Professor Ebiegberi Joe Alagoa, Nigerian historian, was born on April 14, 1933 and obtained his first degree in history in 1959 from the University College, Ibadan and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, in 1965.
He holds certificates in African History and in Archives Administration. Alagoa also held several administrative positions, which include Archivist, National Archives of Nigeria, Ibadan, 1959-1960; Archivist-in-Charge, National Archives, Enugu, 1960-1961; Acting Senior Archivist-in-Charge, National Archives Kaduna, 1961-1962.
He taught African History at the University of Lagos, became Director, Centre of Cultural Studies and also tutoring became a Research Fellow in Oral Traditional History, Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Ibadan.
He organized archaeological surveys of specific areas in the Niger Delta, places which Oral Traditions had indicated as previous settlement areas of the Ijo people because of his special interest in the past of his people. The result of these surveys has Prof Alagoa publishing almost 30 books which include A History of the Niger Delta: a Historical Interpretation of Ijo Oral History, (1972); The Akassa Raid, (1960); The Small Brave City-State: A History of Nembe-Brass in the Niger Delta, (1964); Jaja of Opobo: The Slave Boy who became King, (1970); A Chronicle of Grand Bonny (1972); King Boy of Brass, (1975) and Eminent Nigerians of Rivers State, (1981).
He has written numerous articles in international academic journals. Alagoa, like his predecessors Dike, Biobaku, Ajayi, Ayandele, Anene, etc who had once written what could appropriately be termed regional or local histories, the Niger Delta region constitutes the subject matter of much of Alagoa's historical endeavours. A bibliographical examination of his works would undoubtedly reveal the depth of his interest and unwavering intellectual devotion to the region. Much of his academic endeavours have focused on recovering, through oral traditional method, a substantial part of the early history of the Ijo. This fact is evident from the titles of his works.
He hails from Nembe, a town inhabited by one of the Ijo sub-groups in the Niger Delta region in present day Rivers State and is married with two children.
His objective has been to document the history of the people of the Niger Delta. It is no exaggeration to state that to a large extent, Professor Alagoa has succeeded, almost singlehandedly, to forge a historiography of the Niger Delta people. In doing so he has contributed profoundly to the ennoblement of Oral Traditional History in Nigeria and in a large measure African historiography.