The African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) was established in December 1976 as a pan-African nonprofit organization. It was set up by UNESCO and some of the leading scholars of communication in Africa. The primary goals of the association were to promote communication research in African universities and to encourage the application of research findings on problems of change and development in Africa. When ACCE was established, it was a very vibrant association with national chapters in more than 25 African countries. It held very widely-attended biennial conferences across the continent from Egypt in the north, to South Africa in the south, and from Senegal in the west, to Kenya in the east. ACCE remains one of the most dedicated promoters of social change and development communication in Africa, though it now exists as ACCE, Nigeria, due to challenges which affected the continental outlook of the association.
Prominent personalities from the academia and the field of communication across Africa worked hard as presidents or national coordinators at various times to keep ACCE strong. You may not know a number of them but the ACCE you know today got to this enviable level through the hard work and commitment of various presidents or national coordinators of the association. The first Executive Coordinator of ACCE at inception in 1976 was Bartiloi Warittay, a Sierra Leonean who worked with UNICEF at that time. He is now retired and lives in his native country, Sierra Leone. Back then, ACCE used to have both a continental president and another executive coordinator at the same time. But when it became ACCE Nigeria, it then started having only one National Coordinator in charge of the association. Here is a list of powerful presidents or National Coordinators of ACCE that took the association to enviable heights.
Prof. Francis Kasoma (1984-1988)
Professor Francis Kasoma was president of ACCE from 1984-1988. He was one of the most vibrant communication scholars in Africa and dedicated much of his time strengthening the foundations of ACCE at continent and world levels. Born November 11, 1943, Prof. Kasoma who hailed from Zambia, made his mark in communication education and research in Africa. He was an academic, a visionary, and an ardent advocate of press freedom in Zambia. He was the founder and head of the Department of Mass Communication (which was later renamed Department of Communication and Media Studies) at the University of Zambia. Prof. Kasoma was also one of the founders of the Press Association of Zambia. He passed away on June 7, 2002. His legacy as one of the foremost professors of mass communication in Africa has remained till date.
Dr. Thomas Aaze Adaba (1988-1992)
Dr. Thomas Aaze Adaba is an internationally acclaimed broadcaster/media expert. He hails from Okene local Government Area of Kogi State, though he was born in Asaba, today’s Delta State. He was President of African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) between 1988-92. Dr. Adaba’s assumption of office as ACCE President was remarkable as he was the first communication practitioner from the field to assume that office. He was a TV administrator when he took over as ACCE president in 1988.
Dr Adaba was National Coordinator/Executive of the association from 1986-88 before he was elected as continental president of the association. Dr. Adaba has an impressive educational background, having studied at various levels in Nigeria and the United States of America (USA). He was an Assistant Director at the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) when he became ACCE continental President in 1988.
Dr. Adaba also has an intimidating career pedigree. His career spans across several years in both the classroom and field of professional practice. He had a thriving career at NTA growing through the ranks to become General Manager, NTA Makurdi, at some point, and Deputy Director, Operations, at NTA Headquarters 1991-92. This was before he became the first Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Lagos, between 1992-2003.
Dr. Francis Wete (1992-1998)
Dr. Francis Wete is a Cameroonian communication administrator who became ACCE continental president in 1992. He was the second communication administrator to assume that position as a practitioner in the field, at a time members from the academia dominated the association. Dr. Wete was an Inspector General in the Federal Government of Cameroon when he took over as ACCE continental president. His emergence as ACCE President was also a remarkable achievement in the efforts of the association to encourage administrators and practitioners outside the classroom to join ACCE.
Prof. Ikechukwu Nwosu (1998-2005)
Prof. Ikechukwu Nwosu became the continental president of ACCE in 1998, after the association’s conference that was held at Abuja, Nigeria. This came after the association had become inactive for a long period of time. In fact, Prof. Nwosu was credited with reviving the ACCE, Nigeria chapter in the late 1990s. He was both the association’s Continental President and National Coordinator, Nigeria chapter, simultaneously. He was elected First Vice-President of the association from 1984 to the time he became the continental president in 1998. His unique personality contributed to the rise of journalism in Nigeria, setting a standard that should be the yardstick for success in this field.
Prof. Nwosu was a professor of integrated, mass and marketing communication, and one of Africa’s most prolific communication scholars. He studied at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A, at various times. He introduced and developed the Public Relations Programme in the Marketing Department of the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC) where he lectured until his death in May, 2011, at the age of 65.
Prof. Ebenezer Soola (2005-2009)
Prof. Oludayo Ebenezer Soola became the National Coordinator of ACCE in 2004. He was among the scholars who revived ACCE, Nigeria chapter in the late 1990s. He was the National Coordinating Secretary of ACCE before becoming the association’s National Coordinator in 2004.
Prof. Soola retired from the Communication Arts Department, University of Ibadan. He is from Egba-Obafemi/Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State. He studied at the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University OAU in 1970, where he read and obtained an Honours Bachelor’s degree in English. He later proceeded to Brooklyn College City University of New York in the United States of America where he obtained a Master’s degree in Broadcast Communication. On returning to Nigeria, he crowned his academic laurels with a Ph.D. from the prestigious University of Ibadan. Soola who joined the University of Ibadan in 1984 became a professor in 2010. He has served the University of Ibadan in various capacities. Prof. Soola has been a professional adviser to many local and international organizations, including UNICEF. Soola has raised several scholars who are currently mentoring several upcoming scholars in the field of communication.
Prof. Des Wilson (2009-2013)
Prof. Desmond Wilson became the National Coordinator of ACCE after he was elected at the association’s Annual General Meeting/National Conference held at the Delta State University, Abraka, in 2009. He is a respected Professor of Communication Arts in Sub-Saharan Africa, having a very remarkable career as a lecturer of many years at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Prof. Wilson’s area of specialization which made him a unique scholar in Nigeria is Ethnocommunicology and Trado-modern Communication. Prof. Wilson has raised an army of communication scholars who command armies of budding scholars in different parts of Africa. His tenure as National Coordinator of ACCE was very eventful, with well attended conferences and publications from the association during this period.
Prof. Danjuma Gambo (2012-2017)
Prof. Danjuma Gambo became the National Coordinator of ACCE in 2009 after he was elected at the association’s Annual General Meeting/National Conference held at the Federal University of Technology, Minna in 2013. His tenure as ACCE coordinator was remarkable for being able to unify the association’s scholars both in the academia and the field, from different parts of the country. Prof. Gambo studied at both the University of Maiduguri and the University of Ghana. He has served in various capacities at the University of Maiduguri as Head of Department of Mass Communication, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and the University’s spokes person, among others. He is one of the communication scholars that are behind the impressive growth of ACCE in Nigeria and beyond.
Prof. Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu (2017-)
Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu is a Professor of International and Strategic Communications in the Dept of Communication Arts, University of Uyo, Nigeria. He was elected National Coordinator at the association’s Annual General Meeting/National conference held at the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria in 2017. Prof. Ekeanyanwu studied at various times at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Covenant University respectively. His exceptional contributions which changed the face of ACCE began while he was the National Coordinating Secretary the Council from 2013 to 2017. This was a period the council was effectively aligned with the digital world, expanding the membership base with more online contacts, moving the ACCE secretariat into the cyberspace with visible advantages. He then became the National President in 2017 with more policies that made the council much more in line with what obtained in other international communication-based organizations/professional bodies of great reckoning across the world such as the International Communication Association (ICA) and Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). Today, ACCE operates in divisions, with more organized and specialist-based conferences and paper presentations. The membership base has continued to increase with more participation by Nigerian scholars based in the US and Europe. The Nigerian chapter of ACCE has assumed a more powerful position as one of the most-sought-after communication associations in Africa, a major reason for more participations from Nigerian communication scholars in the Diaspora.
We hope you learnt from article. You now know those at the helm of affairs of ACCE over the years, who made sure the association got to a level of top reckoning and served as an effective platform for social change communication in Africa.