Women have come of age in the academia in Nigeria and other parts of the world. Communication education in Nigeria was a male dominated environment especially at the professorial level until some women broke the jinx. Here is a list of first female professors of mass communication or communication/media studies in Nigeria.
Professor Chinyere Stella Okunna
At number one is Chinyere Stella Okunna. She is the first female Professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria. Not just that; she has also made hermark in the industry with landmark books and research articles to her credit. Her edited book “Teaching Mass Communication” still stands out as one of the text that numerous graduates of Mass Communication in Nigeria read. Okunna 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. She 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.
Prof. Okunna served in the government of Anambra state in various capacities for eight years. She was the 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), Coordinating Commissioner, Development Partnership/Donor Agencies Activities in Anambra State (2009 – 2014), among others. She is currently back to the ivory tower at the Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria.
Prof Abiola Odejide
Professor Abiola Odejide is an Emeritus Professor of Communication and Language Arts at University of Ibadan. She was the Deputy Vice Chancellor at the university from November 8, 2004 to November 7, 2006. She is in fact, the first woman to attain such position at the University of Ibadan. She is the first female professor of Communication and Language Arts in Nigeria.
Odejide had her first degree in English, graduating with a second class upper at University of Ibadan in 1968. She then proceeded to University of Leeds to obtain a master’s degree in Linguistics and English Language Teaching in 1974, finishing with distinction. She got her PhD from the University of Ibadan in 1986. She became a full professor of Communication and Language Arts at University of Ibadan in 1991. She retired from the Unibadan in November 2011.
If the argument on whether Mass Communication department and the Department of Communication and Language Arts have a thin line dividing them rages on, Prof. Odejide could be viewed as the first female professor of communication education in Nigeria while Prof. Okunna is the first female professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria.
Prof Kate Azuka Omenugha
Prof Kate Azuka Omenugha is of the Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University. She became a Professor in 2013. She currently serves as the Honourable Commissioner for Education in Anambra State, Nigeria. Prof Omenugha studied in Nigeria and the United Kingdom acquiring degrees in Education, English, Communication, Gender and Cultural Studies. She had her first and second degrees from the University of Nigeria before travelling to the University of Gloucestershire, United Kingdom for her Ph.D.
Before her appointment by Governor Willie Obiano, she was the Head of Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria for six consecutive years (2006 – 2012). She was behind the initiation and take-off of UNIZIK 94.1 FM – the campus radio station and sustaining it for the years it has existed, first as its Chair and later the Director. Prof. Kate Omenugha has to her credit over seventy book chapters, journal articles, conference papers, solicited papers, technical reports, books and monographs published both locally and internationally. She has served as advisor and External Examiner for Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes in over 15 Universities, within and outside Nigeria, including University of Legon, Ghana and Coventry University, UK.
Professor Victoria Ajala
Professor Victoria Ajala is a communication consultant who retired from the Department of Mass Communication, Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State. She is the third female Professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria, as she was elevated to this rank in 2014. She holds a B.Sc (1st Class honours), two M.Sc degrees in Advertising and PR and PhD in Communication. She has published books and several research articles in local and international journals, and is Fellow of the NIPR, a member of the ACCE and the APRA. One of Ajala’s textbooks which is a true classic is entitled “Public Relations in Search of Professional Excellence” published in 1993 by Afrika-Link Books Ibadan. You can ask around about this book and see why Professor Ajala is a house-hold name in the communication education sector in Nigeria.
Professor Nkechi Mercy Christopher
Professor Nkechi Mercy Christopher is a lecturer at the Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. She is the fourth female Professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics from University of Benin and a Master’s Degree and PhD from the University of Ibadan. She was elevated to the rank of professor with effective date of 2014. She is the second female Professor in Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, twenty years after the first woman recorded the feat. Her area of specialization is Literacy Development, Language Arts, Book Publishing, and Communication Studies. One of her stand-out research works is “Teacher Motivation as a Factor in Language Teaching and Learning in Nigeria” published in Journal of NELTA in 2012, has been widely referred to by scholars in the language teaching and learning field.
Prof. Christiana G. E. Best
Professor Christiana Best is of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Jos. She was is a former head of department. Her contributions took the department to enviable heights.
Professor Odozi Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika
Professor Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika is of the Department of Mass Communication, the University of Lagos (UNILAG). She became a Professor in June, 2017 though with an effective date of August 11, 2016. She is Unilag’s first female professor of Mass Communication. She is well published both locally and internationally with several publications and conference papers to her credit. Ogwezzy-Ndisika has made her mark in development communication and gender studies with ground-breaking publications to her credit. In 1991 she was the Best Graduating Student of English Department, University of Port Harcourt. The Delta State born scholar went further to bag a Post Graduate Diploma and Master’s Degree in Mass Communication at the University of Lagos in 1995 and 1997 respectively, a Second Master’s Degree in Gender Development at the University of Sussex in 2001, UK and a Doctor of Philosophy in Communication Arts at University of Ibadan in 2005.
Among Ogweezy-Ndisika’s textbooks which could be described as classic scholarly titles are African Communication Systems: Concepts, Channels and Messages published in 2008 by African Renaissance Books, and A functional approach to African communication systems Published by Concept Publications in 2008. These two texts have been cited by several authors, researchers and students while working on topics related to African Communication Systems.
Professor Ladi Sandra Adamu
Prof. Ladi Sandra Adamu had her primary education at Army Children School, New Cantonment in Ribadu Barracks, Kaduna. She had her secondary education at Queen Amina College, Kaduna. She has a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism (specializing in radio and television) from Columbia College, Hollywood, and a master’s degree in film/script writing from the Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. She became an Associate Professor of Mass Communication at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria in 2014 and was later made a full professor years later but backadated to October 2017. She has several publications in local and international journals.
Prof. Adamu’s dedication and passion for her job have made her different among other female communication scholars in the country. She is today northern Nigeria’s first female professor of broadcasting. Prof. Adamu has practical experience which she combines with her research knowledge to deliver top quality lectures in the classroom. After studying abroad, she returned to Nigeria and worked with the Nigeria Television Authority, Jos as an announcer and presenter. She was later posted to the News and Current Affairs Division as a News Editor and sometimes as a reporter. Her career in journalism took her to the defunct Democrat newspaper as Deputy Editor with the weekly title, also overseeing the women, children and entertainment pages. She was romoted as Weekly Editor of The Democrat newspaper before joining ABU Zaria as a lecturer.
Prof. Adamu is not just a lecturer but one of the pillars of the department of Mass Communication in ABU Zaria. Here is what she said in an interview, about her contributions to the department; “I started the broadcasting section in ABU in 1998/1999 second semester. I have been teaching broadcast courses basically and I also teach news and commentary. I also teach online journalism and some production courses. I was in charge of Campus FM for 10 years; I started it with the BBC. So I rose through the ranks and became a professor.” Her presence in the department is truly amazing.
Prof. Ifeoma Vivian Dunu
Prof. Ifeoma Vivian Dunu is of the Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Unizik). She is a scholar that is well known in Nigeria’s communication education landscape. She had her Ph.D in Mass Communications from Unizik. She is a very vibrant member of African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) Nigeria chapter.
Prof. Dunu is an International Researcher in Communication and Media studies with specialization in Broadcasting, Gender and PRAD. She is also a robust Media Consultant always engaging the industry with dimensions of communication-based practices that ensure profitability and growth. If you google her name you’ll immediately confirm how far she has in communication research and the depth of knowledge she possesses.
Prof. Dunu has attended several remarkable international conferences where she made contacts that benefitted her students and department. Among such international conferences is the one organized by International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) held at the University of Leicester, United Kingdom in 2016. She was among the 27 scholars from around the world to win the very competitive Travel Grant Award of that IAMCR conference. This is a conference that brought together over 1,300 members of the association and other media scholars to deliberate on the topic, Memory, Communication and Commemoration in Celebration of IAMCR’s 50 years anniversary.
Prof. Dunu is also an inspirational role model who has an innate passion for grooming younger scholars to become great in the communication and media studies world. She is among the female professors of Mass Communication in Nigeria doing the discipline proud in the country and across the globe.