Prof. Alfred Opubor, Nigerian Communication Scholar

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.

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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