Ofonagoro Walter Ibekwe; government spokesman under military dictatorship of Sani Abacha, economic historian, also Minister of Information and Culture during General Ibrahim Babangida‘s regime, born June 24, 1940 in Port Harcourt. He is a recipient of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, and Woodrow Wilson Fellowships. He is also a member of American Historical Association, AHA, and African Studies Research Association, ASRA, the United States. He holds the traditional titles of OkaaOmee I Oj’Umuode Amaigbo and Nze Duru Ofo II of Amaigl both in Imo State. He authored several publications including The Currency Revolution in Southern Nigeria; Readings in Federalism and co-authored Nigerian General Elections[i].
Under Ofonagoro, government’s designs to give media outfit, Daily Times a closer supervision especially as it is about to unfold its transition to civil rule agenda. Not for it the niceties of flexing its muscles through boardroom politics, government, as represented by Ofonagoro, wants to run the Daily Times like one of its parastatals to be dictated to when it matters. Efforts by Ofonagoro to achieve this was restisted, causing friction between himself and Oseni[ii].
Ofonagoro was appointed Teacher, Baptist High School, Port Harcourt, January-June 1962; appointed Associate Professor Of History, Columbia University, New York, USA, 1968-73; Associate Professor, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, 1973-76; Visiting associate Professor of History, Columbia University, New York, USA, 1974-76; appointed Senior Lecturer, University of Lagos, 1976-82; former Director, Amalgamated Tin Mines of Nigeria Limited, 1981-83; Chairman, News Agency of Nigeria, 1982; Political Consultant and Analyst, Nigerian Television Authority, 1979; Director-General, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), 1983; Chairman, Stanwal Consultants Limited, Owerri, since 1983; Adviser to the Nigerian-Delegation, 36th Session, UN General Assembly; Visiting Professor: New York University, Rutgers University, Long Island University, City College, Cuny, USA, Queen’s College, Cuny, USA, University of Ibadan; member, African Studies Association, since 1966; member, American Historical Association, since 1966; member, Academy of Political Science, Columbia University, USA, 1966-76; Secretary, National Constitutional Conference Commission, 1995; Minister, Information and Culture, 1995-98[iii].
[i] Insider, June 30, 2003
[ii] Tempo, November 9, 1995
[iii] Newswatch Who is Who