Top 5 Oldest Universities In Nigeria -How And When They Where Established

University of Ibadan e1431435907139

In this post, we will be talking about the oldest universities in Nigeria. Basically, these universities are the first set of universities includes the University of Ibadan and the universities that were established in 1962.

There are other universities that can be considered as second set universities which was established in 1975.

But for this article, we shall be listing 5 Oldest Universities In Nigeria.

1. University of Ibadan

University of Ibadan e1431435907139

The origin of the University of Ibadan can be traced to the Yaba College which was founded in 1932. At some point, this college was transferred to Ibadan after which it evolved to become the University of Ibadan.

Initially, the University of Ibadan was established as a college under the University of London in 1948. It would later become a full-fledged university in 1962 when it cut ties with the University of London. UI, as it is popularly called, took off with academic programmes in Arts, Science, and Medicine.

In September 2016, the University of Ibadan became the first university to make the list of the top 1000 universities in the world based on the Time Higher Education ranking.

2. University of Nigeria, Nsukka


The University of Nigeria, Nsukka was the second university to be established in the country but it was the first full-fledged indigenous and independent university in Nigeria.

Popularly called UNN, the University of Nigeria was established in 1955 in Nsukka in Enugu. The university has four campuses which include Nsukka, Enugu, Ituku-Ozalla and Aba.

The Aba campus currently serves as base for the Institute of Nigerian Languages

The origin of this prestigious university can be traced to when a law was passed to establish a university in the Eastern region. This law was passed on the 18thof May, 1955. The premier of the Eastern region at that time, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was a pivotal figure in the enactment of this law.

Eventually, classes began in October 1960 with an initial enrolment of 220 students and 13 members of the academic staff were involved in teaching these students. By 1965, the university had produced two sets of graduates which coincided with the time the University of Ibadan was producing its first set of graduate after the university had cut ties with the University of London.

Some of the notable alumni from UNN include Dora Akunyili, Chris Ngige, Chimaroke Nnamani, Fabian Osuji, Godwin Emefiele, Obi Ezekwesili etc

3. Obafemi Awolowo University

Obafemi Awolowo University

Founded in 1961, the Obafemi Awolowo University was initially called University of Ife. The university was renamed in 1987 in honor of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the first Premier of the Western Region of Nigeria.

Popularly called the Great Ife, the decision to establish the university was due to several reasons, one of which was to cover some of the inadequacies of the premier university, the University of Ibadan. At that time, the University of Ibadan had no faculty of Engineering, no law school. Also, UI didn’t have a pharmacy school or a management training school.

As a result, Great Ife was established. The University started the first pharmacy school in the whole of West Africa as well as the first Chemical Engineering and Electrical Engineering departments.

Prominent alumni from OAU include Akinwunmi Adeshina, Oluremi Tinubu, Segun Mimiko, Jimi Agbaje, Abike Dabiri, Femi Otedola, Ibukun Awosike and Jimoh Ibrahim.

4. Ahmadu Bello University


Founded on the 4th October 1962, the Ahmadu Bello University was initially called the University of Northern Nigeria.

When the university was established, many of the lecturers at that time were British and most of the early appointments were professorial in nature. As a matter of fact, there were only 2 Nigerian lecturers at ABU at that time.

The university has two campuses in Samaru and Kongo. The main campus is at Samaru and this location houses the administrative offices, faculties of; physical sciences, life sciences, social-sciences, arts and languages, education, environmental design, engineering, medical sciences. agricultural sciences and research facilities.

On the other hand, the Kongo campus hosts the faculties of Law and Administration.

The university is named after the first premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello.

The university is reputed to have one of the largest teaching hospitals in the country which the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital.

When ABU opened in 1962, a total of 462 students have admitted into the 15 departments distributed across 4 faculties.

Some of the notable alumni of ABU include Atiku Abubakar, Jerry Gana, Nuhu Ribadu, Ibrahim Shekarau, Dino Melaye and many others.

5. University of Lagos


The need to create more universities post-independence was what led to the establishment of the University of Lagos in 1962.

This puts the University of Lagos among the first generation universities in the country. With over 57000 enrolled students, the University of Lagos has one of the largest student enrolment in the country.

The school is highly sought after by many high school leavers and has been publicly acclaimed as the University of First Choice.

The university has two campuses with the main campus located in Akoka and the medical campus located in the Idi-Araba.

The University of Lagos has a total of 13 faculties and currently offers undergraduate programs, postgraduate and Distance Learning Institute programs to its students. The Post Graduate Program has both full time and part time options.

Some of the notable alumni include Chike Obi, Lazarus Ekwueme, Wale Adenuga, Wole Olanipekun, Funke Akindele, Omowunmi Akinnifesi, Tony Momoh, Joke Silva and Akinwunmi Ambode.

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