*Buried in Ihima, Kogi State
*Mourned by Buhari’s Political Adviser, Babafemi Ojudu
Former Managing Director of the famous Daily Times, Dr. Onukaba Adinoyi Ojo, has been reported dead during an encounter with armed robbers on his way from Abeokuta, Ogun state where he attended the 80th birthday of his former boss, ex President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Onukaba Ojo, who was 57 at the time of his death, also a governorship aspirant in the last Kogi Primary election under the All Progressives Congress (APC), was reported to have died at about 6 pm on Sunday at a village near Akure , Ondo State capital. The spot is said to be about 10 minutes to Akure.
One of his relations, Yusuf Itopa, who broke the news today, Monday said that Onukaba Ojo, the late veteran journalist was knocked down by an oncoming vehicle while running into a nearby bush to escape an armed robbery attack. Itopa said that three of them, including his driver, were travelling when they ran into a blockade mounted by the armed robbers.
He said Onukaba’s corpse was later deposited at a mortuary in Akure from where it would be brought for burial today in his hometown, Ihima, Okehi Local Government area of Kogi State.
The late Onukaba, who was Senior Special Assistant on media to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, had earlier lost his first wife, Rachael about five years ago. He, however, re-married in 2015 to Memunat
Onukaba is survived by three children: two girls and a boy.
The Special Adviser on Political Matters to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, described Onukaba as a brilliant and incorruptible journalist.
“He stood out among his colleagues then as aviation correspondent for The Guardian where he met and struck friendship with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo,” Ojudu wrote on his Facebook page, adding that he would be buried later today.
Ojudu in his tribute, described Onukaba, who was also a playwright, as a man of noble ideas and ideals.
“Onukaba was a good man. He brimmed with great vision for his people which he could not bring to reality,” he added.
Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba was born on the 9th March, 1960 in Oboroke-Ihima, Okehi LGA of Kogi State to the family of Mallam Shuaibu Onukaba and Hajia Aisha Onukaba. He obtained his first degree in 1982 in Theatre Arts from University of Ibadan. He served his national service at Radio Nigeria, Ikoyi –Lagos in 1982/83. He joined The Guardian newspaper as one of its pioneer reporters in 1983. He rose to the position of News Editor before travelling out in 1989 for graduate studies. He bagged Master of Arts degree in Journalism from New York University, New York, USA. He worked as a Research Officer at the African Leadership Forum, New York. Onukaba also served as the Information officer, Division of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) between 1994 and 1995. He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1996 from New York University.
Dr. Onukaba became Adjunct Professor of Mass Communication at the School of New Resources. College of New Rochelle, New York in 1997. Between 1997 and 1998, he worked as Press Officer, Department of Public Information, United Nations (New York). In June 1998, he was sent to Iraq as an Information Officer, United Nations Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator. Upon his return to Nigeria in 1999 to participate in the present democratic dispensation, his sterling qualities and ability to succeed caught the attention of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who appointed him as Special Assistant on Media Relations. He had known and related closely with both Atiku and Olusegun Obasanjo since 1984.
Onukaba got to the peak of his journalistic career in August 1999 when he was appointed Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the then ailing Daily Times of Nigeria PLC. He worked tirelessly to reposition the Daily Times and made it attractive to investors. The company was privatized in 2004. Onukaba returned to the presidency as Senior Special Assistant to the former Vice president Atiku Abubakar on Public Communications between July 2003 and April 2005. Beyond Onukaba’s humble exterior lies impenetrable armour of principle and dedication to duty. In December 2005, the Okun Youth Solidarity Forum (OYSF) led by Hon. Adeniyi Sunday Bello, honoured him with the “Pillar of Youth Award” in recognitioin of his services to the State. Earlier in 2001, the then Governor Abubakar Audu of Kogi State honoured him as one of the distinguished citizens of the state. Onukaba has received numerous other awards for his decency, integrity, creativity and kindness.
Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba, a seasoned journalist, playwright and publisher of high repute, has published so many books and journals including: “In the Eye of Time”- a biography of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. “Atiku Abubakar”- a biography of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. “Born to Run” – a biography of Late Dele Giwa, co-authored by him and Dele Olojede. Some of his plays include, Her Majesty’s Visit, A Resting Place, Tower of Burden, The Virginity Flee, The Lone Ranger, Bargain Hunting, and Soommalliyya. His play, “The Killing Swamp” was one of the three finalists for the 2010 NLNG Literature Award. Rest in peace