Senator Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, a former Nigerian Senator who was later elected President of the Senate during the Third Republic (1992–1993), is currently the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Before this time, Dr. Ayu served in various Ministerial positions in the Cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007.
Dr. Ayu was born in Gboko in Benue State. He taught sociology in the University of Jos in Plateau State, 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).
He was elected Senator in the Third Republic on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and became Senate President. He later became the Minister for Education in General Sani Abacha’s military government. In March 1994 he chaired a workshop on Technical Education in Nigeria, seeking ways to learn from Germany, the United States, Britain and Japan.
Senator Ayu was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs in July 2003. 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. In June 2004 he inaugurated the Prisons Monitoring Committee to secure the rights of prisoners to acceptable conditions. 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 licenses. It would also be a tool for controlling migration flows, generating data for government planning, and detecting crimes.
During a cabinet reshuffle in June 2005, Ayu was reassigned to become Minister of Environment. 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.
In October that year, Dr. Ayu called for fair access to UNDP/GEF funds, and for increased allocations to developing countries. 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.
The PDP National Chairman, Sen. Dr. Iyorchia Ayu is happily with married with children.