It was eight years ago on this day, December 2, 2011, that Prof Alfred Opubor passed away in Cotonou, Benin. Prof. Opubor was a great visionary who spearheaded the campaign to use Communication for Education and Development in Africa. This campaign is what has given rise to the formation of CAFOR. According to Mrs Bukola Olatunji who is now an Executive Board member of CAFOR, Prof. Opubor’ s vision for COMED – the Communication for Education and Development Network in Africa, his hard work and commitment resulted in the massive network of African journalists covering education on the continent. It is this vision that has given birth to CAFOR.
According to John Nevboyeri Orife and Ajovi Scott-Emuakpor, Prof Alfred Opubor’s academic and professional careers were fruitful, and his service to higher education and his country was very robust. He also served the International community with uncommon zeal. He was a communicologist. A graduate of the University of London, (B.A. Honors, 1961), and the University of California, Los Angeles, (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 in 1969. His specialization was in message systems, with application to mass media and cultural industries, and communication for development.
After holding several important positions internationally at UNESCO, UNFPA and high –level positions in Nigeria, Prof. Opubor served from 2002 to 2007, as Coordinator of the Working Group on Communication for Education and Development, COMED, co-sponsored by the Norwegian Education Trust Fund and the World Bank, and located at the WANAD Centre, in Cotonou, Republic of Benin. The COMED Working Group trained journalists reporting on education, as well as information and communication officers of ministries of education. As part of developing a media specialization in education reporting, COMED established a continent-wide network of media professionals, and ten national chapters, supporting them with capacity-development activities as well as updated information.
In 2008-2009, as Consultant to the ECOWAS Commission, he prepared the communication policy and strategy for moving ECOWAS from “A Community of States to A Community of People”.
As Chief Executive of the WANAD Centre, Professor Opubor designed and oversaw the mass media component of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Project funded by the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The five- year project (2007-2012) is implemented in five countries on the West African Coast: Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, and sought to address prevention, treatment and care issues concerning HIV/AIDS in the context of trans-border mobility among the countries. WANAD partnered with 25 broadcast media organizations (five per state) to ensure capacity reinforcement for demand creation, public awareness and behaviour change through quality programs.
May His Soul Continue To Rest in Perfect Peace.
This video is an extract from Prof Alfred Opubor speaking in Accra, Ghana three months before his passing on the preparation of a Toolkit to train journalists in Africa.