Onyeka Onwenu Biography: Age, Husband, Children & Net Worth

Onyeka Onwenu – Gospel Artist

Stage Name: Onyeka Onwenu
Real Name: Onyeka Onwenu
Occupation: Gospel Artist 
Date Of Birth/Age: 31st January, 1952 (71 years old)
Place of Birth: Ideato North, Imo State
Gender: Female
Nationality: Nigerian
Marital Status: Divorced
Education: Wellesley College, Massachusetts
Known for: Hold Me Tight

Onyeka Onwenu, born on January 31, 1952, is a multi-talented Nigerian personality. She is a renowned singer and songwriter, actress, human rights activist, social activist, journalist, politician, and a former judge on the X Factor series. Often referred to as the “Elegant Stallion” by the Nigerian media, she has also served as the chairperson of the Imo State Council for Arts and Culture.

Early Life

Onwenu was born in Arondizuogu, a small town in Ideato North, Imo State, but was raised in Port Harcourt. She is the youngest daughter of D. K. Onwenu, a Nigerian educationist and politician who tragically passed away in a car accident when she was only four years old. His untimely death, which occurred a week before his appointment as Minister for Education, left Onwenu’s mother, Hope, to raise their five children on her own, as her husband’s family denied her access to his property.


Onwenu holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Communication from Wellesley College, Massachusetts, and a Master of Arts in Media Studies from The New School for Social Research in New York. Before returning to Nigeria in 1980, she worked as a tour guide for the United Nations. In Nigeria, she completed her mandatory one-year national service with the NTA (Nigerian Television Authority).



During her time at NTA, Onwenu made a significant impact as a newsreader and reporter. In 1984, she wrote and presented the critically acclaimed BBC/NTA documentary titled “Nigeria: A Squandering of Riches,” which became the definitive film addressing corruption in Nigeria and the ongoing Niger Delta agitation for resource control, as well as the campaign against environmental degradation in the oil-rich region of the country. She also served as a TV presenter, hosting shows such as “Contact” (1988) and “Who’s On?” (1993) on NTA Network.

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Onyeka Onwenu With Sinach and Friends
Onyeka Onwenu With Sinach and Friends

Onwenu initially pursued a secular music career but transitioned to gospel music in the 90s. Many of her songs are self-composed and touch on important issues such as health (HIV/AIDS), peace, mutual coexistence, women’s rights, and children’s welfare. She began her music career in 1981 while still employed by NTA, releasing the album “For the Love of You,” which featured an orchestral cover of Johnny Nash’s “Hold Me Tight.” Her second album, “Endless Life,” was produced by Sonny Okosun. Both albums were released under the EMI label.

In 1984, Onwenu released her first album with Polygram, titled “In The Morning Light.” This album, recorded in London, featured the track “Masterplan,” written by her close friend Tyna Onwudiwe. After her fourth release, “One Love” in 1986, she collaborated with veteran jùjú artist Sunny Ade on the track “Madawolohun (Let Them Say),” featured in 1988’s “Dancing In The Sun.”
Onwenu’s last album under Polygram paid tribute to Winnie Mandela and featured a live performance of a song by the same name during Nelson Mandela’s visit to Nigeria in 1990, shortly after his release from prison.

Onwenu later joined Benson and Hedges Music in 1992 and released her self-titled album “Onyeka!” Her partnership with Paris-based La Cave Musik and UK-based Jungle Entertainment Ventures resulted in her collection titled “Rebirth of a Legend.” She has been celebrated for her contributions to music and the arts in Nigeria. In 2013, Onwenu served as one of the judges on X Factor Nigeria.


Onwenu’s acting career includes her first role in the movie “Nightmare” as Joke, a childless woman who adopts an abandoned baby. She has appeared in numerous Nollywood movies, winning the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in “Widow’s Cot” in 2006. She was also nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role in “Rising Moon” that same year. Notable films include “Half of a Yellow Sun” (2013) and “Lion Heart” (2018).

Onyeka Onwenu Biography
Onyeka Onwenu


Onwenu is a member of the People’s Democratic Party and has twice contested for the position of Local Council Chairman in her local government, Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State. Former Governor Ikedi Ohakim appointed her as the Chairperson of the Imo State Council for Arts and Culture. In 2013, she was appointed as the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Centre for Women Development by President Goodluck Jonathan.

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In 2000, Onwenu protested against her former employer NTA for refusing to pay royalties on her songs, particularly “Iyogogo,” which NTA 2 Channel 5 had used in station idents without her permission. She went on a hunger strike outside the station’s premises, drawing attention to the challenges faced by artists in Nigeria who lacked pensions and faced financial difficulties. Her activism gained support from various artists and was eventually resolved when NTA agreed to address the issue of royalties.

Husband and Chidlren

Onwenu keeps her personal life private and has been discreet about her ex-husband, who is a Yoruba Muslim. That marriage was blessed with two children, Tijani Charles and Abraham.

Movies she’s acted

1996: “Nightmare” as Joke

1996: “Not Your Wealth”

1996: “Conspiracy”

1996: “Chain Reaction”

2004: “Government House”

2005: “Women’s Cot”

2005: “The Tyrant”

2005: “Rising Moon”

2005: “Omalinze”

2006: “Different World”

2007: “To Love an Angel”

2007: “The Trinity”

2013: “Half of a Yellow Sun” as Odenigbo’s Mother

2018: “Lionheart” as Abigail Obiagu

2019: “Muna”

2022: “Ije Awele”

2023: “Obara’M” as Aunty Nwaka

Net Worth

She is one of the most richest singers in Nigeria with a net worth estimated at about 5 million dollars. You can connect with her on Instagram.