Journalist, Playwright Onukaba is Dead

A renowned journalist and former Managing Director of Daily Times Nigeria, Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba, died tragically on Sunday, even as he was said to be fleeing from death.
A great playwright, Onukaba, who was also a former spokesperson to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, died at about 6p.m. on Sunday, aged 57, at a village near Akure, Ondo State capital.
One of his relations, Yusuf Itopa, confirmed his death in Lokoja on Monday.
He said that journalist-turned-politician was knocked down by an oncoming vehicle while running into a nearby bush to escape an armed robbery attack.
He was on his way back to Abuja from Abeokuta, Ogun State, where he had joined other dignitaries to attend the inauguration of Obasanjo Presidential Library.
Itopa said Onukaba, his driver, and one other person, were traveling when they ran into a blockade mounted by armed robbers.
He said Onukaba’s body was later deposited at a mortuary in Akure, from where it will be brought for burial later Monday in his hometown, Ihima, Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Onukaba lost his first wife , Rachael, about five years ago, and later remarried in 2015 to Memunat.
He is survived by three children, two girls and a boy.
He started his journalism career in The Guardian in 1983.
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.
A seasoned journalist, playwright and publisher of high repute, Onukaba had 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.

Author: News Editor

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