Every profession has names associated with its foundation and growth in any nation. In this new series, we present Professors whose names are remarkably visible in the communication education landscape in Nigeria. Modern graduates of communication and related departments may not have come across these names. There is every need for them to have these names in their memories as part of the solid history of communication education in Nigeria. We begin, in no particular order, with these scholars best described as communication education Generals in Nigeria. For further details of who they are or what they have done, information provided here can serve as a guide for deeper research on them. You should read this!
Prof. Alfred Opubor
Prof. Alfred Opubor was the first man in Africa to get a Ph.D in communication. He contributed immensely in shaping the way communication and development was taught in the continent for the last decades, before his death in December 2011. Prof Opubor started his career as a broadcaster in Nigeria with degrees from the University of London, (B.A. Honours, 1961), and the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA, (M.A. 1963), he was among the first generation of students of communication as a behavioural science at Michigan State University, MSU, graduating with a doctorate degree in the new discipline in 1969. He championed the theory of developmental communication and went ahead to develop models for practising journalism in that area where he challenged the leaders, and the public in general on how to use information to interpret and analyse the developmental issues. He was at the forefront in building the media and creating new models which are currently being used by many Universities to teach communication.
Prof Opubor was appointed to the Professorial Chair and Headship of the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 1975. There he taught generations of journalists and media professionals, and introduced post-graduate programs, until 1986.
He was also Vice-President of the International Association for Mass Communication Research (1976-1984), he served as Chairman of the Communication Sector of the Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO,1976-1986 and was elected Rapporteur-General of UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication, IPDC, (1981-87). He was founding Chairman of the Board of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, (1979-83), and Information and Training Adviser at the Pan-African News Agency, PANA, in Dakar, Senegal (1983-86). In 1986 he established Multimedia, a private communications consulting firm in Lagos, Nigeria, focusing on media and development issues. From 1990 to 1998 he served as Technical Adviser in Information, Education and Communication with the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, first in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, and then with the Country Support Team, CST, in Harare, Zimbabwe, covering over 20 African countries. He also did communication consultancies for FAO, ILO, SADC,WHO, UNAIDS, UNESCO,UNFPA and the World Bank. He was the Coordinator of the ADEA Working Group on Communication for Education and Development, COMED, co-sponsored by ADEA, the World Bank and the Norwegian Trust Fund for Education in Africa, located at the West African News-media and Development Centre, WANAD, in Cotonou, Republic of Benin. The COMED Program trains journalists reporting on education, communication officers of ministries of education and other stakeholders. Director of Communication for Development at the West Africa News Media and Development Centre (WANAD Centre), Opubor is also its Secretary-General.
Prof. Onuora Nwuneli is rated as one of the leading Professors of Mass Communication in Nigeria. He is a native of Igbakwu in Ayamelum Local Government Areaof Anambra State. He is a man of great charisma. Prof. Nwuneli has worked as a lecturer in many universities, among which are Lagos State University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University and Covenant University. He specializes in communication research, print journalism and online journalism. Nwuneli is a traditional ruler with the title of Ezemalum 1 of Igbakwu. Due to his academic qualifications and reputation, his candidacy to the position was unopposed and has the support of the people. He studied at the University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin USA where he obtained his M. A and Ph.D 1968-1976 in Communication Arts, and Texas Southern University, Houston Texas USA where he obtained B.A in Journalism. He specialized in Behaviour change Communication, Health Communication Strategy Advocacy Communication, Communication Strategy Design and Evaluation, Qualitative and Quantitative Socio-cultural Research, International communication and public Diplomacy print Journalism. He worked as a project Assistant University of Wisconsin Madison News service USA. He taught in Lagos State University as a Lecturer in 1970-1976, He also taught in UNESCO as the chief Technical Adviser population Communication Kenya Institute of Mass Communication Nairobi, Kenya in 1990-1993 His political Appointments, 1987-1988 he worked as the Commissioner of local Government, Rural Development and Chieftaincy Matters Anambra State, 1986-1991. he also worked as the Commissioner for Information, Social Development in Anambra state he also headed many other offices within and beyond the country. He has written many Books, Articles both Local and International.
Professor Umaru Pate is of the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero Univesity, Kano. He is an eminent scholar, a communication guru and an inspirational writer, a decisive commentator on national and international issues, an astute journalist and above all a mentor. He has impacted positively on the development of the media and the grooming of media teachers and practitioners in Nigeria. Prof. Pate was born on the January 4th, 1964 in Adamawa state. Professor Pate took appointment as a graduate assistant at the University of Maiduguri in October 1988 and immediately left for the University of Ghana Legon on fellowship of Master of Philosophy (M.phil) Degree in Communication studies which he completed in 1990. In 1993, he enrolled for a Ph.D at the University of Maiduguri and graduated in February 1997. He became a Professor of Media and Society in October 20, 2007. He has remained a source of inspiration to all the students he tutored in the University level and other citadels of learning here in Nigeria and abroad. Prof. Pate is actively engaged in wider community services that include writing and commenting on national and international current affairs, offering capacity building services to media and civil society organization in and out of Nigeria, consulting for agencies and participating on official assignment at state and federal levels.
Prof. Pate is a holder of the traditional tile of “kaigama” in Adamawa state. It is amazing to know that Prof. Pate is a man of great courage who serves humanity, combining two tasking jobs: Journalism and a traditional ruler as the “Kaigama” of his state. This title represents the Chief of Defense Staff of the Emirate and the a number of the 12 Kingmakers of Adamawa which according to history, emerged from the reign of the Muslim founder of the state in 1809.
Professor Chinyere Stella Okunna is the first female Professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria. She had her B.A. from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, M.A. from the University of Leicester Centre for Mass Communication Research, Leicester, England/UK and her Ph.D from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Her area of specialization is Behaviour Change Communication (Development Communication). She became a Professor of Mass Communication at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in 2001. Professor Okunna has held various public offices among which are Chief of Staff, Anambra State Government (2012 – 2014), Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Anambra State (2009 – 2014), Honourable Commissioner for Information and Culture, Anambra State (2006 – 2009), Chair, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Implementation Committee, Anambra State (2009 – 2014), Chair, Anambra State Committee on Good Governance (2007 – 2014), Chair, Anambra State Vision 20: 20-20 (2007 – 2014), and Coordinating Commissioner, Development Partnership/Donor Agencies Activities in Anambra State (2009 – 2014). Professor Okunna has published several scholarly articles in reputable International and local journals. She has also authored, co-authored, edited, and co-edited highly regarded books in Mass Communication. She is currently back to the ivory tower at the Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria.
Prof. Idowu Akanbi Sobowale is presently with Atlantic University in Lagos State. Prof Sobowale is a professor of journalism and former head of Department in Olabisi Onabajo University, Ago Iwoye,Ogun State, and Covenant University, Ottah, Ogun State. He was a journalist with the Daily Times of Nigeria limited between 1964 and 1975.He was a war correspondent during the entire 30 months of Nigerian Civil war between 1967 and 1970.
He rose from being a cub reporter to the position of the assistant editor before he left for academia in 1975. He introduced opinion polling into Nigeria in 1978. He has Masters and doctorate degrees in newspaper and political communication.
Prof. Sobowale was a Special Adviser and Commissioner for Education in the first and third civilian governments of Lagos state. He is a teacher in communication research, communication theory, scientific journalism and communication for development, among other subjects. He is also the author of scientific journalism and journalism as a career. He won many awards which includes Nigeria Media Merit Award, Diamond Award for Media Excellence (DAME). Prof. Sobowale is particularly unique for his contributions in the area of scientific journalism in Nigeria.
Prof. Desmond Wilson is of the Department of Communication Arts, University of Uyo. He is one-time National Coordinator, African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), Nigeria Chapte. He is a respected Professor of Communication Arts in Sub-Saharan Africa. His area of specialization which made him a unique scholar in Nigeria is reflected in his inaugural lecture which was on the topic; Ethnocommunicology, Trado-modern Communication and Metamorphosis in Nigeria; An Iconoclast’s Demystification of some Communication Traditions. Prof Wilson, a member of PREMIUM TIMES editorial board, he is a BSC holder of Arts Degree in English from the University of Ibadan, a Master of Arts Degree in Language Arts as well as Ph.D holder in Communication and Language Arts from the same university. Professor Wilson is a member of several bodies including National Council, Amnesty International, Nigerian Secretariat, African Council for Communication Education, Nigeria Union of Journalists, University Media and Aesthetics Association, and Nigerian Institute of Public Relations. Prof. Wilson has raised an army of communication scholars who command armies of budding scholas in different parts of Africa.
Professor Ralph Akinfeleye is of the University of Lagos (UNILAG). He serves as the chair and head of mass communication department in that university. He is one of the longest serving lecturers in the department. Prof Akinfeleye is a recipient of numerous awards in recognition of his contributions to media education in Nigeria. He is one of the famous mass communication professors noted for making contributions in the development of communication education in Nigeria. And because of his hard work he has received indefinite promotions and awards.
Professor Akinfeleye has beat about 149 mass communication lecturers and researchers across the country to clinch the media achievers award 2009. This award was given to him in honour of his service towards promoting media practice and communication education in Nigeria. The award was given to him by Writers Association of Nigeria (WAN). Prof. Akinfeleye is a name that rings bell in Nigeria’s communication education landscape.
Prof Ike Nwosu was one of Africa’s most innovative Mass Communication scholars and the first Professor of Mass, Integrated and Marketing Communication in Nigeria. He
was an iconic mass communication scholar. While a relatively young academician in the 1980s, he wanted to succeed Frank Ugboajah of the University of Lagos as arguably Nigeria’s most engaging Mass Communication researcher. His quest to achieve the foregoing became an incentive that spurred him to the top. This unique personality contributed to the rise of journalism in Nigeria, setting a standard that should be the yardstick for success in this field. Charged with vigour and vitality, Ikechukwu Nwosu, Africa’s most prolific Mass Communication scholar, made himself available and was very supportive till his last breath. He was credited with reviving the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), Nigeria chapter in the late 1990s. 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. He was National Coordinator of ACCE and National Chairman of NIPR. Prof Nwosu was one of the strong pillars in communication education in Nigeria. He died at the age of 65.
Prof. Charles Okigbo is a communication professor at North Dakota State University located in Fargo, North Dakota. Prof. Okigbo’s land marks in communication education in Nigeria are quite intimidating. He has graduate communication degrees from Ohio University and Southern Illinois University, and a public policy degree from Harvard University. He also holds master’s degrees from the University of Leicester (UK), and the University of Nigeria. Prof. Okigbo has taught mass communication on full or part time basis at the University of Nigeria, the University of Lagos, the University of Nairobi, Daystar University (Nairobi) and the University of North Dakota. He was the pioneer registrar of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and executive coordinator of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), a pan-African NGO established by UNESCO, and based at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He has consulted for United Nations agencies and national governments, published in many international journals, and produced (as editor) six books in mass communication.
Prof. Okigbo’s professional interests are in advocacy, capital campaigns, fund raising, international communication, public communication and public diplomacy. Prof. Okigbo is one of the top scholars who have continued to contribute in diverse ways to the development of communication education in Nigeria. He is noted for making research opportunities available for Nigerian scholars as a way of keeping them abreast with emerging trends in the profession.
Prof. Chris Wolumati Ogbondah is a professor of journalism, and was the coordinator of the mass communication program in the department of communication studies, University of Northern Iowa for over 12 years. Prof. Ogbondah is among few Nigerian communication scholars across the world with remakble achievements that have taken the country’s standing in communication education to enviable reckoning. He is the author of The press in Nigeria: An annotated bibliography; Military regimes and the press in Nigeria, 1966-1993; State-press relations in Nigeria, 1993-1998: Human rights and democratic development. He has published articles in the Gazette:International Journal of Communication, Political Communication and Persuasion, Afrika Spectrum, African Issues, Africa Media Review, Public Relations Quarterly and other scholarly journals as well as book chapters on the media in Africa.
Prof. Ogbondah also had notable experience in the field before delving into the classroom. He worked as a news reporter and program producer at the WNTV/WNBS, Ibadan, and Nigerian Television, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He was an assistant editor at The Tide in Port Harcourt, and has worked as a reporter at six American newspapers, including The Grand Rapids Press, Michigan and Lexington News, Missouri. He has been a recipient of American Press Institute Fellowships and American Society of Newspaper Editors Fellowship.
Prof. Ogbondah is a very strong member of African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), Nigeria chapter. His presence in meetings of ACCE, especially conferences held in Nigeria, reflects his interest in the development of Communication education in the country.
Prof. Andrew Azukaego Moemeka is Professor Emeritus at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, USA. He is primarily concerned with radio broadcasting, journalism, and rural development. He graduated in Mass Communication at the University of Lagos in Nigeria in 1972 and finished his PhD in Communication and Sociology at the State University of New York, Albany, in 1987. He has made diverse contribution, particularly in development communication and in the field of Intercultural Communication. He has contributed for many years to the field of development communication through his focus on creating awareness about the need to include participants in the development process, and by acknowledging the global perspective in the field. He also worked with the Covenant University, Ottah, Ogun State before returning to the US.One of his major works is a book entitled Development and Communication in Action which provides the missing link between theory and practice in the field of development communication and social change. The book points out how to successfully apply theory, models and modules for use in developing countries. Prof. Moemeka is indeed a pillar in communication education in Nigeria.
Professor Oludayo Ebenezer Soola is with the Communication Arts Department, University of Ibadan. He was born in 1946 in Egba-Obafemi/Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State. After his primary and post-primary studies, he was admitted to 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. He has also successfully supervised several 21 Ph.D. theses both for the UI and other notable universities. He has also served the National Universities Commission, NUC, as a member and chairman of accreditation panels to a number of universities. He is credited with being among the scholars who revived African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), Nigeria chapter in the late 1990s.
He was the National Coordinating Secretary of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) and then the National Coordinator for another four years.
To the community at large, Soola has been a professional adviser to many local and international organizations. Indeed for 20years he provided professional advice to UNICEF and only recently, he was awarded 25years long service award as Examiner/Chief examiner in Business Communication. Soola has raised several scholars who are currently mentoring several upcoming scholars in the field of communication.
Professor Luke Uka a former head of department Mass Communication, and was also an author of so many books a development journalism in the university of Lagos. He was the head of department in August 1999. Professor Uka died at Illinois, Chicago October 6, 2015 after a long battle with cancer. He was an erudite scholar. Before his death he worked in the Pan Africa News Agency (PANA), Radio Nigeria Kaduna and was also a external examiner to many universities including in the United kingdom.
Professor Frank Okwu Ugboajah was one of the top professors who had an outstanding reputation in the field of mass communication. He remained a genius of mass communication till death in 1987. His outstanding performance helped build communication education in Nigeria. He attended the University of Minnesota where he gained his B.Sc, M.Sc, and Ph.D in Mass Communication in the early 1970’s. He passed away in March 1987, on his way from US to Nairobi, after presenting a paper at the 5th biennial conference of ACCE. He was a professor and a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos. He had an outstanding record being a lecturer. Late Professor Ugboajah argued that as far as African communication research was concerned, the problem was not only that of research process, but also oral arts are needed to bring about more civilization in the society. He argued in favour of harnessing traditional culture in the service of development. He also made emphasis on Oramedia which is a traditional communication process and social settings in which communication takes place; as he believes that it is a way of spreading development information. Frank tried his best to see that an attempt was made to integrate the traditional model of communication into development process. He was a pillar in communication education in Nigeria.
Prof. Ike Ndolo is with the Department of Mass Communication, Enugu State University (ESUT). He has been with ESUT since 1992. He was with the University of Nigeria as a Professor of Mass Communication for 2 years (2005-2013). He was Executive Director of ESUT Business School from 1999-2005. He was Assistant Professor at Howard University from August 1987-July 1992 when he returned to Nigeria to join ESUT. He got his BA in Radio and Television from University of Houston, Master of Arts in Telecommunications Management in 1981 from Texas Southern Univesity and Ph.D in Mass Communication/Media Studies in 1987 from Howard University. Prof. Ndolo is a scholar so many budding scholars look up to. He is also a strong member of African Council for Communication Educaton (ACCE), Nigeria chapter.
Professor Lia Oso is a professor at the School of Communication, Lagos State University (LASU). Before joining LASU, he was the Deputy Rector at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta, where he began his academic career. Between the year 2011 and 2014 he was the Dean in School of Communication, LASU. His academic qualifications include a B.Sc which he obtained at LASU in 1978. He obtained his second degree certificate MSC at Obafemi Awolowo University 1981 and a Ph. D from the University of Leicester in 987. He served as the National Secretary of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) Nigeria chapter. Prof. Oso is generally acknowledged as one of the most widely published communication researchers in Nigeria. He has served as the National Secretary of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), and President of the Association of Communication Scholars and Professional of Nigeria (ACSPN). As a communication scholar, professor Lai Oso is a role model. He has earned his reward for his hardwork and diligence, as he is being recognised both locally and internationally.
Prof. Sylvanus Ajana Ekwelie was born in Achalla, Anambra State, in 1936. He graduated best student from the Department of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, in 1967. Soon after, he proceeded to the University of Wisconsin in the USA, where he earned a Ph.D in Journalism. He taught in some American universities before returning to his alma mater to head the department in the early seventies.
Prof. Ekwelie belonged to a generation that considered teaching a sacred calling and believed that the students under them were to be protected.
Over the years, Professor Ekwelie has produced and influenced generations of the best of breed in communication, marketing, finance, oil and gas, public service, the academia and indeed all walks of life. He is a towering pillar in communication education, having taught several scholars who are vibrant Professors today. He has a father figure that inspires budding scholars to breakthrough in the profession.