Dr. Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba was the Managing Director of Nigeriaâ€™s longest surviving newspaper organisation, the Daily Times of Nigeria (DTN). He later ventured into mainstream politics when he became the Media Adviser to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, a position that further brought him into national limelight, especially during the squabbles between former president Olusegun Obasanjo and his former principal â€“ as he decided to stay loyal to Atiku, at the risk of other things.
Though he turned out to be one of the several aides loyal to Atiku that were sacked by the Obasanjo administration in the heat of the crisis between the duo, the notable playwright, author and journalist has remained a prominent name in the politics of his home state, Kogi, where he once aspired to govern the state on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He withdrew from the primary on the grounds that it was marred by irregularity.
Currently a visiting lecturer of Media Arts at the University of Abuja, Onukaba is an example of a man who has successfully mastered how to combine his lifestyle; work, politics and play writing into socialisation by hanging out with friends as well as provide a platform for discussions.
â€œI like socialising with friends. We have our favorite hangouts in Abuja (gardens, lounges, guest houses) where we meet, talk politics, joke, and laugh. Of all our hideouts in Abuja, the most popular is a place we nicknamed ‘The University’ which is located in Garki, Abuja.
â€œThere, we do all the things that universities do: “teach”, present “seminar” papers, “mark scripts”, play campus politics, gain and lose members, watch football matches, take pepper soup and wash it down with ‘ruwa senyi’ -cold water and other liquids).
“Members of ‘faculty’ consist of journalists (serving and retired), doctors, engineers, senior police officers, businessmen, architects and so on. We hold “graduation” ceremonies from time to time, and we elect “university” officials annually.
“This is where you are likely to find me at peace with myself because I am among friends, arguing and laughing. I have met wonderful people there. I am reluctant to mention their names because I don’t want to embarrass them.
“The University’ is our best kept secret. The owner is a 74-year-old medical doctor who is known as VC Emeritus. When he is with us, he is just one of the boys. The University is non-hierarchical and democratic.
“Members of ‘The University’ have become a family. When I lost my wife in 2009, they stood solidly by me and contributed financially to the burial expenses. I was greatly touched. It was then that it dawned on me that ‘The University’ has become my family,” he said.
He also hinted that when the group lost two of its active members in 2011 and 2012, other members were there to comfort the bereaved families.
These aside, another way he satisfies his art inclination is by going to the theatre to watch plays. An author of various books, including ‘Tower of Burden’, ‘The Killing Swamp’ and ‘The Story of Atiku’, an autobiography of his former boss, he also loves going to recreation spots with his children, adding that “At home, I do some exercises when I wake up every morning.”
Onukaba is still one of the prominent voices in the call for better governance that guarantees economic empower for the growing unemployed youths across the state.
As a member of the ruling PDP in Kogi State, Onukaba is one of the Kogi Elders Forum who raised the alarm over the lackluster kickoff of Governor Idris Wada, also accused of ineptitude and corruption. They had reported the activities of the governor to President Goodluck Jonathan and Senate President, Senator David Mark.
Though yet to make any official announcement about his next possible political move, Onukaba is one of the politicians expected to play an active role in the emerging politics of Kogi State.