Matthew Tawo Mbu is a Nigerian lawyer, statesman and diplomat who was a federal minister of Labour in 1954 and later became the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, 1955-1959 and to Washington, 1959-1960. He was the first Nigerian to become the country's commissioner to the U.K. In the early 1960s, he was a member of the House of Representatives and was the federal minister of state for the Navy.
Mbu was born on November 29, 1929 in Okundi, Cross River State. He was educated at St Patrick's Ogoja and the University College, London. He started work in the 1940s as a produce manager for John Holt and later became a director of the Eastern Regional Production Development Board. During the pre-liberation period, he joined the quest for independence and self government as a member of the Eastern House of Assembly in 1952. From there, he became the minister of labour and served his community as the president of the Ogoja Divisional Council. After the proscription of political activities and the regional system of government by the military, Mbu was later made a delegate to the 1966 Ad Hoc conference under Gowon where the Eastern delegates presented points on returning to regional autonomy. He later joined the Eastern government's secession move and became the Biafran minister of foreign affairs.
During the second republic, he was a member of the Nigerian People's Party, serving as its vice president from 1979-1981. He left the party in 1981 after an agreement between the NPP and NPN collapsed and all NPP members were advised to leave the government. Mbu decided not to heed the call and crossed to the floor of the NPN.
In the final transition period of the Babangida administration, Mbu was called upon to serve as the minsiter of External Affairs. He succeeded Ike Nwachukwu, Rilwan Lukman and Bolaji Akinyemi both individuals capable of delivery strong policies.(1) During the first republic, Mbu had served as a special assistant to Balewa and represented the nation at various international conferences and was well equipped for the task. He remains today one of the country's leading foreign affairs experienced hands. Lately, he has been involved in presenting points for a better political representation for the East and Delta region of Nigeria including clamoring for a presidential shot for the South South which had never seen an indigene become president or head of state.
- (1)Ufot Bassey Inamete. "Foreign Policy Decision-Making in Nigeria". P 184-185.