Veteran journalist and member of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba, is dead. He was aged 57
Ojo-Onukaba, a governorship aspirant in the last Kogi Primary election, was reportedly killed on the Ilesha-Akure Road on his way back from the inauguration of President Olusegun Obasanjo Library.
One of his relations, Mr. Yusuf Itopa, who broke the news on Monday, said the 57-year-old 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.
He said the late veteran journalist-turned-politician 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 armed robbers.
He said Onukaba’s corpse was later deposited at a mortuary in Akure from where it will be taken for burial today in his home town, Ihima, in 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, remarried in 2015 to Memunat.
Onukaba is survived by three children — two girls and a boy.
He was born on March 9, 1960 in Oboroke-Ihima, Okehi LGA of Kogi State to the family of Malam Shuaibu Onukaba and Hajia Aisha Onukaba
He started his journalism career in The Guardian in 1983 and made his mark covering the airport in Lagos.
Onukaba struck friendship with many Nigerian dignitaries on this beat, including former head of state, Olusegun Obasanjo.
The relationship with Obasanjo blossomed into Onukaba writing the first biography of the retired General, entitled In the Eyes of Time.
He also wrote the biography of Atiku Abubakar. It was entitled, The Story of Atiku Abubakar.
He obtained his first degree in 1982 in Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan; and spent his National Youth Service Corps year at Radio Nigeria, Ikoyi, Lagos , from where he joined The Guardian in 1983.
Dr. Onukaba became Adjunct Professor of Mass Communication at the School of New Resources, College of New Rochelle, New York in 1997.
Upon his return to Nigeria in 1999, he worked with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar 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.
Apart from his books on Atiku Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo, he also co-authored Born to Run, a biography of Late Dele Giwa, with Pulitzer winner Dele Olojede.
Onukaba, despite his journalistic career, never divorced himself from his first love, Theatre Arts.
He wrote several plays, some of which are: 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 Awards.