OPUBOR, Alfred, Prof

Born March 28,1937

Northern Nigeria




BA (London); MA (UCLA); PhD (Michigan State),

Nigeria’s foremost communications expert; first professor of Mass Communication and chairperson, Department of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos and first Chairman News Agency of Nigeria.
Gender: Male
Marital Status
  • Married
Name of Spouse Antoinette
Father's Name John Opubor
Father's Status Deceased
Mother's Name Emily Opubor
Mother's Status Deceased

Tsemaye Opubor Hambraeus and John Opubor

Profession University Lecturer
Working Experience
Previous Appointments:

He was appointed on graduation in 1969 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University, and in 1971 was promoted Associate Professor of Communication and Director of the African Studies Centre. In 1975 he accepted the Professorial Chair and Headship of the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. There he trained generations of journalists and communication professionals, and introduced post-graduate programs, until withdrawing from service in 1986.

From 1978-1982 he was National Director of the UNFPA/UNESCO Project on ” Communication Strategies for Family Health, Family Welfare and Family Planning in Rural and Semi-Urban Nigeria”, based at the Department of Mass Communication. At the University of Lagos, he also served as University Orator and Chairman of the Board of the Centre for Cultural Studies.

One of the founding fathers of the African Council on Communication Education, ACCE, he was elected Vice-President of the International Association for Mass Communication Research (1978-1982). He served as Chairman of the Communication Sector of the Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO from 1975 to 1985. A member of the UNESCO International Panel on Communication Research, (1971-1981), that defined the parameters of the New World Information and Communication Order debate, he was elected in 1981 as the pioneer Rapporteur-General of UNESCO’s International Program for the Development of Communication, IPDC. He was re-elected to the Bureau and served three terms till 1987.

He was founding Chairman of the Board of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, (1979-83), as well as Chairman of the Board of the Bendel Newspapers Corporation, (19 77-82). In 1986 he established Multimedia, a private communications consulting firm in Lagos, focusing on training and research in media, culture and development. During that decade, he was also Chair of the Friends of the National Museum in Lagos.

In 1988 he was elected Chairman of the Conference of Information Experts of the Organization of African Unity, OAU. In that capacity he supervised the drafting of the African Communication Policy and the Statutes of the Pan-African Advertising Union.

Between 1980 and 1988 in Nigeria, he was: Communication Consultant to the Nigerian Federal Environmental Protection Agency, FEPA, the Directorate of Social Mobilization, MAMSER, the Ministry of Health’s Department of Population Activities, and the Federal Ministry of Information; Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Committee for the preparation of the National Environmental Policy; Chairman of the National Committee on Information and Chairman of the National Committee on Census Publicity and Public Enlightenment. From 1982 to 1990 he organized the annual 10-day workshop on Environmental Awareness for the Nigerian Media, in collaboration with FEPA.

From 1980 to 1981 he was Member/Rapporteur of AFRICOM, the Eminent Persons’ Group appointed by UNESCO’s Director- General. He also served as research coordinator of the African Council on Communication Education, ACCE, and Chief Consultant for the UNESCO Regional Communication Office, both based in Nairobi, Kenya.

From 1983 to 1986, he lived in Dakar, Senegal where he was Information Adviser to the newly established Pan-African News Agency, PANA, with responsibility for research and editorial training. From 1986 to 1990 he was Chief Consultant on Information to the Secretariat of the Organization of African Unity, OAU; and from 1989-1990, he served the Economic Commission for Africa, ECA, as Consultant for the Working Group on the Dissemination and Popularization of population information.
Since 2003 until his death on 2nd December 2011, he was Secretary-General of the 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.

Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters

University of London, (1961), and the University of California, Los Angeles,

In 1999, UNFPA and UNAIDS assigned him to lead the team of consultants that prepared a report on HIV/AIDS advocacy based on field research in six African countries.
With the World Health Organisation Africa Regional Office (Harare, 1999), he prepared projects on the future of health communication in Africa.
In 2000, he led a consultation organised by FAO and ECOWAS in defining procedures, manuals and tools for the establishment of national communication policies in West Africa.
In 1999 he was a communication consultant to the World Bank for the urban water reform in Ghana, as well as the preparation of a development communication strategy for the Government of Ghana.
In 2007 he was an invited consultant/ participant at the 10th United Nations Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development in Addis Ababa, whch aimed at developing a UN system-wide common approach to Communication for Development in the context of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

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

2 December, 2011
Last Update

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