Ebute was born on May 16, 1946 in Ugbokolo, Benue State. He attended St Patrick's School, Ugbokolo, the Federal Training Center at Kaduna and later went to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to study law. He entered the Nigerian Law School in 1974 and a year later he was called to the bar. Prior to going to college in Zaria, he served in the Nigerian Police Force as a corporal.
In 1979, he won a senate seat and repeated the feat in 1992.
After the exit of President Babangida in August, 1993 and the introduction of an interim government supported by the chairman of the SDP, the then senate president, Iyorchia Ayu decided to oppose the interim arrangement leading to cracks within the party. Ayu was later impeached by senators allied with the position of the party chairman and a three way contest between the late Chuba Okadigbo, Ahmed Tijani Ahmed and Ebute resulted in Ebute, a compromise and unity candidate winning the senate presidency seat with a wide margin.
Nevertheless, the republic was soon ended. After the proscription of political activity in 1993 by the military government, Ameh Ebute was charged with conspiracy in 1994 as part of a crackdown on the junta's perceived opponents. However, after a period of six weeks in detention, he was released.
In 1996, he decided to enter the emerging political process created by General Abacha when he joined the Nigeria Center Party, a group made up of former SDP members and ex-legislators.
- (1)" Lagos Offices Close; Report Strike Talks End", AP, July 22, 1994.