITUKU/OZALLA. He actively participated in the contracts for medical equipment installation and procurement. This early engagement in the hospital and medical industries made him a strong entrepreneur.
He gained invaluable insights from senior executives, learning the virtues of patience and humility. Uche also made a groundbreaking contribution to Nigeria’s medical industry by becoming the youngest and first African to introduce a CT scan to the country in the mid-1980s.
Uche’s success in business propelled him into politics, where he developed a passion for helping disadvantaged groups who lacked the financial resources to participate in politics. He provided financial support to many such individuals.
In the 2023 general elections, Uche was the Governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress. During the UNCP/GDM/DPN political era, Uche defied the then-military administrator of Enugu State and led his senatorial zone to ensure Chief Jim Nwobodo defeated Senator Ken Nnamani. As a result, Ken Nnamani of the UNCP experienced his first political setback. Uche served nearly four months in jail for opposing the Abacha transition scheme and supporting opposition candidates in Enugu State.
Following General Abacha’s death, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, the new Head of State, released all political prisoners, allowing Uche to regain his freedom. Uche played a vital role in establishing the PDP in Enugu State at the start of party politics in 1998.
Uche initially intended to run for senator in the PDP’s Enugu East Senatorial Zone. However, the party’s then-National Secretary, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, switched his name to Senator Ken Nnamani after he moved from the APP. Outraged by this injustice, Uche joined the Alliance for Democracy (AD) 72 hours before the election and defeated PDP candidate Senator Ken Nnamani in 65 out of 66 wards.
Uche’s political achievements include winning the Senator election for the Enugu East Senatorial Zone in 1999 (later relinquishing his seat to HE Chief Jim Nwobodo), becoming a Foundation Member of the PDP South East Zone in 1998, Convener of the PDP Enugu State in 1998, Caucus Member of the PDP Enugu State in 1998, Member of the PDP National Finance Committee & Poverty Alleviation in 1998, Member of the PPAC Sub Committee on Rural Development in 1999, Caucus Member of the UNCP Enugu State from 1996 to 1998, and Financier of the UNCP Enugu East Senatorial Zone from 1996 to 1998. Additionally, Uche held public positions as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Chairman of the Finance and General Purpose Committee of the FCDA, and a Member of the Establishment Committee of the FCDA.
On August 16, 2023, Uche Nnaji was appointed as the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.