Nigeria’s foremost communications expert, Professor Alfred Opubor, is dead.
Aged 75 years, Opubor died in the late hours of the night of 2 December, 2011, following a brief illness at the University Teaching Hospital in Cotonou, Benin according to a statement from the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA),
Professor Opubor, reputed to be the first man in Africa to get a doctoral degree (Ph D) in communications, was one of the first generation of specialists in the field of communications as a behavioural science, having graduated from the Michigan State University, in the US, with a PhD degree in 1969.
His expertise was in communication theories and message systems, and their applications in development.
A former head of the department of mass communications at the University of Lagos, Professor Opubor was also a researcher, government policy adviser and senior communications specialist in the United Nations system. He was also an international consultant in strategic communications and media development.
For nearly a decade (1990-1998), he served as Senior Technical Adviser in Information, Education and Communications for Reproductive Health with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), first in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, subsequently moving to the Country Support Team (CST) in Harare, Zimbabwe, covering more than 20 countries in East, Central and West Africa.
Between 2008 and 2009, he designed the institutional communications strategy for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), entitled “From a Community of States to a Community of People”.
In 2009 he undertook missions on behalf of UNESCO to prepare analytical studies on the integration of communication for development in the CCA/UNDAF of Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, within the context of the UN system’s “Delivering As One” reforms.
He also provided capacity development for members of the UN Communication Group in these countries and was appointed a member of the Experts’ Group on Media Data and Indicators of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, Montreal, Canada, undertaking missions in 2009 to India (March), Paris, (May) and Costa Rica (November).
From 2003 until his death, Professor Opubor was Secretary-General of the West African Newsmedia and Development Centre (WANAD Centre) in Cotonou. He was also Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Panos Institute (West Africa), and Member of the Africa Board of Inter-Press Service (IPS), the Rome-based international news agency with regional headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Professor Opubor is survived by his spouse, Antoinette, children and grand children.